Friday, 30 March 2012

America's relationship with China

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/18902.htm#relations


I looked at the United States Department of State website to find out more about the relationship the U.S has with China. There is a lot of information on the page regarding China but I chose to focus on the U.S relations with China section, especially the part from 2003 onwards.


According to the website relations began to gradually improve with the Presidency of George W. Bush. He regularly met with Chinese presidents and this is something that has continued into the Presidency of Barrack Obama. The website also states that since George Bush first met with President Jiang Zemin that “U.S. China policy has been consistent” and that the U.S. has always encouraged China’s integration into the global system. However we must keep in mind that this is a website run and updated by the United States and therefore is going to hold some bias towards the U.S. relationship with China.


“As a result, China has moved from being a relatively isolated and poor country to a key participant in international institutions and a major trading nation” this quote from the website shows that the United States seemingly believe that they have played a crucial part in China’s development in becoming a globally dominant country. It would be interesting to see if China agrees!

The next section of the website focuses on China’s standing on terrorism and it is suggested that they are very much in agreement with the United States. China were publicly supportive of the U.S. after the 9/11 terrorism attacks and served an important partner is U.S. counterterrorism efforts. Another aspect that America and China agree on is threats to global security, both are against North Korea and Iran (in particular) gaining or keeping any nuclear weapons. China publicly stated that they did not want Iran to acquire any nuclear weapons and the United States expects China to with the international community in finding solutions to these problems.

The last paragraph of the section I focused on was very interesting in revealing what America’s real relationship with China is like, as this quote shows. “While the United States looks forward to building a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship with China...areas of potential disagreement remain.” From this we can see that the U.S. continue in their attempts to make some sort of relationship with China but will always have disagreements with them. These disagreements are inevitable due to fact that China is a communist country.

Overall, the website has a highly positive tone to it and uses positive language such as “encourage” and “support” which would suggest a positive relationship between the two countries but I have a feeling this is not the case. The text is biased towards the United States as it is a website from the United States so therefore they are not going to describe their relations with China negatively as they want to keep them onside. Ultimately, if the U.S. is losing its super power status it needs to keep China happy in order to stall this from happening. However there is also evidence that the U.S. is not losing its power so maybe they just want a new friend. But this is politics, so I doubt it.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

America and China's Relationship Today

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/04/10/opinion/lieberthal-china-us-relations/index.html

The above link is for a recent CNN article regarding the current relationship between China and the USA. It starts off by pointing out, ' the United States and China have the most important bilateral relationship in the world,' and goes on to question whether or not these two countries can develop a constructive and cooperative relationship for the benefit of all. It recognises there is a possibility of the countries becoming each other's 'worst nightmare', and that the consequences of this would be on a global scale.

The constant stress both Beijing and Washington put on building ties between the two nations is attributed to the acknowledgement by its leaders of what discord would do, and the article suggests that communication between the two is far more complicated, and more often than people realise. But despite these constant negotiations, it is clear that both distrust the other's long term intentions and the relationship they share is more precarious than people realise. It states, 'such distrust is corrosive, casting even well-intentioned actions and initiatives in a negative light,' which doesn't bode well for the future of their negotiations.

The article goes on to state that this 'distrust could well create a self-fulfilling prophecy of eventual confrontation'; something both nations are trying to avoid at every cost, especially in an age of nuclear weapons where it would mean mutually assured destruction. They perceive the problem as being that neither side quite understands the other's intentions, and cannot differentiate between genuine concerns and propaganda efforts. As a consequence of this, the CNN reporters teamed up with China's leading specialists to compile a report (as seen below) that outlines each country’s main concerns and why they feel them.

http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/papers/2012/0330_china_lieberthal/0330_china_lieberthal.pdf

I think this showed remarked ingenuity of the writer's behalf, as rather than writing about the relationship as he perceives it (as an American); he has provided proof for his claims. The report garnered a wealth of integral information, and was published in both English and Chinese only last week. The discoveries made within, although numerous and complicated, pointed to one common denominator: lack of understanding and communication. Additionally, the differences in their political systems are well known, and the fears both hold are also no secret. For example:

'Beijing views America's pro-democracy foreign policy as aimed, in part, at changing China's system, while Washington inherently distrusts the motives and actions of authoritarian governments.'

