A 21st Century American Revolution

Image by Ella87 from Pixabay

“The revolution will not be televised”; it’s a statement that echoes in my head. What does it mean? Is it realistic to think that an entitled yet angered and complacent society can truly revolt against the system they are terrified of? Why do we speak of revolution so overtly? Does it need to be violent? These are some of the questions I have when it comes to the dismantling of the American status quo.

We don’t need to dive into the who or why we find ourselves at an almost late-19th, early-20th century position of inequality. During this time, social, gender, and economic disparity and inequality was at such asinine levels that protests, violence, and disorder occurred with a high rate of frequency in our nation.  Race, gender, socio-economic, justice; all of it is tipped in favor of those that have against those that have not. It’s odd how things come back around if you let imbeciles take the reins. We were so busy demonizing Communism that we forgot that capitalism has caused more wars and human suffering, all for offering the false promise of freedom only to add more shackles to its society.

Let’s take a look at a few instances of inequality, starting with income. According to Inequality.org, “Income disparities have become so pronounced that America’s top 10 percent now average more than nine times as much income as the bottom 90 percent. Americans in the top 1 percent tower stunningly higher.” Imagine that: The false American ideal is that if you work hard, innovate, and put in the hours, you too can live the American Dream. The source continues, “They average over 40 times more income than the bottom 90 percent. But that gap pales in comparison to the divide between the nation’s top 0.1 percent and everyone else. Americans at this lofty level are taking in over 198 times the income of the bottom 90 percent.” How can this continue and somehow maintain the status quo? Our leaders from both major parties have led us to this point and yet there is roughly 30% of the nation that identifies as Republican and 30% that identifies as Democrat.

Are these voters intellectually stunted? Are they simply sheep? Income inequality is just one aspect that affects the American people; let’s dive into racism in this nation. It is telling that after the election of Barack Obama to the U.S. Presidency in 2008, White America actually believed that racism was “over”. There was a strain of thought that actually used the term “post-racism” when discussing race in this nation. That is the problem with terminology in this country. I have always used the term structural racism when chatting about the issue because racism is an institution in this country. Electing an African-American man to President does not wash away over 400 years of racism.

There are some that say that with the elevation of Trump and the fascists—ahem, the alt-right and GOP—that racism has “returned” more violently than ever. According to the NAACP, which, full disclosure, I support, “hate crime totals for the 10 largest cities rose for four straight years to the highest level in a decade.” The NAACP believes there is a direct relationship between the rise in hate crimes exemplified by the continual #LivingWhileBlack incidents and other reported crimes and President Donald J. Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric and racist policies. Yes, there has been a rise in hate crimes against “minorities” since the ascension of Trump, but that’s not the reason that racism is still one of the top issues in this nation.

We cannot just correlate racism and Trump. Racism has risen horribly under his tenure and his rhetoric gives cover to sick individuals who seek white supremacy, but to attribute it strictly to one man is excusing an entire nation and that is not truth. According to German Lopez of Vox, “Over the past two decades, the FBI reported between 6,000 and 10,000 hate crimes each year in the US. But when the US Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) surveyed large segments of the population between 2007 and 2011 to try to gauge the real number of hate crimes, it concluded that there are nearly 260,000 such crimes annually.” Think about that: hate crimes and structural racism existed before Trump and the GOP taking power.

Let’s tackle one more issue that is, sadly, in the 21st Century a real issue: gender inequality. In the era of #MeToo and “mansplaining”, something has gotten lost in the rhetoric. America was supposed to be about something this is simple, yet never has been: equality. To me, a woman is many things, but inferior is not even on my list. It’s pathetic that we have held down an entire gender since the dawn of time that truly is our equal. Some of the greatest artists, doctors, political leaders, authors—name anything that humanity can do—are women and they have revolutionized, innovated, and contributed to the advancement of humanity. Wages, perception, education in some parts of the world—it’s vile.

Ariel Smilowitz of Huffington Post wrote an article in 2015 about gender inequality. Highlighted issues included:

  • In just about every state in the country, millennial women are more likely than millennial men to have a college degree, yet millennial women also have higher poverty rates and lower earnings than millennial men.
  • Although more women are receiving high school diplomas and completing college than ever before, a considerable proportion of women either do not graduate high school or finish their education with only a high school diploma.
  • By the time a college-educated woman turns 59, she will have lost almost $800,000 throughout her life due to the gender wage gap.

Think about that: women are more educated and yet lose money because of their genitalia. How does that make sense?

Let’s get back to the original question posed by this article, because if I were to continue to press and highlight all of the issues facing America, this would not be an article but a multi-volume encyclopedia on all of the horrors this nation continues to inflict upon its people up to this very second. I am a very public Marxist, revolution is in my political DNA. We speak of it in romantic and powerful terms and yet, what does it mean to revolt against the status quo?

The heroic and honorable Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” Juxtapose that against another great quote from my political mentor Karl Marx, “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guildmaster and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, that each time ended, either in the revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.” One speaks of the caution of revolution and its reverberations and the other is stating the condition of humanity that we still find ourselves in and how it is necessary to fight. There are so many schools of thought on revolution and they are needed. My contention is that we have not somehow by now hit the point of no return.

There hasn’t, against all common sense, been enough kids being gunned down in schools; enough African Americans and Latinos being disproportionately imprisoned and murdered extrajudicially on the streets;  nor enough debt, poverty, homelessness, wars, inequality for gender, race, or sexual orientation for the American people to actually revolt. There is too much comfort, too much ease in this entitled society. We were openly disenfranchised by the Democratic Party in 2016, shown that none of our voices matter, just the wealthy’s, and yet we did not burn things down, protest en masse, and actually fight against being thrown into indentured servitude.

This upcoming election is historic, and no that’s not hyperbole. We have before us the beginning of the end of capitalism as the dominant economic theory, a recognition that things are truly unfair and stacked against those that are of color and female. We are beginning to see that the American Dream has long died and has been replaced with cronyism and greed. Our voices are beginning to rise and declare in unison, “ we will give not one more inch”. We will not give one more inch to the farce that is the 401k system in which, on one day, you can lose your entire life’s savings. We will not give one more inch to those that murder our African American, Latino, and Native American brothers and sisters extrajudicially. We will not give one more inch in fighting for public schools that have the best books, teachers, and safety from Greenwich, Connecticut to the inner cities of Los Angeles, California. We will not give another inch into fueling the “war economy” with another faux war against another innocent population. We will give not one more inch on any issue, from Medicare for All to Tuition Free College. The revolution begins now, it must be permanent, and we will win.

John F. Kennedy once said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” The concept of American democracy has been decimated and perverted into an Oligarchy. This election in 2020 is historic because the nation is finished with its wealthy hogging up all of the available assets. We are weary of working at levels of productivity never seen in our nation’s history for pay that doesn’t even cover basic needs. We are finished advocating for a two party system that has left us all behind. Regardless of color, sex, sexual orientation, religion or there lack of, we are finished with a GOP that has embraced fascism and a Democrat Party that is too timid and in their donors pockets to stop them. We rise as one to end the plight of the Proletariat, the walls that divide us are coming down and we are seeing that, as one, we are unstoppable. The revolution is not televised, nor does it need to be, the revolution, the fight for our and our loved ones, friends, neighbors is on our hearts and minds and the system as we know it is finished. All it takes is the desire to make that change and stand up. Together we will win and the permanent revolution will begin to radically transform this nations power structure from a small few to each and everyone of its inhabitants.

Written by Jason Carney

Born in Massachusetts in 1981, grew up an Army Brat and travelled the world with my father who served as a member of the Special Forces for 24 years. Mother was a strong and dedicated woman with a work ethic second to none. I decided to enlist in the Army National Guard in October 2009, having heard that they deployed more frequently. I have served honorably since then and was accepted into the Army Officer Candidate School before a workplace injury rendered me temporarily disabled.

Grew up studying politics, political figures, discourse, and ideologies of the world as I found politics to be a contact sport for the most hardened of individuals. Started Vets for the 99% in late 2015 to show that Progressive/Left ideology could not only be embraced by every segment of society, but could further the nation as a whole.

Follow Jason on Twitter @TheJasonCarney.

Jason is a Guest Contributor to Progressive Army.

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Beto’s Choice

A 21st Century American Revolution