Fiction, Reality and Rebellion: Justice for George Floyd

People of all colors and creeds are pissed because they watched a racist execution on video. Since their days as a slave patrol, racist murder is what cops have been paid to do. And when the murder is complete, and the workers explode with righteous anger, cops harass and suppress the protesters and protesters anger turns into “property” destruction and “looting” (it’s always poor and working people who loot, of course). Herr Trump claims Antifa is behind the trouble and the Dems blame Russia. Wow shit is really whack, but also what should we expect?  We live in a world where fiction and reality have mingled. “Major Strasser has been shot. Round up the usual suspects,” says Captain Renault. Strasser was a Nazi but today the suspects have a different supposed ideology.

It’s a twisted spin on old school anticommunism where the neoliberal Democrats huge intellects compel them to conclude that twenty first century Russia is communist “dictatorship” even though the Soviet Union imploded in 1991.  Trump, is in many ways a moron, but at least he is blaming genuine leftists, Antifa (which is barely an organized group) for instigating the growing movement against murdering racist cops. (As if righteous anger needs justification other than the actions of cops) The Democrats, on the other hand, have moved so far to the right that they think even a(n) (oh,oh,oh look at me ma!) brutal capitalist oligarchy, Russia, is pulling a Nakita Kruchev and undermining the US from within.  But when we put on the special sunglasses, it’s pretty clear that the US is simply a more insidious form of oligarchy. Trump wants to untie his orange locks and let his over-the-top oligarchy flag fly, but the Dems prefer to blow the tear gas around and meditate on the centering of meritocracy in their quiet room. Their mantra “Ohhhmmmmn, the best and the brightest, the cream(yes cream is white) rises to the top.”  The cream, of course are billionaires, racist rapist candidates and million dollar pundits shoveling manure on cable TV who use their combined capital, political and propaganda resources to turn the righteous anger away from themselves and capitalism and blame boogeymen both old and new.

The Dem leaders move further to the right while they point their manicured finger at the insane clown president, and I can’t help but feel the Dems are in many ways worse than the Iron Cross tatted Republicans who at least have the decency to wear their racism like a swastika printed blue tie around their wrinkled turkey necks. With insidious sleight of hand the Dems spin their dark magic economic tricks, funneling more and more of the wealth that workers have and continue to create to the top point zero five percent (.05) Meanwhile they have the audacity to send up arch racist Joe Biden has a candidate against the Cheeto dusted nincompoop. My oh my, US “democracy” has sunk lower than it ever has been, maybe even lower than the days when slave masters were president.

And so, in the middle of a pandemic, we have anger, disillusion, peaceful protest and the hope that a new world is posssible. Wall Street is booming while working people struggle to survive. The conditions that have created these protests have nothing to do with foreign agents and are not being orchestrated by outside agitators. They have been created by the neoliberal shenanigans of the ruling class,the zero point 5 percent(0.5) whose only fantasy is to squeegee every tiny little portion of wealth from the rest of us. People want change and they want justice for the victims of police murder. They want this murderous cop, Derek Chauvin, locked up for kneeling on George Floyd’s neck until he died. We are mad as hell and we can’t take it anymore.

Stop and Shop Workers Strike for Sustainable Jobs

Stop and Shop workers striking right now all over New England, we salute you, and say solidarity now and for as long as it takes.

Bosses cause strikes, not workers.  Profits cause strikes, not workers’ greed.  

The corporate spin-doctors are already at it. They try to paint workers who are struggling to survive on crap wages as unreasonable and hurting customers.

    Stop & Shop spokeswoman Jennifer Brogan said that “we are disappointed that the UFCW chose to order a work stoppage in an attempt to disrupt service at our stores.”

    That’s right Jennifer, workers are striking because they want to hurt the customers that they interact with everyday while you drink latte’s in the corporate PR suite. Does it get any worse than a corporate PR stooge………OMG

    Meanwhile in reality, we learn that according to a representative for the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the company has proposed “drastic and unreasonable” cuts to workers’ health care benefits and take-home pay and increase to their health care costs.  They also want to take away premium pay on Sunday—something that many food service workers rely on to make ends meet.

    Nancy Peska, who has worked at Stop and Shop for 39 years said, “This is a tough day for me because I love my job, but they want to double what we pay in health insurance premiums and co-pays. And they won’t take that off the table.”

    And Peska is not just worried about herself,

    “I’m able to make a comfortable living, but I’m not getting rich,” she said. “I want the younger people I work with to be able to have that.”

    It’s not the workers who are greedy. It’s the bosses. Stop and Shop is owned by Dutch-Belgian conglomerate Ahold Delhaize. Stop and Shop raked in $2 billion in profit last year and got a US tax cut of $225 million in 2017.  The company is claiming that the attack on workers’ wages and benefits is necessary, but they refuse to provide any financial information to prove it.  We’re supposed to believe them and that Trump pays his taxes too. Nope, we ain’t falling for that malarkey.

Workers strike to fight for their livelihoods and to try and protect their family’s future. Bosses force workers to strike to increase profits and the value of their stock options.  We know which side we’re on, how about you?

