Class warfare, indeed

The party of greed, guns and God has now stooped to a new low in shameless hypocrisy – branding Obama’s call for higher taxes on the wealthy as “class warfare.” Almost as sickening is their pious claim that calling on corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share of the bill for the enormous benefits they’ve received amounts to “divisiveness.”

In truth, Republicans have waged class warfare against anyone who isn’t wealthy. During Republican administrations from Reagan on, wages have fallen or remained stagnant, jobs have moved overseas, workplace benefits have been gutted and unions attacked. The goals of the GOP have been to protect property instead of people, to “unburden” business from laws mandating basic fairness and to kowtow to the rich in return for their favors.

It’s long past time to stop appeasing people who deride centrists as radicals and brand liberals as traitors. It’s time to start acknowledging the truth – there is such a thing as class warfare in this country, it’s been directed against the poor (a group that includes more Americans than ever) and unless we protest it loudly and insistently, it will persist. The Banana Republicans would love to turn this country into a Third World haven where 90 percent of the population slaves for the top 10 percent.

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CAN A REVOLUTION HAPPEN IN CHINA?

Liu Xiaobo, a human rights activist in China serving 11 years for subversion, won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize while imprisoned.

Activists of the world, unite – put your heads together, talk to each other and imagine what it would take for the Chinese to successfully revolt against the dictatorship of their one-party government.

Here is what China’s democracy advocates have to work with and struggle against:

1.  More than 1 billion citizens, many of them impoverished, all of them oppressed (except for officials and the newly rich) and very few able to imagine how much better things could be;

2.  A pervasive security apparatus of enforcers, spies and flunkies organized right down to the level of apartment buildings, and surveillance of every form of communication;

3.  A population infuriated by corruption, unfairness and injustice, and frustrated by a lack of any legal rights or means to fix problems;

4.  A culture whose greatest strength may be endurance of hardship without complaint, and whose greatest disadvantage may be the same;

5.  Fear of speaking up, standing out or taking action;

6.  Punishments for speaking up, standing out or taking action that include job loss, blacklisting, beatings, house arrest, imprisonment and execution.

7.  Widespread use of mobile phones and computers but extremely limited access to websites outside of China;

8.  Very few people who have a good grasp of spoken or written English.

 As Chinese leaders celebrate the 90th anniversary of their Communist Party’s founding, let’s reflect on the fact that their subjects – roughly one-fifth of the Earth’s people – have no political or legal rights. What can be done about this? Post your answers in the comments section.