On August 30, President Harding placed all of West Virginia under martial law. On September 1, 2,500 federal troops arrived with more machine guns, percussion and gas bombs, and 14 airplanes commanded by World War I hero General Billy Mitchell. Bombs rained on miners’ positions, though their accuracy was problematic; in the early days of flight, bombs were literally “dropped” from flimsy aircraft.” — Robert E. Weir. Workers In America: A Historical Encyclopedia. 2013. pages 67-68.
This little snippet sums up quite well the longstanding American attitude towards working people, towards its own workers, towards its own proletariat. The American attitude is very confused because of course most Americans are workers or proletarians so much of this must be self-hatred. But the attitude that the workers are the enemy has longstanding roots in American political culture. Of course it continues to this day. Neoliberal capitalism virtually defines workers as an enemy class to be suppressed. This is now the philosophy of both parties and the vast majority of the US political spectrum.
Part of the problem is with middle class workers. Managerial types are of course workers, but they are best seen as worker traitors, workers who are traitors to their own class as they line up with the owners and the bosses. In Sweden, almost all of the managerial class is unionized as it ought to be, as managers get screwed by the bosses just as fast as the rank and file do.
And many highly paid workers do not see themselves as workers. Many attorneys and physicians are actually working class people, working for a salary. So are college professors. So are accountants, schoolteachers, journalists, editors, engineers, graphic artists, computer programmers and other IT types, police officers, firemen and many others who often vote rightwing. If you work for a wage or a salary, you are a working class person, period. You are a proletarian who exists at the whim of his boss.
As my late father once said, “Under capitalism, workers and owners are de facto enemies.”
This is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Yet the US worker sees his boss as his friend and not his enemy. He bows down to worship at the feet of the company that exploits him and would fire him to replace him with a machine or a Hindu 1-B or an illegal invader in a Manhattan minute.
But highly paid workers under capitalism often refuse to see themselves as workers. Efforts to unionize white collar workers have failed, as they see unions as blue collar working class organizations for guys with beer bellies, t-shirts and a 6-pack. They think they are better than these people, so they refuse to form unions because they don’t want to be seen as blue collar.
Neoliberal economics benefits, if anyone, the owners of capital and the rich. It is true that highly paid workers have benefited from neoliberalism. The top 20% of citizens make out under neoliberalism, while everyone else gets screwed. The record is clear on this the world over. Under the modified neoliberalism of Bill Clinton, the top 40% benefited while the bottom 60% lost money. Still this is a philosophy opposed to the economic interests of the majority.
In recent years, the benefits of neoliberalism is starting to wane even for upper middle class workers. Last year, salaries for IT professionals declined by 2%. This is part of neoliberalism’s endless war on US workers, who have been replaced by cancerous Hindu-1B parasites for many years now.
Still, hatred of the working class continues apace. The US population has waged war on the New Deal since Ronald Reagan ran against it and won in 1980. Even Barack Obama says the New Deal is dead, reiterating Bill Clinton’s epitaph. Yet Obama has done more than any other politician to put a stake in the heart of the New Deal, proving first that he is a Reaganite and second that he is a hardcore neoliberal, since neoliberalism has defined itself in opposition to the New Deal.
Attacking the New Deal continues to be great politics. Those who attack it win elections over and over while Americans snooze. All over the world, austerity has caused chaos, riots and government overthrow. The US is the only country where the crazed masses seem to the cheer on austerity, which is really their own austerity. The American worker is the most self-hating worker on the planet.