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

Wealth in Kern County—Not for Libraries, Though

May 23, 2022

In all of Kern County, officials don’t want to put money into the library system. This 8,000-square-mile county has only 22 libraries, most of which are open only two or three days a week. The central branch in Bakersfield is the only library in the county that’s open five days a week.

It’s not that there is no money in Kern County. It is a major agricultural center in California (with 100 million pounds of almonds annually, for example, among other crops), and most of McFarland’s 14,000 residents work in the fields surrounding the town. Kern County is also California’s top oil-producing county, with nearly 80% of this oil-rich state’s oil wells!

All that wealth flows into the coffers of Big Agriculture and Big Oil. As for the workers who produce all that wealth, these huge, and hugely profitable, businesses pay them poverty-level wages, and government officials deny them some of the most basic services and infrastructure, including libraries.