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The Other War

Long version: mp3, 3.67 MBs, 4:31
Short version: mp3, 3.10 MBs, 3:10

Mumia Abu-Jamal, Self Introduction; mp3, 554 KBs, :36

[Col. Recorded 10/26/03]

As rockets slam into the hotels and international centers in Baghdad, and as body counts mount, it is difficult to remember that there is another war stalking America, one no less deadly for its relative silence.

I refer to the ongoing War Against the Poor.

As Congress pledges more billions for the Iraq Adventure, those millions of Americans in the service sector face tougher and tougher times. As the government dedicates more of the nation's wealth to the ongoing external war, the conditions of average, everyday Americans continues to diminish.

We have heard politicians talk about the need for a national health care program, yet few point out (as did a recent study) that some 20-thousand Americans, men, women, and children, die every year because they cannot gain access to such care.
For over 40 million Americans, they are an accident away from disaster.

There are ghettoes in the U.S. where people live lives of desperation, wondering where the next day's meal will come from. In many of these communities, those people are working poor, whose weekly pay leaves them still in the tight clutches of poverty.

Its fiscal and social insanity can be seen in the research reported by the United Auto Workers' SolidNet:

A newly released study from researchers at Harvard University concludes that 31 cents of every dollar spent on health care in the U.S. goes for administrative costs. These administrative costs means Americans pay $752 more per person than Canadians do. David Himmelstein, co-author of the study, asserts that if the U.S. had a single-payer plan, the savings would likely pay for health insurance for the 41 million Americans who have no coverage. — (*UAW Solidarity* mag., Oct. 2003, p. 7)

Yet, what is logical may not fit the governing ideology.

The Bush administration, according to one worker, is determined to roll back a whole slew of social gains. Ted Kayser, of UAW Local 249, writes in the *First Local News*: "The Bush Administration (seeks) to cut food and meat inspections, to cut veterans' benefits, to allow increased pollution of the environment and to roll back the gains of the civil rights movement. Now more than ever, it is up to America's unions to stand up for the working class." [*UAW Solidarity*, Fall '03, p.7].

But there is a method to the madness emerging from the White House.

The Bush Regime is determined to so destabilize the budget that a wealth of social programs become insupportable. For, it is a certainty that the nation's military budget, dedicated to fighting an 'eternal war against terrorism', will eat the rest of the budget to the bone.

Remember, even in bad economic times, someone will make money. In times of war, defense contracts grow like mushrooms after a spring rain.

What is happening right now is a deep, thorough-going restructuring of the U.S. economy.

It is economic, but it is also ideological. This kind of social restructuring leaves everything to the so-called 'blind hand' of the market, where everything becomes just another commodity. If you can afford it, fine; if not, tough.

We are watching the emergence of a kind of social Malthusianism, where corporations set the political and economic clock to their benefit, and that of the shareholders. The rest, be damned.

Indeed, we cannot speak of the economic war against the poor, without recognizing that the state of the American economy bleeds (literally!) into the desert of Iraq. Half of the soldiers in the U.S. military are reservists, and many are suffering very real economic hardships due to their call-ups. According to Tod Ensign of *Citizen Soldier*, the losses for a family are drastic, as he explains: "Take an EMT making $42K driving an ambulance, enough to support a wife and two or three kids in a working-class suburb of New York City. They will earn $18K-22K once activated. Setting aside the risk of war, these people are taking heavy hits, often 30% to 50% cuts in pay!" [Source: *Dollar & Sense* (May/June '03, p. 13)]. Do you think Halliburton or Lockheed are facing such losses?

They really are fighting two wars, at the same time!

Copyright 2003 Mumia Abu-Jamal

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Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa

Text © copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.