But this report helped explain the reasoning behind them to each side, and to come extent, went a long way in explaining what measures could be taken to gain a better relationship. It goes on to say, 'Neither side wants an adversarial relationship, but both worry that it may become unavoidable. And extensive efforts to build mutual trust to date are not working.' It calls for new measures to be taken and for both governments to discuss the topics they have avoided for far too long. It is hoped that by taking this new information and using it wisely it could mean:

'Understanding views of the long term, clarifying thinking on key military issues and devising concrete efforts to build mutual confidence are the initiatives that could alter the perceptions in Washington and Beijing that enhance distrust.'

Without this, the relationship between the two countries will most likely remain precarious, and this unbalance will lead them both into dangerous territory. This article has highlighted the biggest concerns people hold with regards to the complex relationship USA and China hold, and rather than placing much of the blame on America's need to keep China in check, and China's strive to overtake America, it views them as two nations that are trying hard to find a way to cooperate, in an age where working together benefits individuals, as well as whole countries.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Anon

Anon or Anonymous is a basic way of being online. Now one is who they seem. When you sign up for an identity online you can in fact fake it. This has meant that although many of us are who we say we are, people can infact create fake identities or in fact lie and make themselves out to be something they are not. Even if they are who they say they are, the ability to have you identity hidden means many people can be very violent and abusive online.

Now for me this is worrying, it is said that people display their true colours when they are put in a position of power. You get this online, you are immune from physical attack and in most cases judicial power. This means that what you see online is the true nature of people. THIS IS VERY WORRYING!!! Online forums are always a post away from turning into an insult fest. People constantly insult people because their ideas differ. their are no debates online only arguments involving words such as nigger, dick, asshole. Penis sizes are often compared and insulted.

Now on some forums there is tight moderation which helps this, but the moment that is taken away or before it can be enforced hell is literally broken loose. o obviously the hidden identity is used for sinister means such as paedophilia and other illegal activities. But the fact that your everyday joe or joanna is going out and insulting people without even thinking how there is always insults after insults and constant comparison of penis size... is very worrying.disagreements quickly become "flaming" etc. It is very worrying that this is what people do the moment that everyday morals and everyday law is no longer taken into account. Soon we will need a police force online.

Digital Identity in Contemporary America

Social media in the United States and globally is fast becoming the preferred method of which people interact with each other and therefore making human contact surplus. With websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Tumblir, Blogging, Skype, Instant Messenger, Linkedin etc. these are how someone is able to communicate with someone whether they be in the same room or on the other side of the world.
The downside to these new methods of interaction is that someone is able to portray themselves in a way that they would prefer to be seen, therefore masking their true identity which in some cases can lead to certain threats to specific groups such as children who are on line that can be easily influenced. This is fast becoming a high risk issue within society today as these children can be targeted by predators but also anybody can become the target of cyber crime and cyber stalking.
By people using these sites, they choose what information they wish to have online and once this information is out there it is very hard to get back and this also leaves people open to identity fraud. This means that hackers are able to gain this information and use it to their advantage, leaving individuals open to being a target as they are leaving a digital footprint which people can use to their advantage.
Along with these online social networking sites, other factors of which everyday life is affected is that everything is becoming available online such as banking, education, shopping etc which once again is replacing human contact.  An article that was published on Search Engineland, which had a report that was published by the Pew Internet Project, found that Americans will still shop online even though they still fear Identity Theft as they find it more convenient and it saves them time. This shows that the internet is continuing to work its way in to the daily lives of the everyday American as you will be able to see from the link that over 80% say that they use it to do their product research.
It can be perceived that these online facilities have benefited the world but it can also been seen that it has replaced who people really are with the ability to be whoever you want to be, in effect creating an alter ego. I know myself that if I am tagged in a photo on Facebook for example, and I look a little bit worse for wear or it is not a particularly fortunate angle for me where I don’t look my best then I can delete this from my timeline so that people cannot see this. This means that if I am able to do this, then so can everyone else so therefore how well do these digital online identities actually help us to know each other properly?

