The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Food Prices out of Control

Mar 28, 2022

Meat, poultry, fish, and eggs led the price increases, rising 13% in the last 12 months. Beef is up 16.2%; eggs up by 11.4%. High price increases for milk, butter, fruits, and vegetables—you name it, the very food staples that families count on, are more and more out of their reach. Grocery bills have doubled. And even cheaper food items, like hot dogs and mac and cheese are no longer a cheap option.

But even before inflation hit hard, a city like Detroit was a food desert. No big, chain grocery stores in the city. Ordinary people, especially without transportation, forced to go to little neighborhood grocery stores—often party stores or gas stations—for food purchases. And so today, if one can of Progresso soup, that USED TO BE 4 for $5 at a major chain store, like Meijer, is today selling for 2 for $5, at the local party store, it is $3.59. For one can of soup. So, the poorer you are, the more you pay.

So how are ordinary people dealing with these exorbitant price increases? They are being forced to cut back on foods like fruits and vegetables, because healthy food is too expensive. Families are having to decide how to carve out money budgeted for their electricity or water bills toward buying groceries. Parents, most often women, and other primary caregivers of children, are forsaking food for themselves, in order to guarantee their kids and grandkids have enough. And many families are going into even more debt, buying food on credit, so they can put something on the table.

Something is very wrong with this picture, when, in the wealthiest country in the world, it’s getting to be nearly impossible for ordinary families to feed their families.

Yes, it’s true that there used to be pandemic-era assistance programs—but, for the most part, they have ended. Yes, it’s true that there are food banks and food distribution centers—but is the answer really for people to line up every two weeks in growing lines to wait for boxes of donated food?

No, the working class doesn’t need “food assistance.” It doesn’t need charity. Workers today need jobs, and to have their wages increased so they are indexed to prices. Workers need to organize committees on price controls that can expose the speculators who are betting on “food commodities” causing the price increases, and the corporations that are passing on the cost of the crises they have created, onto the workers.

In other words, to have the right to even eat, the working class will have to be organized to get rid of this class society and replace it with one where human beings have the right to food, housing, health care, and culture. After all it is the working class that produces everything by their labor, including food.