Wake Up and Rise Up Before It Is Too Late

Last week Suzanne Goldenberg of “The Guardian” tried to sound an alarm. She wrote:

Conservative groups (such as ALEC) across the US are planning a coordinated assault against public sector rights and services in the key areas of education, healthcare, income tax, workers’ compensation and the environment, documents obtained by the Guardian reveal. The strategy for the state-level organizations, which describe themselves as “free-market think-tanks,” includes proposals from six different states for cuts in public sector pensions, campaigns to reduce the wages of government workers and eliminate income taxes, school voucher schemes to counter public education, opposition to Medicaid, and a campaign against regional efforts to combat greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

As I read this, I wondered what on earth was going on. I could not doubt her report, because we have watched in dismay as our public education has been systematically eviscerated so we now think voucher systems and charter schools are a good alternative. It seems to never cross any reporter’s mind that a good idea would be strengthening public education so all God’s children get a better chance. Instead they are trying to make education a for-profit industry.

And who in their right minds would fight against efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Unless, of course, you think Jesus is going to rapture you, or your family perhaps can afford second and third homes in places where the air remains clean and pure.

So call me paranoid, but I am increasingly convinced that there is insidious and effective conspiracy by an oligarchy, led by people like the Koch Brothers, that is manipulating things to ensure that we have a permanent underclass to provide an endless supply of lowest wage workers with no hope for economic advancement to the middle class. Making education a for-profit industry will have the same impact that keeping health care and healing profitable does. We don’t get better health care. It is just more expensive, but someone one is also getting VERY rich.

The systemic destruction of the middle class is the resurrection of and reinvention of apartheid and economic enslavement.

Can I say that more strongly? If I could I would, because we need to wake up and rise up before it is too late. Leaders who raise these issues get accused of waging class warfare, but the war has been waged for a long time. Those of us with enough to get by turn our heads while the poor are loaded onto box cars. Where is Nelson Mandela when we need him?

by Michael Piazza
Co-Executive Director
Center for Progressive Renewal