Class in Contemporary America

http://home.earthlink.net/~lrgoldner/brno.html

Recent Class Struggles in the USA - Loren Goldner
 
For this week’s blog subject, I have chosen is a speech and interview by Loren Goldner - which is actually a transcript of a talk that she gave.
The speak starts with presenting 2 parts of an analysis of the class struggle that dominates the United States. To begin with, she goes into detail about the historical side of class describing when the United States did not exist and was only a series of British colonies in 1676. At this time there was a rebellion of white workers and African slaves together against the planter class in a colony of Virginia. She states that this was important because both white workers and black slaves had similar working conditions and the difference of race did not exist yet but does develop later. However after this time there was a rise of the white supremacy ideology which divided the workers and this made white workers then have a stake in the system. It is due to this that there was never a mass workers party in the United States.
After this Goldner goes on to describe King Phillips war of 1676 which was in the North East New England states where Puritans killed approximately 30,000 Indians. This was evidence of radical Protestantism - the African slaves and the Indians and the combination of these events is what created the radical oppression within American society which can be seen today.
Later in Goldner's speech, she goes on to describe more with US capitalism and the rise of the US official workers movement followed by a series of struggles that began in 1955 such as the rise of the black movement and the wild cat strike movement which led on to destroy the rule of the democratic party.
The second part of her talk is describing a series of working class defeats such as the strike of the Greyhound bus drivers and the coal miners in 1989. After her talk there is a question and answer session in which she states that she thinks that there will be a new round of working class resistance and that the new anti terrorist ideology following 9/11, will serve as a tool to integrate the American working class into the capitalist system.
Twitter and Facebook

For me when I think of digital identities i immediatly think of Twitter and Facebook. A user of both of these sites myself i understand the power and the appeal that both of these sites have not just for the youth of today but for people of all ages from all across the world. Social newtworking sites have been on the rise in popularity and growth within the last 5 years, with Twitter and Facebook becoming the dominant two within the industry.

Both Twitter and facebook are extremly popular however different. Facebook being more of a social networking site based on the emphasis of 'The Profile'. A page dedicated to you and your life displaying information, pictures ands comments and posts between friends. However Twitter places its emphasis on the 'Status Update'. Twitter is inevitably a site dedicated to your account being based upon a series of updates indicating where you are, what your doing or whatever you want to share. Both of these sites therefore open up the privacy gates but only if you allow them too. Whether you chose to let people know what you are doing and where you are etc is your perogative, however the so called 'addictive' nature of both these websites intices people into documenting their lives online and in return being able to look into other peoples lives aswell.

Both of these sites began in America and came over to the United Kingdom and eventually spred across the world. Twitter being the newest of the two im looking at primarity started out as a site heavily reliant on celebrity input. Twitter is used alot by the celebrities today as a way of letting others who are interested, read their 'Tweets', see what theyare up to and look at current pictures they are putting up. Now though the site has expanded in popularity and non celebrities are using it in the same manour, tweeting and posting their thoughts and where abouts to those who 'Follow' them.

Both Facebook and Twitter have become a great cultural influence within America, with what seems like everyone today being part of the sites and buying into the addictive nature of what they offer. While these social networking sites can be seen to be a positive thing for America as they connect people from all different areas, promote a social environment and allow personal self expression they can can be seen to be giving a false idea of what it means to be 'social.'

The growing concern for some Americans is that these social networking sites are taking people away from acctual live, interactive social invironments and replacing them with a computor screen. In this 'Digital Age' the rise of the Smart Phones, Ipads, Tablets etc are promoting themselves on the basis that anywhere you go you can be 'Connected.' A heavy reliance being on apps that connect you to Facebook and Twitter. As well as this the rise of video calling for example in the new Iphone 4s and 'Skype' are promoting the same ideas that you dont nessesaritly need acctual live contact to be 'Social.'

