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One Marine’s ‘Liberty Walk’ for the Rest of Us
Posted on Apr 11, 2010
By Chris Hedges
“The winters [in New York state] are really hard,” Bell said. “There are less jobs and the heating costs are high. I pay about $200 a month for electric and gas. I live really cheaply. I don’t have cable. I don’t go out or spend money that is not necessary. It is a struggle. But at least I have not had to devote 40 hours a week to a minimum-wage job that does not pay me a living wage. People here are really hurting. The real underemployment rate must be at least 20 percent. A lot of people are working part-time jobs when they want full-time jobs. There are many people like me, independent contractors and small business owners, who can’t file for unemployment insurance. Unemployment [coverage] is not available to me because I worked as a ‘1099,’ a self-employed contractor, even when I worked for the construction company.”
“People are scared,” he said. “They want to live their lives, raise their children and be happy. This is not possible. They don’t know if they can make their next mortgage payment. They see their standard of living going down.”
Bell said that he and those around him were being pushed off the edge. He said he feared that the social and political repercussions would be unpleasant.
“I hope there is a populist revolution,” he said. “We have to take the corporate bailouts and the money we are sending overseas and use that money in our communities. If this does not happen there will be more anger and eventually violence. When people lose everything they start to ‘lose it.’ When you can’t find a job, even though you look repeatedly, it leads to things like random shootings and suicides. We will see acts of domestic terrorism. The state will erode more of our civil liberties to control mass protests. We are seeing some student protests, but we will see these on a wider scale. I hope the protests will be constructive. I hope people will not resort to extreme measures. But people will do what they have to do to survive. This may mean things like food riots. The political establishment better work very fast to take the pressure off.”
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