The Montclarion,October 31, 1996, p. 11
To the Editor:
I'd like to shed a little light on how politics works in the US.
It's important not to take either "conservatives" or "liberals" at
face value. By those terms, I mean not working people who identify with either of these
categories, but the elitists who control the political process. In this letter I'm going
to concentrate on the "conservatives."
Conservatism is an employers' ideology. Every "conservative" organization is
funded by large corporations or corporate foundations: Olin, Scaife, Coors, Mellon,
Bradley, are among the biggest. No "left-wing" organization is so funded.
"Conservatives" do ideological propaganda for corporate interests, and get paid
very well to do it. If you mentally substitute the words "propagandist for employers'
interests" for "conservative," you'll understand American political
discourse much better.
What's wrong with this? The interests of employers and of employees are exactly
opposite to each other. Anything that raises the standard of living of employees also
raises the cost of labor, and this reduces the profits of employers. This powerful reality
is the key to understanding politics. No wonder it's seldom taught in school!
The conservative political agenda can be stated simply: lower the cost of labor. This
means: lower the standard of living of almost everyone who works for a living, except top-
level managers, cops, and coupon-clippers -- the rich. Every policy the
"conservatives" support serves this goal: either (1) to directly lower the cost
of labor and standard of living of working people; or, (2) to support authoritarian values
that justify exploitation and inequality, and that attempt to pit one section of the
working population against another -- in other words, ideologies that justify lowering the
cost of labor. That is, the conservatives' concentration on "values" is purely
to promote "values" that themselves facilitate the subordination of working
people to their bosses. Here are a few examples:
- "Get `Big Government' off your back!" What this means is: get government
regulation off of corporation's backs! Let employers weaken or eliminate safety and health
on the job. Let corporations rape the environment -- for example, use Government land for
far less than its actual value (nobody opposes a true "market" more than those
who are always praising "markets"). Stop state-sponsored health insurance.
Weaken Social Security. Cut student aid as much as possible, and make students get it from
banks, which charge high interest, rather than from the government, which charges far
less. All these cut employer costs, at the expense of workers.
- "Vouchers" and "educational choice". What this means is: shift the
cost of education drastically to individuals, so corporations could pay lower wages, once
again lowering the cost of labor. Destroy the public education system so that working
parents will have to send their children to private or for-profit schools not only for
college, but for grade and high school too, and only the poorest will go to the miserable
public schools. This is already the case in many cheap-labor police states (like Peru,
which I visited in 1995), and in much of the American South. "Conservatives"
would like to make it so everywhere!
- Divide-and-Conquer Tactics. American workers have a long history of fighting employers,
through unions and strikes, to get higher benefits. And employers know that in other
industrialized countries, like Western Europe and Canada, militancy among the working
class has gained benefits far greater than we in the US have ever dreamt of! So
corporations fund "conservatives" to try to divide the working population up,
and get one part to blame another instead of those who are really responsible:
corporations and capitalism. Here are some of their strategies for doing so:
- Oppose affirmative action. This gets cheaper labor from blacks, Hispanics and other
"minorities", who have been used as cheap labor by employers since the days of
slavery. Many "conservatives" came from the South, where the elite were able to
keep labor costs and living standards low for most whites as well by telling working-class
whites that anything blacks got would be taken from them. They are doing the same thing
today! Better for them that white and black workers blame each other for their lower
living standard than that both white and black blame those really responsible -- the
- Keep the minimum wage low. "Conservatives" claim they worry that a higher
minimum wage will "cause unemployment." In fact, business loves unemployment!
That's why the stock market goes down, and the Fed starts talking about an
"overheated" economy, when the unemployment rate drops! What's good for
employees -- in this case, having a job -- is bad for employers. No, the corporate
apologists want to keep cheap labor. The minimum wage acts as a floor under everybody's
rate of pay; raising it eventually bumps up all wage rates.
They can't say this, of
course -- any more than they can say what they really want about any other issue. So they
lie and make the amazing claim: "Low wages are good for you!" But it's easy to
see through this nonsense. As the old joke goes, if poverty were good, the rich would have
taken it all already!
In a future letter I'll go over why "conservatives" oppose abortion rights;
feminism, immigration, "political correctness", and always talk about
"freedom" while promoting poverty and oppression for the rest of us.
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