On top of this issues such as cyber bullying and identity theft surround Twitter and Facebook. With hacking being an issue due to people either hacking into an account of creating a fake account and posing as that person. This therefore takes away in a sense the innocence of these socail newtworking sites and gives them the back hand of being a threat. This therefore is a downside to not being livly social, profiles and accounts are great in one sense but without face to face time are we ever really sure who were looking at or who were talking to on sites such as Twitter and Facebook?

http://9gag.com/

The website that in my eyes epitomises the average American digital native is 9gag, the website that lets you to flaunt your creative prowess by allowing you to create various memes by using various catchphrases and characters that others have already thought up. These creations are used to capture everyday situations in lives of what would be the average American not studying for tests, browsing the internet or simply watching TV, there are memes to satisfy most people.

After looking at the two sections of the website it allows you to view without signing in which opens up an entirely alien world of obscurity portraying situations the darkest depths of your mind would not be able to think up, as well as a vulgar tendency to delve in to the less PC thoughts of many who use the sight. I decided that if this is the new Facebook or Twitter however you would dub it, this seems to be the new trend to follow for many Americans, communicating through a serious of hit and miss attempts at random humour and then criticising as to why they did/not laugh at what was shown.

This taps into the random humour phenomenon that seems to be sweeping the globe at the moment, now we have a few characters that are used to convey ours or the creator’s thoughts upon the situation they put themselves in.
A positive would be that it is also used to oust those who publicly on facebook and other social network sites emanate their stupidity, their statuses are posted usually followed by a joke revolving around suicide, but it does seem rather amazing how inept some people are in the US.

The best thing I have seen on the site is its emphasis on the social truths that people find hilarious as they themselves have either been in that situation or can relate to that situation. Or it just puts to light the stupidity of the masses whose beliefs amount to nothing but satisfying their own egos. I apologise if this next picture is in bad taste.

Though the problem with this is that as time goes on we seem to become so cynical towards life itself that we are now grouping ourselves together to laugh at the stupidity of others, why is this bad? It results in people restraining themselves due to fear of being made into one of these memes or being publicly ousted on Facebook therefore no matter how stupid someone may look no one has the right to take away someone’s individuality if no one is being hurt. Though this in a way is also a positive when we see mass acts of stupidity and they can be succinctly ostracised due to this by one of these memes that will be viewed by possibly thousands of people or more therefore becoming a norm to humiliate then surely sites like 9gag are beneficial.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Digital Identity in Contemporary USA

In contemporary America, a digital identity has two separate and distinct sides - a dual identity if you will. The sheer variety of ways in which people can express themselves is ever growing and becoming more irresistible by the day. There are social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, for those who want to keep a track of friends and the news. There are dating sites and gaming sites for those who have difficulties interacting on a one to one basis. There are blogs and forums for those who like to express their opinions to the world. There is YouTube for the more extrovert amongst us, who like to make or view videos. There are even online diaries and writing sites for displaying individual talents and personal worries.

In the majority of cases, these websites are used by ordinary, honest people. It could be a way of eradicating the distance between themselves and another, perhaps friends or relatives they no longer see very often. It could be a way of keeping up with the progressions of the world, as the news is often reiterated across these websites. Most often, it is a new outlet for expressing their right to freedom of speech and expression. In this regard, their identity is controlled. They can reveal as much or as little of themselves as they wish. They can find likeminded people to share a collective identity - perhaps of a specific gender, class, sexuality, race, political interest, or even hobby. This is made even easier by the arrival of portable devices and wi fi, allowing people to pursue these interests no matter where they are in the world. Essentially they can connect emotionally and digitally without having to connect physically. Though, you could consider the biggest benefit to having an online digital identity is the idea of being able to live forever in some capacity, with your online identity outliving your human body, and in some respects, online we all become equals.

The other typical use of having a digital identity is that it enables you to hide your own. If there is an aspect of your personality or life you would rather keep hidden, an online identity allows you to do this. You could also create a whole new false identity for yourself. This side of having a digital identity is the most suspect, as cyber bullying, identity theft and hacking become rampant. Somebody could pretend to be somebody else and tarnish their name, or safely send abuse, just as children have fallen foul to paedophiles and people have had their online lives ruined when their bank accounts, email accounts and social network accounts have been hacked. Allowing people the option of being anonymous opens up many opportunities for the less amiable people in the world to take advantage of having a digital identity. There is also a side of the coin that doesn't allow for privacy - a contradiction behind being able to control your online identity is that you cannot control other peoples. There is always a fear that your privacy will be betrayed by people exposing film or photographic evidence of things you would otherwise prefer to keep hidden, as well as your whereabouts or actions being spoken about by others in this public way.

