Your essay "Recruiting Trench Liberals and Leftnecks" set off all the bells and whistles in my indentured mentality. Right off, I'll say that I'm from Canada, "the great white north", home of those communist pinko socialist ingrates, which I suspect will impugn anything that follows for a healthy chunk of your readership. However, "Screw the torpedoes." Contrary to the prevailing opinion south of the line, all is not well in frigid Pinkoville. I talk to a multitude of people like your friend Buddy every day at the transport company where I am employed cum incarcerated.
You raise the questions of how Buddy can get on board a populist political movement and how the newspapers can say the economy is booming. I'm usually castrated by the physical demands of working 80 hours a week at the number of McJobs necessary to keep body and soul together, which itself seems at times to be a losing proposition. Notwithstanding, the control mechanisms do make the occasional mistake, such as the sporadic and terrifying periods of unemployment in which it's possible, even for white trash, to apply a library card to the weeks or even months of punitive ostracism.
The newspapers are disinformation lackeys in a brilliant scheme that was puked into reality at the point where "Tricky Dicky" took the American dollar off the gold standard. Of course the buck had to be backed by something, but what could suffice that would cost nothing, and get rid of all that bullshit of having to back the currency with a commodity of real value. If possible, this slick move would free up those carloads of cash regularly extorted from the working class, which had to be wasted on buying something of tangible value for propriety of the dollar. The gaping ass pockets of the elite were fairly salivating at the prospect of stuffed wallets and offshore accounts.
"Shrub", as he is affectionately known in some circles, was the fall guy to shove the plan into the light of day. It's brilliant. Why not back the buck with F-16's, carrier battle groups, Warthogs, and M1's, etc., then say "Look, motherfuckers, the dollar is worth what we say it's worth, or kiss your ass goodbye?" The extra dollars thus retained could be used to psy-op and legislate the "sheeple" class into their proper role of servicing the obviously superior minority of the species.
Yet a tad of trouble has come up in their ideological paradise of the new world order. Little things like the Iranian oil bourse, China holding more treasury instruments than Moses. Assholes like Chavez and Putin under the delusion that they actually own their oil, hedge funds, sub-prime mortgages, and Islamist psychos who treat their own lives like we would treat a round of M-16 ammo.
The whole gambit is still scary as shit, because if it succeeds, the present social structure will be as permanent as if it was set in a solid block of urethane.
Regarding Buddy and me: How the fuck can we participate in populist politics when the only time we can look up is during a period of unemployment where the clear choice is between starvation and capitulation?
I'm with ya all the way. The fuck job is brilliant. But then it always has been, hasn't it?
At the same time I can tell you this from experience: There are plenty of working folks who can hear and understand a populist message. Of course by the time you get enough of them hearing it, the time will have come for a revolution ... time to burn down a few things and take some hostages. But at least they will be facing in the direction of the fight.
In art and labor,