Nov 12, 2018
The following is the editorial from the workplace newsletters of November 5, 2018, written and printed just before the election.
Even before we see the results of this year’s election, one thing is crystal clear. This election has not addressed our basic problem: our families’ standard of living continues to get worse.
Yes, Trump bragged that unemployment officially went down – it did under Obama, too. But in neither case, did we get the jobs we need. The jobs workers lost in 2007-09 were replaced by lower-wage jobs, by temporary jobs, by part-time jobs. Jobs with few or even no benefits. And many people are still without a job – more than nine years after this so-called “recovery” started.
How dare anyone call this a “recovery” – when the working class hasn’t recovered?
The average income in the country may have inched up a notch. But that’s only because a very tiny group of wealthy people at the top increased their income so enormously that the overall average income went up. But averages are nothing but a con game, tricked out to hide this fact: the wages of most people are going down. And compared to inflation, our wages are lower than they were in the 1970s.
In other words, each new generation of workers is living less well than did their parents – even while the very wealthy class has become four, even five times wealthier than ever before.
What kind of society would allow such an evil thing to happen?
This is what should have been discussed in the election campaign. But neither Democrat nor Republican talked about it. They BOTH serve the wealthy class that benefits from the way things run.
But we have to look at what is happening, discuss why capitalism runs the way it does, why corporations push to drive down wages and cut jobs, why profit takes precedence over human life.
Instead, Trump looked for scapegoats. He denounced the caravan of migrants to divert attention from the cause of our problems.
Who are those migrants? They are working people, just like us, trying to escape the poverty imposed on their countries by big U.S. agricultural companies. They are trying to escape the violence carried out by dictatorial regimes armed by the U.S. government. They are trying to escape the violence of drug lords and human smugglers whose gangs impose despotic rule on the banana and vegetable plantations owned by U.S. businesses.
What kind of vile substitute for a human being would pretend that such impoverished people are an invading army? What monster would propose to shoot them down like dogs?
The Democrats may pretend to be shocked by Trump’s language. They certainly hope that enough people are turned off by his inhumanity that the vote will go Democratic. But they haven’t taken up the basic problem: capitalism’s drive for profit is destroying jobs and wages in the U.S. – and in the countries the migrants come from.
There will be no answer to our problems until we recognize the cause of our problems, and seek to bring our own class together.
The only time working people really improved their situation is when they struggled, when they came out in the streets, massively.
Capitalists raised wages only when enough workers fought to make them do it – or when the companies feared a workers’ revolt.
Capitalists decreased the hours of work – without cutting workers’ wages – only when the struggles of working people forced the issue.
But it’s not enough to struggle – we have to take on the whole capitalist system itself. Otherwise, profit reasserts itself at our expense.
This is the reality we face, elections or no elections. To change this reality depends on us, only on us, the working people of every country.