Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Fight Capitalism

Workers are beleaguered. Wages have been stagnant for decades, social services and state benefits are eroding, the middle class is dwindling. The compensation of the average Fortune 500 CEO has ballooned to 347 times that of the average US worker. Workers' hopes to secure the "American dream" are diminishing. Labour unions have shrunk to only 10.7 percent of workers, half the rate of 33 years ago. That decline is a result of unrelenting attacks by politicians. Wisconsin is a sad example. First Gov. Scott Walker kneecapped public sector unions. Republicans took over the state, they passed a law requiring public sector unions to re-certify every year by winning a majority of those eligible to cast ballots, not just those who actually voted. The 2011 law also limits what public sector unions can bargain about, including wages. Then he went after private sector labor organizations. Then, in 2015, the Republican-controlled legislature passed a law forbidding labor agreements under which all workers must help pay the cost of collective bargaining and other services that unions provide. These laws, pushed by right-wing politicians and corporations nationally, bankrupt unions. In the five years since the first anti-union law took effect in Wisconsin, the number of union members there declined by 132,000. A the right-wing is expected to compel all public sector unions to provide services to all workers, including those who refuse to pay for them. The anti-worker groups are pushing Congress to pass a federal union-bankrupting law that would cover both private and public sector labor organizations.

Workers must see that the adversary is not each other. It's not immigrants. It's not people of different skin colors or religions. The real adversary is capitalism that drive down wages and undermine worker solidarity by threatening to close or offshore. In fighting against robber barons unions require to empower not just workers, but the undocumented, the poor, single moms, millions of people without health care and all the targets of bigotry. Workers still have power, but we must band together  to end capitalism and create rule of, by and for the people. Problems won't be solved with co-ops or solar panels. We live in a system that keeps people divided. We need courage and a willingness to engage others. Consciousness is born out of our experiences.

Abridged and adapted from here.

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