[col. writ. 10/22/08] (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal
Stimulus package. Bailouts. Banking rescues.
It has been generations since we've witnessed scenes such as these.
Government officials spin like jacks, as they proclaim a policy one day, only to renounce it the next. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rushes up and spirals downward in a matter of minutes, visual, measurable reminders of the volatility in the markets.
Money is dumped into failing financial houses, failing banks, and private companies, in an attempt to 'prime the pump', we are told.
Companies that have been icons for over a century, fade away like dew in the morning sun.
And this ain't just national; it's global.
A year ago, British banking giant, Northern Rock, fell into a crisis. For months the government sought to persuade private investors to take a bite; but there were no takers. In February, the institution was nationalized, and the government pumped in £87 billion to keep it afloat. The bank was salvaged, but thousands of its employees were fired.
The Northern Rock debacle, coupled with the $700 billion bailout has set off alarm bells among the investor class. One billionaire investor, Jim Rogers, was quoted thus: "America is more communist than China is right now. You can see that this is welfare of the rich, it is socialism for the rich -- it's just bailing out financial institutions. this is madness, this is insanity, they have more than doubled the American national debt in one weekend for a bunch of crooks and incompetents. I'm not quite sure why I or anybody else should be paying for them."*
What makes it even more surreal is how politicians hurl charges at other politicians of "socialist!" Ignored is the socialism accorded to the wealthy bankers and houses of high finance.
Of course, this isn't anything like real socialism at all.
For the working class, the working poor, and millions in the middle, this economic crisis is a terrifying portent of things to come. They know that hard times will only get harder.
They wish they had some of the 'socialism' that has been lavished on the rich.
--(c) '08 maj
[*Palmer, Steve, "Capitalist Crisis -USA: Goodbye Wall Street," Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (Oct. - Nov. 2008/London), p.3 ]