A digital identity is an extremely complicated concept. On the one hand, it can be a chance to exhibit a true version of yourself, perhaps allowing the more reserved to gather confidence or find allies, and also allows you to blend in with contemporary society, but on the other hand, when this is taken to the extreme or put into the hands of dishonest people, it often causes more harm than good and allows a new, almost uncontrollable form of deceit to become the norm. Progression dictates that identity will shift over time, but I am doubtful that out digital identities will ever become more important than our actual, real-life identity - the face people see in the mirror. As the Americans were the first to discover the internet and make full use of creating a digital identity, it goes without saying that the rest of the world would follow this example - this new phase can only have mixed repercussions on society and American identity on the whole; though I lean more towards believing it will break down some barriers that have been created over the years.

Friday, 23 March 2012

The 99%, the 1%, and Class Struggle

http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2011/1111reuss.html

The aim of this piece by Dollars and Sense is to emphasize the benefits of solidarity between workers around the world and essentially uniting and forming various unions to solidify their bond allowing their jobs to become more beneficial. They outline the current situation for American workers or otherwise the” 99 percenters” not to allow the current job stagnation to go on as it could result in a far worse turn out as it already has the old stereotype being “the rich get richer….” The lack of independent business and most people relying on corporate labour for both jobs and products has been a huge factor in the contribution to the huge salaries of the 1%. As the corporations now have the financial security to charge less for their services whereas the independent businesses who cannot lower their prices are stuck with fewer an d fewer customers whereas the only people who can benefit from this are those who sweep up the commerce and buy out what Is left over, which could possibly be the end of independent business as we know it.

The problem being that in a capitalist society the employer benefits rather than the worker, because of the lack unification they are not the majority therefore ours is a disposable existence when it comes to work and this is what the article has attempted to draw light upon.

As well as this the piece outlines the fact that now more and more Americans are actually making money from property rather than working in general, if they are able to work for a certain amount of time or build a suitable house using whatever means they have in order to rent it to others. Which contributes in a sense that, if others can make money by renting rather than working then they are able to get rich of those who have bought the house and pay for its upkeep.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Digital Identities


There are a variety of digital identities available to Americans today, the main ones being blogs, social networking sites and forums. All are ways in which Americans are able to present themselves and their opinions and have had an affect on the way in which information is presented and found out.

Blogs are becoming increasingly popular with sites like Tumblr and Google's own blogger allowing people to create their own blog and air their opinions on particular topics. They allow freedom speech and are easily accessible meaning that your opinion is heard not only by a few people but nationally and often globally. Blogs have become such an embedded part of our society that people now have careers in blogging. Companies often have a blog and hire people specifically to write that blog. Also, it allows celebrities, politicians, authors, journalists etc. to interact with the public on their views or upcoming news and is a much faster and more affective way of communicating information. When blogs first started being used they were often aimed at a niche audience as they tended to have a particular focus i.e football, beauty products, linguistics etc. As they become popularised this element of blogging faded and with the invention of Tumblr, blogs became more general and accessible to wider audience.

Forums are another digital identity available to Americans. Forums again targeted a niche audience when they first begun and to some extent still do. They were often about a specific subject that only people who were interested in and/or knew something about the subject would post on. This has changed slightly with their popularity. Many websites now have forums for anyone to post on, for example magazine websites like Cosmopolitan or Glamour have the option to comment on articles posted to start discussion and this often true of newspaper websites, making the target audience group much wider. Again, like blogs forums allow freedom of speech on a much bigger scale than ever before. They allow for discussion of topics that previously would not have nearly as much popularity 10 years ago and this discussion can be global, connecting the world and allowing people to hear about issues that they would not have been aware of previously.

Social networking sites are probably the most popular form of digital identity available to Americans. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have changed the way in which people communicate, the way in which information is discovered and again the way in which people air their opinions. For anyone that has seen the Kony 2012 video, you will know that there are now more people on Facebook than there were on Earth 200 years ago. The sheer popularity of Facebook evidences that the world and have changed the way in which we want to communicate and attain information, no one more so than the Americans. Would Facebook have ever become the phenomenon that it is today without being invented and then popularised by the Americans? I don't think so. Where America goes the world follows and luckily for Mark Zuckerburg the world went to Facebook. Facebook allows us to communicate with people across the world, friends, family members and people we do not even know! We might not be on the same continent but we know what these people are doing through their Facebook status or check in. Recently The Guardian, The Independent and The Washington Post have been made available to read for free on Facebook meaning that the demand for newspapers is now less and also showing that the newspapers saw an opportunity to gain more readers across a wider age range and social background. Twitter is another social networking site that has had a massive affect on the way the world communicates. At only 6 years old Twitter has 350 million users (as of June 2011) spanning right across the world. The most significant aspect of Twitter is probably how quickly information can spread and how it is often the first place to find out about major news stories. For example, Whitney Houston's death was reported on Twitter 28 minutes before any major news station. Also the riots in middle east were all organised using Twitter, when the riots hit London back in 2011 they were organised and reported using Twitter. This affirms that the way in which we communicate has changed dramatically in the last 6 years and that ideas are able to spread at a much quicker rate than ever before.

All of these forms of digital identities have seemingly enhanced the world and made it a more connected place however is it all what it seems? Online, people have the flexibility to present themselves however they want. Your profile picture doesn't even have to be you if you don't want it to be! And lets face it, when it comes to profile pictures you are not going to put an "ugly" photo of yourself up because that is not how you want people to view you. As human beings we try to make ourselves look as good as possible; so essentially a person's Facebook profile is them showing you all the good things about their life. Despite blogs, forums and tweets allowing you freedom of speech there is always going to be controversy around what you say. Can you be bothered to deal with people, half the time who you don't even know wanting a huge argument with you over what you typed? I know I can't. Therefore people often limit what they write or say online to save conflict although don't get me wrong, there are people out there who are the complete opposite and write something that will spark to debate just for the fun of it! But then is that not what these places are for?

Identity in the future of America is probably going to be one that is conveyed via social networking sites, forums and blogs. Even the President has a Twitter and Facebook page! And I believe that this communication through the screen will continue and if anything grow. Sure there will be new social networking sites developed and others will die out just like Myspace and Bebo but nevertheless they will continue. Aspects of everyday life are likely to also die out because with the internet we do not need them anymore, newspapers, supermarkets even fast food chains will become an online thing; they already are but they will just become even more popular. As I mentioned before, where America goes generally the rest of the world follows. Therefore as long as the United States still hold some form of power, we are still going to communicate via this blog, add each other on Facebook and retweet each other's tweets. Our identity will be just as virtual as America's, that's if it already isn't!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Rant about american class-ism



http://spectator.org/archives/2010/07/16/americas-ruling-class-and-the
Warning rant following

I wanted to look at a different side of America. The poverty idea, though shocking, was too samey. Every country in the world has poor people, the lower class are to busy feeling jealous of the middle class and hatred toward the upper class. The middle class is too busy being jealous of the upper class while worrying about loosing their middle classness. That no one does anything, they all write books on it or attack the super rich because they dont pay $5000 of tax or something.

Yet what most people miss is that America has no social mobility. Those at the top stay at the top. They dont get hurt by the economic downturn, in fact the probably get more money more loans. If any of the big companies start to fail then everyone rushes to bail them out. The reason that nothing is sorted out economically is the top are not suffering a economic downturn... Trust you me if all the MPs or Congressmen were in trouble of being out of jobs then the world economy would be sorted in 4 hours and world debt would not exist.

However in America the upper class the ruling class the monarchy, if you like. Don't know about this they don't listen all are too busy making too much money... and thinking they would have to take a pay cut about it is too horrible. They can't tax the rich more they'll just move away cos they don't care as long as your not taking even more than half their income. The middle class dont want to lose comfort and the poor have no money.

