Quantcast
Connect with us

What the oligarchy fears the most

Published

on

- Commentary
Three children in kindergarten playing with building blocks and cars (Shutterstock)

Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, took the knee last month before cameras at a branch of his bank. Larry Fink, CEO of giant investment fund BlackRock, decried racial bias. Starbucks vowed to “stand in solidarity with our black partners, customers and communities.” Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO David Solomon said he grieved “for the lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless other victims of racism.”

ADVERTISEMENT

And so on across the highest reaches of corporate America, an outpouring of solidarity with those protesting brutal police killings of black Americans and systemic racism.

But most of this is for show.

JPMorgan has made it difficult for black people to get mortgage loans. In 2017, the bank paid $55 million to settle a justice department lawsuit accusing it of discriminating against minority borrowers. Researchers have found banks routinely charge black mortgage borrowers higher interest rates than white borrowers and deny them mortgages white applicants would have received.

BlackRock is one of the biggest investors in private prisons, disproportionately incarcerating black and Latino men.

Starbucks has prohibited baristas from wearing Black Lives Matter attire and for years has struggled with racism in its stores as managers accuse black patrons of trespassing and deny them bathrooms to which white patrons have access.

Last month, Frederick Baba, an executive at Goldman Sachs who is black, criticized managers for not supporting junior bankers from diverse backgrounds.

ADVERTISEMENT

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the CEOs who condemn racism lobby for and get giant tax cuts and fight off a wealth tax. As a result, the nation can’t afford anything as ambitious as a massive Marshall Plan to provide poor communities world-class schools, first-class healthcare, and affordable housing.

The CEOs resist a living wage and universal basic income. They don’t want antitrust laws jeopardizing their market power, so consumers have to pay more. They oppose tighter regulations against red-lining or prohibitions on payday lending, both of which disproportionately burden black and brown people.

Perhaps most revealingly, they remain silent in the face of Donald Trump’s bigotry. Indeed, many are quietly funding the re-election of a president whose political ascent began with a racist conspiracy theory and who continues to encourage white supremacists.

ADVERTISEMENT

This goes beyond mere hypocrisy. America’s super rich have amassed more wealth and power than at any time since the “robber barons” of the late 19th century – enough to get legislative outcomes they want and organize the system for their own benefit.

Since the start of the pandemic, the nation’s billionaires have become $565 billion richer, even as 42.6 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits. Job losses have disproportionately affected black Americans, and America’s racial wealth gap continues to grow.

ADVERTISEMENT

The oligarchy knows that as long as racial animosity exists, white and Black Americans are less likely to look upward and see where the wealth and power really has gone.

They’re less likely to notice that the market is rigged against them all. They’ll cling to the meritocratic myth that they’re paid what they’re “worth” in the market and that the obstacles they face are of their own making rather than an unjust system.

Racism reduces the odds they will join together to threaten that system.

ADVERTISEMENT

This is not a new strategy. Throughout history, the rich have used racism to divide people and thereby entrench themselves.

Half a century ago, Martin Luther King Jr observed much the same about the old southern aristocracy, which “took the world and gave the poor white man Jim Crow. And when his wrinkled stomach cried out for the food that his empty pockets could not provide, he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than a black man.”

Trump is the best thing ever to have happened to the new American oligarchy, and not just because he has given them tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks.

He has also stoked division and racism so that most Americans don’t see CEOs getting exorbitant pay while slicing the pay of average workers, won’t notice giant tax cuts and bailouts for big corporations and the wealthy while most people make do with inadequate schools and unaffordable healthcare, and don’t pay attention to the bribery of public officials through unlimited campaign donations.

ADVERTISEMENT

The only way systemic injustices can be remedied is if power is redistributed. Power will be redistributed only if the vast majority – white, Black and brown – join together to secure it.

Which is what the oligarchy fears most.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

‘He just looks desperate’: Morning Joe panel destroys Trump’s attempts to undermine the election

Published

on

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and his panelists tried to make sense of President Donald Trump's apparent attempts to undermine confidence in this year's election results.

The president attacked Pennsylvania's Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf during an Allentown rally, saying his administration was watching the state's vote count "very closely," and the "Morning Joe" host wondered what he was talking about.

"For the past year, you have had a lot of state attorney generals watching Donald Trump closely, really closely, especially in New York," Scarborough said. "The state of New York, Donald -- hey, Donald, the state of New York, the attorney general there, they're watching you closely. Attorney generals in other states, they're watching you closely, so I am sure they are glad that you are looking back. It's good, it's more reciprocal, and that's fine. Yeah, you watch all you want to watch, and they are just going to keep watching."

Continue Reading

2020 Election

Here’s why Wall Street has decided it’s fine with Democrats sweeping the election

Published

on

President Donald Trump has tried to portray himself as an economic savior, and warned that Joe Biden winning the election would be a disaster for jobs and businesses.

But according to Politico, Wall Street executives don't agree. Many of them are now actively rooting for Democrats to sweep the 2020 election — because Republicans have failed to deliver crucial stimulus.

"Traders in recent weeks have been piling into bets that a 'blue wave' election, in which Democrats also seize the Senate, will produce an economy-juicing blast of fresh fiscal stimulus of $3 trillion or more that carries the U.S. past the coronavirus crisis and into a more normal environment for markets," reported Ben White. "Far from panicking at the prospect of a Biden win, Wall Street CEOs, traders and investment managers now mostly say they would be fine with a change in the White House that reduces the Trump noise, lowers the threat of further trade wars and ensures a continuation of the government spending they’ve seen in recent years."

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

Expert: Trump in a ‘dangerous’ battle with Bloomberg to win Texas for Biden

Published

on

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg this week revealed that he's making a major last-minute ad blitz aimed at winning both Texas and Ohio for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

According to the New York Times, Bloomberg's Independence USA super PAC is "directing millions toward television advertising" in the two states in the hopes of swaying undecided voters into backing Biden instead of President Donald Trump.

Continue Reading
 
 
Democracy is in peril. Invest in progressive news. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free. LEARN MORE