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Red Liner Notes

There are many people without whose artistic and economic support this c.d. would not be possible and I would like to give my deepest appreciation and thanks to them… At the same time, what is most urgent today, is not just to acknowledge the specific efforts and conditions that have made this c.d. possible, but to take a hard, critical look at the unequal world in which it was produced. During the time in which this c.d. was produced, the Bush Administration, in defense of the interests of a handful of corporations, invaded and occupied Iraq under false pretenses. It has claimed to "protect" against terror while committing terrorist acts. Meanwhile the Bush Administration has failed to provide evidence of any links to known terrorist groups and, in the process, has slaughtered thousands of Iraqi civilians and reduced the remainder to crushing poverty. It has claimed to "protect" against weapons of mass destruction when, not only has it NOT provided any legitimate evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, it has also accepted the known weapons of mass destruction in Israel. It has claimed to preserve "democracy" at the same time it has engaged in a pre-emptive strike both killing and torturing citizens in Iraq and in Guantanamo Bay, placing itself above international law and dismantling "democracy" for millions through the U.S. Patriot Acts and through supporting unelected dictators in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and now a puppet-regime in Iraq which is today working to dismantle the democratic rights of women. The war in Iraq is not about democracy, freedom and security for the people of Iraq and the world, although these claims help to cover up the actual reasons for war, and help make war more acceptable and palpable to citizens in general. The war is about democracy, freedom, and security for U.S. capital to make a profit off of the people of the world. This war is about controlling resources and labor and transferring the social wealth produced by millions into the hands of a few. What the war illustrates is that the most fundamental issue that marks the social relations in which we live today is class: the division between owners and workers; between the millions who labor and the few who appropriate the labor of others for profit. But many people today, especially in the United States, think of themselves as "individuals", not as part of a class. We are taught that to think of ourselves in terms of class is to impose labels, definitions, and restrictions on ourselves—to restrict our creativity. We are more "free", it is said, if we think of ourselves as beyond class, as "unique" individuals who act independently of the economic and social conditions in which we live. Meanwhile, the economic reality of class is being imposed on us from the outside: the same administration that is looting the citizens of Iraq through no-bid contracts to Halliburton and other corporations, is also acting as an invading army that is attacking the workers of the United States by transferring public wealth into the hands of private owners. It is plundering the resources produced by workers by pillaging Medicare programs, public schools, taxes, social security, and the environment all in the interests of profit. The current war is, in short, part of a broader class war on working people at home and abroad. And as part of the class war against working people we are taught NOT to recognize class, not to see that our lives (whether we are artists, teachers, construction workers, data processors, soldiers, doctors…) are shaped by the social relations of class in which we live. Moreover, it is by erasing class, and the unequal conditions in which we live—covering over the increasingly economically miserable reality for the average worker with stories of "freedom" and "individuality"—that, for instance, the Bush Administration is able to convince working people that a victory for U.S. corporations is a "victory" for U.S. workers. We are told that "productivity" in the U.S. has increased and that this is a "victory" for us all. But what does increased productivity mean when at the same time unemployment abounds, wages are being lowered, billions of tax dollars are being funneled into private interests, and corporate executives who stole millions of dollars in retirement funds from working people are able to continue on in luxury? It means the intensification of exploitation: profit for the owners, poverty for the workers. We are taught to fear confronting the reality of class. As cultural critics, Teresa Ebert and Mas'ud Zavarzadeh, have put it: "People fear class because class makes people confront the actuality that social disparities are not "individualistic" and therefore "exceptional" or casual and accidental but are built into capitalism itself. Social differences are systemic, not eccentric. "Class" makes people acknowledge that the affluence of the few is the direct result of the wage labor of the many that live in dull and depressing houses and apartments; have unhealthy diets; send their children to mediocre and dilapidated schools lacking basic educational facilities, and survive on "hope". Class critique links the plight of the poor to the comforts of the rich. It displays, with a rigid clarity, the reality of the exploitation of people by people. It shows how American’s beliefs in equality, democratic fairness and economic justice are ideological stories told to preserve the interests of the ruling class." (Teresa L. Ebert and Mas'ud Zavarzadeh, "ABC of Class", www.redcritique.org). It is necessary to understand class relations and to be conscious of the way class shapes our lives, in order to fight the conditions that bring about class relations with all of its economic inequality and social injustice. Class relations are not unchangeable, capitalism is a system of production which was never meant to create equality, it has always only used “equality” as a guise, hiding its real intentions, to harness the labor power of the working class, and create wealth and profit for its owners. Human kind has only just, in the last 100 years, reached a point where a system of production based on human need is even possible. A system of production based on need, not on profit, will take collective ownership of production itself. The collective ownership of production will be one of the first important steps in ending class society. This is a necessary step in the evolution of society if we are to survive. This means actively fighting for an end to the wage labor system, and capitalism's systemic ways of exploiting the labor and resources of the world.