15 Sep 2010

Jobless on Labor Day

Jobless on Labor Day
[col. writ. 9/5/10] (c) '10 Mumia Abu-Jamal

As Labor Day rolls around, many are the homes in which the day is just another day, for there are no jobs to go to during the regular days of the week.

That's largely because the nation's economy remains in the doldrums, a hair's breath away from big R recession, and a stone's throw from depression. Businesses are shedding jobs, not adding them. That's because they are forcing employees to work harder and longer. As for their pay, most workers are paid wages that, adjusted for inflation, are equal to those of the 1970's.

By any measure the House of Labor is not doing well.

In part this is due to the capital's relentless war against labor, but it's also due to labor's fruitless investment in the politics of betrayal.

Like a fickle lover, politicians promise labor the moon; yet once ensconced in power, they spurn them like yesterday's newspaper ` gone and forgotten.

Perhaps the best exemplar of this political practice was Bill Clinton, who took millions from labor unions, in both votes and money, yet who rewarded them with the union-killing NAFTA Act, which encouraged U.S. manufacturers to go abroad for cheaper labor.

It is the manner of capitalist politicians to seek short term advantages, while bringing long term pains.

NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and its brethren were the legislative equivalents to selling off the bricks to one's basement, and then wondering why its flooding.

Why should this surprise us, when most political leaders hail frommanagement backgrounds (politics is a form of social management, after all), of labor ones?

Perhaps the last President who was a labor leader was Ronald Reagan, who once headed the Screen Actors Guild (SAC). But, he soon learned on which side his bread was buttered, and he joined the managers (as a politician)

The lessons of recent history should teach workers that labor doesn't have enough money to buy politicians (and even if it did, would they stay bought?), and they should quit trying.

Why not grow their own instead?

(c) '10 maj

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