The only thing Mr. Starbucks’ announcement about the possibility of a run for the presidency of these United States did for most people was to remind us that we have been screwed, raped, pillaged with practically everything taken away from us unless we spend our lives working from dawn to dusk for meager rewards – which will become even more lean as time goes on if they are allowed to continue.
Human beings and greed go together. It is one of the sins with which we are born and if we don’t work at constantly curbing our appetites we will all look like our current billionaire class – unmitigated greed, constantly searching for more, feeling poor unless that more comes into our coffers hourly; working to keep what we have, talking magnanimously about the charity we do and blaming the victim for not having what we have as billionaires. Those others could be in this group but for their laziness, lack of initiative, inability to lead, lack of vision, etc. etc. etc.
Some of us have helped to set up and enhance this system under which we operate; others work to make sure it continues; while still others see the evil, complain about it, speak eloquently about working to relieve the pain of the poor, but do nothing; others teach their children how to maintain within this system without sliding down another rung and others work hard just because that is how they were raised.
A few stories about this part of the societal structure and how it comes about:
- Because we have a vested interest in ‘bed & breakfast’ I will start with #Airbnb as an example of how the billionaire class is created – why it thrives – what it is about.
Bettina Network, inc. and Bettina’s Bed & Breakfast, inc. were the genesis for Airbnb. It is a classic example of how bigotry remains, thrives and supports the billionaire class and how the billionaire class supports its own and decides who will be let in. There is a thuggishness to those within and those chosen to enter.
When #Airbnb was founded it was on the back of an African American woman who worked over 20 years developing the concept and growing it by inches because venture capital money was and is not available to minorities or women. That is the most solid block in the foundation of this billionaire class. If they have a creed its foundational stone would be on the refusal to admit minorities or women except as tokens to disprove the rule.
Venture Capitalists sent Brian Chesky and two of his friends to the home of this African American woman to find out what she was doing, how, all the details they could glean. Our feelings about what happened circulate around the fact that they did not have an idea, a vision and saw Bettina Network, inc. from afar. They went into a Black woman’s home and family – put their feet under her table, ate her food and stole her business plan and vision. And – they knew nothing about bed & breakfast before that – they didn’t ‘find’ her through their own machinations or investigations or search for places to stay, they were sent by Capital Network in Central Square in Massachusetts to look at what she was doing as something they might steal and copy.
They were not graduates of Ivy League schools nor had they attended Ivy League schools and they had practically no business experience. Their experience consisted of brief times spent as entry level admin people. What they showed was their lack of character and their willingness to steal from someone else with all of the character traits that go along with that – and they did that in spades. Once established they even lied about their beginnings and where the idea for Airbnb came from.
What they created was a structure which incorporated their racism, their greed and more. It is clearly visible in the business they brought about for all to see.
Their racism structured into their corporation? It is entrenched and has many forms within the structure of Airbnb. The most obvious spits on the work of the civil rights leaders of the 1950’s and beyond. The Thurgood Marshall’s, the Jack Greenberg’s, those who litigated for years to move society to a more integrated place and were successful in that endeavor for a brief period of time. Before their legal work, if you applied to college you submitted your resume, your grades, your references and YOUR PICTURE.
Because it was not always possible to tell the color of a persons skin by their application alone, the picture helped Universities at the time to distinguish between applications and to make sure their entering classes were composed of majority white males and very few others.
That practice was deemed illegal through several law suits filed during the 1960’s and beyond. Universities stopped the practice of requiring a picture to accompany your application for admittance because of those law suits and because that practice was declared racist. That practice is now being turned on its head by Airbnb because to make a reservation at an accommodation through Airbnb one must submit a picture and that picture is more often than not used to determine whether or not you will be accepted as a guest.
Many have been discriminated against and have not been able to get reservations. There have been instances of minorities arriving at a home and being turned away with the owner or person at the house claiming the person engaged in ‘subterfuge’ to get a room. What was the subterfuge that got them turned away? A mixed Asian couple in California was turned away at about 10pm in storm conditions because one was Asian and the other of Northern European extraction. The picture they submitted for their reservation was of the Northern European extraction half of the couple. When the Asian woman appeared she was not acceptable so they had to find accommodations elsewhere. The host family claimed they “cheated” to get the room. That was not an isolated incident. The stories of discrimination from Blacks who tried to get accommodations, had to submit pictures and were subsequently turned down are legion.
It is a corporation structured to bring back that kind of racism from the 1950’s and earlier.
It is a corporation structured to make affordable housing almost unavailable and to bring out the greed of those who come near to use the web site.
