Vanity Fair profiles The eXile: "Gutsy...visceral...serious journalism...abusive, defamatory...poignant...paranoid...and right!"
MSNBC: Mark Ames and Yasha Levine
Broke the Koch Brothers' Takeover of America
Class War For Idiots / March 23, 2009
By Mark Ames

I’ve heard from more than a few people who get all hot under the collar when I say that the whole class war against America started under Reagan. This graph pretty much says it all: it was Reagan who saw to it that America defeated China, Russia and all the other repressive regimes… to make us the world’s number one Gulag Nation. Why did he lock up so many Americans, and keep them there? Put it this way: how can you get away with looting the middle-class and working-class wealth without an uprising? How can you keep people down when you arrange it so that the CEOs’ pay goes from 30 times their workers’ salary when Reagan took over, to over 500 times their salaries? Here’s how you make sure they shut up or else:




Read more: , , Mark Ames, Class War For Idiots

Got something to say to us? Then send us a letter.

Want us to stick around? Donate to The eXiled.

Twitter twerps can follow us at


Add your own

  • 1. Greg Foreman  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 5:21 am

    Still waiting for Obama and his Democrat majority to reverse this trend by decriminalizing recreational drugs… Still waiting… Yup. Still waiting…

    When can we expect the trend to stop?

  • 2. Baltimoron  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 6:45 am

    Mark, what do you suggest “working class” Amerikans do to improve their collective situation? Elect Democrats? Protest in the streets? Rise up and seize the means of production?

    The first option is the typical answer given by Amerikan liberals, but those of us who remember the Clinton years and pay attention to current events know that the Dems are just as in the pocket of big business as the Repugs. The left wing of the capitalist class is still the capitalist class. Note that Obama is staying the course when it comes bank bailouts and that Geithner’s strategy to avoid nationalization is to create a (supposedly public/private) “bad bank” to buy toxic assets from financial institutions–effectively socializing loss while allowing profit to keep on flowing uphill. And anyway, the watered-down Keynesianism the Dems are adopting will never overcome the inexorable tendency of monopoly capital to stagnate and the inevitable response of financialization, debt, and bubble dependence. Scratch the voting Democrat option off of your class war counteroffensive tactics list.

    So what about protest? … See that ellipsis? That was me backing away from the desk to enjoy a hearty belly laugh. Ruling cliques have long histories of ignoring peaceful protest movements that don’t serve their class interests and using violent protest actions as convenient justifications for increased policing. The whole protest scene is little more than an excuse for middle class crackers to indulge in lookame bullshit and score the sort of trim that thinks being easy is a sign of “empowerment.” It’s probably better than spending your late adolescence/early adulthood playing Xbox, but it sure as Hell isn’t going to affect any meaningful political change.

    And the third option: proletarian revolution. Fuck yeah. Blood in the streets, bourgeois politicians subjected to mass revolutionary tribunals, workers’ councils running the factories, bankers sent down to the countryside to learn from Mexican peasants… Sweet. Only problem is that the Amerikan proletariat has been evaporating since WWII. By now, our “working class” has been so thoroughly bourgeoisified via accepting the parasitic bribe of high pay (on a global scale) for non-productive employment that it is inaccurate to speak of the independent class interests of the Amerikan worker. During the Great Depression the threat of a general strike and the creation of dual power via the seizing of factories and workshops was very real. That’s not the case today. There are few factories left in these United Snakes producing the necessities of life and therefore no base for revolutionary power. What you call a “class war,” Mark, is really just the head of a unified parasite managing its corpulent body. If less rich Amerikans rise up against obscenely rich Amerikans the former will effectively destroy their meal ticket. Too bad, so sad left wing Amerikans; the endgame of class politics in this country was played out decades ago and you were all too busy voting Democrat, selling your souls for real estate and cocaine, or experimenting with anal sex as insurgent pleasure.

    So what’s your solution, Mark? How is the “class war” counteroffensive going to solve the problems of monopoly capital stagnation, the rigged nature of financial democratic politics, and the parasitic economic profile of the Amerikan “working class?”

  • 3. James Thomas  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Hey Baltimoron, you’re missing the point. Exiled is not a forum for solutions it is a nihilistic, anarchist cabal that delights in urinating on the power structures of the left AND the right. And they’re probably right. I’m sick of both parties – same shit, different piles. Line ’em all up.

  • 4. Tommy  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Geez. It’s simple. Start killing bankers and CEOs.

