Also from @neville_park, a picture

Liberation theology

Liberation theology

Not for nothing do I love her.

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Austerity’s Targets « Framed In Canada | #cdnpoli #classwarfare

As the post-recession politics of austerity tattoo a bull’s eye onto the backs of workers in Canada and elsewhere, Iceland stands out as a refreshing alternative.

Iceland was the first country to feel the effects of the Great Recession of 2008. Its banks owed nearly six times Iceland’s GDP in the Fall of 2008, threatening to bring the entire Icelandic economy down with it.

The people of Iceland broke out in protest, egging their own Prime Minister’s car and spurring a change in government.

Since then, the Icelandic government has gone after the bankers responsible for the crisis, arresting several bankers in an ongoing investigation into questionable activities.

Iceland is being lauded by many observers, including the IMF and Nobel Prize-Winning Economist Paul Krugman, as a model example of how a country can respond to an economic crisis such as the Great Recession.

Greece, the birthplace of democracy, is a study in contrasts.

In Greece, the government has unleashed a massive austerity program that has been met with citizen protests, strikes, political instability, and ongoing social unrest.

In Iceland, they’ve arrested bankers who caused the economic crisis, but in Greece, they’ve arrested unionized workers for protesting property tax increases.

Iceland appears to be on the road to economic recovery.

Greece, on the other hand, is mired in social, political and economic turbulence which show no sign of abating.

Another must-read from the indispensable Trish Hennessy at Framed in Canada.

All the more timely in light of things like the recently released CCPA report on CEO compensation, juxtaposed with Caterpillar’s lockout of Canadian workers on the heels of a demand that they accept pay cuts in excess of 50 per cent. Our tax dollars at work, helping foreign companies screw our fellow Canadians.

So, two possible responses to “austerity,” or shock doctrine if you like Naomi Klein’s framing. Gee, I wonder which way the Harper Government will go?

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Chris Hedges: No Act of Rebellion Is Wasted | #classwarfare #OWS

We may feel, in the face of the ruthless corporate destruction of our nation, our culture, and our ecosystem, powerless and weak. But we are not. We have a power that terrifies the corporate state. Any act of rebellion, no matter how few people show up or how heavily it is censored by a media that caters to the needs and profits of corporations, chips away at corporate power. Any act of rebellion keeps alive the embers for larger movements that follow us. It passes on another narrative. It will, as the rot of the state consumes itself, attract wider and wider numbers. Perhaps this will not happen in our lifetimes. But if we persist, we will keep this possibility alive. If we do not, it will die. 

From a Hedges column just over a year ago.

No one can say for certain what 2012 will bring, but for starters, let’s go back to first principles.

We’re citizens of a democratic society, deriving our rights and our obligations from a public sphere that is both the sum of its parts and something more. I’ll say it once more for emphasis: we are citizens.

Not taxpayers. Not customers. Not shareholders. Not consumers. We are not defined in terms of how much profit we create or how much we spend on goods and services or pay in taxes. We have an intrinsic value that goes beyond generating returns for investors.

For 2012, let us at least rededicate ourselves to the idea of engaged citizenship.

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The cruel reality of the American class system: We Are Not All Created Equal | #classwarfare #uspoli

There are some truths so hard to face, so ugly and so at odds with how we imagine the world should be, that nobody can accept them. Here’s one: It is obvious that a class system has arrived in America — a recent study of the thirty-four countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that only Italy and Great Britain have less social mobility. But nobody wants to admit: If your daddy was rich, you’re gonna stay rich, and if your daddy was poor, you’re gonna stay poor. Every instinct in the American gut, every institution, every national symbol, runs on the idea that anybody can make it; the only limits are your own limits. Which is an amazing idea, a gift to the world — just no longer true. Culturally, and in their daily lives, Americans continue to glide through a ghostly land of opportunity they can’t bear to tell themselves isn’t real. It’s the most dangerous lie the country tells itself.

More than anything else, class now determines Americans’ fates. The old inequalities — racism, sexism, homophobia — are increasingly antiquated [fig. 1]. Women are threatening to overwhelm men in the workplace, and the utter collapse of the black lower middle class in the age of Obama — a catastrophe for the African-American community — has little to do with prejudice and everything to do with brute economics. Who wins and who loses has become simplified, purified: those who own and those who don’t.

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It may be the day after Christmas, but this seems more appropriate for Halloween. This is some scary shit.

Retreating to the comfort zone in the face of something like this would usually point to some nostrum like “well, at least we’re talking about it openly.” But the thing about nostrums is that they’re designed to soothe, to paper over, to stifle discussion and make confrontation with unpleasant truths easier to avoid. I don’t find any comfort in that, and in truth, I’d have grave doubts about anyone who did.

We can’t congratulate ourselves for being able to talk about class, about inequality, about polarization between haves and have nots. Or more accurately, we can, but we shouldn’t. Talking about something honestly is all very well, but if you’re not prepared to pursue the implications of what you’re talking about, you might as well not bother.

So let’s address those implications. Is this what we want for our country, our future? Is this the kind of society we want to become? If so, then as Marche argues, the least we can do is have an honest conversation about it.

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