Working-Class Journalism in the Age of Oligarchs
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Barbara Ehrenreich is a journalist and author known for her illuminating—and often searing—writing about poverty in America. On November 27, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands gave her the 2018 Erasmus Prize in the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. Here are her remarks.
Wow. Amsterdam is completely disorienting to an American. I’ve been here for more than a week and haven’t heard a single gunshot. Even the dignitaries, like the king and queen, are warm, kind people. When I met the Dutch ambassador to the United States last spring, in connection with this prize, he was so pleasant and jolly that I had to question his credentials.
One thing about this country that is strange, even exotic, to an American is that you seem to lack the steep class divisions that are so visible almost everywhere in my country. You may eventually get to the same divided condition as my country – this is the way most industrialized countries are trending – but at least for now, the Dutch welfare state remains strong enough to prevent that from happening. In the US, by contrast, we have virtually no welfare state to protect the poor and downwardly mobile, and the results are visible even to tourists.
Take Manhattan, that once-beautiful island that, according to legend, the Dutch bought from the Indians for $24—and that’s a real estate deal that even Trump would have to admire. Today, Manhattan land sells for up to $10,000 a square foot, so $24 would get you next to nothing.
"Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime" - Aristotle "The more I see of the moneyed peoples, the more I understand the guillotine" - George Bernard Shaw "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable" - JFK #SurviveAndRevolt
December 26, 2018 at 4:05 PM #5194mrdmkParticipant
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Barbara Ehrenreich does make the point of people who were once successful cannot be successful in today’s economic climate. She does present solutions however. The question becomes, ‘Why leaders, the people in power do the same?’ The obvious answer is, ‘The powers that be do not want to!’
If you cannot dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit WC Fields
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