    At least key their damn cars!

  • 5. H.D. Price  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Baltimoron, YOU should be a columnist on this site, because you really hit the nail on the head. There isn’t going to be any revolution because most working class are on the dole in some manner or another. Add to that what you said about the left and the workers wasting their time voting for one side of the same coin, the Democrats, the other side of that coin, the Republicans, were getting the votes of the stupid middle class and conservatives. All while they were openly transferring their, the middle class, assets and “wealth” to the rich and the corporations, while enabling the corporations to ship their jobs to overseas sweat shops and slave labor societies like China and shitcan their pensions and health benefits. People are too cowardly, to cowed by the militarization of the police, to ingrained to stand up and salute when some asshole sends them to the gulag, to pick up a gun and fight. It was the same way in the 1770’s, a handful of people picked up a gun and stuck it out while a bunch of shitheel politicians let them go bankrupt doing it and the rest of the great unwashed sat back and watched.

  • 6. geo8rge  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Once again you miss an obvious point, the jails were built late Carter, if I remember correctly. You may also remember that Clinton guy. You should note that Rockefeller drug laws and the Nixonian war on drugs/Cancer/Commies/Vietnamese/ect predates Reagan.

    You also don’t note that prison policy is mostly administered by the states. In NY state (my state) the Cuomo Admin. (Liberal Democratic) bought upstate (white) votes by promising them industry (jails). The police (Catholics) and down state voters (Jews, and various whites) did not mind seeing large numbers of criminals (New York City Blacks and Puerto Ricans) sent upstate to jail (Sodomy torture camp).

    As you can see Reagan and Rs were not the only ones on the jail bandwagon.

  • 7. Greg Foreman  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 10:04 am

    Baltimoron. Dude, you should be writing the articles here and Ames should be reduced to making snarky comments about them.

  • 8. RanDomino  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Answer to #2: Bourgeoisie Class Suicide

  • 9. Baked Dr. Luny  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 11:16 am

    There’s really no realistic solution other than to join in the parasitism, and hope to live off of it until it becomes obsolete.

  • 10. wengler  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 11:37 am

    The ILWU is not a pussy union. If the longshoremen were to sit or walk out and strike tomorrow, a large amount of this country’s lifeblood, aka cheap Asian crap, would sit in this nation’s harbors and ports. The rich elite have bet their future on Asian slave labor and amassed a mound of debt by loaning to Americans who wanted it. Now is the time to change the game.

    First of all, this trillion dollar bad bank needs to go down in flames. The taxpayer has to subsidize rich private capital once again so they pick up the trash they created? I don’t think so. Obama has clearly chosen his rich friends and failure over doing what is right. I can’t say that I am not disappointed. I honestly thought he was smarter than that. Oh well.

    Second there must some sort of general strike against debt payment. Especially credit card debt. Congress must reverse their odious credit card lobbyist written bankruptcy bill or face the fact that people are not going to pay anything.

    Third there has to be a permanent jobs program in place to get the country to full employment. Private industry would rather pay welfare than have a full employment economy, because suddenly Wal-Mart would have to actually compete for jobs, especially at the lower end. Arguments against full employment are plentiful, but none make much sense compared to the slavery conditions imposed by the vaunted “public-private partnerships” after welfare reform.

    And finally outlaw the words “public-private partnerships” as well as deeds such as community-killing corporate welfare and all subsidies for the rich. At the end they should be at our feet thanking us for sparing them and begging us to redistribute all their ill-gotten gains.

  • 11. aleke  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Neoliberalism may have exploded under Reagan, but you have to remember it started under Nixon.

  • 12. aleke  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    George Foreman, dude, you should quit your day job as Heritage Foundation blog action commenter, and write your very own shitty blog that no one will read.

  • 13. John  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Baltimoron, the solution for any angry American is simple, effective and obvious. You must start your own gang and lead the mob to rebellion against the national oligarchy.

  • 14. Greg Foreman  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Oh yeah, I’d forgotten about Bill Clinton. Tell me, if this is all Regan’s fault why didn’t Clinton reverse the policies when he had total control for those first two years and he was desperately grasping for a direction for his administration? Sounds to me like it doesn’t matter which side wins, we all lose.

  • 15. gyg3s  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    You may find chapter 9 of Catherine A Fitts’ work interesting.

    It describes how prisons are big business. They need prisoners to make money from taxpayers. Criminality is engineered in order to transfer cash from taxpayers.

