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

Jobs Disappearing—A Little Hell Needs to Break Loose!

Jan 18, 2010

With double-talk spouting out of every mouth, government officials declared the job situation “stabilized”–since the official rate of unemployment didn’t go up in December! They even dared to say it with a straight face–despite the net loss of jobs suffered by the “job market,” once again.

What produced this statistical miracle? Government statisticians ignored an additional 661,000 people who didn’t look for jobs last month–didn’t look because there are infinitesimally few jobs to be found. Even officially, there are six applicants for every job opening. More unemployed people got tired and didn’t look for work last month, and so they weren’t considered unemployed.

With such sleights of hand, the government can disappear anything it wants, and often does–the unemployed, the big gifts it continues to rain on Wall Street, or the wars it carries out in multiple countries around the globe.

Employment stabilizing? Bull feathers!

In the two years and one month since the recession officially started, employers have cut eight million jobs–NET. And that’s only half the story. To keep up with the increase in the size of the work force, they should have created five million MORE jobs. In other words–just to get back to where we were in December 2007, which was hardly a good year, employers today would have to create 13 million jobs MORE than they cut.

The Federal Reserve acknowledged this reality when it recently admitted that the job market won’t improve anytime soon. The Fed forgot to explain why, however, even though this bank in the service of the bosses knows full well what is going on.

Whether production increases or not, the job situation will not improve so long as the bosses are able to push to put out more production with fewer workers. In the third quarter of 2009, the speed-up was so intense that the rate of productivity increased an astounding 8.1%!

The bosses are using the crisis they themselves created, using the threat of unemployment to make everyone else work harder, longer, and for less money–that is, to reorganize work for their own benefit.

In 2005, even before the recession started, more than one quarter of the work force were already “irregularly scheduled” workers, either temporary, part-time, on-call or so-called “independent contractors.” Business Week, the bosses’ magazine, says this is the wave of our future, calling them “disposable workers.” The bosses want, says Business Week, “just-in-time labor forces that can be turned on and off like a spigot.”

Not since the early 1930s have the bosses been so ferocious in trying to reorganize work. Just as then, the bosses are today using a severe crisis to carry out what they had been trying to do all along: take a bigger share of the wealth the workers’ labor produces, increasing the gap between the very wealthy and everyone else.

By the mid-1930s, the bosses were discovering how quickly such calculations could backfire. With workers taking over factories, with the unemployed clogging up the streets, with neighbors refusing to let their friends be tossed out of their homes, all hell began to break loose–and continued for the next few years.

Well that’s what we need today, a lot of hell breaking loose. It’s the only thing finally that threw the bosses backwards in earlier periods. It’s still the only language they understand.