Posts Tagged ‘Capitalist Party’

Can You Afford To Be Who You Are?

October 31, 2015

The 10-30-15 AP reports: “Alabama Teacher of the Year told she’s unqualified, resigns”. 2015 Alabama Teacher of the Year and 2015 National Teacher of the Year finalist Ann Marie Corgill chose to resign after the Alabama Department of Education deemed her unqualified to teach the class she was assigned by the local school board that had employed her. “”After 21 years of teaching in grades 1-6, I have no answers as to why this is a problem now, so instead of paying more fees, taking more tests and proving once again that I am qualified to teach, I am resigning,” Corgill wrote.” This, all, in a state that requires official proof of identification to exercise the right to vote. To obtain an official ID there requires visiting a registrar in person (akin to the DMV registrars in Ohio). Multiple counties have no state registrar offices capable of doing this. To rectify this inconvenience with their new proof of voter ID law, the state provides a kind of book mobile registrar service, available at a specific site on a specific day and time (for the entire county, not individual municipalities). As with Ann Marie Corgill, the burden of proof to establish who it is you are lies with the individual. Analysis finds evidence of “prove it” requirements and the burden they imply to be widespread, and quite selective. Though most good teachers like Corgill will tell you learning is continuous, ongoing and indeterminate (one thing leads to an unexpected other), students are constantly required to “prove” they are learning (with the exception of Ohio charter schools). Tim Schaffer would have all public assistance recipients pee in the cup to “prove” they aren’t drug users (though self-medicating is ubiquitous and almost the norm throughout the U.S. Such business must be good for Walgreens just chose to buy out Rite Aid). A priority of proof supersedes need in everyday exchange. Ultimately proof of identity requires more than recognition (“so instead of paying more fees, taking more tests and proving once again that I am qualified to teach,”). Analysis finds there to be a correlation between the cost of “proving it” and official legitimacy (What’s in your wallet?). The recent elections, along with the current preliminary, appear to bear this out. The “minor” candidates, hustling for funding, continuously need to “prove” their worthiness while those who have self-financed their campaigns only need to say: “I’ll be terrific!” It seems to be a variation on the snide “If you need to ask (the price), you can’t afford it.” Only in this case it is more like “If you can afford it, you don’t need to prove it.”

Debt

October 24, 2015

A curious report appeared in the international news this week; curious not because of the story but what was said in it. AP’s Vanessa Gera reports “Poles eager to oust pro-market party in vote despite growth” concerning the upcoming Polish elections. The story highlighted the appearance of the Law and Justice Party candidate, Beata Szydlo, before an abandoned factory promising, of course, the return of such jobs if elected. The Law and Justice Party is considered conservative challenging the current rule of the incumbent Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz and her Civic Platform Party (progressive), somewhat vaguely analogous to what we Americans categorize as right and left. The curious part appears in the thumbnail sketches of the two parties given by: “Another Law and Justice victory on Sunday would complete the nation’s shift to a brand of politics that mixes patriotic rhetoric, deeply conservative social values and a desire to use the state to level out economic inequalities. The party promises to reverse an unpopular rise in the retirement age and put more money into the pockets of struggling families with tax breaks, monthly cash bonuses for children under 18 and free medication for people over 75. It also wants to raise taxes on the mostly foreign-owned banks and big supermarkets in Poland and give tax breaks to smaller local businesses and those that adopt Polish technologies.” and “Civic Platform, the pro-business and centrist party that has overseen steady economic growth during its past eight years of rule.” (“When Poland threw off communism in 1989 it moved quickly to embrace free-market policies, with low taxes on corporations and a weak social safety net by European standards. The policies kept down debt and attracted massive foreign investments, bringing prosperity to many, especially in the cities.”), “Part of society is very successful but a smaller part is unsuccessful and still experiences many difficulties in daily life,” said [Dominik] Owczarek, an analyst with the Institute of Public Affairs in Warsaw. Even though the poor and disadvantaged are in a minority, they tend to be highly motivated voters with the power to influence the election outcome, he said.“. How is this possible? Within European politics much of “the right” stretches back through the Fascism of the 1930’s (prevalent throughout Europe), which actually courses even deeper into the 19th century. Its DNA is much more from the ground up, centered in various organized social accumulations meant to claim for themselves what was possessed by royalty or wealth (Communism, “the dictatorship of the people”, was one manifestation). The U.S. definition of this time/experience was more top down, a kind of McCarthyism, with the folks running things, the wealthy industrialists, etc. hiring thugs, Pinkerton’s, police etc. to muscle and force compliance by the social accumulations in upheaval. So the party affiliations the report describes, of progressives versus conservatives, follows accordingly, given the context of European history. Analysis finds curious the contemporary composition of U.S. party affiliation (which can’t be accounted for because it is the soup we swim in). Since the Reagan elections, the “right” has been supported, promoted and empowered by the very populace its policy’s and priorities do NOT promote. The stereotype is of the “left” favoring give-aways — women’s concerns, social programs (retirement or healthcare), unemployment compensation, welfare, children’s nutrition and education programs, etc. The “right” is generally associated with the market, business interest, wealth and property ownership (land, guns, etc.), and religion (fundamental moral perspective). This differs markedly from the parallel situation described by Gera. Ohio is exemplary of the actuality with the legislature, executive and judiciary dominated by the “right” (though it has a rich “worker’s” history). Someone elected these individuals, or should we say, this party. What Mitt Romney inadvertently revealed (that the individuals of almost half this nation have no net worth) doesn’t correspond with his assessment (that this portion votes for a party that will promote its interest. Something the “right” promotes in Poland. Then again, in Poland Mitt would be considered a progressive!). The focus on the stereotype in Mitt’s covertly recorded statement was misplaced, evidenced by who got elected to run things in Ohio (as well as in a slew of other states). The media and pundit emphasis was on the reason for voting aspect when it should have been on the net worth part. Net worth is derived from comparing an economic entity’s (which is a hypothetical) assets (things of market re-saleable value) with liability (debt, what is owed). If Romney had considered the percentage of people in debt rather than with zero or negative net worth, his prognosis may have differed. The majority of the U.S. populace carries some kind of debt. This debt creates a relationship, an interaction between the borrower and lender, the debtor and creditor. Mistakenly, this relationship is stereotyped as a master/slave relationship, especially in terms of Pay Day lenders, Check Cashers, etc. But a more insightful assessment would be a more nuanced description of support and promotion; that is, of debtor supporting and promoting creditor. If a sibling or close friend borrows/lends money then the debtor and creditor have created/forged a social bond within their relationship; that is, until the debt is absolved (after which they don’t need to interact out of necessity). With debt, they MUST interact with each other. This interaction (social exchange) must be civil, courteous, supportive and promotional, especially if it is accelerated by continuous borrowing, etc. At social functions one will always defer to the other, take a feigned (or genuine) interest in the other, promote or support the activities, priorities, policies of the other; all because debt determines this asymmetric relationship. The nature of debt, with its accompanying support and promotion, may have much more to do with the distinction informed by Vanessa Gera’s article. Interest rates for most consumer debt have been historically low for almost 20 years now (large ticket items, home purchases, student loans, even credit card rates). The asymmetric debt relationship, the inability NOT to promote or support the creditor may account more for why the party of big business, of the market and austerity, is continuously voted into the governance of a nation dependent on credit and long term debt (austerity, after all, guarantees that debt payments will continue without disruption). Getting rid of the debt is certainly NOT in such a party’s interest. Prioritizing “getting rid of the debt” is more revealing of the bad conscience (along with the great rhetoric) continued debtor/creditor interaction produces than any Ben Franklin kind of righteous freedom loving virtue.

