wrote a song a few years back that I never really warmed
up to, until I recorded it. It was written while I sat behind
the walls of a federal prison. It was fueled by the reality
of, not only the place where I was sitting in American society
in July of ‘07, but what I had to look forward to upon re-entering
that society. In
my life prior to prison, I worked tirelessly for workers
rights, against police brutality, for government accountability
and against attacks on the poor. How prescient; for that
song is more relevant today than when I wrote it.
Right-wing is on the attack…the attack on us - the poor,
the low-wage worker, the women of America,
the youth, the minority classes. It is a concerted, deliberate
attack on the rights, status and gains these classes of
people have made. During the election season of 2010, the
intentional smear of the political climate by the likes
of the Tea Party and pro-gun, anti-immigrant, anti-abortion
groups has placed this country in a state of emergency…there
is a war in play - not a “culture war”, but a physical,
covert, hand-to-hand war, using the tools of culture, law
enforcement, media, language, military loyalty, culture
and legislation. What am I talking about? Let me tell you:
Abortion: When President Obama was working on reforming
healthcare, the Republicans said he should be focusing
on jobs…remember that? Now that he focuses on jobs, they
shift the goalposts to abortion. Planned Parenthood is
under attack. Together,
these bills would cut off women from the private health
care they have today, limit the ability of women to get
the care they need on their health care plans even if
it threatens their lives; allow public hospitals to refuse
to take necessary steps to save a woman’s life; and allow
the states to deny Medicaid coverage for care to save
a woman’s life. The Right is inundating the public psyche with undercover videos.
Never mind that they’re bogus. They’re labeling judges
“activist” and re-defining “rape”;
de-funding The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which
of course hurts poor people who rely on untainted information
sources. “The attack on Big Bird” has re-appeared. Saturating
the public with biased, one-source reporting by conglomerated
media outlets is a tried-and-true Right-wing method of
of the poor: the proposed budget cuts of 2011 by House
Republicans is an attempt to balance the budget on the
backs of the poor, if they care about balancing the budget
at all. We know their goal is to take money from government
programs that empowers lower classes of our society. Cuts
to subsidized housing (while subsidizing corporations)
is an attack on the poor.
Cutting programs, Pell Grants (growing student debt is
not fostering a competitive class); championing charter
schools is not only de-facto segregation, it weakens the
very systems that educate the very people who cannot afford
Citizens: probationary sentences, selective rules on hiring,
only keep men & women incarcerated - outside of prison
walls. With the barriers to obtaining gainful employment
in place, the only other options to survive are criminal.
They know it…this condition creates jobs for law enforcement.
Families: single-parent, gay couples, and extended families
are non-traditional in nature, and thus fall outside the
parameters and expectations of the neo-Right. Being non-traditional
is fodder for conservative attack.
The theory of Republican rule that “smaller government”
means the private sector can be free to hire more people
is a farce! What
they really mean is that more government money shall go
to the private sector…a tenet of capitalism. What they
don’t tell you is that they, corporations, don’t have
de-funding subsidized housing means less affordable
housing; eliminating Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae means
less access to manageable home mortgage loans, which in
turn, creates the condition for a larger “renter class.”
This condition creates a smaller - and more elite - owner
class, concentrating more wealth in the hands of fewer
Enforcement: creation of academic disciplines, separate
rules for releasing relevant prosecutorial evidence, and
protecting their jobs gives them all the more reason to
attack the people if they ever choose to dissent.
Bargaining: Right-to-work is where the Right wants the
working class. They complain about profits, but management
is never poor. The assault on Unions is real and in play;
the Wisconsin teachers are the tip
of the iceberg. The Republicans have thirsted after Collective
Bargaining since Ronald Regan’s demise of PATCO in 1981.
Like other conservative Republican governors, including Chris
Christie of New Jersey, John Kasich
of Ohio, Mitch Daniels of Indiana and Rick Scott of
Florida, the Wisconsin governor wants to sap the power of public employee unions,
especially the teachers’ union, since public education
is the single biggest expenditure for every state. Didn’t
Obama say we should invest in education so we could innovate
and compete with the rest of the world?
this era of assault, something should not be lost on us:
that banking, communication, oil corporations (ExxonMobil,
Chevron, Conoco-Philips), Wal-Mart, General Motors, do well
while the rest of us fight over crumbs. The guise that “the
business sector turns the wheels of the economy”, is a lie.
The working class turns the wheels of this economy
- or any economy. People give labor, create products, manufacture
goods, deliver services and purchase the products. Where
the people miss out is on the collection of the revenue.
Without the revenue (money), the people make no decisions.
The only means of balancing that equation, is mass organizing…”the
only thing that beats money is people.”
Columnist, Perry Redd, is the former Executive Director of
the workers rights advocacy, Sincere Seven, and author of
the on-line commentary, “The
Other Side of the Tracks.” He is host of the internet-based
talk radio show, Socially Speaking in Washington, DC.
here to contact Mr. Redd.