Thursday, September 20, 2012

B of A bails out after bailout lays off thousands

by Richard Mellor

The clique that control Bank of America, the second largest US bank by assets, are on a roll.  The bank is looking to shed 16,000 jobs by years end which will bring it close to its target of eliminating $30,000 positions. Like the other big US banks this doesn't mean they won't be hiring as they have moved much of their operations abroad, including to the Philippines where the average family makes $4700 a year. The bank is planning to close 200 branches this year on top of the 178 it closed in 2011, according to the Wall Street Journal. B of A needs to become leaner and more profitable if it wants to attract investors. 

B of A received $45 billion in US taxpayer bailout money when the financial crisis hit and I guess this is our reward.  There is no doubting that the injection of public funds saved not only the banks and the auto industry on which so many US jobs are dependent despite it's smaller size, but public money, what some would call socialism, saved the entire system from its internal contradictions; dragged the capitalist system from the edge of the abyss.

The U.S. Treasury still holds 32 percent of GM and is the automaker’s largest shareholder but as with all the government rescue and takeover of private industry, the taxpayer forks out the dough and the same guys run the operations.  They are not industries where ownership, management, production and distribution are determined by workers and consumers on the basis of social need.  In the case of GM, a public transportation industry, there would be much more focus on mass transit rather than autos were workers rather than profit driven bankers and coupon clippers in the driver's seat.  In these instances losses are socialized and profits kept private.

The working class bailed out US and global capitalism, we should not allow their spin doctors to erase this from history and mass consciousness, and they did it here in the US too, the belly of the beast.

As thanks and in order to shift the cost of this crisis on to the backs of workers, the poor and middle class, as well as to improve their competitive advantage with their global rivals, the US capitalist class is driving living standards and conditions back to the period before 1930's and the rise of Industrial Unionism. They are assisted in this by the top layers of organized Labor who have the same world view, that the capitalist mode of production is the only form of social organization and that we must help it survive as it goes from crisis to crisis, war, starvation and environmental catastrophe. It is madness.

I always find it interesting that some workers who are the most staunch defenders of the rights of capital and capitalists (the right to dispose of human Labor power at will, control the Labor process through which wealth is created or spend this appropriated wealth in all sorts of wasteful and destructive ways) suddenly yell foul when a capitalist chooses to take his or her capital to another country where a human being can be purchased much more cheaply and profits more abundant. It is his right is it not?

Yes it is under capitalism and it is exactly a right that has to be denied them.  We should deny an individual or group of individuals the right to destroy entire communities as they search for greater profits and private gain;  they deserve the right to a decent life and a job, something they deny millions of the rest of us in their war for profits.   Capital has its origin in the Labor process, in the purchase of a human being's life activity and its use over a period of time. The capitalist pays less value in wages than the value workers produce in the  Labor process ----this is the source of profits, so capital is a collective product and those who collectively create it should own it and determine the conditions under which it's creation takes place and how the collective surplus is allocated.

As for the banks, they should be taken in to public ownership.  Even in a capitalist system this is a step forward as at very least, it undermines the massive propaganda in society that private ownership is superior to public which is nonsense.  Many prominent representatives of big business have called for nationalization of the banks. But our goal must be the public ownership of the banks and entire financial industry under workers control and management.  I stress that it is not the deposits, the savings and funds of workers, the middle class and community businesses that are taken in to collective ownership but the industry, the structures and the allocation of this capital.

In this way society's wealth and the capital needed to help society function can be produced and allocated in a planned, rational, and socially useful way. As the thug Thatcher expressed it in her famous acronym TINA: There is no alternative.

No comments: