Class warfare looms in 2011

2010 is ending with praise of President Obama's first two years in office for producing more progressive reform than any chief executive since President Lyndon Johnson. Cited is his passage of sweeping health care reform, financial reform, a $787 billion first economic stimulus that saved or created 3 million jobs, placing two women on the U.S. Supreme Court including Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina justice, and many other accomplishments.

In the waning hours of the 111th Congress, the Senate ratified the START treaty 71-26 and repealed the Pentagon's "Don't ask, don't tell" discrimination against gays and lesbians in the military. 

Also approved was a bill strengthening food safety, a multi-billion-dollar settlement of discrimination lawsuits by Black farmers and Native American Indians, and a health care bill for 9/11 first responders long blocked by the heartless Republicans.

Over GOP opposition, the Democrats pushed through a 13-month extension of jobless benefits and tax cuts for middle-income taxpayers. As the price for winning Republican agreement to the $858 billion deal, Obama accepted a $139 billion income tax gift and estate tax cut for the rich which he long opposed, plus a 2 percent cut in Social Security withholding. Critics charge that Obama gave up too much. Yet without the deal real people's lives were on the line, if unemployment benefits were allowed to run out or workers were left with a cut in their take-home pay.

The weaknesses in all the reforms reflect the balance of forces in the House and Senate and in the nation as a whole. The Republicans were determined to block or gut any progressive reform and the Democrats lacked the votes to break their obstructionist tactics. That obstructionist strategy paid handsome dividends in the Nov. 2 election. When the ballots were counted, the Republicans with much help from the tea party, Fox News, and the billionaire Koch brothers had captured majority control of the U.S. House of Representatives, picked up six Senate seats and won a majority of the gubernatorial races.

It offers a chilling harbinger of the class warfare the emboldened Republican right will wage against the people when the new Congress convenes in January. Their first priority is outright repeal of health care reform. The same for the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Kill it by denying funds to enforce the law.

The GOP leadership vows to slash $100 billion in health, education, environmental protection and other vital human needs funding. Their agenda includes repeal or privatization of Social  Security, Medicare, our system of public education and higher education. They even call for elimination of the Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency. 

We have no choice but to stand and fight back against this vicious plan.

We must work to reinvigorate the majority coalition that elected Obama in the first place. The October 2 "One Nation Working Together" rally in Washington was a first step. A second big step could be nationwide celebrations of Dr. Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 17. With one loud voice on that day we should demand jobs for the unemployed. No cuts in lifeline programs like food stamps and Medicaid.  Stop the GOP drive to repeal health care reform! Defend our Social Security, Medicare, public education. End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; use the trillion in savings to fund human needs programs.

Above all, make 2011 a year to organize and unite, bigger and broader.

Corrected 1/6/11: An earlier version of this article incorrectly overstated the price of the tax cuts for the rich included in the unemployment insurance deal.



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  • please continue with this kind of article and repeat, repeat, repeat what present administration has done and why what it did is weak (who weakend it) and what will happen if we don't move to change the congress. keep blasting the last paragraph it is the long term solutions that must become a part of peoples mind set becaue fox and the right is always trying to set the minds of our class, and they don't let up, so why should we...repeat, repeat, repeat for those who forget, forget, forget, and are brainwashed, brainwashed, brainwashed.. I guess I made my point...thanks for a good article...class warfare... the battle for the hearts and minds of workers...

    Posted by ismaelparra, 01/06/2011 4:46am (5 years ago)

  • I can't wait girls!

    Posted by tim, 01/05/2011 1:24am (5 years ago)

  • The best thing we all can do to PASS AROUND THE MONEY(REDISTRIBUTE WEALTH?) is to nail the hides of the POLITICAL CLASS to the barn door. We can start by forcing all those high paying mafufacturing jobs that were allowed to move to foreign, non union countries to employ more Americans in AMERICA and tax them out of existance if they refuse.
    If the Working Class has no jobs who is going to support the WELFARE Crowd and pay for all the foreign money the POLITICIANS are giving away.
    Everything starts with everyone having JOBS not just Government employees and Politicians.
    Lets get the whole situation straight and take care of AMERICANS first and foremost then teach those around the world how to WORK for a living in their own countries.

