Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Richard Wolff: Setting the Record Straight on U.S. Manufacturing Myths

Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

Short, sharp explanation by Richard Wolff about the loss of so-called decent paying manufacturing jobs in the US.  US capitalists, the most powerful of the global capitalist elite, more powerful than their Chinese, German or Japanese competitors, invest their capital all over the world. Mining, agriculture, and heavy industry, wherever labor power is cheaper and profits greater.

With the collapse of Stalinist totalitarianism and the fall of the Soviet Union, the slogan,  Full Spectrum Dominance was quite popular. "We Won" said the Wall Street Journal and the era of US capital traveling the world unhindered by competitors, unions, workers opposition in all forms had begun.

Of course they blame the US worker as being paid too much money. The Chinese for not playing fair and so on.  But the owners of capital here in the US are the front line enemies of the US worker.  Blaming immigrants or foreign competitors is simply a diversionary tactic. 

But so is nationalism and patriotism as the ruling class present it.  The terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 have replaced pearl Harbor as the new patriotic/ nationalist rallying cry designed to divert our attention from asking the question, "What has our government been doing that people should respond in this way?" 

Nationalism is a con game. How can we all be united be the same, all be "American" in the same way when our own capitalists and their political representatives choose to drive millions of us in to poverty and desperation by shifting decent paying jobs overseas, all so they can maintain their lavish obscene lifestyles.

The truth is we are not. The diversions are aimed at us reaching out to and building alliances with, those who are the same as us, the Chinese and other so-called foreign workers. The US capitalists that invest their billions in production abroad, or shift production from the US to China, do not do it raise the wages and living standards of the workers there, they do it for their own interests as Prof. Wolff says. They exploit the Chinese workers just like they do us.

They invest in factories in countries where workers have no democratic rights or free trade unions and all the time complain about Cuba. In countries like Cambodia whose workers are viciously exploited by manufactures that produce for US and western corporations like WalMart, workers going on strike have been brutalized and their leaders shot. Conditions have been so poor that workers have died trapped in factories on fire in Bangladesh or killed as unsafe building collapsed. This does not stop US capitalists from joining with their foreign class colleagues sharing the loot.

US workers should not be fooled by this con game.  When a worker talks about loving our country our our home, it is different than the patriotism of the ruling class whose only allegiance is to profits and more of them.

Prof. Wolff also raises a most important point. Both the parties of capital, Republican and Democratic, and their political heads, the US presidents, are the culprits. It's not that the presidents he refers to are liars though they are. They lie because their economic interests demand it. They cannot tell us that their goal is capital accumulation and profits and that if this means the workers do with less which it does, then so be it. If they said this no one would vote for them and we are witnessing that and have for decades as more and more US workers have abandoned the electoral process entirely. The election of the degenerate Trump was in many ways a reflection of this disgust with the two parties of capital as many just wanted to stick it to the status quo. They're all dirty.

Workers have no political voice in the US. The building of a political alternative, a party of working people rooted in our communities and our organizations, is an essential part in driving back this capitalist offensive and combating the lies about how we are "all"Americans with the same interests and needs. We live in a never ending class war, don't let them fool you otherwise. It's the effects of this class war you are feeling in so many ways. A political party of our own could transform the balance of forces as it would give us a place to turn, an organization to fight in and confront our enemies while at the same time building international links with our brothers and sisters in places like China who are under the heel of an oppressive bureaucracy. But even there, huge strikes have taken place winning major wage increases without free and independent trade unions. It is in our interest to unite with them against both Chinese and US capital.

It's obvious when you think of it why there would be such hatred and demonization of a philosopher who said, "Workers of all countries unite". A simple slogan but the only way out of this mess.

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