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Sunday, August 30, 2009

CHAPTER NINETY SIX. MOTOR CITY MADHOUSE





Written by: Rick Staggenborg, MD on Jun 27, 2010 4:00 AM PDT



This chapter is dedicated to Henry Ford, the Detroit industrialist who had the good sense to listen to his wife when she explained to him that he was cutting his own business by paying his workers wages insufficient to allow them to buy the cars they manufactured. He agreed, whether through common sense or the threat of her withholding her affections. This led to the development of a thriving industry and contributed to the rise of a thriving middle class after WWII.



In Ford’s day, people were beginning to understood the value to the economy of a strong middle class, where one worker could earn enough money to raise a family comfortably, own a home, educate the family’s children and pay for access to health care. This was the exception to the rule in this time of the rise of the trusts who threatened to take over the US government at the turn of the century. Fortunately, an assassin’s bullet miraculously catapulted to the Presidency the one man prepared and willing to fight back against the corporate coup.

Theodore Roosevelt enforced the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 for the first time since it had been introduced. It seems to have been passed to placate the angry masses who were beginning to organize the worldwide labor movement. In an attempt to take the wind out of the sails of the growing labor movement, the US Congress had passed this bill with no intent of enforcing its provisions It requiring the government to investigate and pursue evidence of illegal collusion between corporations engaged in monopolistic practices.

Roosevelt knew that the government has the responsibility to secure for American workers the right to a fair share of the wealth that they created by the sweat of their brows. His Imperialist aims notwithstanding, he was the greatest American President since Lincoln and rightly deserving of his place of honor on Mount Rushmore. He led the Progressive effort to unseat Taft when Taft proved unworthy of Roosevelt’s support by compromising with a Republican leadership intent on undoing the progress of the Square Deal. He survived a would-be assassin’s bullet to deliver a speech in New York, thereby earning for himself the title of leaders of the Bull Moose Party.

America does need the man from Illinois to be another Lincoln and end the Uncivil War, but as importantly President Obama must also channel the spirits of Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt to take on the international corporate Puppetmasters who now control the Senate. Democracy itself is at stake not only in the United States but worldwide, should we fail in our mission to abolish corporate personhood.


The US Social Forum is a gathering of social justice advocates from around the world. Whether their passions are health care, preventing environmental devastation, feeding, housing and clothing the poor; establishing safe foods grown locally in a localized economy, giving green power to the people, opting out of the globalized economy or ending war, they were all Soldiers For Peace from all over the world. It was fitting that the 2010 Forum was held in Detroit, the birthplace of the middle class that now struggles for its very existence in a world of capitalism gone mad. The corporate grip on the mainstream media continues to brainwash enough Americans that challenging the Puppets in the Senate remains a formidable task. I was heartened by the degree of awareness shown by these activists, who are increasingly aware that the abolition of corporate personhood is the key to advancing the entire progressive agenda that America and the world desperately need.

Workers in the auto industry were the leader in fighting for fair wages and benefits when unions had real influence in the US. The rest of the American middle class benefited from its success and enjoyed a rising standard of living from WWII until the rise of crony capitalism under Reagan. This icon of the Right ran up a huge deficit trying to economically outlast Russia, which he failed to realize was a dying empire already due to its inherent economic weaknesses and maldistribution of wealth. Brought to power by acts of treason which Colonel Ollie North and Admiral Poindexter proudly proclaimed to the world on TV broadcast from the halls of Congress, Reagan blithely slept through cabinet meetings where the fate of the free world was decided. Perhaps he was dreaming of that shining city on the hill that he led us directly away from. I guess it was Bedtime for Bozo.

Detroit has come a long way from the riots of the late 60s. At that time, violence erupted when an enraged Black population said “No mas!” to segregation, exploitation and a vicious double standard that had kept them subjugated since the advent of Jim Crow. The modern Detroit has thrived under the institution of community programs that have brought the people of Detroit together in a Rainbow coalition symbolized by the Heidelberg Project. This is an internationally famous project that is the result of the vision of one man who saw that the people could rise together to create a better world for ourselves and our progeny.

Tyree Guyton, with the help of his grandfather, created this art garden of symbols of peace, hope, racial unity and love of all of Mankind. Neighbors at first did not understand and got the city to destroy the artwork, which he patiently replaced. The “garden” now runs more than a city block and the neighbors are part of the project, allowing their houses, yards and street to become a part of the mural depicting a more hopeful New World Order of peace, justice, love and hope.

I was honored to take part in an action of Code Pink at the Heidelberg Project on the closing day of the Forum, in which we memorialized a fallen Hummer they had half-buried and painted pink as a symbol of the impending death of a war-based economy run be the selfish. These are the oil barons, the international financiers and other war profiteers will never be content with too much. These are the counter-Revolutionaries who have been working to subvert the Revolution since Lincoln was assassinated under very suspicious circumstances. The fledgling Republican Party was taken over by corporatists who tore up his Reconstruction plans and subjugated the people of the vanquished South until they too rose up and cried “No mas!”

Democrats in the South fought the rise of the Republican Party and its promises to limit slavery. They remained loyal to the Party of Jim Crow until Lyndon Johnson, one of their own, fought for the passage of the Civil Rights Act. In retaliation for this challenge of the right of states to persecute members of their own citizenry they converted en masse to the newly ascendent Republican Party, which cynically used the rascism of Southerners at the time to benefit from the Southern strategy that welcomed these unrepentant racists with open arms. In the end, the result was the rise of a Republican Party bent on stripping the economic rights of the poor, who were and are to be found disproportionately in the South.

Thus do politicians utilize the politics of division to further the ambitions of the already wealthy and powerful Puppetmasters of the Senate and the fascists who they represent. In protesting the freeing of the slaves and the enforcement of the Fourteenth amendment, in their blind anger they gave the racist party the power to place fellow fascists on the Supreme Court who abused the amendment designed to free the slaves to make economic slaves of us all. Those toiling in Southern automobile factories are enjoying the fruits of their fellow Southerner's labor, substandard wages and benefits for those lucky to get a job from the foreign automakers who have invaded the South.



Viva la Revoluccion!



In the words of Paul Stanley:



I feel uptight on a Saturday night.
Nine o'clock, the radio's the only light.
I hear my song and it pulls me through
Comes on strong, tells me what I got to do, I got to.

Get up, everybody's gonna move their feet.
Get down, everybody's gonna leave their seat.
You gotta lose your mind in Detroit rock city.

Get up, everybody's gonna move their feet.
Get down, everybody's gonna leave their seat.

Getting late,
I just can't wait.
Ten o'clock and I know I gotta hit the road.
First I drink, then I smoke.
Start up the car, and I try to make the midnight show.

Get up, everybody's gonna move their feet.
Get down, everybody's gonna leave their seat.

Movin' fast, doin' 95.
Hit top speed but I'm still movin' much too slow.
I feel so good, I'm so alive.
I hear my song playin' on the radio, it goes.

Get up, everybody's gonna move their feet.
Get down, everybody's gonna leave their seat.

Twelve o'clock, I gotta rock.
There's a truck ahead, lights starin' at my eyes.
Oh my God, no time to turn.
I got to laugh 'cause I know I'm gonna die, why.

Get up, everybody's gonna move their feet.

Get up, everybody's gonna leave their seat.



Rick Staggenborg, MD

From Detroit, Michigan, Host City of the 2010 US Social Forum

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