‘They don’t really care about us’
Michael Jackson was right, singing, “They don’t really care about us.” The superrich not only don’t care about us, they hate us. Mitt Romney confirmed it with notorious remarks to his fellow multimillionaires about “the 47 percent.”
According to Romney, nearly half the people in the United States “are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”
In the wealthiest country on earth, 147 million people actually think they shouldn’t go hungry. That’s how many people belong to Romney’s “47 percent.”
The Department of Agriculture hands out billions to agribusiness not to grow crops and stockpiles millions of tons of food to keep prices high. None of this keeps small farmers from losing their land.
Massive unemployment isn’t the only reason more people and their families need food stamps. Millions of workers qualify for food assistance because their wages are so low.
Shouldn’t every child be “entitled” to the very best health care? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”
Deamonte Driver didn’t have the right to health care. This African-American, 12-year-old boy died of a toothache on Feb. 25, 2007. Deamonte’s family had lost their health insurance and couldn’t afford a dentist. By the time he was admitted to a hospital, bacteria from a tooth abscess had spread to his brain.
Wasn’t Deamonte Driver entitled to live?
Yet Romney said his job “is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
This revolting hypocrisy is typical of the capitalist class. When have Wall Street bankers and wealthy speculators ever taken “personal responsibility” for themselves? During the latest economic crisis they were bailed out with trillions of dollars stolen from people all over the world.
Armies of servants — overwhelmingly Black, Latina and Asian women — raise the children of the rich, cook their food, wash their clothes, clean their toilets and do the myriad of tasks that millionaires and billionaires disdain, but that workers and poor people must do for themselves and their own families every day.
Sneering at poor and working people is nothing new for wealthy parasites. The difference is that Romney’s attack on “the 47 percent” includes tens of millions of white workers.
Slavery, racism and something new
Compared to workers in Canada, Japan or Western Europe, U.S. workers work the longest hours, have shorter vacations and fewer benefits. The capitalist class gets away with this increased exploitation because they keep the U.S. multinational working class divided.
So much of political culture in the U.S. is derived from slavery. The U.S. Constitution, in Article 1, Section 9, prohibited Congress for 20 years from banning the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The African holocaust was “constitutional.”
Since 1977, 3 out of 4 executions have been carried out in states that joined the Confederacy. Two-and-a-half million people are locked up in prisons, most of which are run by state “correction departments.” Whipping enslaved people was also called “correction.”
Wall Street became the financial center of the country because it was the banking house for the slave masters.
One of the worst results of racism in the U.S. is the difference in life expectancy between African Americans and whites. In 2007, Black men lived six years less than white men, while white women lived four years longer than Black women. (2011 Statistical Abstract of the United States)
However, a new study has revealed that from 1990 to 2008, life expectancy for the poorest whites dropped by four years. (See page 1 article.)
And capitalists despise white workers, too. Just before the Civil War, South Carolina Sen. James Hammond defended slavery. Hammond claimed Hammond claimed that slaves in the South and poor workers in the North need to be exploited so that “civilization can flourish.”
Hammond’s defense of slavery and his linking it to the necessity of keeping white workers poor in the North inflamed the Northern working class. Romney’s words should inflame everybody.
Frontal assault needs mass response
Romney attacked immigrant workers in his “47 percent” speech. He claimed they “have no skill or experience” and are told “you’re welcome to cross the border and stay here for the rest of your life.” Romney’s audience laughed at this big lie. Yet they would be hard pressed if immigrants, many of whom are undocumented, didn’t pick the crops and feed them.
The wealthy and powerful have stayed on top by concentrating so much misery in the Black, Latino/a and other oppressed communities. Wounded Knee was just one of countless massacres committed against Native peoples.
China bashing will lead to new attacks against Asian workers, like Vincent Chin, who was beaten to death by a racist Chrysler foreman in 1982. Arabs, South Asians and all Muslims are targeted for attack.
Racism, sexism, bigotry and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, and immigrant bashing aren’t odious enough for the 1% during this period of accelerated decay of the capitalist system. They’re launching a frontal assault on all workers. Everything the working class has won in the last 80 years is under attack.
What is needed is for people to act on a massive scale and do what the Chicago teachers did — fight back and struggle. It is the only way to stop the attacks on “the 47 percent” and the entire working class. It’s the only answer that the 1% will understand.