The war at home

Home for sale for $1 in Detroit on Realtor.com. Click image for more.

Dennis Perrin

The prospect of a GM or Chrysler collapse has added more tension to this part of Michigan, a place where working people are already being squeezed if not steamrolled by what passes for the economy. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life, and I suspect it’ll get worse.

Being very class conscious, American elites understand how the unmasked face of capital can affect the desperate and powerless. The worker occupation of the Republic Windows and Doors factory in Chicago is a warning shot from below. The people above don’t want to see more of that.

Then they need to stop being aloof and uncaring. They need to insure that large numbers of the criminal class on Wall Street are put in prison, that federal regulations get real teeth, and huge amounts of money are spent on an economic stimulus that helps everyone, not just the wealthy.

Otherwise there will be a populist revolt and angry peasants with pitchforks in the streets. I don’t mean a few lefties yelling “Revolution in Our Times”, but angry workers who have lost their houses and jobs pulling the wealthy out of their limos and pummeling them. Let me be real clear. That would be barbaric, horrible, counterproductive but unless the power-that-be start getting clues now, that kind of mindless, senseless violence could happen.

Ian Walsh in FireDogLake

Riots from Greece spread in Europe

Here’s the question. When will Americans decide they’ve had enough and start rioting? I believe that Obama’s got about 6 to 8 months. At that point, if things aren’t getting better, I think there’ll be violence. The bailout was the key moment with respect to this. Giving away that much money, and getting nothing for it, is going to be the rallying cry for the disaffected. Americans imagine that “class war” means “the rich screwing the poor and calling it business as usual” but if Obama doesn’t do an FDR and save capitalism from its own excesses, I think Americans are going to learn the old mantra that the “only war is class war”.

Somehow we need to get a sense of ourselves as a country pulling together during what could be hard times. Then we will have unity and purpose. The alternative is fragmentation and chaos.