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A recent poll by the New York Times and CBS showed that two thirds of Americans think that it’s time for income to be distributed more evenly. This same proportion object to tax cuts for corporations and favor higher taxes for millionaires. When sentiments such as these intensify, critics on the right ring the alarm of “class warfare,” and insinuate that such criticism derives from Marxist ideology. This scare tactic makes some politicians with a social conscience back down, for who wants to be associated with America’s bogeymen? But there is a difference between class warfare and class consciousness. Let me explain.
The prophetic ethos which I as a Christian have inherited from Biblical prophets such as Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah affirms that God has a special love for the poor, and that God insists they be treated justly, with the same compassion God extends to all people, rich and poor alike. In the time of Amos there was a growing gulf between rich and poor, such as we now see in America. The rich of his time had become completely selfish and callous toward the suffering of have-nots. As wealthy American investment bankers recently faced congressional interrogators and TV cameras, many of them also refused to acknowledge any responsibility or remorse for the immense economic suffering which their predatory lending practices have caused.
Warfare is about killing. Critics of the present status quo, such as the mostly young, disappointed, and dispossessed citizens of the Occupy Wall Street movement, are not thirsty for blood. Occupiers are peace loving. We are not given to class warfare, but we are justifiably devoted to raising the class consciousness of our fellow citizens, for we are convinced that there can be no cure for our nation’s intolerable injustices unless the ninety nine percent awaken to the insidious effects of big money in our political system.
“Listen to this, you who trample on the needy and try to suppress the poor people of the country. . . God swears it . . . Never will I forget a single thing you have done.” Amos 8: 4,7
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. . . He has shown the power of his arm, he has routed the proud of heart. He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.” Mary’s song in Luke: 1: 46 ff.
- Class Warfare Indeed! by Michael Parenti (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)
- Jon Stewart Rips GOPs Hypocritical ‘Class Warfare’ With Mitt Romney (VIDEO) (alwaysquestionauthority.wordpress.com)
- Robert Kuttner: Obama’s Populism (huffingtonpost.com)
- Can We Reduce Economic Inequality in America? (my.psychologytoday.com)