The ancient Asian treatises on strategy, Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” and Musashi’s “The Book of Five Rings,” are categorized as “business” in bookstores.
The obvious implication is that business, and therefore economics, is a type of war. In Seattle, the recently-waged battle between the masses and the moguls regarding the Employee Hours Tax (EHT) essentially proves the point.
Having attended meetings regarding the EHT and witnessed the coalition of organizations involved in seeing the need, defining the law and gathering the required signatures to have the law placed on the ballot, it seemed that the law was well on the way to passing. Which it did! Kind of.
In Olympia, homelessness is seen as more than just a dearth of wealth for the weary souls slumbering in shanties. Yet in Seattle, it seems, those charged with the responsibility of representing the community followed the company line; the City Council overturned its own tax within weeks.
The situation is textbook. It was economist Karl Marx, after all, who theorized that capitalism produces the “immiseration for the poor,” even as it produces super-profits for the rich.
It’s almost scary how exactly that statement describes the June 12 repeal.
Now, Jeff Bezos is pocketing $36,000 per minute while homelessness spreads through Seattle, scorching a land where once the Nisqually, Snoqualmie and the Duwamish slept in what could be called “primitive” dwellings.
It’s a fact that the upfront cost of Amazon’s HQ2 — roughly $5 billion — would be far greater than the yearly tax. As such, the long-term goals of the company are easy to guess.
It is much cheaper to fend off laws such as the EHT, because laws of this type would eventually steer the helm of politics into representing the people. And since corporations are about profit and most cities are reliant upon money (how did that happen?), larger corporations are able to sway the votes of council meetings in the favor of what could be described as the vision of one person.
Since when does democracy represent the few council members being politically leveraged by even fewer people into betrayal of public trust?
This gets me thinking about democracy itself and its birthplace.
A very curious idea sprouted in my imaginings. The word “metropolis” has its origins in Greek, and is related to mother (“metro”) and city (“polis”), though “polloi” is many. Seattle, the metropolitan area, is thus the “mothercity” in Washington.
Which means that Seattle also bears the sole responsibility to show how to mother people.
Why, then, do today’s politicians (pol again) feel it is okay to turn their backs on the very foundation of what it means to be a metropolis?
Even further, since it is apparent that the council has fallen under the advice of business leaders, the accurate question for those observing with intelligence would be: Why does the City Council follow the advice of warlords when making laws regarding their own community? Is it true that Seattleites are at war with Seattleites?
If it is in fact the case that we are at war with our actual neighbors, perhaps Seattleites ought to realign our satellites.
Topaz is a Real Change vendor.
Other articles by Topaz:
Ryan Dowd’s ‘The Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness’ offers advice to workers who have frequent contact with homeless patrons
Book Review: ‘Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America'
Check out the full Aug. 1 - Aug. 7 issue.
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