  • 16. sansculotte  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Reagan only hammered the nails in the coffin of the American working class. The sad fact is that the unions cut their own throats in the post-WWII period. They opted for higher wages, paid vacations, pensions and benefits packages so they could buy shiny fast cars, new homes in the suburbs and send their kids to college so they wouldn’t have to be working class. They opted for this instead of fighting to gain control of the means of production and the power to determine the course of their own lives. In other words, they opted to be serfs. Comfortable, well paid serfs with lots of fancy gadgets and nice green lawns, but serfs just the same. The capitalists were only too pleased to give them this. Some of them grumbled about socialism and other John Birch shit, but the truth is they couldn’t have been more pleased, because the alternative–relinquishing power and control was one thing they weren’t going to give up. But now, as you point out, the working class is hopelessly bourgeois and reactionary, unless things continue to tank. I see cause for optimism in the economy getting worse, it will cause millions of people to finally wake up to reality. And if it’s too late to change anything, we can at least get even.

  • 17. RanDomino  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    sansculotte- The process of incorporating rebellion into ‘the system’ has been called Reification by others.

  • 18. pirmin zurbriggen  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part. And we’re just the guys to do it.

  • 19. Greg Foreman  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Aleke, the old “you conservative shill” argument kinda rings false when spewed by a liberal shill. Besides, I don’t play the two party game, I don’t even vote. In fact, I don’t even think much It doesn’t matter in the end. It’s all just an elaborate game of musical chairs where the same people play and just change titles and paychecks. Gosh, I get excited when I talk this way. It’s like, “Hey, Greg Foreman really sees through the bullshit, doesn’t he?” So, when will I be recognized for my genius?

  • 20. aleke  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Hahahah is there anyone else suffering from the illusion that Clinton was somehow not a neoliberal? Nixon to Obama, all neoliberals to varying degrees. Except maybe Carter. And he lost hard.

    Anyway, to all the people tripping over each other hurriedly trying to condemn the idea of any broad cultural revolt as unrealistic, how about all the mid-to-late 20th century immigrants? The perpetual white underclass that came here as indentured servants and are now the ascribed ‘white trash’ may not stop sucking the dick of their perpetual masters, but that isn’t necessarily true of the sometimes swarthy, sometimes Catholic fuckers that have set up shop recently.

    But really, instead of going into ethnic demographics, we have to consider probability and chance. Thanks to the fucked up, irrevocably complex and random nature of occurrences, much less human events, we can’t possibly predict something that can start at the stroke of a butterfly’s wings. The demographics can align. The power vaccuum can embolden. Chaotic world events can exacerbate.

    God knows the conditions are there. Plenty of things happening and plenty of civilizational institutions undwinding. A Black Swan event can occur in any sphere and ignite a massive societal change. And we’ll paint it as obvious. This isn’t a massive wealth transfer during the acme of American power. This is an enormous, opaque world crisis that concerns more people than ever before, more powers than ever before, and more dire straits than ever before. Panic of 1837, the Long Depression, and the Great Depression were set in a world that was not in any relatable way as interconnected as the one we’re in now. The only way it would be worse is if peak oil hit or if we affected global warming ~10 years earlier than we did (although it looks like we’ll reach that nice old mass extinction event faster than the IPCC outlined).

    Mark Ames is doing what he should be doing. What every reporter should be doing. Guiding us to the Lovecraftian root of our problems. Then, maybe, we won’t need our favorite writers offering lurid post-apocalyptic outlines. And we could go back to lamenting the further degredation and collapse of western civilization in abstract, detached terms. You know, instead of feverishly living it.

  • 21. Greg Foreman  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    ALSO, would like to add, that everybody should check out my blog. There are photos of my wife, kids, dog, and my car! There are also links to my revolutionary (highly youtube-userbase-acclaimed) videoblogs.

    Check it out eXilerz lolz

  • 22. J.P. Franks  |  March 24th, 2009 at 5:11 am

    Ames, Baltimoron and Aleke, you are all right.  Ames is just saying that Reagan initiated the neoliberal class war offensive.  Of course he was just a figurehead, but as the offensive is known as the Reagan Revolution, it is an accurate shorthand to use within Unitedstatesian discourse.  Baltimoron is spot on too, that Clinton was no counterrevolutionary, and Obama isn’t likely to be either, so far… 

    (But Baltimoron, as some of us are still trying to get laid here, would you please stop with the sexually reactionary language?  Maybe the “empowered” trim you scornfully speak of were themselves looking to score some easy male trim at the protests – so try to look past your penis when analyzing how pathetic and hopeless demonstrations are.) 

