Developing a Class Movement Instead of Hoping for Class-Action Miracles


* An Introduction by Way of Overview

While the unintentional sedative of the brutal outburst in Arizona still acts as a soporific, nonetheless, just below the surface, social fury percolates in America like at no time since the 1930’s.   Arguably, the previous sentence could have finished, accurately, with the unqualified assertion, “like never before.”

Unfortunately, from the perspective of anyone hoping to participate in facilitating a better world, nothing–and this means literally not one substantial social force in evidence–provides incisive leadership or direction to this upsurge of grassroots anger.   The reason for this missing strategic vision is clear to anybody who thinks about the matter: class consciousness is more or less utterly absent from the scene.   Neither strategic dissection nor tactics that recognize the leading role of class conflict play any sort of prominent role in popular understanding.

This should surprise no one, of course.   Two of three of the institutional expressions of social guidance, here in the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave,’ have all along taken a powder about matters of the class war.

This has all played out more like a series of summary executions without notice than like a formal sentence, with the ax at the end; it has all transpired without due process other than rigged gigs in capital’s courts.   It has all taken place without resistance other than the ‘slipped-the-meds’ outbursts that, on the one hand, show up with lurid regularity on the telly, and, on the other hand, leap up like ‘tea-party’ ministrations that prepare for a fascist fantasy coup.

The first ‘no-show’ among the big three aspects of popular instruction, and the most obvious because it is the most visible, is the corporate media.   Rather than even evincing a pretense of ‘comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable,’ the established and capitalized organs of communication uniformly combine facile nonsense with surface half-truths and completely moronic conclusions in their clearly articulated, and advertiser supported, ‘blah-blah-blah.’

As “Dead Prez” intones in its brilliant riff for “Propaganda,” we are “telling lies to our children, telling lies to our children, telling lies to our babies, only truth will set them free.”   The only truths that have been appearing in these mediated formats are the insults that Sarah Palin trades with Rachel Maddow, and so on and so forth.

The second ’empty-suit’ in the social steering mechanism, especially in a place like Georgia’s Sahara of the Bozart, is the misnamed ‘education system.’   The capacity to analyze is totally absent from the rubric that presently holds sway; what does dominate the ‘airwaves’ in the classroom consists of a brutal mixture of bourgeois propaganda and petty bourgeois ‘dream-on’ foolishness.   Again, Dead Prez sums up aptly: “They schools don’t educate, and they teach the children lies.”

“Why haven’t you learned anything?” a White administrator whines at the beginning of the track.   A sober follow-up summarizes, “Man, this whole school system is a joke; the same people who run the prison system control the education system and the whole social system.”

The final piece of this community capacitation puzzle, the organized religion nexus, is the only one of the triad that, at some bare minimum, begins to approach any semblance of consistent positive impact.   Even the Baptists acknowledge the need to do something about ‘the widows and orphans,’ to reach out to the homeless and the imprisoned, as directed by their honestly revolutionary first icon, the man from Nazareth.

Nevertheless, this message component has been adequately enough attenuated to make its social impact at best a surface palliative.   “What would Jesus do?”   He would cast the money changers from the Temple.   As Frederick Douglass so clearly recognized, however, the clerics and the denominational authorities have completely cast their lots with the banksters and the imperialists.

Of course, only the likes of this poor and struggling scribe, who writes and reaches out today, are stating such points with anything akin to forthrightness.   Thus, the fog of misunderstanding competes with the miasma of often willful ignorance.

*Mortgage Meltdowns in the Scheme of Plutocratic Predominance

This lack of insight and analysis, this overwhelming absence of useful guidance, and this complete subsumption of honesty into fantasies of individual accumulation are nowhere more obvious than in the current unraveling of residential real estate.   This is a topic of particular pertinence to this humble correspondent(THC), as crushing loss of income has resulted in months of mortgage arrears and the just-published announcement that the foreclosure blade is about to sever another sap from his domicile.

While THC has occasionally written analytically and strategically about matters of money and the bourgeoisie and a conscious working class response to capital, today’s article merely tells a tale of the here-and-now that happens to be affecting him and his.   Rather than a strategic document, it is purely a statement of tactical possibility and action-oriented awareness.

Having produced material about this unfolding property donnybrook here in Georgia, THC came to a clear comprehension of the scale of the problem.   In the Peach State alone, between 2008 and 2012, as many as ten per cent–perhaps even more–of the erstwhile title-bearing householders in the State will face the foreclosure behemoth.   That’s an aggregate, at an absolute minimum, of half a million citizens.

by JH – real estate site screenshot

The media’s contextualization of this social-economic cataclysm has ranged between fancies of legal redress, as a carrot, and moralistic condemnation of either bad administration or irresponsible consumers, as the stick.   Anyone who reads among THC’s assessments will see an attempt to dig deeper, but he has also decided to reach out on Craigslist to see what might pop up.   Here is that invitational text.

We are not making a come-on or a sales pitch. We are in the same dire straits that most people reading this are probably in.   We’re facing imminent foreclosure.   To an extent, of course, we deserve it.But the systematic destruction of equity that has occurred and the systematic destruction of jobs that has occurred, affecting both of us–one with big cut-backs and one with a bankrupt employer–also play a huge part in the “personal’ failure to pay almost twice as much as the “best customers’ would have to pay for the same house that we “bought’ five years ago.

Our mortgage has changed hands three times since we closed on the property in 2006.   Now, roughly $80,000 in payments later, we can’t meet our “obligations,’ and the house is worth only 60-70% of what we paid for it anyway.

Our thinking is that we ought to fight back with everything that we can to stop an irresponsible system.   That is part of our commitment to personal responsibility.

We’d be a lot stronger, though, if a few–or a few thousand–of the hundred thousand or so people in Metro Atlanta in the same boat joined us for a huge, organized action to reform the system from below.   To start with, we want to file a “show-the-note’ suit that also claims unjust enrichment, misrepresentation, and a constitutional “improper-taking-of-property’ claim.   But all such legal action might just be the kick-off point.

Anyway, anybody who is fed up with bailouts for big bankers and the garbage heap for regular people ought to send us an e-mail.   We especially want to hear from folks who are facing foreclosure, loss-of-equity, or both, since they are the ones who could join us in a class-action lawsuit.

Anyone is welcome to get in touch.   We’re looking for people who are tired of complaining and want to do something to make a fairer, better world possible.   We’re ready to go today.   Hopefully, some other folks feel the same way.

And a few readers have responded too.   Now, THC was generally aware that the legal avenue had no more applicability to undermining a corrupt system than a court-martial against a butcher-renegade soldier is likely to undercut imperial war.   But, in the first place, the potential for extending a ‘tenancy-at-sufferance’ for another month or so made the idea of a lawsuit attractive.   And, in the second place, some actual matters of equity and justice were in play, so that even a hard-headed realist might imagine some basis for successful litigation.

No matter how foolish an optimistic stance may seem, sometimes, that’s all that’s available.   Throwing in the towel is fine and dandy for a kick-around, or even the Super Bowl.   To give up on a roof over one’s head is a step away from surrendering one’s life blood.   In this humble correspondent’s estimation, that kind of resignation ought to await the eternity on the other side of the agonal breaths that happen at the end.   No need to quit before then.

But a stopping point is not quitting.   And, according to unannounced but apparently applicable protocol, this is about the length of something called an “article.”   Folks can stay tuned, for the meat and potatoes follow.

first posted in OpEd News

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