This article originally was published on Barbara Ehrenreich’s blog.
Surely you have heard by now of the imminent socialist takeover of America, and if you find the prospect unlikely, ask yourself: How many socialists do you know who lost millions in the recent stock market crashes? Just as I thought–none. And that’s not only because you don’t know any socialists. The truth is that we, the Socialist International Conspiracy, not only saw this coming, we are the ones who made it happen.
The plan took shape during a particularly intense criticism/self-criticism session at our 2000 annual convention in a booth at an Akron IHOP. We realized that we’d been recruiting no more new members per year than the Green Bay Packers and that, despite all our efforts, more Americans have been taken aboard UFOs than have embraced the historic promise of socialism. So we decided to suspend our usual work of standing on street corners and hissing, “Hey, how’d you like to live in a workers’ paradise?” Instead of building socialism, one worker at a time, we would focus on destroying capitalism, hedge fund by hedge fund.
First, we selected a cadre of crusty punks from the streets of Seattle, stripped off their Che T-shirts, suited them up in Armanis and wingtips and introduced them to the concepts of derivatives and dental floss. Then we shipped them to Wall Street with firm instructions: Make as much money as you can, as fast as you can, and as soon as the money starts rolling in, send it out to make more money by whatever dodgy means you can find–subprime loans, credit default swaps, pyramid schemes–anything goes. And oh yes: Spend your own earnings in the most flamboyantly gross ways you can think of–$10,000 martinis, fountains of champagne–so as to fan the flames of class resentment.
These brave comrades did far better than we could have imagined, quickly adapting to lives of excess and greed punctuated only by squash games at the Century Club. But we could not have inflicted such massive damage to capitalism if we hadn’t also planted skilled agents in high places within the government and various quasi-governmental agencies. When all this is over, Phil Gramm, for example–the former senator and McCain economics advisor–will be getting a Hero of Socialism award for his courageous battle against financial regulation. That’s the only name I can name at this moment, but I will tell you this: If you happened to have been in a playground in the suburbs of DC any time in the last few years, and noticed an impeccably dressed elderly man poking around under rocks, that was a certain Federal Reserve Chairman, looking for his weekly orders from the central committee.
Things were going swimmingly until about a week ago, when the capitalists suddenly staged a counter-coup. We had thought that the nationalization of the banks would bring capitalism to its knees, but instead, the capitalists were craftily using it to privatize the government. Goldman Sachs, former home of Henry Paulson, has taken the lead, planting its agents so thickly about the erstwhile public sector as to earn the nickname “Government Sachs.” Among the former Goldman Sachs operatives now running the country, in addition to Paulson, are the president’s chief of staff, the chairman of the New York Fed, the man appointed to take over AIG, and the 35-year-old boy wonder selected to oversee the bail-out program.
According to the New York Times, “Goldman supporters” insist there is no “conspiracy” and not a black helicopter in sight–just a bunch of public-spirited investment bankers sacrificing their normal eight-figure salaries for the good of the nation. But we socialists know a conspiracy when we see one, and some in our ranks are complaining bitterly that as capitalism began to collapse, the bankers seized the life raft that was intended to save the laid-off, the foreclosed-upon and the exploited masses in general.
Ah well, we socialists still have the election to look forward to. After months of studying the candidates’ economic plans, we have determined that one of them, and only one, can be relied on to complete the destruction of capitalism. With high hopes and great confidence, the Socialist International Conspiracy endorses John McCain!