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Hillary’s Ultra Radical “Middle Class Values”

One of Hillary’s latest advertisements, from her official campaign site:

Proud

In a campaign ad, Hillary talks about how she’s proud of the values she learned growing up, values she shares with many of the people she meets. And she’s especially proud of passing them on.

Sounds nice doesn’t it? So safe and familiar. So “middle class.”

Of course Mrs. Bill Clinton’s loudly proclaimed “middle class” roots have long since been a theme of her campaign — which indeed calls itself “The Middle Class Express.” 

As we have mentioned before, this is lesson Hillary learned at the knee of her idol, the Communist agitator Saul Alinsky. And it is something the Clintons have used early and often.

Lest we forget, Bill Clinton’s first campaign for the Presidency was similarly based on “family values” and promises of a  “middle class bill of rights,” which we were told would include “middle class tax cuts.” None of which ever happened, of course.

But at the time the New York Times found all this kow-towing to the “middle class” so distasteful they hired a Democrat strategist to attack him for it in an editorial:

Clinton’s Middle Class Hang-Up

By TED VAN DYK;
Published: January 30, 1992

… First, the Governor should abandon his shameless pandering to the middle class. Hardly a sentence passes his mouth without use of the words “middle class.” The first two economic planks of his Plan for America’s Future are naked tax cut appeals to voters that would do justice to Ronald Reagan. The first, titled Tax Relief for the Forgotten Middle Class, says “we should cut middle class taxes immediately by 10 percent.” The second, an expanded children’s tax credit, would provide an immediate $480 annual tax saving for each child in an “average income” family…

More disturbing than the tax cut grandstanding is the shorthand at work in the repetitive use of “middle class.” In 1980’s and early 1990’s political parlance, the term has been a code phrase used by moderate and conservative Democratic candidates to mean “taxpayers, not tax-eaters.” Repeated and emphasized often, it signals 1980’s Reagan Democrats that it is safe to come home to their party because poor, black, Hispanic, urban, homeless, hungry, and other people and problems out of favor in Middle America will no longer get the favored treatment they got from mushy 1960’s and 1970’s Democratic liberals…

But of course neither Mr. Dyk or the New York Times realized that Mr. Clinton was just following the Saul Alinsky playbook for gaining power. A technique his wife would also zealously follow 15 years later.

For behold the master’s prescription for a successful revolution from the final chapter of his notorious tome, Rules For Radicals, pp 184-90:

The Way Ahead

ORGANIZATION FOR ACTION will now and in the decade ahead center upon America’s white middle class. That is where the power is. When more than three-fourths of our people from both the point of view of economics and of their self-identification are middle class, it is obvious that their action or inaction will determine the direction of change. Large parts of the middle class, the “silent majority,” must be activated; action and articulation are one, as are silence and surrender.

We are belatedly beginning to understand this, to know that even if all the low-income parts of our population were organized—all the blacks, Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Appalachian poor whites—if through some genius of organization they were all united in a coalition, it would not be powerful enough to get significant, basic, needed changes. It would have to do what all minority organizations, small nations, labor unions, political parties or anything small, must do—seek out allies. The pragmatics of power will not allow any alternative.

The only potential allies for America’s poor would be in various organized sectors of the middle class. We have seen Cesar Chavez’ migrant farm workers turn to the middle class with their grape boycott. In the fight against Eastman Kodak, the blacks of Rochester, New York, turned to the middle class and their proxies.

Activists and radicals, on and off our college campuses —people who are committed to change—must make a complete turnabout. With rare exceptions, our activists and radicals are products of and rebels against our middle-class society. All rebels must attack the power states in their society. Our rebels have contemptuously rejected the values and way of life of the middle class. They have stigmatized it as materialistic, decadent, bourgeois, degenerate, imperialistic, war-mongering, brutalized, and corrupt. They are right; but we must begin from where we are if we are to build power for change, and the power and the people are in the big middle-class majority.

Therefore, it is useless self-indulgence for an activist to put his past behind him. Instead, he should realize the priceless value of his middle-class experience. His middle-class identity, his familiarity with the values and problems, are invaluable for organization of his “own people.” He has the background to go back, examine, and try to understand the middle-class way; now he has a compelling reason to know, for he must know if he is to organize. He must know so he can be effective in communication, tactics, creating issues and organization. He will look very differently upon his parents, their friends, and their way of life. Instead of the infantile dramatics of rejection, he will now begin to dissect and examine that way of life as he never has before.

He will know that a “square” is no longer to be dismissed as such—instead, his own approach must be “square” enough to get the action started. Turning back to the middle class as an organizer, he will find that everything now has a different meaning and purpose. He learns to view actions outside of the experience of people as serving only to confuse and antagonize them. He begins to understand the differences in value definition of the older generation regarding “the privilege of college experience,” and their current reaction to the tactics a sizeable minority of students uses in campus rebellions. He discovers what their definition of the police is, and their language—he discards the rhetoric that always says “pig.”

Instead of hostile rejection he is seeking bridges of communication and unity over the gaps, generation, value, or others. He will view with strategic sensitivity the nature of middle-class behavior with its hang-ups over rudeness or aggressive, insulting, profane actions. All this and more must be grasped and used to radicalize parts of the middle class.

