The Spark

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

Editorial:
Holiday Cheer for the Capitalist Scrooges

Dec 21, 2009

During this holiday season, there’s a lot less money for presents under the tree. This year’s most popular gift is said to be an $8 toy hamster!

But for the elite, the 1%, the upper class, it’s Christmas every day. Even in bankruptcy, Lehman Brothers of Wall Street is paying executives a year-end bonus pot of 50 million dollars. Warren Buffett buys his own personal train set, Burlington Northern, for 34 billion dollars.

The holidays are supposed to be about family, but what condition are workers’ families in? Those still working are under the constant threat of pay cuts, short hours, layoffs. Those already laid off – a great many laid off for over a year now – can’t find any work. Thirty-six million are on food stamps. Forty-nine million people in this richest country in the world are not sure of their next meal.

Foreclosures and evictions have soared. One and a third million children were homeless at some point in 2009.

The real value of wages keeps falling. Prices for the bare essentials – heating and lighting your home! – keep rising. And winter has only begun.

Meanwhile, the suppliers of gas and oil wallow in fabulous amounts of wealth. Exxon just made a 41-billion-dollar deal to buy natural gas company TXO.

Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo are eager to repay the government bailouts – using taxpayers’ money from a different account! – so they can evade all limits on their executives’ pay and bonuses for this year.

The media report the claims of lying politicians that things are bottoming out, that there is light at the end of the tunnel. All lies. They report that joblessness is getting better. But those figures are as fraudulent as a sub-prime mortgage, hiding over half of those who are unemployed. Nearly one quarter of the work force – one half in industrial cities like Detroit – is without a job.

Stimulus? For the banks, maybe. But for us, another fraud! Can we wait and hope for stimulus programs designed by rich people for rich people? A New York parking garage will be replaced with a newer one. The old one employed 25 people; the new one will employ six. A Michigan engine plant will receive over five million dollars in state aid – after promises to create, maybe 157 jobs.

Ten trillion dollars or so – that’s TRILLIONS – are at the beck and call of the biggest and wealthiest banks. But the dollars promised for programs for real jobs? Still locked up.

Workers’ labor has built this society, and sustains it. It’s our right to live well, and not starve, in the midst of the wealth that we in our vast numbers have produced. Take it back from those who have too much under their tree.