Make America Great Again

October 9, 2015

You know the feeling. You’ve gone to a local gathering of people for something that really interests you, whether collecting, gardening, sports activity, education, philanthropy, etc. etc. etc. And you leave scratching your head and wondering how all these people, who appeared there for the same reason as you (acute interest in a subject), how this common interest degenerated into talk of making money, saving money, and the means to making this interest become capital in the striving for a source of income (profit). At first you write it off as “This is what clubs are about.” But eventually you notice it happening even at gatherings over coffee or a beer (everything is described in terms of being an “entrepreneur”). You recall the history of the now defunct Soviet states and their operation. Ascendency within the Communist party required aspirants to attend various mundane meetings, sit on boards of committees, and operate social functions and services. This insured that anything discussed, anything implemented, served the people’s revolution, the Communist state. This was also the only route to leadership positions within that society. But you believed this all was a society of imposition. You always believed it to have been mandated, never that it was a part of everyday culture, expected and anticipated to be that way. Now you can’t help but notice that those sitting on the boards of directors at contemporary non-profits, social organizations, arts groups, educational institutions, etc. are all salaried members of the Capitalist party. Party affiliation requires that all problem solving, policy setting, and hands on operation (course of action) involve the exigency of making a profit, showing a capital return. This stains even what, where, how and when your children play as well as recreational sports, past times, gardening, arts, music, etc. (even exercising community is termed community “investment”). Capitalist party membership may not require carrying a card (what is in your wallet?). It does, however, require continuous active promotion and participation. Unwittingly, you’ve just uncovered and revealed the actual everyday workings of hegemony. Capitalist or Communist (Fascism in much of Europe during the 1930’s), religious fundamentalist, monarchist, etc. the boundaries, parameters, nature and horizons of intercourse and exchange within groups of disparate participants are determined solely by the dominating outlook. Hegemony affects how problems are solved, how choices are made, how conflicts are created by providing the channel within which all matters can and will be considered (with the unexpressed always being excluded). This past week there was much talk (and still is much talk) over another round of unending mass killings. The talk centered on guns, and mental illness (never health). A leading presidential wannabe recounted his own personal ability to deflect gun violence (by redirecting it onto someone else – see Popeye’s experience). The sage wannabe (or is it wannabe sage?) continued by claiming the mass killings perpetuated in Europe 70-80 years ago could have been averted if only the victims had been given access to guns. So the tempest swirls over the importance of guns, the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and mental illness (never health). The hegemony of “guns” determining the exclusive channel within which all matters can be considered was never mentioned or revealed (part of the unexpressed that is always excluded). It is patently absurd to imagine, let alone suggest, that the millions of everyday people, living in Europe during the mid-part of the 20th century, would, should, or could have taken an active everyday interest and involvement with guns to maintain and insure their otherwise gun absent everyday lives. It is also hubris and arrogance to impose that outlook, those parameters and horizons. But then again, it is hegemony. At one time in the U.S. there were only three major sports (hockey was Canadian). There was only one cheese for your fast food meal (American cheese). One segment of the populace exercised the day-to-day workings of democracy (race). One God was worshiped on one specific day (Sunday). Since that time the hegemony of those horizons was painstakingly expanded, the outlook arduously transformed into the variance and variability of today. The now trademarked “Make America Great Again” attempts, above all, to most definitely express a drive for hegemony.