Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Coming Revolt of the Guards

"The rebellions, so far, have been contained.  The American system is the most ingenious system of control in world history.  With a country so rich in natural resources, talent, and labor power the system can afford to distribute just enough wealth to just enough people to limit discontent for a troublesome minority.  It is a country so powerful, so big, so pleasing to so many of its citizens that it can afford to give freedom of dissent to the small number who are not pleased.

There is no system of control with more openings, apertures, leeways, flexibilities, rewards for the chosen, winning tickets in lotteries.  There is none that disperses its controls more complexly through the voting system, the work situation, the church, the family, the school, the mass media-- none more successful in mollifying opposition with reforms, isolating people from one another, creating patriotic loyalty.

One percent of the nation owns a third of the wealth.  The rest of the wealth is distributed in such a way as to turn those in the 99 percent against one another: small property owners against the propertyless, black against white, native-born against foreign-born, intellectuals and professionals against the uneducated and unskilled.  These groups have resented one another and warred against one another with such vehemence and violence as to obscure their common position as sharers of the leftovers in a very wealthy country."
-Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States

No comments: