An Effective Ruling Class Tool
The “glass ceiling” is a ruling class consolation prize. We keep the status quo, the masses get to break this coveted social “impediment”. Obama was our first black president. Clinton could be our first female president. And The Donald could be our first orange-headed president. There have been many red-headed presidents, but no orange ones.
To be sure, there is symbolic value to being the first in something. “For the individual it is a great symbolic accomplishment, full of meaning. For society, it is nice and morally uplifting,” says the enlightened individual of the masses. “But it is even more tragic that such things are not commonplace. It is sad that unity has been forgotten.”
Breaking the glass ceiling is like the parent deliberately losing to their child in a game of chess, which is meant to encourage them. In the same way, the glass ceiling encourages the lower orders to think that they are making gains in this game of “freedom”. Unlike the parent, We are interested in maintaining the status quo, and not helping the lower orders move up. The “glass ceiling” takes the discontent engendered by bigotry and ruling class norms and turns it into a moral uplift that doesn’t really take you anywhere except, maybe, in the long run.
The concept of the “glass ceiling” was popularized in an article in the Wall Street Journal about the gender pay gap.
The U.S. Women’s Bureau and the National Committee on Pay Equity wrote, in 1959 “women made about 64 cents for every dollar earned by men”. As of 2014, President Obama announced, “Today, the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns; for African American women, Latinas, it’s even less.” It took 55 years for (white) female pay to gain 13 cents and still earn less than men.
According to the Women’s Policy Research, “if change continues at the same slow pace as it has done for the past fifty years, it will take 44 years—or until 2059—for women to finally reach pay parity.” That is if we don’t roll back any gains made. From the perspective of the masses you’d think we were traversing turbulent seas, climbing forbidding mountains, or trekking through inhospitable jungles for this hard earned 13 cents that doesn’t even close the pay gap, which is even greater for non-white women. Ruling class minions finesses Our agenda of paying the lower orders less into a continuing struggle in which the ruling class plays a leading part.
The Loss and Feeling Good
Don’t get Us wrong. The glass ceiling is a capitulation on the ruling class part. We chafe at the thought of it being broken. It is an admission that the ruling class has conceded. On a long term basis this may portend more meaning in its symbolism, but what does the ruling class care about the long-term? The glass ceiling is a symbolic loss for the ruling class right here and now. It does means the loss of something, and the ruling class is inherently opposed to giving ground or compromising unless forced.
That intense feeling of loss experienced by the ruling class institution is translated into a feeling of victory among the well bred masses. The broken ceiling is a fetishized feel-good moment. The status quo remains intact, while the lower orders celebrate “change” in the individual who has “broken the glass ceiling”. Democracy at work.
Leave it to the ruling class to fetishize individual accomplishments. The Great Institution fetishizes everything. That’s essentially the Establishment’s task. The fetishization of society is why we need ceremonies and rituals — which is a corruption of their original use. The “glass ceiling” fetishization blows things out of proportion and releases political endorphins. It celebrates symbolic progress. It is a distraction from other vital issues, important as the glass ceiling issue may be. The “glass ceiling” is a symbolic pro-masses false flag.
“The Commission . . . is, or can be made, of great use . . .”
In 1991 President Bush created the The Federal Glass Ceiling Commission headed by the Secretary of Labor to look into this conundrum. The study was quickly expanded to cover minority groups.
Four years after its founding, Labor Secretary and presiding chairman Robert Reich wrote in the 1995 “Fact-Finding Report of The Federal Glass Ceiling Commission“:
The term “glass ceiling” first entered America’s public conversation less than a decade ago, when The Wall Street Journal’s “Corporate Woman” column identified a puzzling new phenomenon. There seemed to be an invisible—but impenetrable—barrier between women and the executive suite, preventing them from reaching the highest levels of the business world regardless of their accomplishments and merits.
In 1991, the Glass Ceiling Act
charged the twenty-one member Commission (itself an appropriately diverse body, in terms of ethnicity, gender, and political affiliation) with a complex mission: to conduct a study and prepare recommendations on “eliminating artificial barriers to the advancement of women and minorities” to “management and decision-making positions in business.”
On page 17 we come to the “GLASS CEILING BARRIERS” section of the report:
The three levels of barriers identified by theCommission research, CEO studies, and focusgroups are these:• Societal Barriers which may be outside the direct control of business—The Supply Barrier related to educational opportunity and attainment—The Difference Barrier as manifested in conscious and unconsciousstereotyping, prejudice, and bias related to gender, race, and ethnicity.• Internal Structural Barriers within the direct control of business— Outreach and recruitment practices that do not seek out or reach or recruit minorities and women— Corporate climates that alienate and isolate minorities and women— Pipeline Barriers that directly affect opportunity for advancement— Initial placement and clustering in staff jobs or in highly technical andprofessional jobs that are not on the career track to the top— Lack of mentoring— Lack of management training— Lack of opportunities for career development, tailored training, androtational job assignments that are on the revenue-producing side of thebusiness— Little or no access to critical develop mental assignments such asmemberships on highly visible task forces and committees— Special or different standards for performance evaluation— Biased rating and testing systems— Little or no access to informal networks of communication— Counterproductive behavior and harassment by colleagues• Governmental Barriers
—Lack of vigorous, consistent monitoring and law enforcement
—Weaknesses in the formulation and collection of employment-related data
which makes it difficult to ascertain the status of groups at the managerial level
and to disaggregate the data
—Inadequate reporting and dissemination of information relevant to glass ceiling
Translation: the ruling class are simply not interested in changing the status quo. The report puts it this way “A majority of the CEOs interviewed felt that these practices are obstacles to pursuing opportunity.”
Imagine if individuals with common sense spear-headed this inquiry. Would there have been any need, in the first place, for this commission and it’s struggle to understand just what the heck was keeping women and minorities from earning as much as white men? Would common sense individuals say it’s the ruling class, stupid? It’s the refusal of the bosses to pay their employees adequately.
The Federal Glass Ceiling Commission was formed in 1991 and seems to be nonexistent after 1995. Wipe your hands and move on. Speaking of railroads Richard Olney, Attorney General and Secretary of State under Cleveland said about commissions:
“The Commission . . . is, or can be made, of great use to the railroads. It satisfies the popular clamor for a government supervision of the railroads, at the same time that that supervision is almost entirely nominal. Further, the older such a commission gets to be, the more inclined it will be found to take the business and railroad view of things. . . . The part of wisdom is not to destroy the Commission, but to utilize it.”
Not an exact description of the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, but you get the principle about commission.
Obama Breaks the Glass Ceiling
“By any measure, this is a monumental day in our nation’s history.” So said Michael Eric Dyson in November 2008 of Barry Obama’s election. Monumental? Like the Civil War? Like the ending of Jim Crow? Surely, it is not as major an achievement that was the New Deal or passage of Civil Rights laws? From Our perspective it’s not so meaningful. But from the mass point of view, it is good for the ruling class that the “election” of the first black president is seen as monumental. We thoroughly encourage the masses to believe society has changed for the better. But has it? Has monumental change been wrought by the mass election of a pre-approved candidate?
Yet Dyson is correct that this is a historic development by any means. It is a very potent symbolic victory. It does portend a more open future. But who knows when that future will come and what price will be paid for “diversity” among the masses. Breaking the glass ceiling does mean a ruling class concession. The masses have gained something.
It is also true that the ruling class has seized, in Barack Obama, the opportunity to promote the right “candidate” at the right time. Obama is young, handsome, with a bright smile. He is half black, half white, lived in a mostly white middle class family, and went to Harvard Law. A perfect demographic. A mixture of black and white, Ivy League. What’s not to like from a marketing point of view?
“‘We gave each other the Black Power sign,’ said [College junior Lauren] Wyatt, who is the co-president of Penn for Obama,” reported Politico at the time of his election.
How incongruous. The power of labels trumps substance. A “black” “Liberal Capitalist” president gets “elected” to which Ms. Wyatt gives the “black power salute”. Substantively, one would think that socialism and black-nationalism are not compatible with a corporate capitalist president, who is fond of drone killing. In the realm of ruling class society, substance is largely irrelevant.
According to another student, Ben Lewis, Obama’s election said, “a lot about our country and the opportunities open to people of color.” Were there any less opportunities for minorities and women under Bush than Obama?
The failures of the Obama administration are well know. We’ve highlighted some of his and Clinton’s “progressive failures” in The Oxymoron of “Progressive” Democrat. From his continuation of the Guantanamo Prison, protection for Wall Street bankers, perpetuating the prison profit complex, more wars, extension of spying and scraping of the constitution, Obama’s capitulation to the corporate order should not have been surprising. It was easy to predict that Obama would not live up to the promises his skin color seemed to imply.
Looking at the presidencies of Obama and Bush, side by side, it would be difficult to distinguish between them. Judging by their presidential records it would not be so easy to pick which one was the coveted Breaker of the Glass Ceiling. But as most good Liberals and Conservatives know, differences are not to be sought in policy proposals and track records, but in labels and their proper authorities. The labels tell us that Obama was “change you can believe in” for Democrats. For Republicans labels direct us to the understanding that Obama is a secret Muslim Commie ready to destroy America.
Glass Ceiling Negates the Details
We suspect in a non-ruling class society, glass ceilings would not be the celebrated front page news as they are in our time. In a society of equals, the glass ceiling might be viewed as a positive but minor milestone in the life of the community, or merely an optical illusion that upon closer look reveals nothing. In the ruling class society, the glass ceiling helps to hide worse things . . .
On July 25, the New York Times ran a front page piece, “Hillary Clinton Broke One Glass Ceiling. When Were Others Broken?” A gallery of Forty-one individuals who were firsts is prominently displayed. The article goes on to list some of these “firsts”. While it is a nice sentiment in this time of “electing” the “first woman president” what more is there in this but the illusion of movement? This is not to denigrate the accomplishments of those individuals when we ask who they are. How significant are they in the lives of the masses? For a brief moment in time they shine, then it’s on with the struggles of life in a ruling class society.
For all the celebrations of political firsts brought about by glass ceilings, they are wonderfully devoid of political substance. Some of the individuals featured in the Times, if judged by their actions and records not by labels, would be considered odious to those in favor of breaking glass ceilings starting with Clinton herself.
Some of the individuals featured:
Obama/Clinton. See The Oxymoron of “Progressive” Democrat
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. First Hispanic woman elected to the House. Among other things, She is also fond of terrorists. She made liberating terrorist Orland Bosch, who was implicated in a plot to “blow up Cubana Flight 455, a terrorist act that killed 73 passengers,” one of the cornerstones of her 1989 congressional campaign. U.S. Attorney General Joe D. Whitley called Bosch “a terrorist, unfettered by laws or human decency”. She got the help of her campaign manager, one Jeb Bush to lobby the Bush administration for Bosch’s release. Does it really matter that she was the first Hispanic woman elected to the House when she protects the murderer of 73 individuals?
Norman Mineta. First Asian-American elected mayor of a major American city. Mineta is firmly embedded in Washington’s revolving door culture. He could be the example par excellence. From Wikipedia: After two decades in the House, Mineta went to work for Lockheed Martin. Then he chaired a National Civil Aviation Review Commission which “recommended” running the Federal Aviation Administration more like a business. In 2000 Clinton appointed him Secretary of Commerce. Bush made him his Secretary of Transportation. After leaving the White House in 2006, Mineta joined the infamous corporate PR firm Hill & Knowlton as vice chairman. In 2007, Mineta became a Director of Horizon Lines, a domestic ocean shipping and integrated logistics company.
You get a “glass ceiling broken”, We get to go on with business as usual.
Nikki Haley. First Asian American woman elected governor of South Carolina. Gov. Haley signed a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks with fines and jail for the doctor. She also signed a voter id bill, which has traditionally targeted students and minorities. The Governor compared it to showing id when boarding a plane, reported a SC paper. “‘This is not a victory,’ added state Sen. Gerald Malloy, D-Darlington. “‘This sets us back. Flying on an airplane is not a constitutional right.'”
You get another “broken glass ceiling”, We get to retard progress.
Not a bad trade off in Our opinion. But is it good for any of us?
Clinton Does the Glass Ceiling
The Glass Ceiling is very good for Clinton. It makes her heroic and covers up her significant blemishes. After coming up short of the prize in 2008, Clinton said, “Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18m cracks in it, and the light is shining through like never before.” For the Great Institution, that is the never attainable “light at the end of the tunnel”. The light shining through is hope for loyalists who need a reason to go on supporting the ruling class parties — whatever it might tell us about the future. It is the illusion transformed by that hope and the “glass ceiling” label that appease the masses a bit, allowing them to believe in movement to final democratic freedom.
We look at it in another way, which brings out the irony in calling it a “glass ceiling”. It is not very transparent, for the glass ceiling obscures the prison ceiling above it. It refers to individuals who are not truly free but encouraged to believe they are in pursuit of it. The self-deceit of the “glass ceiling” lies in its seemingly “visceral and tangible” feel. It is the sense of movement toward the light at the end of the tunnel, which the individuals in question may or may not attain in the long term, while forgetting about the structures that keep the individual “imprisoned” in their station. Breaking the “glass ceiling” is running in place while thinking you’re getting somewhere.
Hillary Clinton wants to take you there. She is not a status quo corporate lobbyist, she’s a “glass ceiling breaker”. Thus whatever the details of her record, she is a harbinger of progress. Pay no attention to Clinton’s status quo resume, that she is an admirer of Henry Kissinger, supporter of the Honduran coup, military interventions and onerous trade deals, Wall Street coddler, and close friend to dictator Hosni Mubarak. By virtue of being a Liberal and aided by the “glass ceiling” Clinton becomes a progressive freedom fighter.
The ruling class would like nothing more than to see Clinton “break the glass ceiling” so that We can go on with the status quo, while the masses celebrate it as change.