Dec 3, 2001
The National Bureau of Economic Research has now officially spoken: the recession started last March. Not in October, certainly not on September 11, but six months earlier.
Officially, it can now be told: the nation is enmeshed in its eleventh recession since the end of World War II, done in, not by the spectacular treachery of terrorists who dove planes into the World Trade Center, but by the very ordinary treachery which the capitalists commit periodically. Putting the daily chase for profit before everything else – before the well-being of the economy and the welfare of the population – they have regularly dragged us into another recession.
Of course, we knew a recession had been going on, no matter what they tried to tell us: we were the ones bombarded by lay-off notices, job-cut announcements and a tightening of conditions on the job.
This official declaration that we now are – yes, and have been – in a recession doesn’t change anything about the economy. But, at least, it demonstrates that demands being made on us to sacrifice for the common good are not a response to September 11; they are nothing but a pretext, sing the horror we feel about September 11 against us.
Big corporations didn’t give us flags out of pure patriotism – whatever that word means – they did it out of pure greed. Getting us to fly their flags, talking to us about pulling together to restore “our” nation’s strength, playing “America the Beautiful” at every sporting event – all of these things were means to get us to make sacrifices, not for the common good, but for the profit of the capitalists.
Let’s not fall for this orgy of jingoism! Let’s be outraged every time we see George Bush or one of his minions climb on that pile of rubble in which are still entombed a thousand or more people in order to make another announcement. The more outrageous their announcement, the more they rush to speak from on top of those dead bodies. Bush, when he talks, can’t even stop himself from smirking, he’s so proud of this con game he is pulling off.
Be done with it. Turn our backs on their outrageous demands – outrageous whether they are trying to enlist us in the wars they carry out on other people or in the war they are carrying out here at home against us.
We have big concerns right here, right now. They are raiding Social Security. They are cheating schools of money. They are reducing money for medical care. They have been draining money out of unemployment funds. And they are demanding more concessions from us in our workplaces – even while laying us off.
We have our own interests to defend. We, as workers, have our own solidarity to develop. We do have to stand together: not as Americans against other people, people who have done nothing to us, who have been victimized even more than we have been – and in many cases by the U.S. government or people like Osama bin Laden who worked for it.
We have to stand together as workers against our class enemy, American capitalists.