Saturday, September 7, 2013

Bloomberg: de Blasio's campaign racist and class warfare

The "racist" campaign literature
by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

You gotta laugh at politics in America.  The race for mayor of NYC is heating up. Present mayor, Michael Bloomberg who is owner of Business Week magazine and is described in the media as a “self made” billionaire, has accused one of the candidates hoping to replace him of running a “racist” campaign based on “class warfare.” In an interview with New York Magazine Bloomberg said that Democrat Bill de Blasio’s is "in some ways ... a class-warfare campaign……..class-warfare and racist.”.

What the hell is a “self made” billionaire anyway?  Is there a collectively made billionaire? A billionaire by committee? What does “self made” mean? Is there anyone that believes you can accumulate billions of dollars all on your own, working lots of overtime and stashing away savings. But I must let that sidetrack me.

When asked what is racist about Democrat Bill de Blasio’s campaign, Bloomberg says, according to the Associated Press, "Well, no, no, I mean he's making an appeal using his family to gain support. I think it's pretty obvious to anyone watching what he's been doing. I do not think he himself is racist. It's comparable to me pointing out I'm Jewish in attracting the Jewish vote."

Is Bloomberg Jewish? I’d never have thought it. Bill de Blasio is married to a black woman and apparently his campaign ads have featured his family. Have we ever seen such a thing in American politics, a candidate having their partner, kids and dog on stage with them or in campaign ads with them?

I would say its one of the standard sickening practices we see every election time as these people try to appeal to the conservative elements in society showing that they are “normal” people in a normal god-fearing marriage, a man, a woman, two kids and a dog.

The real issue is not that de Blasio has an interracial family. It’s that he’s striking a bit of a populist tone. He’s not obscuring the fact that there is a class war, that’s the problem.  De Blasio has attacked Bloomberg for not doing enough to help the poor and that New York has become “two cities”, one for the rich and one for everyone else. De Blasio is well aware of the mood out there in the aftermath of the Great Recession and is tapping in to the anger and hatred for the rich that lies beneath the surface, but so is Bloomberg which is why he has reacted so strongly.  Bloomberg, a coupon clipper, is the 7th richest man in the US worth about $27 billion. He is as detached from American working class life as Putin is.

He comes to the defense of his coupon clipper colleagues, many of whom live in NYC. But first he attacks the poor in NYC, “By most of the world’s standards, you ain’t poor,” he says reminding us that when compared to most places in the world “…our poor are wealthy.”  You see, you don’t have to be bright to be wealthy and won a major magazine.

Bloomberg is quite hurt by de Blasio’s assault on the NY City’s billionaires as they contribute so much to the city in the form of tax revenue. "The way to help those who are less fortunate is, number one, to attract more very fortunate people. They are the ones that pay the bills. The people that would get very badly hurt here if you drive out the very wealthy are the people he professes to try to help," Bloomberg says.

He gets a little madder and reveals to us his real view of the world when he says that “…this city is
Bloomberg, worth $27 billion
not two groups, and if to some extent it is, it's one group paying for services for the other."
We should all be grateful to the Michael Bloomberg, Donald Trumps and Warren Buffets of this word for giving us miserable wretches an existence.

The fact that poverty and unemployment and all the negative aspects of their so-called free market hits black folks, as a percentage of the population, far worse than most groups, with the exception of Native Americans perhaps, is definitely an issue when a white candidate with a black wife, a multi-racial family, is speaking about how the world actually is, is raising the class divide as Jesse Jackson did in his first presidential campaign before the Democratic Party hacks gave him a good talking to before the national convention. Plus, the Great Recession has hit a lot of people who thought they were safe; pointing fingers at the 1% in this climate is a dangerous game.

De Blasio has been getting a lot of support from the black community according to reports but I’ll wager it is predominantly for his populist rhetoric.  Were his wife to take a cue from Bill Cosby and chide black folks for not pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and going out there and “gettin’ it” as opposed to complaining all the time, there’d be no accusation of racism from Bloomberg then.
I saw a plug for “Crossfire” on TV tonight as I was flipping through channels and it had two Democrats and two Republicans in the plug and it was making the point about issues and differences being discussed.  But there is not significant difference between these two parties on the fundamentals.  They both agree that workers and the middle class must pay for their crisis and would both oppose a real candidate that made the class war that is forced on us daily an issue. It’s as if there is only a Democratic and republican view of the world.

This support that Occupy initially got and the support that de Blasio is getting is an indication of the mood that exists in society and that a genuine mass party of working people could have significant success in the political arena.  The 128 million or so of Americans that didn’t vote in the last election cycle aren’t all asleep, they have simply given up, recognizing correctly that on the basic issues, food, shelter, health care, workplace and civil rights, both parties are against them.

As for Bloomberg threatening that if you attack those “more fortunate” we will have no services or they’ll leave town, our response is that we won’t let you, or we won’t let you with all the money you’ve stolen from those who work and create the wealth in society. His solution to poverty, he says, is to make more rich people.

Every human being deserves a secure and productive life.  A society that cannot provide that is not a civilized society.  It is not simply the billions they waste on predatory wars and such that we must take and allocate more efficiently in a humane sense, but the personal billions they have stashed away, what they call private money or their “personal” wealth.  They never earned that money; it’s a collective product. Michael Bloomberg should be guaranteed a decent and secure life, and most socialists and ordinary workers would agree, just not off the backs of the rest of us.  We would guarantee them what they deny us.

1 comment:

Immanuel Ness said...

I read the article in the New York Times. Bloomberg is not just a billionaire, but worth about 30 billion. When he became mayor his net worth was 4 billion. In the process he has supported financial capital and expanded the repressive apparatus that his predecessors had only initiated. We now live in the equivalent of a totalitarian state where all opposition is severely restricted through surveillance and police mobilization tactics and racial profiling rivaling Berlin in the Nazi Germany era. He has presided over the profiling of Arab and Muslim New Yorkers, and expanded the stop and frisk system that marginalizes Black New Yorkers, eviscerated public education, social services, and privatized everything in sight. Once a cosmopolitan and vibrant city, Bloomberg, through liberal-fascist policies, has dictated social behavior and created a stodgy city that has lost its intellectual and cultural dynamism for law and order. The oligarchy is now firmly in place. It remains to be seen if anyone can change the city. We must remember that di Blasio was a loyal operative for Hilary Clinton who will do little to change the city and has marginalized John Liu, Chinese-American defender of the poor and the most progressive candidate in the race. Bloomberg has imposed policies through evading legal processes to create a city that is more like Singapore than New York. If elected it remains to be seen if di Blasio can restore the modicum of civil liberties and energize the African American, Latino, and Afro-Caribbean population in this city that is now unaffordable to most middle-income workers.