    And I agree with Baltimoron’s analysis of the chances for change and the rational basis for hope in the U.S. – slim to none – but his adherence to Marxist analysis should be loosened a bit.  Aleke’s vision isn’t as focused, but that’s not a bad thing when the clarity of one’s vision is a near perfect measurement of how much of it is composed of bullshit.  Yeah there’s no proletariat to speak of in the U.S., but so what?  It’s not like Marx was right about the European proles getting their shit together and taking over the economy.  Who knows what will happen as economic organization unravels in the U.S.?  Probably a fascist, religious movement will take over, but maybe not.  Anyway, I’ve given up on trying to comfort the afflicted, so I like the idea of even a sporadic, unorganized, desperate and ultimately self-defeating class war (assuming there could be nothing better) if it means afflicting the comfortable – even temporarily.

    Finally, to answer Baltimoron’s rhetorical question: the “‘class war’ counteroffensive” will solve the problems of monopoly capital stagnation, capitalist “democracy”, and the USian working class’ disconnection from the rest of the world’s working class by – assuming that something like a class war (where *two* sides are fighting) actually materializes – destroying the present organization of the world economy.  From which something better, or something even worse, can arise.

    It’s more interesting anyway to watch what goes on in China.  Thankfully, I’m ignorant enough about China to be able to place a lot of hope in it; but not ignorant enough for my hope to be completely unfounded.  For instance, in today’s WSJ: …  now if China and other countries successfully institute a new reserve currency, and stop buying U.S. debt, there will be no more U.S. empire, hundreds of worldwide bases will close down, and there will be a lot of unemployed soldiers back in the good ol’ U.S. of A.  And that’s change that Ames, Baltimoron, Aleke and I can believe in.

  • 23. Greg Foreman  |  March 24th, 2009 at 6:07 am

    Wow Aleke, I think you really believe in the stuff your spewing. That’s just scary.

  • 24. A. Magnus  |  March 24th, 2009 at 6:59 am

    Remember that Reagan’s old Hollywood nickname was ‘Red Ronnie.’ He was an actor, for crying out loud! What he did was sell the Stalinist gulag ideal to the American people clothed in ‘wholesome family values.’ Same exact result as Uncle Joe – a nation built upon prison slave labor.

    And to the folks extolling Marxist solutions, you really need to wake up. Marx himself was bankrolled by Wall Street luminaries when he was writing Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto. What happened in EVERY country that had a so-called commie revolution? That’s right, all wealth was expropriated from the people by the state that grew from the party, and everyone was reduced to serfdom while the elites ran the show.

    Just like the direction this country is going if you insist on flying blind off a socialist cliff. Government is NOT the answer – liberty and sovereign individual rights are. Anyone who tells you he/she wants to save you from yourself is really saying they think they deserve to rule over you. Don’t fall for the left/right product marketing. Statists are all a den of vipers and thieves.

  • 25. DownloadPartyPoker  |  March 24th, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Great democracy right??.

  • 26. keith  |  March 24th, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Were fuked. Simple as that. This country has slipped past fixing. Now we are run by Wall Street and a media who is in wall streets back pocket.
    Politicians from both sides are guilty but the fkin republicans bare the brunt of the blame. They are the assholes who sold us down the river for profit of the few.

  • 27. keith  |  March 24th, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    By the way, the word NEOLIBERAL means that Conservatives no longer wanna take responsibility for what theyve done so they simply coin a new term blaming liberals…neoliberals…lol

  • 28. aleke  |  March 24th, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    Duuhhh Hey George, you okay there? Durrr you sure look strange, George. Why you so scared of that painting of The Seated Demon, George. I like this painting, George. Gee, George, why are you sniffling into me sleeve, George. But you told me eerything will be better, George. Huh huh huh huh ! Just like you told me about the baby doe, George! Huh huh huh huh HUuhhh!

    Don’t you remember the world is full of good people like you and me and mister Milton Friedman, George!

  • 29. captain america  |  March 24th, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    preach on, brother a. magnus.

    also, that guy who wrote “i can’t say that I am not disappointed” instead of “i’m disappointed” is a wanker.