It is a corporation which has been used by sex traffickers because it has set itself up in such a way that whoever has a need can use their web site and hide a lot they could not get away with, but for.
It is a corporation which, because of the way it is structured, has been a part of at least one client being murdered.
It is a corporation whose structure has allowed the destruction of many houses and estates in some of the most vile ways, causing the upheaval of neighborhoods with the wild parties that have happened in homes which were supposed to be used as a room or an estate for the night.
Investors put 1.2 billion dollars of investment money into Airbnb in promoting some of this society’s worse traits. It will soon go public and if that is successful we will have a corporate structure carrying on what many of us have tried to eliminate from this society for generations – and so it goes.
Isn’t it striking that the three people who started Airbnb and wound up with substantial venture capital money are people who showed themselves to lacking in good character, ethics, and more. Isn’t it striking that those character traits are what has handicapped this country to the point of finally seeing us wind up with a Donald Trump as president? A man who epitomizes exactly what Airbnb is about?
2. Let us move on to another such company founded and structured around questionable morals and character. – Take a look at Facebook. The vision of twins who engaged Zuckerberg to code their business idea. That however wound up the property of Zuckerberg who carried the idea into a corporate structure which is today wrecking havoc on this society in very gross, immoral and unethical ways.
What we are now trying to do is right this wrong which will not be possible because the corporate structure of Facebook has become too strong. It is being credited with being majorly responsible for the election to the presidency of Donald Trump, with the destruction of the privacy guaranteed to the citizens of the United States by the Constitution, with using private conversations and back and forth between family and friends as a front when in reality it sells every scrap of information it can glean to the marketeers and advertisers and others for 20 pieces of silver.
Take a look and analyze most of the corporate structures which have come up and have brought their owners billionaire status and see how they have used the backs of tens of thousands of people to attain their goals and have left the society stripped almost bare with a path for those without character, without good morals, without honesty.
Take a look and analyze and you will find they are all either northern european descendants – some middle easterners – ……
These are two of the most graphic examples, but there are many others.
Most notably, what has been happening and continues to happen is the groups of people looking around the world for up and coming corporations or LLC’s or neighborhood gatherings whose structure and ideas they can steal; that they can get funding for because those doing the developing could not – mostly because of their color and sex.
Because of our experience with the theft of our idea and work by what became Airbnb we have come across many. The stories were all eerily similar and nothing was done about any of it. Look furiously – not within yourselves – but at what others are doing which looks successful – find venture capitalists to fund your stealth and move on into the billionaire’s club. Once you get there all will be forgotten and those who do remember the unethical road you took will soon be dead so just hang on and you will become one of the racist, sexist corporate structures in this society which maintains who we are without any of those others moving up to challenge our superiority. It may happen temporarily, but the business class has insured that this move to open up this society making it more diverse will not last. Remember Martin Luther King, Jr’s sacrifice? How much of what was achieved by so many has been reversed seriously by those now moving up?
And it is not limited to the United States. In other countries where people of brown and black complexions have begun to move up in these corporations – they are swiftly removed and replaced with a whiter skin person with a penis. We have heard many of those stories. Stories that parallel what has been happening in this country for generations. Remember Madame C. J. Walker? Think about all those others, people of color and women, who struggled so mightily with others, white, male, etc. reaping the rewards for their labor, their vision, their imagination.
And what happens now?
A note from Marceline Donaldson: My garden has been torn up – literally the garden in front of my house. My business has been upheaveled! I have been threatened! and so much more. but I am old and neither sickness nor death fazes me so none of that scares me nor does it make me drop the struggle.
What does move me to a furious state is to continue to see this and to know that my children will have to undertake this same struggle when I thought my work and life would make theirs easier. My grandfather worked his entire life to change this society so his children and grandchildren would have a better life and would not have to dedicate so much of their lives and times to this struggle; so did my grandmother; so did my mother; and so have I. My children deserve better and so do your children. I have not paid nearly the price others have paid trying to bring about basic change.
Watching the young people coming along behind the disaster that was Donald Trump thinking they are going to make basic change is heart breaking – the system looks stacked against them. All I can do from my perch is to wonder when and how they will be taken down and replaced with Northern European – very white males and our young people made to pay for their arrogance of thinking they can make such basic change. If they could, the color of our total billionaire group would not be white, male, with some middle easterners – Saudi Arabians – thrown in and one or two African American men and a woman or two. That billionaire group – those who will totally control tomorrow look like Donald Trump’s cabinet and all those other groups where color is absent and women are practically extinct.
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