"As over-leveraged investment houses began to fail in September 2008, the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties, of major corporations, and opinion leaders stretching from the National Review magazine (and the Wall Street Journal) on the right to the Nation magazine on the left, agreed that spending some $700 billion to buy the investors' "toxic assets" was the only alternative to the U.S. economy's "systemic collapse." In this, President George W. Bush and his would-be Republican successor John McCain agreed with the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. Many, if not most, people around them also agreed upon the eventual commitment of some 10 trillion nonexistent dollars in ways unprecedented in America. They explained neither the difference between the assets' nominal and real values, nor precisely why letting the market find the latter would collapse America. The public objected immediately, by margins of three or four to one."

No one cares... Everyone is inherently selfish... What a shame. Example of this is Saudi Arabia and Libya. In Saudi Arabia they are the same as in Libya yet they have a health care and they are all well off. In Libya they were not, so the rebelled. People only care about themselves!

Class Struggle in Contemporary USA

http://www.socialistalternative.org/about/

The above website belongs to a group named the Socialist Alternative, who describes themselves as 'a national organization fighting in our workplaces, communities, and campuses against the exploitation and injustices people face every day.' Their slogan, 'Bail out workers, not Wall Street!' reveals their attitude toward the US government and their recent policies, and in an echo of Charlotte's previous post, they 'believe the Republicans and Democrats are both parties of big business.' Whereas they campaign for an alternative, independent party of workers and young people, in what they describe as' fighting for the millions, not the millionaires' - much like the Occupy Wall Street movement.

 http://www.socialistalternative.org/news/article20.php?id=1745

I found this article written amongst the many in their archives and thought it contained a lot of useful information on the issue of class lines and class struggle within contemporary USA. It discusses in detail the issues the world faces on the whole, and it says this of the Occupy movement currently sweeping the USA:

'The highlighting of searing inequality against the background of mass impoverishment synonymous with ‘modern’ capitalism has evoked a powerful echo among broad sections of the population... In the US, for instance, average wages of manual workers– still referred to as ‘middle class’ by the capitalist media as a means of blunting growing class consciousness – are at the level of the 1950s in real terms; the religion of everlasting capitalist progress has been shattered. The unrestrained piling up of wealth by the ‘1%’ – perhaps the greatest concentration and centralisation of capital in history, foreseen by Marx – has fuelled the protests.'

Within this, Socialist Alternative reveal their views on the existence of a middle class in America; something they believe has been arisen from the Government and encouraged by the media, in an effort to stop class consciousness and an inevitable revolt. Their ideas are highly linked with Marxism and Socialism, though they do not appear to fully support either movement. And of the Occupy America movement, whilst championing its demands, they also describe it as 'not firmly based either ideologically or with deep roots and a presence in the organisations of the working class' - the sudden popularity it is experiencing, they attribute to the American youth of today.

Socialist Alternative go on to say, ' Never before in history has it been more necessary to stress the need for organisation, for a mass workers’ party, as a vital step in the development of class consciousness; ground won in the past has to be reconquered again and again.' Championing a political awakening of the class divide in America, and a revolution to blur the class lines to what the founders of America first hoped for. They declare that, 'a mass party will be necessary for the working class to conquer and hold power,' and believe 'we have entered a period of revolution and counter-revolution because of the incapacity of the bourgeoisie to solve this underlying crisis.'

They also hold the belief that, 'the economic catastrophe of the US today is also alarming the bourgeois of other countries because of the still pivotal position of the US ruling class for world capitalism,' and predict a revolution in other countries influenced by the US as a result. They suggest that the US government is dysfunctional and the US constitution outdated, and as a result, the population can only choose between which millionaires and billionaires will dominate and exploit workers for years to come, if something is not done about it.

Two other things I thought worth mentioning, was their attitude towards the Tea Party movement - something they call an 'incredible phenomenon' with 'ludicrous and crazed ideas and leadership,' that only garnered support because they took advantage of the political vacuum created by an absence of any left-wing challenge to Obama. And also, their feelings towards the lack of unionisation in America - something they feel strongly attributes towards 'increased class polarisation' and helps the popularity of Occupy America, as it provides an important catalyst.