From The National Employment Law Project, May 10:
Long-term unemployed workers in a growing list of states are being abruptly cut from federal unemployment insurance, a new analysis from the National Employment Law Project shows. Due to reductions Congress enacted earlier this year, more than 400,000 workers in 27 states will have lost between 13 to 20 weeks of federal unemployment insurance under the Extended Benefits program by Saturday, May 12th. The cuts come even though long-term unemployment remains near record highs.
From Chris Hedges in Truthdig, May 14:
… We have been, like nations on the periphery of empire, colonized. We are controlled by tiny corporate entities that have no loyalty to the nation and indeed in the language of traditional patriotism are traitors. They strip us of our resources, keep us politically passive and enrich themselves at our expense… The colonized are denied job security. Incomes are reduced to subsistence level. The poor are plunged into desperation. Mass movements, such as labor unions, are dismantled. The school system is degraded so only the elites have access to a superior education. Laws are written to legalize corporate plunder and abuse, as well as criminalize dissent. And the ensuing fear and instability — keenly felt this past weekend by the more than 200,000 Americans who lost their unemployment benefits — ensure political passivity by diverting all personal energy toward survival. It is an old, old game…
And so on, a Marxism 101 summary. For a second, I thought Hedges was calling me a member of the proletariat, the low-born who tend to simply endure rather than revolt, or the lumpenproletariat, who — gasp! — survive through crime and other sordid activities, like Wall Street banksters but not as sneaky.
But no, it seems I’m in the declasse intellectual camp, which sounds a lot cooler, even though it means you’re jobless and probably in as much debt as the proles, a situation that ensures you will divert “all personal energy toward survival.”
History shows that it’s up to the declasse intellectuals and other disaffected members of the middle class to light a fire under the proles, and that, of course, is what Occupy Wall Street is all about. A lot of what Hedges writes makes sense, but there will be no large-scale push against the corporate monsters until a significant percentage of the (formerly) middle class uses up the last of its assets and gives up trying to stay solvent in a rigged economy. Even then, a radicalized citizenry is highly unlikely, don’t you think?