Shakespeare on the Bleak Future of the Middle Class

The blood weeps from my heart when I do shape In forms imaginary the unguided days And rotten times that you shall look upon“The blood weeps from my heart when I do shape
In forms imaginary the unguided days
And rotten times that you shall look upon
When I am sleeping with my ancestors”

(King Henry IV part 2, act 4, sc. 4)

Comments. At the end of these comments I will post a link to a video that, surprisingly comes, or is said to come, from North Korea (!). The first minute or so is filled with the usual flamboyant and complimentary greetings to the heavenly leader (or words to that effect). But the rest is an eye-opening, or rather an eye-confirming experience on what America is today (and the western and westernized world at large is).
As a follow up to a previous entry (Dec 29) remembering the massacre of Wounded Knee (Murder most foul, as in the best it is, but this most foul, strange and unnatural), we can view that utterly in-human (and whatever other adjective you may wish to add) episode, as a chapter in a yet-to-be-written history of exploitation of which the Native Americans were but one set of victims. The pattern is replicated wherever the philosophy and the policy of exploitation is given a free hand without restraints or limits.
We (or someone can) call it “free market” or any other name embellished by deceiving adjectives (i.e. “free”). In truth it is but a project of limitless expansion and exploitation, starting from the plundering of the natural resources (in the instance of the land stolen from Native Americans). Timber merchants, railroad magnates, mine and land speculators, landing like rabid hyenas on the western lands and exterminating the native population who resisted. “The only good Indian is a dead Indian”, said President Jackson – beautiful post-script to a declaration of independence that starts with “all men are created equal.”
Those who did not die in the slaughter were herded into reservations. In turn this destroyed the capacity for self-sufficiency and created what is now called a “culture of dependency” except for those who made the profits.
Excellent template to be applied in the continent, Cuba, Latin America with a first foray into the Philippines. Today it is Iraq and Afghanistan, countries teeming with people who would immediately invade the United States were it not for the generous slaughter of their inhabitants, conducted with glee directly and electronically by friendly drones.
The mostly communal way of living of Native Americans (which included, as now we are beginning to be aware of, a sacred respect for nature and her resources) was highly unacceptable to an exploitative society, where human and natural life are commodities exploited for money until exhaustion or collapse.
Native Americans were the first people that happened to live in “sacrifice zones”, so designated by the capitalists. Since then many have been added, at home and, of course, overseas. For example, Camden NJ, Gary IN, Detroit MI, Cleveland OH, Fort Wayne IN, South Bend IN, to name a few.
Camden, for example, was an industrial center: there was Campbell Soup, RCA Victor and the ship yards. Tens of thousands of jobs – now nothing. People become trapped within cities no longer such but reduced to the state of internal colonies. The inhabitants have no other choice than despair with its concomitant remedy of drugs. In Camdem a popular remedy is “Wet”, a blend of marijuana and angel dust.
The interesting aspect of all this is that there is no longer any political or social mechanism that can oppose the sacrificial exploitations, thefts, tortures and murders conducted in the name of democracy.
The “system” has been honed to perfection. The nation is being re-configured as a complete corporate state dramatically resembling the Middle Ages in its structure. The corporate state creates an oligarchy (which at the time (early Middle Ages) had at least the historical excuse of having defended Europe from the Huns and Mongols), where a minute percent make immense profits around the globe.  The Obamas of this world are perfect representatives. These are the same people who tell the Americans (by action when not by words) that they must compete with Bangladeshis at 22 cents per hour or work 80 hours per week as in Vietnam or China.
Needless to say, the “system” knows no democrat and no republican. History suggests that any empire will eventually turn against its own people. With Rome it came to pass that people eventually joined the barbarians as a less oppressive choice. Similar situation occurred with the Western Roman Empire where the Christian inhabitants found the Muslims a more palatable and less oppressive choice than Byzantium.
The assault today is against the middle class, carried out by the dismantling of the social reforms of yester years. After all, in the words of M. Thatcher, prime minister from Hell, “there is no such thing as society”.
It is therefore reasonable to assume that King Henry IV of Lancaster would use the words quoted at the beginning, as a comment on our current state of affairs.

Tips for Use.  Unguided days and rotten times are an apt description of the socio-political moment.

In the play. Ailing King Henry IV’s reaction at being informed that his heir, the Prince of Wales, is in the company of Poins and others. Actually, unbeknown to the king, the Prince has already changed his course of conduct – which is certainly not the case if we apply the allegory to the cultural situation of the present.

Video mentioned:

Site for Image.   “Bleak Future”, a painting by Adesina Sanchez

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