Aug 31, 2009
For some people, the economy couldn’t be better, this Labor Day, 2009.
Ben Bernanke, for example. The Federal Reserve Chairman, who gave away trillions of dollars to the banks, just got his job back.
Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury who presided over the biggest speculative balloon in U.S. history, doesn’t even think about his paycheck. He’s too busy feeding more billions to the banks.
Executives at Goldman Sachs – the very ones who blew up the financial system, profiting many times over – just had 11 billion dollars paid into their accounts for three months “work.”
Executives at GM and Chrysler – the very ones who extorted massive concessions from auto workers – will have their bonuses paid in secret, so no one sees just how much went into their own accounts from what they ripped out of the skins of auto workers.
For the financial wizards, who measure things by how much money they accumulated, the economy is looking up.
Nonetheless, the real economy – that is, the production of goods and services that allow us all to live – is caught in the grip of an ever deepening crisis.
De facto, Geithner admits it – when he says that unemployment hasn’t “yet” tanked, that it will have to get worse before it gets better.
Bernanke admits it – when he says that the worst of the mortgage crisis is still ahead of us.
Every single measure shows it. Governors and mayors, speaking of “budget crisis,” cut services, then cut them again, furlough workers, lay off workers, and threaten bankruptcy. School systems close schools, pack students into already overcrowded classrooms and cut more teachers.
This economy, run by the capitalists for the capitalists, has brought us up to, and pushed us over the brink into disaster.
Labor Day should be a day for the working class to gather its forces, to take account of what we accomplished over the past year, to lay out what we need to do in the coming year.
What did we accomplish? The capitalist class used the shock of the economic collapse to increase what it extorted from us. We didn’t find the way to push back.
But we’re still here. And some of us have begun to voice the anger that most of us feel. Some of us have let it be known by our actions that we won’t give up more.
And what we have to do next year – don’t most of us know it?
We have to take a chance, start a fight where we are, knowing that if we do so in a tough, determined way, others might well join us. We have to draw a line, to encourage others to do the same. We have to bring our forces together, stop reacting in isolated fashion.
Organized together as one class, the working class, we have the strength to shake this capitalist society to its foundations, to make the economy serve the population.
We shouldn’t settle for less.