Ralph Nader had an article in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday April 16th. It was on the minimum wage. It gave the following facts. America's highest paid CEO was paid over $131 million last year. That is $63,000 an hour. Workers on minimum wage received $7.25 an hour or just $15,080 annually. This highest paid CEO, Hammergren of McKeson Corp. had surpassed that amount by 9.15 on his first workday of the year. This fact is staggering. It is in line with the old saying those whom the gods want to destroy they first make mad. The US capitalist class are mad.
If the minimum wage had increased in line with the level of productivity since 1960 it would now stand at $22,00 an hour. This extreme inequality, which is increasing, cannot go on. This country is going to fragment. in fact it is already doing so. The daily shootings, the bombings, the rage and frustration, all are related to the inequality and exploitation and lack of control of ordinary people over society and their own lives.
The New York Times on Friday April 19th had a front page article on Wall Street. It was headed: "Back on the street, arcane names hiding big risks." It explained that all the old fraudulent ways were at full steam again. All the fraudulent ways that led to the 2008 crash were back. A new crash is coming, the other shoe is going to drop.
As we look at this background consider what we have been seeing in the streets of Boston this week and the streets of the country's cities during the Occupy movement. The bombers in Boston have to be condemned unconditionally. Their actions give the state an excuse to strengthen itself and confuse working people as to whom the real enemy happens to be. But consider the enormous array of force which were used against the Occupy movement and to chase the bombers in Boston. Where did these huge numbers of massively armed cops and all kinds of forces come from? It is very clear that since 9/11 the state has been rapidly building up increased forces in every city and every state agency.
Why has this been done? The people who run this country, the corporations, their politicians, the military, know that on a capitalist basis things cannot go on as they are doing. US capitalism cannot afford to keep the US working class on the living standards it has been on for the past decades and at the same time fight its wars abroad and especially stand up to the increased power of China and Russia. Something has to give. And they have decided it is the living standards of the US working class that has to give.
They are preparing for this new period in their world role and their relationship to their own working class. Their wars in Central Asia are giving them cause for concern but they cannot back out from trying to control these areas and increase their role in places like Africa and Latin America. It is interesting to note an event that took place in London the day before Thatcher's funeral. Cheyney no longer vice President met in 10 Downing street, that is the Prime Minister's office with Cameron the British Prime minister. It would have been good to have been a fly on the wall. But it is not necessary. this Cheyney, one of the most brutal and cynical of US war criminals and strategists was over to tell the young Prime Minister, the boy, how things worked especially after Thatcher was dead. He was there to make sure their cooperation was still in working order.
But back to the huge bodies of men and women in super body armor in every US city and town. In spite of all the confusion the US working class will fight the assault that the US capitalist class is preparing for them. They will not give up easy. They will fight. The 1930's showed this, the 1960's showed this. The capitalist class know this. the Cheyneys know this, this is why the massive squads of body armored cops and state forces are being built up. To take on the US working class. When you see 1 million people locked down in Boston because of one wounded bomber you know it is for some other reason. They are getting the people used to being locked down. Thousands were made to lie on the streets before being "cleared" by cops. This is in preparation for the increased class struggle. This is in preparation for use against strikers and workers in struggle.
As the reality of the vicious US capitalist offensive strikes home the US working class will fight. There will be great confusions in this fight. Confusions in ideas and organization. This will especially be the case given the refusal to lead of the union leaders. Look at the case of the Boston bombers and the fire in the plant in Texas. Many more died in the Texas work place fire. The reason for this fire was deregulation, that is the pulling off of controls from workplaces and letting the employers do what they want. The employers and their bribed politicians should have had the finger pointed at them as murderers. This should have been pointed out again and again by the union leaders but instead not a word. US working people will have to learn the hard way, at the school of hard knocks. But learn they will and they will fight.
The union leaders will not lead until they are faced with loosing power over the organizations they control. So the left and activists have to get their house in order. They also have not organized properly over this past period. It is necessary to build a mass united front of direct action fight to win struggle with nuclei in every section of every union, every workplace, every community, every college and school. It is necessary to pull these together into a united front network of struggle so that when the US working class are forced to fight by events there is an alternative leadership and movement to which they can turn.
- AFSCME Local 444 negotiations assesment 1997
- Preparing for Revolution: A discussion document
- The Internal lives of Revolutionary Organizations
- Socialist Alternative members: Questions and Answers
- Sanders: Our Alternative
- University of California workers and Unions
- An Invitation to Our Readers
- Facts For Working People Weekly Phone Conferences and Discussions
- Help open The AFL-CIO AIFLD Archives