When I joined the US left in the 1960s, I was motivated by class hatred, not idealism. I came from a family of factory workers and coal miners. Lots of friends and family members had been maimed and sickened in the factories and mines. When I read the Communist Manifesto, it made perfect sense to me. Clearly the wealthy and the corporations had declared war on us, the industrial working people, a long time ago.
In the decades that followed, many wonderful individuals from a variety of left organizations, managed to move me from my original orientation to one of idealism – that we were fighting for a better world for everybody. Unfortunately, as one wit mentioned a number of years ago, the US left is forever less than the sum of its parts. That better world appears to be further away than ever.
Consequently, we find ourselves in a situation where the President of the US, who most leftists voted for, offers up a proposed budget that calls for reducing Social Security payments to recipients. According to AARP, the average annual payout is about 14 thousand dollars per person. The President wants to switch to a “Chained Consumer Price Index” which will re-calculate the cost of living, deliberately lowering payments in the bargain.
I have a friend living in Wisconsin who worked in the factories until he was disabled in an industrial accident in the same factory where I worked. He received a paltry pre-arranged by law sum that in no way made him whole. Had he been wealthy and had the same accident while visiting a factory, he would have been made whole financially. Factory workers have had that basic civil right taken away from them.
He recently had his modest home in Wisconsin foreclosed on. He depends on Social Security. And the President of the United States, a self-proclaimed millionaire, wants to cut my friend’s pathetic monthly payment.
You can sign petitions asking Obama to back off on his attack on working people at many places including the ARRP web site and at MoveOn.org.