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robertogreco : joebageant   5

Joe Bageant: Lost in the American Undertow
"The US has always maintained a white underclass — citizens whose role in the greater scheme of things has been to cushion national economic shocks through the disposability of their labor, with occasional time off to serve as bullet magnets in defense of the Empire. Until the post-World War II era, the existence of such an underclass was widely acknowledged. During the Civil War, for instance, many northern abolitionists also called for the liberation of “four million miserable white southerners held in bondage by the wealthy planter class”. Planter elites, who often held several large plantations which, together, constituted much or most of a county’s economy, saw to it that poor whites got no schooling, money, or political power. Poll taxes & literacy requirements kept white subsistence farmers & poor laborers from entering voting booths. Often accounting for up to 70% of many deep-Southern counties, they could not vote, and thus could never challenge the status quo…"
joebageant  class  us  via:cburell  race  2011  economics  labor  classwarfare 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Joe Bageant: Live from Planet Norte [I agree with a lot of what Bageant write. In this case though, he leans too heavily on steryotype. What he says doesn't just describe Americans.]
"uniformity on Planet Norte is striking. Each person is unit, installed in life support boxes in suburbs/cities; all fed, clothed by same closed-loop corporate industrial system. Everywhere you look, inhabitants are plugged in at brainstem to screens downloading state approved daily consciousness updates. iPods, Blackberries, laptops, monitors in cubicles, & ubiquitous TV screens in lobbies, bars, waiting rooms, even in taxicabs, mentally knead public brain & condition its reactions to non-Americaness. Which may be defined as anything that does not come from of Washington, DC, Microsoft or Wal-Mart.

For such a big country, "American experience" is extremely narrow & provincial, leaving its people w/ approximately same comprehension of outside world as an oyster bed. Yet there is that relentless busyness of Nortenians...constant movement that indicates all parties are busy-busy-busy, but offers no clue as to just what...We can be sure however, that it has to do w/ consuming."
joebageant  collapse  consumerism  stereotypes  cultureshock  via:cburell  airports  homogeneity  provinciality  busyness  consumption  us  mexico 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Joe Bageant: Round Midnight: Tortillas and the Corporate State
"The commodity economy long ago enslaved Americans & other “developed” capitalist societies. But Americans in particular. The most profound slavery must be that in which the slaves can conceive of no other possible or better world than their bondage. Inescapable, global, all permeating, the commodities economy rules so thoroughly most cannot imagine any other possible kind of economy.
consumerism  consumption  stuff  ownership  us  economics  capitalism  commodities  joebageant  society 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Joe Bageant: The Devil and Mr. Obama
"But even if Americans understood socialism, they are too terrified to ever admit to its virtues, much less publicly support the cause. And without free and open public participation in some democratic form of socialism, regardless of the name or label given it, there can be no recognition of the people's common welfare and good. And so the most egalitarian social philosophy ever conceived dies within a nation, with very little chance of being reborn because such an ideal, by its definition, cannot exist within the narrow mindset of bankers and oligarchs.
joebageant  barackobama  politics  war  debt  socialism  us  policy  banking  finance  capitalism  journalism  2009  society 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Joe Bageant: The Sucker Bait Called Hope
"we go into a new year with millions of Americans still clinging to The Audacity of Hope...we are victims of learned helplessness, learned from the cradle...rocked by the foot of the Capitalist consumer state. Sure we can hope for movement away from domination of the weak by the arrogant, away from ecocide and genocide toward a better world. What the hell, hope is one of the few free activities in this society. We don't even have to put down the remote and get off our asses to do it...But the fact is that when we encounter in-the-flesh examples of any merciful movement...we blanch and erect a wall of denial and excuses for our refusal to support that thing....We have no genuine concept of common good...Toqueville observed that 170 years ago. He said that in America, no man owes another man anything. Nor is he owed by any other man. Where does that leave any movement toward the common weal requiring the cooperative efforts of more than one man? We all know the answer -- The Gubbyment."
us  future  crisis  environment  healthcare  education  universities  colleges  change  hope  barackobama  government  politics  consumerism  capitalism  progressive  toqueville  joebageant  via:cburell  helplessness  sustainability  generations  sacrifice  gamechanging  finance  history  society 
december 2008 by robertogreco

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