Contraries of Society

Falling through the universe at the speed of life

By David Glenn Cox

The days are long in uncertainty the nights restless in calamity. Over fifty billon dollars was due in rent yesterday, and many didn’t have it. A Niagara Falls of financial calamity as I get that De ja vu feeling in the pit of my stomach. If the Cheeto thinks he’s finished with the stimulus or that marathon daily Cheeto telethons are going to cut the mustard, he’s playing with human dynamite. Like many of you, I remember 2008 as an event and not a date. It’s the pivotal experience of my life. The Buddha leaves the palace and sees suffering for the very first time.

Like the night my truck was repossessed. Images like Christmas photograph memories etched in my mind. The doorbell and three AM Cd grab, the yellow light flashing atop the wrecker. The neophyte innocence of the formerly middle class getting his pink slip from the world. John Q. Public, Horatio Alger, Daddy Warbucks molesting Anne, a dark time in a dark place. Eventually, I ended up alone, living surreptitiously in a garage and washing in a tub. These aren’t just memories, this is been there done that, the night I called the Hell’s Angel a pussy kind of experience.

One of the first things I learned was that this was not about me. This is about Capitalism and not as a political argument. This is about pigs go in this end and hot dogs and sausages come out at the other end, wrapped in clear plastic and brightly colored paper. This isn’t an event; this is the system. Selling you a baby blanket, a condom or a casket. Being processed out of society stripped of our identities and becoming what we used to be. Shocked into class consciousness, the American dream gone sour, if wishes were horses and tomorrow wasn’t tomorrow.

My father who grew up in the Depression of 29 once pondered what would happen today? We knew everyone around us. We had an old shotgun over the mantle. But today? With the proliferation of firearms and polarization. My son calls his neighbor, “the Liberal,” as I try and explain that liberal is a political position, not an identity. I don’t have to agree with you on tax policy to like you. But that’s where we are. Bad mood well-armed monkeys with a taste for alcohol and confrontation about to be plundered by the system. The irony of April Fools Day is not lost on me. April 1st is the preliminary round the show starts sixty days from now when the evictions begin.

An overworked and underfunded social network no less overwhelmed than any emergency room in any hospital about to be swamped by millions. A Capitalist pandemic, you squeeze me, and I squeeze you and if I don’t got it, you don’t get it. If you don’t get it class barriers disappear and we’re all in the same boat. But the bonds are based on fulfilled loan obligations and the banks are filled with bonds. If a bank originates a mortgage loan at two or two and a half percent, it’s hardly worth their time. Sure, the money’s free but the returns are small and the customers few. Home sales down twenty-five percent and it’s just beginning.

In March of 1932, twenty thousand unemployed in Detroit marched towards Ford’s River Rouge factory. The grievances were fanciful and beyond Ford’s power to correct but the fire department sprayed the marchers with fire hoses in the sub-freezing temperatures. The marchers answered with stones and chucks of ice which justified the use of lethal force by police. Five dead and more than twenty wounded, Capitalism had answered workers demands. I say this as a warning and not a lament, baby’s packing heat this time. This ain’t our first rodeo and we’re not saying please because we didn’t like you that much to begin with.

It’s not that they have to like us to save us, they need to save us to save themselves. In 1929, Ford sales were down twenty-five percent. Ford closed the Rouge plant, as sales plummeted. Half of the Ford dealerships went belly up. There are needful times and wantful times, times when dreaming is forbidden to the masses. Quick to anger and short to understand ten years older and been there before.

The President should by executive order raise the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour immediately. Before the first new wave of exploitation hits before they call you back to the plant for less money. To starve a little at a time instead of all at once. Lost wages are never found and how are they going to evict one hundred million without a struggle. Go ahead, I dare you. Go on carry your ass down to Compton or the Hough and start putting people out and see what happens.

My mother remembered a game they called “Rock.” She grew up in inner-city Chicago and the game was simple. If you saw a new car coming down the street, you yelled, “Rock” and pelted it with anything available. Children are so honest, a new car meant a landlord or a debt collector, class consciousness at eight years of age and I was over forty before the message got through the indoctrination.

United, we can do what ever we want, we can change whatever we want. Those twenty thousand in Detroit weren’t board but angry. Their march was The Tet offensive and sent an electric message to Washington. The Communist Party was the fastest growing political party in the country. Not that people suddenly read Marx and changed their political philosophies. They had become contraries to society. I don’t care who they are as long as they’re one hundred and eighty degrees from you! When they can pay, they are enslaved once they are plundered they are liberated and powerful as a part of the whole.

“Look around you–there are people around you. Maybe you will remember one of them all your life and later eat your heart out because you didn’t make use of the opportunity to ask him questions. And the less you talk, the more you’ll hear. Thin strands of human lives stretch from island to island of the Archipelago. They intertwine, touch one another for one night only in just such a clickety-clacking half-dark car as this and then separate once and for all. Put your ear to their quiet humming and the steady clickety-clack beneath the car. After all, it is the spinning wheel of life that is clicking and clacking away there.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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