RACE IS THE REASON WHY THERE HAS BEEN NO ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL REVOLUTION IN THE USA
For years I pondered why the USA did not undergo the social and economic revolutions that the European countries underwent, especially after the second world war. Those revolutions made the European public to write a new compact with their governments. Both parties agree that whereas capitalism seems the most incentivizing economic system that it has a major problem, it makes for a few haves, and many have nots. Thus, they agreed, through progressive taxation, to take some money from the rich and use that money to provide all people with publicly paid education through college and vocational schools and have a single payer health care insurance. Thus, all Europeans have access to education, at all levels, and medical insurance.
In the USA, on the other hand, only those with good paying jobs have good medical insurance. If you are doing minimum wage jobs, you do not have health insurance. You must use hospital emergency rooms to get whatever shoddy medical care you could (and they stick you with horrendous hospital bills that you cannot pay and, as a result, your credit is spoiled; without good credit you cannot buy a car or a house, the so-called American dream and will remain poor for as long as you live).
The poor in America are the most neglected bunch of human beings on planet earth. Some do two full time minimum wage jobs just to be able to pay their rents and bills. Many of them are homeless.
You see them and you ask: how come they did not do what their European cousins did, rearrange their society and use progressive taxation to take money from the rich and use that money to provide certain social services that if we are civilized, we must provide for all citizens.
Education and health care are obligations society have for its citizens.
If there is a war society conscript poor people’s children to go fight and protect the rich; we cannot neglect the poor in peace times and then use their suffering and death to protect useless and uncaring rich folks.
This afternoon, it dawned on me why there has been no real revolution in the USA.
The 1776 so-called revolution was no revolution; it was planters in the colonies resenting the funders of their plantations who lived in London not allowing their voices represented in Parliament.
The reason there is no real revolution in the USA is that no matter how poor and oppressed a white person is, he can, at least, look down on African Americans, Native Americans and other nonwhite persons.
Seeing those who do even worse than he does, he takes heart and does not fight to change his oppressive society.
The day that minorities acquire equal rights in the USA is the day that poor whites recognize how oppressed they are and stop talking the rubbish sold to them by the Machiavellian rulers of their society that they have freedom.
America has the least freedom for its people in the developed world (folks in Europe have one month paid vacation a year, paid time off when they have children, paid day care for their children) despite the hullabaloo of freedom in the country.
The freedom they have is to have guns to kill themselves (their murder rate is the highest in the world).
States use gerrymandering to prevent black and minority folks from voting, not to talk about other shenanigans used, such as requiring ID cards that they know that most black folks do not have, and in the past requiring poll taxes, literacy tests and so on.
Given racism, the dominant old white men who rule the country will keep ruling the poor folks that constitute most white folks in the USA.
In our age, Scandinavian type social democracy and mixed capitalist and socialist economy is the best way to govern society equitably. But the anachronistic rulers of the USA and their ostrich hacks in academia pump out the anti-social razzmatazz that just because capitalism gives people incentive to start businesses, make new products and profit from them, that we should not mix it with other economic systems whose goal is not profit.
Socialism is not aimed at profit making but social equity. We must allow people to compete and make profit; no one is asking for the abolition of capitalism, but people of goodwill ask that the poor be treated with dignity.
We must give all children opportunity to go to publicly paid schools, colleges and technical schools included, not saddling poor students with thousands of dollars student’s loan; and we must take a certain amount from all employees’ monthly incomes and use it to provide all people with a single payer health insurance.
Absence of these minimum obligations to the public, revolution is justified.
However, I agree with Edmund Burke (see his Reflection on the Revolution in France) that we should not cavalierly throw out old regimes because when we do so, we never know what we are going to get. We had over a hundred and fifty years of political instability in France before the stabilizing 1958 Fifth French Republic Constitution, and the still ongoing experiment in diverse types of autocracy in Russia.
We need to change our governments incrementally, not violently but where the rulers have a death grip on the instruments of ruling and oppress the people, every means is justified in bringing about social and economic justice.
I have read somewhere where the former President of the USA, Lyndon Baines Johnson said something to the effect of what I said in this essay, that the presence of black folks that white folks look down on makes poor white persons feel good about themselves. They are, at least, better than someone else. However, what one read and when its reality becomes one’s reality is different. It was this afternoon that pondering white folks’ cowardly inability to fight for social justice, their tolerance of the absurd level of poverty in the USA that it dawned on me why they are the way they are: the presence of those they look down on makes them proud of themselves. I have always been arrogant. In that light, I have always felt that white academia is full of dullards. And I feel superior to most of those I came across to. Of course, I know that to feel superior to other people is neurotic. I am just stating how I feel regardless of its source.
November 29, 2021You can reach Dr. Osuji at (907) 310-8176; firstname.lastname@example.org