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Vive la révolution! 

People are sick of being screwed, sick of stagnant wages, sick of economic inequality, sick of corporate fat cats and bankers playing by a different set of rules, sick of CEOs making 300 times as much as their workers, just sick, sick, sick of the status quo.

How else do you explain Bernie Sanders, presidential candidate and self-described Democratic Socialist—did you hear that? Socialist!—drawing huge crowds across the county in his White House bid? 

“Let us wage a moral and political war against the billionaires and corporate leaders, on Wall Street and elsewhere, whose policies and greed are destroying the middle class of America,” Comrade Bernie said.

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Does America need another old, white, male president? As long as it isn’t Donald Trump, maybe! One thing’s for sure, the richest of the rich, like Trump the chump, aren’t interested in the middle class or the poor, and Bernie is.

I’m telling you, revolution is afoot! How do you explain fast food workers walking out of their minimum wage jobs to protest low pay? Thousands marched in the streets and more than 500 nationwide were handcuffed and arrested in their quest for $15 an hour. And before you tell me how fast food jobs are for pimply-faced high school kids who don’t deserve a minimum wage, remember that about half of all minimum wage workers are older than 25. Working people—all of them—deserve a living wage, even the pimply-faced high school kid saving for her first car or trying to help her single mom pay the bills. Don’t worry, pizza face. You’ll grow up to be beautiful! And you’ll have a car!

It’s math, people. California’s minimum wage is currently $9 an hour (it’ll be $10 starting Jan. 1, 2016). If you work 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, that’s $1,560 a month … before taxes! On Craigslist, I saw a one-bedroom apartment on Brizzolara St. in SLO for $900 a month. That’s the least expensive place I could find! Even renting a room in a house with a bunch of college kids will cost you $600. You see the problem?

Haven’t the rich learned anything in history class? French Revolution, anyone? The downtrodden rose up against the aristocracy, demanding equality. Heads rolled. That’s super gross, but people are pissed! If the nation’s fat cats think the people who make their lives easier—the service workers, agricultural workers, blue collar workers, the teachers, the nurses, the low-level white collar drones, the anonymous opinion writers disguised as office machines—are going to idly sit by and be further abused, see their wages further compressed, and continue to feel like they can’t get ahead, well, gross or not, the rich better hold onto their expensive, fancy chapeaus (and heads). 

For the record, The Shredder is not advocating actual violence, but it is fomenting real economic revolution. The wealthy need to pull their heads out of their pampered asses! Middle class people with money in their pockets make the economy hum, not the rich. If we’re barely subsisting, the economy will continue to stall.

I hate to keep picking on him, but let’s take Cal Poly President Jeffery “Qu’ils Mangent de la Brioche” Armstrong for example. His treatment of faculty and staff pay raises has been mostly lip service, just abysmal! Clearly he didn’t learn from Marie Antoinette (Well, technically “Let them eat cake” was written by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and misattributed to Antoinette, but let’s not pick nits, shall we?). 

The CSU Board of Trustees last year voted to raise all CSU presidents’ salaries 3 percent and just recently voted to add another 2 percent. Armstrong’s base salary was $391,400 last year and this year he’ll get $399,228, making him the second highest paid university president in the system. If he was politically smart, he’d turn it (and all future raises) down until he can find money in Cal Poly’s budget to bring faculty and staff salaries up to standards. Cal Poly teachers, even lecturers, ought to be able to buy a house in the community in which they work.

Even the people you hope are looking out for the little guy, like former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, are being called out on their economically oppressive ways. Two former employees of his family’s farming empire—one of whom worked for the family for 30 years!—filed a class action lawsuit claiming Maldonado violated labor laws regarding wages, hours, and working conditions. And this allegedly happened while Maldonado was an elected official, first in Santa Maria and then in statewide office. If it’s true, shame on him!

And for the record, these were documented immigrants working for him, not that it should matter. Anyone working hard in America deserves a living wage.

Now SLO County Supervisors Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton seem to be thwarting local implementation of a new state law making it harder for property owners to discriminate against government subsidized Section 8 housing recipients. Thankfully, Adam “Comfort the Afflicted and Afflict the Comfortable” Hill gave them both a forceful smack down. 

It’s time for revolt, people!

The Shredder will eat cake and like it! Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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