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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

News and the Diffusion of Responsibility

This coming May Day will show us the resilience of working class rage. How much effort at protesting is enough? Did it help last year? Are the workers of the world going to unite in global demonstrations, protests and marches? Are the pundits going to fill the media with gnashing of teeth and the rending of garments?

Participating in protests or even just watching protests and news reports about economic injustice on YouTube has a psychological effect that contributes to complacency. When we see public shaming of powerful wrong-doers in the media we get a false sense of vindication and assume others have taken up the mantle of justice. We fantasize that the perpetrators are being frog-marched at this very moment into a courtroom and then off to prison.

But it's been all fantasy since the recession. The cries in the wilderness of poverty level wages, bankruptcies, foreclosures and abuse of authority go heard by all, but never remedied. Officials go through the motions by forming committees and publicly mulling over the issues and then they concede points to powerful opponents until there's nothing left, or worse, additional punitive disadvantages as retaliation for even suggesting the raise in the minimum wage.

We all assume that something will be done by someone we elected to office, but we only chose from a list made up by the rich and powerful anyway. What kind of fraud is that? Why is that tolerated?

Have a good May Day.