Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The "Ownership" Swindle

from The Nation
There is a long tradition of American capitalists not only mobilizing small-business and professional support for the elite, but also shifting working-class aspirations to undermine the potential of radical labor and political movements. Instead of delivering on the promise of upward mobility, American capitalism in the late nineteenth century delivered home ownership as a substitute for owning one's land or tools. After the elites forcibly smashed working-class organizations, like the Knights of Labor and anarchists, that demanded an end to wage slavery during the post-Civil War industrialization, the workers' movement increasingly turned toward securing an American, or living, wage instead of demanding control over industry. In the early twentieth century, after Populists and Progressives raised public awareness about the corrupting power of big corporations, there was a wave of interest in industrial democracy as a necessary complement to political democracy. During the 1920s, America began to develop consumer capitalism and a democracy of shoppers alongside a brief infatuation with stock markets.


Sheryl said...

I don't think this is unique to the United States. Think of the Charles Dickens serials, etc.

Hey, I just got my first installment of the Nation today. Yea! 24 magazines for only $13.95. Being on every bloody liberal mailing list on the planet occassionally has its advantages. :)

J.R. Boyd said...

Hey I got the same deal. Except I think I paid $27 for the year. What the heck?

Sheryl said...

I have the same offer that I can get the whole year for $27, but the initial offer I got was 24 issues for $13.95. Or 4 free issues if I didn't like it. But

My mom decided she would pay for it. However, she wanted to test out 24 issues before committing herself to a full subscription. I sort of feel the same way having never subscribed before.

Did you also get a similar offer from the American Prospect? Maybe we should have gone that route. My friend Charles had just been telling us that it was a better magazine. And to fair, I had mostly seen articles online from the Nation and assumed there would be more articles and fewer editorials.

I'm not really big into editorials. If I am presented with facts, I can reach my own opinions. Oh well. Like I say, my mom is paying for it, so we'll just see what we think. Besides, Mom needs practice at spending money.

Sheryl said...

PS Perhaps I should have told ya my subscription was cheaper because I am special. ;) Hahahaha.

I need to learn to play these things up better. :)

J.R. Boyd said...

Yeah, I get offers all the time, probably from The American Prospect as well. I don't know that one very well. I usually steer clear of liberal rags because they're less useful as sources in addressing a conservative audience. To a large extent that's who I'm addressing in the Teamsters, a very conservative union on the whole. Understanding conservative views is much more important to me. I already understand progressivism, so most of what I read I either already know or don't find it relevant.

From what I can tell of The Nation it seems okay. The last issue was particularly bad, in my opinion, with the exception of the above article written by an editor from In These Times. I couldn't even bring myself to finish the centerpiece article on the "persecution" of liberal faculty on campus, it was so bad. But much more important than the analysis (which you can do on your own) is just being aware of what others are reading, what the arguments are, etc. In that sense it's not really important what you read but how you read.

Sheryl said...

I haven't had a chance to look at the Nation I received, but I wasn't really excited by any of the subjects I saw either. I agree with you about how you read being important. In fact, I was just telling my friend Tom that I prefer book interviews over reading books because then authors get challenged on their claims.

To be honest, that is why I don't read books much anymore. I am a thorough reader when I do read, but that takes so much time.

I think that books run the same danger as epic movies or symphonies. (I was just talking about the symphony problem with my mom last night.) What is a symphony or an epic film other than some theme that could be developed in 3 minutes being dragged out for three hours? Not always, but frequently.

A lot of things like that are just so repetitive. Perhaps the theory is that people are too stupid to get things the first time round, so let's beat them over the head with things multiple times. But then I think a lot of it is filler too.

But also the motives. People write books because of publish or perish or because it's more nostalgic than an article, but unless they have that much more to say, I wish they would just be concise. Say whatever needs to be said, but no more. Said the all out blatherer from Texas. :-) Hahahahahaha.