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'Ill-ections' or Elections to Come

Long version: mp3, 3.15 MBs, 3:52
Short version: mp3, 2.63 MBs, 3:11

[Col. Recorded 12/21/03] Copyright '03 Mumia Abu-Jamal

The brand "America" is like Clorox corporation: it sells both toxic bleach (Clorox) and salad dressing (Hidden Valley Ranch). If the salad dressing came with the Clorox label, we wouldn't buy it. If "America" came with images of poverty and of military domination, it would fail as fantasy. —Vijay Prashad, *Keeping Up With the Dow Joneses* (South End Press, 2003), pp. xiii-xiv.

It is difficult to hear major presidential candidates (for either major political party) get up and talk about their program, without stifling a chuckle.

Almost all of them are corporate henchmen, who have gotten their political positions by serving the whims of the corporate elites. What is perhaps most amusing, is to see these guys (most *are* guys) dress down, with worksheets, their collars unbuttoned,
their sleeves rolled up, to affect an illusion that they are just average working stiffs, instead of the wealthy corporate shills that they have spent their lifetimes being.

It is a telling reflection of the political need to perform this schlocky kind of theater, in order for them to begin to be heard by average, everyday folks among the American citizenry. Most can't point to any real legislative, gubernatorial, or mayoral achievement of any real note, that helped out the working people. Indeed, many have been part of the generations-long war on the poor, sparked by Reagan and continued under Clinton, to "discipline" the poor, and make them amenable to corporate rule over the marketplace.

The corporate media doesn't help matters when it blares about the falling unemployment figures, or the rising Dow Jones average, when neither indicator really reflects much to average working folks. The unemployment rates are notoriously
unreliable, for they never reflect those millions who have simply given up looking for work, those who are on disability, or those many in prison. As for the Dow, international studies scholar, Vijay Prashad reports:

While almost half of US households own some stocks (whether through a retirement plan or otherwise), for 60 percent of households, their stocks amounted to only $4,000. The *top one percent, those people who are given "free money," hold almost half of all stocks (47.7 percent), while the bottom 80 percent hold a minuscule 4 percent of all stock holdings*. (fr. Prashad, V. *Keeping Up With the Dow Joneses: Debt, Prison, Workfare* (Cambridge, Ma.: South End Press, 2003), p. 8]

When's the last time you heard a political candidate talk about those on the bottom of the nation's political economy? Those millions who are out of luck, out of work, on the bottom? If you listen to most pols, they'll wax eloquent about the great American "middle class", as if there are not millions of folks who are below that great middle. Millions of folks work everyday, but can't seem to get a grip on the means to really
make a decent wage. For the politicians who yearn to run the government, these people are invisible. They don't exist. They are forgotten.

If they're invisible before the election, what do you think they'll do afterwards?

And now, the financial media broadcasts about the 'jobless recovery.' For too many men and women in America, the answer is not simply jobs. Jobs without a living, growing wage, are just daily drudgery and toil.

The millions of manufacturing jobs that have been lost in the last few years are gone forever, and in its place is a slew of service jobs, which don't begin to pay the rates of those that are gone.

Five years ago, corporations sent terror through their workforce's by threatening to move to Mexico. With the beginning of Mexican trade unionism edging their way into
the dreadful maquiladoras, businesses now threaten to cross the seas to China, where labor is even cheaper! We are witnessing the dark face of globalism, the 'structural
adjustment' of Reagan, and the 'new economy' of Clinton.

The solution ain't voting for some loser to betray you after election day; it's to organize, to rebuild unions, and make them truly international entities, to protect the interests
of labor — globally!

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.