Friday, June 7, 2013

US politics and the hidden agenda

by Richard Mellor

I was watching the evening news not so long ago.  Don’t get me wrong, I almost never watch the evening news.  After all, Seinfeld is on at this time and why would I watch the evening news when I can watch that for the 20th time?

But this time it was the same but different.  What was different was that I was paying extreme attention.

It was about this guy. In fact, a fair amount of time was given to this guy.  He walked in to a bank in Marin Country.  He had robbed this bank before and a cashier recognized him.   The cops followed or chased him and eventually caught the guy.

After I watched this garbage I thought to myself, “What sot of guy walks in to a bank he’d robbed before, knowing as I do and he must, that they have cameras, and doesn’t think he’d get caught?”

In answer to my own question I say, “A stupid guy. That’s who.”

But in the mass media, this poor, working class or just plain stupid guy who is so disconnected that he robs a store where the chance of someone recognizing him is strong, becomes some sort of newsworthy criminal.

Why is that?  Obama is not portrayed as a criminal.  The imbecile Bush is not portrayed as a criminal.  And war criminals like Dick Cheney are not portrayed as criminals.

Well, this is just the world we live in. The class that rules never writes about events or history like we would.  When I was active in the leadership of my Union there were people that opposed my and our point of view who always attacked us on the basis that we “had and agenda”. Well “we” did have an agenda, and we were open with it and urged our co-workers to vote for us if they agreed with that agenda.

The real objection from our opponents was that they couldn’t openly argue against our agenda.  They couldn’t defend their point of view, so they attacked us as if we had some sort of hidden views.  This strategy failed and the reason it failed is because we were always open and up front with our members.

I love those lines from Bob Dylan’s Ballad of Hattie Carroll as the rich murderer of this working class black woman, his maid, was facing his day in court:

In the courtroom of honor, the judge pounded his gavel
To show that all's equal and that the courts are on the level
And that the strings in the books ain't pulled and persuaded
And that even the nobles get properly handled
Once that the cops have chased after and caught 'em
And that ladder of law has no top and no bottom
Stared at the person who killed for no reason
Who just happened to be feelin' that way without warnin'
And he spoke through his cloak, most deep and distinguished
And handed out strongly, for penalty and repentance
William Zanzinger with a six-month sentence
Ah, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Bury the rag deep in your face
For now's the time for your tears.

Here in the US, whenever the politicians of the 1% in the two Wall Street Parties want to attack their opponents they accuse them of "playing politics" or using politics to stonewall.  But politics is life, it is about how society functions, where money is allocated whether we eat, receive medical attention or have a place to live. It is about wages and working conditions and whether we can send our children to school.  The personalized nonsense that comes out of the mouths of Democrats and Republicans at election times is designed to obscure this.  They represent "all" the people is their mantra when in fact they do not, they represent the material interests of their constituents.  As capitalist parties that means the interests of big capital. 

Never trust anyone in politics or the Union that tells you they don’t have an agenda.  Everyone has an agenda, being open with it is the issue.

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