Leftists in the United States sometimes despair over the fact that the masses of people seem to be completely ignoring them. But maybe that's a distorted picture: maybe it's the left that is ignoring the masses of people. If you look at a summary of the 2012 elections, the voting-age population of the U.S. is said to be just under 241 million people. Well over 3 million of these people are excluded from voting by laws that prevent prisoners and released felons from voting. Another 8% of of this population are noncitizens and also inelligible. Only 130 million people, or 53% of the people, voted for president. So when we ponder the illusions that the U.S. population has in the system, we're actually looking at a very slight majority of the population, and ignoring the millions who don't play the game. That means 47% of the people ignored, sat out, were barred from, or perhaps didn't even see, the two-year clown-car filled electoral circus that preceeded the elections. So perhaps our conventional wisdom about who the proletariat is and what it is up to right now could really use some work.
Back in 1918, Russian revolutionary V.I. Lenin wrote, "America has become one of the foremost countries in regard to the depth of the abyss which lies between the handful of arrogant multimillionaires who wallow in filth and luxury, and the millions of working people who constantly live on the verge of pauperism." This seems truer than ever today.
African-American writer D. Watkins, shown in the photo above on the streets of East Baltimore, wrote the following piece for Salon, sharing with his readers a sobering view of American reality. It should be a call for leftists, for communists, to re-evaluate the bubbles in which we live, to refocus our vision on what our world really looks like. —ISH