Robert Meeropol





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"Robby & Elli" 1968


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STILL OUT ON A LIMB

You can’t make everyone happy

December 24, 2015

Tags: Clinton, Sanders, Black Lives Matter

At one point in the Democratic Party debate Saturday night, Sanders and Clinton were asked if corporations would be happy if they were elected. Sanders bluntly answered “no,” but Clinton said her goal was to make everyone happy.

Clinton’s desire to please everyone is like countering BLACK LIVES MATTER with ALL LIVES MATTER. With replacing WE’RE THE 99% with WE’RE FOR THE 100%.

At first these responses may sound reasonable. Of course the President should work on behalf of everyone. Of course all people’s lives are important. However, they fail to recognize the divisions in our society along race and class lines, and that our laws, police, courts, educational system, tax code, zoning regulations and so much more are designed to keep it that way. At best these broadening statements are meaningless platitudes that miss the point. At worst they are evidence of racism, class bias and acceptance of corporate criminality.

Those who respond ALL LIVES MATTER either don’t get, or refuse to accept, what the slogan really means: black lives should matter as much as white lives. BLACK LIVES MATTER attacks the systematic devaluation of African-American lives; the ALL LIVES MATTER position refuses to admit that the United States is racist. It refuses to acknowledge how our society forces African-Americans into ghettos, denies them meaningful education and employment, and imprisons an alarmingly high percentage. ALL LIVES MATTER doesn’t view the police as an occupying militarized force that shoots and kills hundreds of African-Americans every year. The WE’RE FOR THE 100% position argues that singling out the 1% is divisive and destructive. This position ignores the fact that our economic/political system is owned by and run by the 1%, and those who serve them, for their exclusive benefit. This position ignores how the rich and powerful have rigged our system.

Sanders doesn’t go far enough, but his response indicates that he understands that giant corporations are at the core of our problems, fattening their own wallets while sucking the rest of us dry and destroying the environment. Clinton, on the other hand, is a corporate democrat. She will never accept that it is necessary to attack corporate power in order to drag a hundred million Americans out of debt and poverty, as well as prevent globe-spanning climate-related catastrophes.

Clinton ignores the corporate rot in our system, dismissing the need for basic change. Whatever she says about change or improvement, at the heart of her program is an acceptance of the status quo. If, like me, you find the status quo unacceptable, you will reject candidates who and the slogans that espouse it.

Selected Works

Memoir
"Bravery is rare. Tyranny is commonplace. Both define the life of Robert Meeropol, son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. In his heart-wrenching, honest memoir, Meeropol recounts the emotional terrors of his childhood, the kindness of Abel and Anne Meeropol-who adopted him and his older brother after their parents' execution-his struggle to vindicate his parents, and his own political activism, culminating in the creation of the Rosenberg Fund for Children, which he now directs."
Publisher's Weekly
"one of those rare books everyone should read"
–Joyce Carol Oates

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