Thursday, December 21, 2006


“NEW YORK - John Mack's record for the biggest bonus on Wall Street didn't last even a week. It was smashed by the $53.4 million that Goldman Sachs gave its chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein.

The bonanza for Blankfein included a cash bonus of $27.3 million, with the rest paid in stock and options...The record payday, disclosed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, breaks the one set just last Thursday when Morgan Stanley disclosed that it paid CEO Mack $40 million in stock and options. Mack, who is 62, rejoined Morgan Stanley 18 months ago…”

Where are the marching, protesting, screaming masses?

Where the student activists taking up the cause of the dispossessed and working poor in the face of such utterly disgusting inequities of which the above is emblematic?

Where are the politicians and political activists willing and able to organize the ready-to-burst-from-the-financial-pressures middle class in the face of such blatant excess and financial villainy?

Where oh where is the music, the art, the movies and plays and novels and poems, the editorials and manifestos, the uprisings and revolts?

Have the rightwing Republicans so cowed the liberal left into fearing being labeled proponents of “class warfare” that they can’t see THAT'S WHAT WE'RE IN THE MIDST OF?

Like the “civil war” in Iraq, when will someone in authority, on TV or in the press, call it what it is? CLASS WARFARE waged against US by THEM!

What school district, hospital, or a million other institutions meant to serve the public couldn’t use even a miniscule amount of what ONE MAN got paid, or received as a HOLIDAY BONUS???!!!

We may have been a little too glib in the 1960s, those of us out there protesting and actively fighting racial and economic injustice, as well as unjust wars, but at least we put up a fight.


Lisa Duggan said...

(sorry if this post comes through 2x)
"All excess is usurpation and the sight of the needy ought to awaken remorse in the soul of the wealthy. Perverse men, you who roll in riches and pleasures, tremble - lest one day the wretched who lack the necessities of life apprehend fully the rights of man." John Locke

Michael, it's the dilemma of the modern middle class. Those now that (1) can see the inequities above and below them and (2) have the means to change things - are just too full. No one starts a revolution on a full stomach.

Alameda Tom said...

Lal: You probably don't remember, but when we were both in our very early twenties, you came up with the following: "The ruling class rules. The working class works. What does the middle class do, middle? Hell no, they work for the ruling class just like everyone else."

This point got me thinking about a wonderful essay on this topic: The Chauffeur's Dilemma, by Arlie Hochschild. For more information and a link to the essay, see today's post on my blog, Birth of the Cool.

Lally said...

You're right Tom, I meant to put that "middle class" in quotes. I just restated that "what does the middle class do, middle?" question somwhere not long ago, I think maybe in that poem March 18, 2003, or maybe another one. As for Lisa's comment, the truth is revolutions usually happen not when people are starving and really beaten down, but when they've actually got a little something and their expectations have been raised, then when those expectations aren't met, is where revolutions begin. But our "rulers," like some others, are smart enough to provide circuses with some bread so that everyone's distracted by all the consumer goodies and media distractions and manufactured fears get the idea.

Sheena said...

I don't know about the rest of those in shock from reading about those bonuses, but I was too numb to move. Ever watch a speeding car racing toward a puppy cowering in the middle of the road? Neither have I, but it must be like that when I read something so deeply shocking. We've been called a "Nation of Sheep", and compared to gorillas by another writer, as being big and scary-looking but quite shy and, besides beating our chests sometimes, are not threatening enough to the "ruling class." But I'll do what I always do when I must rant a bit, i.e. write to my congressman.

Lisa D. said...

hello darling,
I went Googling for that John Locke quote (see the first comment above) and where do I find it but your blog.

Look at this post you wrote IN 2006!! Asking where are the protesters, where is the outrage?

I'm not surprised that you were ringing the warning bell back then, but I'm still shocked at just how prescient you were (are).

Can I borrow your crystal ball.
: )