Who are the Koch brothers and what do they want. What drives the super rich for more? It’s a question that perplexes me.
It’s safe to assume that they are trying to enrich themselves, and I don’t think that facet of human nature ever changes. But I think they would also tell you that they wish to create an atmosphere that is ripe with unfettered opportunity and uplifts all those eager to seize it.
Of course, to this end, sacrifices must be made. All one must do is look to John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, and all those laid waste by the march toward progress, which we now enjoy.
Sorry, no more Howard Zinn after this. In the transcontinental railroad race, records exact that toll for just 1889. “22,000 railroad workers were killed or injured,” writes Zinn.
That does not dismiss the burden the barons had to endure for our benefit. Sullying themselves through bribes and political intrigue, Union Pacific and Central Pacific secured 9 million acres of free land and tens of millions in government funding. But the exorbitant one or two dollars a day paid to Chinese and Irish immigrants had to have made up for all the baggage these magnets carried.
JP Morgan suffered a similar fate. Purchasing Andrew Carnegie’s steel empire in 1900 for half a billion dollars, he bought congress off to kill foreign competition through tariffs and monopolized the industry by keeping prices down. Fortunately, the $12 a day paid 200,000 workers surely gave him the satisfaction that they barely survived.
In response, the Homestead Action of 1892 was doomed of Pinkertons and the full backing of the government. As such, US Steel remained union free well into the 20th Century.
But the cost of living among the country’s railroad workers had more than just daily survival in mind. 2000 workers died each year and 30,000 were left injured. The companies attributed such tragedy to “acts of God,” according to Zinn.
Obviously, workers had a more grounded take. “It comes down to this,” reported Fireman’s Magazine. “While railroad managers reduce their force and require men to do double duty, involving the loss of rest and sleep…the accidents are chargeable to the greed of the corporation.
The situation reached its breaking point in 1894 when the Pullman strike began. Remarkably, the action amounted to a nationwide strike. “All traffic leading out of Chicago had come to a halt – workers derailed freight cars, blocked tracks and pulled engineers off trains if they refused to cooperate.”
Thus federal troops were sent in on legal grounds. “The mails weren’t being delivered,” according to US Attorney General, Richard Olney. The troops descended on the yards, clubbing all they could see – 34 killed, 56 seriously injured and 700 arrested, including the organizer Eugene V. Debs.
Of course, there are more stories and more blood on the way to the eight hour work day and basic human dignity. Still, might there have been a better way to get there? Well, there was definitely a worse way.
Just ask the 20 million or so that fell to the collective industrialization of the Soviet Union. The 22,000 Irish that died on the railroad in 1889 nearly occurred in a single day. According to Nikolai Tolstoy’s, Stalin’s Secret War, the mindset of Russia’s ascent was encapsulated in the easy way the state resolved the fate of 14,000 political prisoners.
Once they had exhausted the mine they were tapping in Siberia, sending a train to gather them was a waste of resources in pursuit of the socialist dream. They simply marched all 14,000 off a cliff.
A little democracy is better than none, but still, who is this ruling class and what do they want? Having Utopian visions of their own – Atlas Shrugged serves as their Communist Manifesto.
The only thing, the Russians obviously saw no reason for a leap of faith and accepted their doctrine with the fanaticism of a suicide bomber. Maybe that’s why the Rand Paul’s are not nearly as dangerous. On the other hand, the bible is more for the masses who think the Koch Brother’s riches will pave the way for theirs.
All they want is your vote. But I still haven’t answered what they want. Whatever degree they believe their efforts can shift the world with a shrug – greed, power and ambition trump any notions of overcompensating for their guilty consciences.
For Zinn’s part, he believes the ruling class seeks separation from the rest of us. Having my doubts about that, maybe Andrew Carnegie’s father told us all we need to know as the Civil War loomed. “A man may be a patriot without risking his own life or sacrificing his health. There are plenty of lives less valuable.”
But I do know this. Everything we have has been fought and died for – the ruling class as the enemy. They would likely exhibit no pause in bringing us back to their golden age. All you have to do is look to the sweatshops they’ve replanted across the world. That is why we cannot be complacent, or the flying cars our great grandchildren enjoy, will be paid for by us – with our lives.
Originally Published on Rich Monetti
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