  • 30. TopY  |  March 25th, 2009 at 4:56 am

    This graph shows nothing except that the number of incarcerated Americans has increased over time–but so has the population of the United States. Perhaps the increase was due to the increase in population. How can you claim that the increase is due to an increased wage-gap between workers and executive management?

  • 31. pakk  |  March 25th, 2009 at 8:02 am

    The ‘working class’ was exported to Asia along with the means of production.

    The ‘new middle class’ is just a herd of ‘office workers’ also known as ‘rotten spongers’ and ‘the something for nothing people’. The ‘old’ (or ‘real’, depending on your opinion) middle class, i.e. small and medium-sized employers is now being ‘creatively destroyed’ by Obama’s corrupt neo-pseudo-socialist administration.

    These people cannot, and will not, raise against anything except GM foods and fur clothes.

    The increase in the number of incarcerated Americans is just a belated response of the system to the situation where hard work is no longer seen as a viable option by the masses.

    “This is how the country falls..”
    (c) Cat Rapes Dog, 1999

  • 32. Bradylama  |  March 25th, 2009 at 9:21 am

    If there was a causal relationship between population growth and total incarceration the population would have quadrupled between 1980 and 2000. Use your damn head.

  • 33. Snarky  |  March 25th, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    How do you protest? Simple. When the Feds come to take your houses, you give them the finger and yell as loud as you can obscenties about AIG. Group up with neighbors. Cops don’t like being outnumbered, and neither do Feds. Max out your credit cards, close your bank account and refuse to pay. If they throw you in jail for owning money, call a fellow partner and have him organize a huge protest. If you really want to be effective, stall the freeways. Because with the freeways stalled, people cannot get to work, GDP shrinks, and the crooks on top get hurt. That’s how you fucking protest in America. And buy a gun, but only use it in self-defense.

  • 34. Plamen Petkov  |  March 26th, 2009 at 12:24 am

    Reagan this, Nixon that, Clinton that other thing. USA’s citizens were being @$&*# for decades way before Reagan. I could easily point to the creation of the “Federal Reserve board” which is neither “federal” nor “reserve” in 1915 was it and say things went downhill from there. Yet they were happy cuz they were given TVs to watch and shiny toys to play with. That’s why capitalism wins over communism.

  • 35. cobblers  |  March 27th, 2009 at 3:01 am

    A libertarian called William Grigg has the same graph up in a blog post ( but interprets its relevance in terms of Nixon’s declaration of the War on Drugs.

  • 36. topyisajoke  |  March 30th, 2009 at 7:12 am

    topy, you write that “Perhaps the increase was due to the increase in population.”

    The population of the United States did not increase by five times over the past twenty years, moron.

  • 37. duke  |  April 1st, 2009 at 11:56 am

    The destruction of the Teamsters Union was the beginning of the end..
    Then, along came NoKnock raids, no Miranda rights, no smoking, but click that seat belt or else…

  • 38. jako777  |  April 4th, 2009 at 4:26 am

    “One knows the situation in ones country,
    by looking what is happening in that countries prisons.If the prisons are full the situation
    is not good and future of that country will be difficult”
    Translation by memory from
    “The Damned Yard” by
    Nobel Prize for Literature Ivo Andric

  • 39. erik in manhattan  |  April 5th, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    I always thought Nietzsche had it right: the top of the social pyramid (our wonderful brain trust) should be allowed maximum freedom, while the vast, botched majority occupying the lower 3/4ths of humanity be totally restricted, lied to (via the usual democratic blah), heavily policed, flattered, jailed, and so on. The USA mirrored this ideology better than anyone since the Romans.

    Nietzsche, of course, did not anticipate CDOs, credit default swaps, and other synthetic derivatives which would radiate from our fabulous Brain Trust, essentially killing the goose that laid the golden egg. So why is no one going after Moody’s or S&P? A CDO is a colossal tower of shit (the very worst of the subprime mortgages), packaged together and mysteriously given a AAA rating by the most prestigious agencies in New York. Talk about Weapons of Mass Destruction! Well whatever, nothing lasts forever I guess. So long capitalism, you had a brilliant run. What replaces it, I shudder to think.

    Equality? Ha, no thank you. I’ve been to East Berlin, I’ve seen Equality, it’s not as nice as it sounds. The American version of Equality would be far worse: just look at what lives here…

Leave a Comment

(Open to all. Comments can and will be censored at whim and without warning.)


Required, hidden

Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed