Friday, December 12, 2008

The War At Home

The prospect of a GM or Chrysler collapse has added more tension to this part of Michigan, a place where working people are already being squeezed if not steamrolled by what passes for the economy. I've never seen anything like it in my life, and I suspect it'll get worse. I hope not. I don't know how much more negative weight people around here can endure.

I've never considered myself a Marxist or a communist -- indeed, I've had many nasty fights with those who do. But looking around at the devastation, which isn't hard to find, I can see how one could succumb to the Marxist urge. I thought that the Army radicalized me, which it did, for a time, anyway; but this shit is something else. No wonder mainstream outlets like The Christian Science Monitor are calling on Obama to save capitalism. Being very class conscious, American elites understand how the unmasked face of capital can affect the desperate and powerless. The worker occupation of the Republic Windows and Doors factory in Chicago is a warning shot from below. The people above don't want to see more of that.

Let's see how serious Obama's proposed "public works" project ultimately is. I'm not sure where he'll get the money. Perhaps the Saudis and the Chinese can help rebuild parts of Detroit, without doubt the poorest, most decimated city I've ever been in. I've yet to visit Gaza, so my perspective is limited. But a drive through Detroit reveals some pretty ghastly images, and will shatter your car's suspension if you aren't meticulous behind the wheel. The vast number of craters and potholes makes it seem like someone went on a bombing spree, which, in a fiscal sense, is pretty much the case. If GM and Chrysler fold, the bombing will intensify, turning swaths of southeastern Michigan into an economic Afghanistan. Somehow, I doubt the locals will consider that a "good war."

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE: If my old Army buddy Steve M. is reading this, please phone or email me. I lost your contact info, which is why you haven't heard from me.

When Steve was stationed in Germany, I asked him to send me any Red Army Faction material he could find, which he did, though he disapproved. By this point in my Army life, my barracks room was decorated with photos of Salvadoran rebels, Sandinista supporters, and assorted copies of The Militant. So having some RAF literature lying around merely added to the general theme. Yet, neither our First Sergeant nor our Company Commander said anything about this after an inspection. Different Army. Different times.