    Posted by RiverRat2U, 01/03/2011 4:05pm (5 years ago)

  • I believe that we have turned a dangerous corner. Those who do not believe that class warfare doesn't work, keep a sharp eye out. If the government does not find an effective way to redistribute wealth, the poor will. If I were one of the conspicuously wealthy swine gorging myself at the trough of insatiable greed, I would either become incredibly philanthropic or go my bunker and HIDE.

    Posted by fred, 01/03/2011 12:23pm (5 years ago)

  • "Above all,make 2011 a year to organize and unite,bigger and broader."
    There is nothing more revolutionary than this goal and command.
    Many,if not all our concerns for basic change,starting with peace,jobs,justice and freedom,badly needed to care for the well being of peoples,flow from lack of unity,organization and incapacity to marshal this unity in forms of Gandhi's and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "direct action" or "Soul Force".
    The hungry,homeless,jobless,the unemployed,the underemployed,the youth,the elderly,of all persuasions,small,medium and even large bussinesses have no future without a peaceful,sustainable,planet.
    Democracy and peace have to prevail,or we and the planet will not.
    A progressive internet gives us a fighting chance to organize the working poor.
    The great W.E.B. Du Bois gives us a guide, in his Prayers for Dark People,wishing and praying for us to experience a "war" for peace-one which all humanity will have to enjoin,in 2011 and beyond,for us to win humanity for our children and grands.
    The PW Editorial board gives us a great guide for 2011.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 12/29/2010 1:34pm (5 years ago)

  • Excellent statement of the problem and solution. The anti-worker reactionaries are clearly still on the rampage.

    The 2% cut in Social Security payroll taxes does not immediately diminish the Social Security trust fund. The payments are to continue from the general fund.

    BUT, and this is a big BUT, when they inevitably restore the deductions from paychecks, it will be called a "tax increase." Lots of people will fall for that, as they have fallen for other nonsensical claptrap like "death taxes," and "death panels."

    Thus, a time bomb has been placed under American workers' right to retirement!

    --jim lane

    Posted by Jim Lane, 12/29/2010 12:54pm (5 years ago)

  • Many existing laws and regulations apply specifically to pregnant women. Several provisions of the Affordable Care Act offer new benefits for expecting mothers. Search online for "Wise Health Insurance" if you need affordable insurance for yourself or your wife.

    Posted by josephpatel, 12/29/2010 1:19am (5 years ago)

  • I am concerned that we are folding into the Democratic party -- which as you know, is a baby step away from being Republicans. We need a third party and defend that third party by discussing the class warfare. Just my 2-cents.

    Posted by UnionReview, 12/28/2010 10:19pm (5 years ago)

  • While I would agree that these moves are better than what you would get from a Republican administration and that you are also right about the balance of forces I think you fail in a more vigorous critique of the actions of the Obama administration. There is absolutely no reason to not mention for example the terrible role the administration has played in regards to foreign policy in particular the fact that the US is still involved in the destabilization of other governments very actively and in some ways more insidiously. Pointing out possible good moves which are tame as you rightly point out, this should not preclude a genuine and Marxist critique or even a common sense left one. I side with the party in regards to its overall perspective but I can see why a half baked note like this might give fairly genuine ammunition to critics on the far left.

    We can do better than merely be cheerleaders or just point out what is lacking, in fact we must and we should be quite pointed in this. We can be both fair and measured and realistic while at the same time not wasting a second pointing out what is lacking and why as well why it is important to give genuine critiques of the Obama administration when deserved. That does NOT make our influence within the Obama voters lessen but I believe makes our integrity stronger in the long run.

    With comradely affection to all the good people that work hard to put this great online resource!

    Posted by Mikhail, 12/28/2010 3:00pm (5 years ago)

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