Native Americans’ resistance to the westward expansion of Europeans took two forms. One was violence. The other was accommodation. Neither worked. Their land was stolen, their communities were decimated, their women and children were gunned down and the environment was ravaged. There was no legal recourse. There was no justice. There never is for the oppressed. And as we face similar forces of predatory, unchecked corporate power intent on ruthless exploitation and stripping us of legal and physical protection, we must confront how we will respond. Lire la suite
Alors même que les campements du mouvement Occuper Wall Street (OWS) se multipliaient aux Etats-Unis, une étude très officielle publiée au mois de novembre est venue en éclairer les fondements. Selon le Bureau du budget du Congrès (Congressional Budget Office, CBO), le revenu médian (1) des foyers américains a crû de 35 % entre 1979 et 2007. Pendant la même période, les salaires progressaient sept fois plus vite pour le centile le plus riche (soit 1 %de la population) (2).
Le jour qui suivit l’annonce de ces chiffres, l’éditorialiste Nicholas Kristof — identifié comme « plutôt à gauche » — publia dans le New York Times un article intitulé « Occuper la salle de classe » (3). Tout en prenant la mesure du problème posé par les inégalités socio-économiques aux Etats-Unis, il s’y démarquait des revendications implicites des manifestants : il n’en appelait ni à une augmentation de la contribution fiscale des plus riches, ni à une régulation du système financier, encore moins à l’emprisonnement de banquiers en vue. Lire la suite
I park my car in the lot in front of the rectory of Sacred Heart in Camden, N.J., and walk through a gray drizzle to Emerald Street. My friend Lolly Davis, whose blood pressure recently shot up and whose kidneys shut down, had been taken to a hospital in an ambulance but was now home. I climb the concrete steps to her row house and ring the bell. There is an overpowering stench of garbage in the street. Her house is set amid other brick and wooden residences, some of which have been refurbished under Monsignor Michael Doyle’s Heart of Camden project at Sacred Heart, a Roman Catholic parish. Other structures on Davis’ street sit derelict or bear the scars of decay and long abandonment. Lire la suite
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, one of America’s most prescient voices, wrote an article for Vanity Fair several months before Occupy Wall Street was born. « Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1% » called attention to the widening gap between rich and poor and its deadly impact on our society and its democratic institutions. In his newly released book, The Price of Inequality, Stiglitz returns to this theme of a divided society, delving into the origins and consequences of economic unfairness. I caught up with Professor Stiglitz and talked to him about how the persistent myths and beliefs associated with our capitalist system help to drive this trend, turning America from a land of opportunity to a land of broken dreams. Lire la suite
America likes to think of itself as a land of opportunity, and others view it in much the same light. But, while we can all think of examples of Americans who rose to the top on their own, what really matters are the statistics: to what extent do an individual’s life chances depend on the income and education of his or her parents?
Nowadays, these numbers show that the American dream is a myth. There is less equality of opportunity in the United States today than there is in Europe – or, indeed, in any advanced industrial country for which there are data. Lire la suite
Much ink has been spilt and punditry hot air vented in explaining the failure to recall Scott Walker in this week’s election. Yet nearly all of it fails to address the appeal of Scott Walker and his policies for much of Wisconsin’s working and middle class. Walker was able to capitalize on the frustration over the continued erosion of living standards and insecurity felt by most Wisconsinites. Walker provided a false empowerment to the electorate by transforming them from victims toowners of the system. His campaign rebranded the electorate as “the taxpayer” or veritable stockowners of a company they owned: government. The people would take charge of their lives through a Walker-led movement against government waste by union and bureaucratic “elites.” Walker’s campaign thus took on the hue of a libratory project. Lire la suite
There was an expression among activists that went “One year longer, one year stronger” a year after the beginning of the “Wisconsin Uprising” here in Madison, WI. The reality is that one year+ longer, the left as an organizing force is “one year weaker.” The truth? People, as a mass movement in the United States, are attracted to right-wing populism, embodied by the likes of Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who recently won the recall election by an astounding 7-percent landslide. Sure, there are refrains, such as “this was an auction, not an election,” and that “money won this election.” But people still voted and have agency. And Walker won by a long-shot. Lire la suite