The rough category “middle class” can be broken down into three groups: lower middle class, with incomes from $6,000 to $11,000; middle middle class, $12,000 to $20,000; and upper middle class, $20,000 to $35,000. There are marked cultural differences between the lower middle class and the rest of the middle class. In the lower middle class we encounter people who have struggled all their lives for what relatively little they have.

With a few exceptions, such as teachers, they have never gone beyond high school. They have been committed to the values of success, getting ahead, security, having their “own” home, auto, color TV, and friends. Their lives have been 90 per cent unfulfilled dreams. To escape their frustration they grasp at a last hope that their children will get that college education and realize those unfulfilled dreams.

They are a fearful people, who feel threatened from all sides: the nightmare of pending retirement and old age with a Social Security decimated by inflation; the shadow of unemployment from a slumping economy, with blacks, already fearsome because the cultures conflict, threatening job competition; the high cost of long-term illness; and finally with mortgages outstanding, they dread the possibility of property devaluation from non-whites moving into their neighborhood. They are beset by taxes on incomes, food, real estate, and automobiles, at all levels—city, state, and national. Seduced by their values into installment buying, they find themselves barely able to meet long-term payments, let alone the current cost of living.

Victimized by TV commercials with their fraudulent claims for food and medical products, they watch the news between the commercial with Senate committee hearings showing that the purchase of these products is largely a waste of their hard-earned money. Repeated financial crises result from accidents that they thought they were insured against only to experience the fine-print evasions of one of our most shocking confidence rackets of today, the insurance racket.

Their pleasures are simple: gardening a tiny back yard behind a small house, bungalow, or ticky-tacky, in a monotonous subdivision on the fringe of suburbs; going on a Sunday drive out to the country, having a once-a-week dinner out at some place like a Howard Johnson’s. Many of the so-called hard hats, police, fire, sanitation workers, schoolteachers, and much of civil service, mechanics, electricians, janitors, and semiskilled workers are in this class.

They look at the unemployed poor as parasitical dependents, recipients of a vast variety of massive public programs all paid for by them, “the public.” They see the poor going to colleges with the waiving of admission requirements and given special financial aid. In many cases the lower middle class were denied the opportunity of college by these very circumstances. Their bitterness is compounded by their also paying taxes for these colleges, for increased public services, fire, police, public health, and welfare. They hear the poor demanding welfare as “rights.” To them this is insult on top of injury.

Seeking some meaning in life, they turn to an extreme chauvinism and become defenders of the “American” faith. Now they even develop rationalizations for a life of futility and frustration. “It’s the Red menace!” Now they are not only the most vociferous in their espousal of law and order but ripe victims for such as demagogic George Wallace, the John Birch Society, and the Red-menace perennials.

Insecure in this fast-changing world, they cling to illusory fixed points—which are very real to them. Even conversation is charted toward fixing your position in the world: “I don’t want to argue with you, just tell me what our flag means to you?” or “What do you think of those college punks who never worked a day in their lives?” They use revealing adjectives such as “outside agitators” or “troublemakers” and other “When did you last beat your wife?” questions.

On the other side they see the middle middle class and the upper middle class assuming a liberal, democratic, holier-than-thou position, and attacking the bigotry of the employed poor. They see that through all kinds of tax-evasion devices the middle middle and upper middle can elude their share of the tax burdens—so that most of it comes back (as they see it) upon themselves, the lower middle class.

They see a United States Senate in which approximately one-third are millionaires and the rest with rare exception very wealthy. The bill requiring full public disclosure of senators’ financial interests and prophetically titled Senate Bill 1993 (which is probably the year it will finally be passed) is “in committee,” they see, and then they say to themselves, “The government represents the upper class but not us.”

Many of the lower middle class are members of labor unions, churches, bowling clubs, fraternal, service, and nationality organizations. They are organizations and people that must be worked with as one would work with any other part of our population—with respect, understanding, and sympathy.

To reject them is to lose them by default. They will not shrivel and disappear. You can’t switch channels and get rid of them. This is what you have been doing in your radicalized dream world but they are here and will be. If we don’t win them Wallace or Spiro T. Nixon will. Never doubt it that the voice may be Agnew’s but the words, the vindictive smearing, is Nixon’s. There never was a vice-president who didn’t either faithfully serve as his superior’s faithful sounding board or else be silent.

Remember that even if you cannot win over the lower middle-class, at least parts of them must be persuaded to where there is at least communication, then to a series of partial agreements and a willingness to abstain from hard opposition as changes take place. They have their role to play in the essential prelude of reformation, in their acceptance that the ways of the past with its promises for the future no longer work and we must move ahead—where we move to may not be definite or certain, but move we must.

People must be “reformed”—so they cannot be deformed into dependency and driven through desperation to dictatorship and the death of freedom. The “silent majority,” now, are hurt, bitter, suspicious, feeling rejected and at bay. This sick condition in many ways is as explosive as the current race crisis. Their fears and frustrations at their helplessness are mounting to a point of a political paranoia which can demonize people to turn to the law of survival in the narrowest sense. These emotions can go either to the far right of totalitarianism or forward to Act II of the American Revolution.

Bear Mr. Alinsky’s words in mind whenever you see Mrs. Clinton playing upon her “middle class” bona fides.

Remember from whom she learned this tactic — more importantly, why.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Saturday, December 15th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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