We're hearing a lot these days about the "economy," the "financial system," the "banking system," etc., and when flesh and blood humans are mentioned at all, we're abstracted into "consumers" or "taxpayers." What's been missing from all the discussion in the media is the fact that, first of all, we are living breathing humans, not simply adjuncts to the "economy," and second, that we are not all in the same boat, that some of us are privileged and the rest of us -- the great majority -- are not. What's missing, in other words, is what socially aware thinkers have referred to as class consciousness. Oh yes, Rush Limbaugh is always carrying on about "class warfare," as though any awareness of class differences is bound to lead to something violent that could destabilize the fabric of society. While class consciousness has sometimes led to violent actions, what's truly fundamental is not so much the notion of warfare between the classes as the idea that the interests of the classes are in conflict with one another. Such conflicts can be resolved in a variety of ways, only one of which entails actual warfare. Since violent revolution can easily get out of hand and is almost always counter-productive, it's important to try to resolve class differences nonviolently -- which, in our present situation, seems to be the most effective strategy in any case.
Regardless of the form in which class conflict expresses itself, what's most important is that we become fully conscious of the role of class in the way our economy and our financial system operate; that, the efforts of the present administration notwithstanding, it's not simply a matter of "the nation" pulling together as one to fix a common problem -- but of the class that has been so long exploited becoming aware of that exploitation and refusing to put up with it any longer. While violence is usually to be avoided, revolutionary changes in the way society is organized are almost certainly in the cards.
Given such awareness, the question has always been: Which Side Are You On? It was that way back in the old depression:
And it's equally true today, on the threshold of the coming depression:
This is the question our president needs to ask himself, as well.