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The California Crisis

by People's Tribune Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2003 at 11:58 PM 800-691-6888

With a billion state deficit, California is labeled the nation's basket case. The election to recall the governor will be held this fall. It will determine if Bush and his gang will gain control of the state.

The California Crisi...
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With a billion state deficit, California is labeled the nation's basket case. The election to recall the governor will be held this fall. It will determine if Bush and his gang will gain control of the state.

California's crisis is the worst of nearly all the states. In their commentaries on the situation, few have had the courage to go into the morality behind the political decisions that laid the foundation for the crisis. Every political decision flows from moral consideration of what is right and wrong. Inevitably, people are ennobled by their decisions, or these decisions come back to haunt them.

California's, and much of the nation's economic and social crisis is rooted in the people's moral response to the 1965 Watts uprising. The nation, and indeed the world, was captured by the week-long uprising of the socially and economically oppressed people of Watts. After the uprising was crushed, the national and local press went into a campaign to create and organize a "white backlash." The reactionary gang around Ronald Reagan understood this was their opportunity if they could undo the moral sense that society is ultimately responsible for the well-being of all its citizens. To accomplish this, the Reagan gang relied on the history of racism in the nation.

Los Angeles is a southern city, and it was the logical place to begin this campaign. As the media fired up the "white backlash," Reagan began his campaign by making the most selfish, anti social attitudes appear normal. His point of departure was the propagandistic creation of the "Black Welfare Queen" with three shopping carts of hams and filet minion paid for by the property taxes of hard working under-nourished white men. The next step was mobilization for the anti-social Proposition 13. This proposition would freeze property taxes where they were when the property was purchased. Much of the state government's income came from the rapidly rising assessed value of California property. Rolling back and freezing this income meant an immediate and continuing slashing of social services. The political goal of the proposition was to shift the social struggle from class to color. This proposition appealed to the meanest and most racist aspects of Americans' political personality, frankly stating, "I'm for me and the hell with you!" Economically, this resulted in a rupture of the normal circulation of money. There was an immediate growth of poverty and a heretofore unheard of accumulation of wealth by the few.

Proposition 13, by shrinking the consumer market, accelerated the decline of jobs and education opportunities. Under these conditions, drugs were introduced into the state. Again relying on racism, drugs, like poverty was presented as a question of color, a choice made by the African Americans. The response was the tidal wave of "lock 'em up and throw away the key" legislation. The cost of prison building and incarceration was added to the already stretched state budget. In the drive to abandon the poor, California made it nearly impossible to increase property taxes or to progressively tax the billionaires. The war on the poor inevitably led to undercutting the economic stability of the entire state.

With the battle cry of "Today California, tomorrow the nation," the Reagan gang won the country over to the creed of selfishness as the foundation of a new society.

Reagan and his gang sowed the wind. California and the nation are reaping the whirlwind. Conditions change, and with robotics and globalization, the need for a privileged white section of the working class is rapidly declining. Today, deflation and the looming economic crisis threaten the homeowners that Proposition 13 was supposed to protect. The ideology of selfishness and greed eliminated the legislation meant to protect them.

The destruction of social morality was key to the mess we are in. The re-establishment of social morality is key to getting us out. We must replace "Each man for himself and the devil take the hindmost" with "All for each and each for all" as our morality, in the economy as well as in our politics.

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