Stealing Wages, not Sustainable

Capitalism is thievery, even by its own laws, but some lowlife bosses are not satisfied with the ill-gotten gains and unfair advantages that the law already provides. No, some bosses not only exploit their workers, filling their baskets with the majority of the fruit that a worker produces, they also coerce or trick workers into working hours for free or accepting less than the already woefully inadequate minimum wage.

This wage thievery hurts “honest” and “hard working” small business owners as well, by giving an unfair advantage to the lowlife pick pockets who take money from their workers’ paychecks.  The thieves can lower their “operating expenses” and undercut their honest competitors. So “honest” bosses are getting screwed too while lowlife bosses can thrive.

Any business which doesn’t a pay living wage has no right to exist. They are a detriment to society.

But bosses who run businesses and steal from their workers already meager earnings are criminals and should be put in jail. And I don’t mean Club Fed type country clubs.  Lets’ take a page Lisbeth Salander and tattoo “this asshole steals wages from poor workers” across their chest and back and maybe on their foreheads too. Wage stealing bosses live in the same hole as pedaphiles, along with scabs and Pinkertons and Eric Prince.

There is no doubt that all wage labor is wage slavery under the menace of capitalism, but since we still have a fair amount of work to do before we are ready to challenge the rulers for control of society, bills like NJ Senate bill S1790 and Assembly bill A2903 are a baby step and offer workers some cheesecloth like armor of protection.  We reiterate the best way to fight for workers’ rights is to organize in the workplace and at the point of production. Building egalitarian structures in an IWW rank and file union is the real hope for change.  But if this proposed wage theft law in NJ can relieve some of the suffering of so many mostly low wage workers than we support it and call on the legislature to pass it immediately.

Wage theft, in the US, is a huge criminal enterprise.  The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the wage theft that revolves around the minimum wage alone is $15 billion a year. That’s more than “shoplifting” and if bosses paid a living wage “shoplifting” would most likely be even less of a problem.

,All threads connect in the fabric of capitalist oppression, and when we pull one, wage theft, we find that it is tied to another, low wages.  Laws that regulate the level of theft tolerated are not a bad thing, but we need to rid ourselves of exploitative social relations entirely. All we need is the strategy and the movement to start to make it happen.

A New Beginning

I have sat on this blog for a few years now, and I think that I’ve found the vision I require to actually to begin to comment on the world here. Sustainable Labor will look at the economy, the state of the planet and the movement for liberation from the perspective of the working class. My first post will take a look at the Green New Deal. It will be posted soon.

Creativity makes Us Human

Creativity and production are part of what make us human. But for many of us our creativity and the products of our labor are turned into commodities and sold by someone else in the market. No economic  system that allows this can be called sustainable.

We sell our labor and our lives to the bosses who use us to accumulate riches and buy politicians and governments which become the instrument of oppression against us. Capitalism dehumanizes us, turning us into profit making machines.

In makes no difference whether the economy is green or fossil. What makes our current economy unsustainable is not just the way it gobbles up the earth’s resources and poisons the atmosphere, it is unsustainable at its root because it commodifies the the creativity of workers, a huge aspect of what makes us human.  Capitalism has no role in the building of a sustainable economy. We need a new system.

A Living Wage is a Requirement of a Sustainable Ecconomy

We need $15 an hour, and we need it now, not five years from now like most democrat politicians want. A sustainable economy requires wages that sustain a healthy,productive and rewarding life.

We shouldn’t walk into the the bosses’ office with our hats in our hands, nope. We need to walk in with our fists in the air. We have the power. All we lack is the organization. No small thing for sure, but easily attainable if we work together.

But that’s our problem. We workers let the bosses divide us by nation, race, gender, orientation. We let them divide us based on how much money we earn or the perception that “skills” are what should determine the value of labor. But the idea of skilled vs. unskilled workers is just another wedge driven through our unity. It is based on the false perception that there is an unlimited amount of jobs for “skilled” workers and that all an individual needs to do is get the right “skills.” This is just another trick of the neoliberal pseudo economists and lackey pundits.

The bottom line is this. Workers create the value and thereby the wealth in the economy, but because bosses are greedy and often too incompetent to make profit and still pay workers a wage that allows them to meet living expenses, many workers are forced into a situation where they can barely survive. In the upside down world of capitalist economy the bosses are turned into the producers of value and labor is an “expense.” But if all the bosses disappeared tomorrow the economy would continue to operate. Their demise might cause a bump or two as workers reorganized our work places without the boss, but we would carry on. If all the workers disappeared, however, the engine would seize and the profit would stop. When it comes right down to it most bosses, and all of the big bosses, are little more than parasites living off blood of workers, sucking the life out of us so they can consume far more than they need.

There is no need to detail the corporate profits accumulated by the one percent or more accurately the the tenth of one percent over the last forty years. They have made unfathomable measures of wealth, while most of the rest of us have had to strap flippers on our feet to simply stay afloat and avoid breathing in the water that presses against our throats.

We don’t have to accept this. We are the many and they are the few. We need to organize, to see through the bosses’ lies that divide us and demand our share of the wealth we create: the vast majority of it. We can get  $15, a living wage and helluva lot more.

Time and Money, Money and Time

How do we measure the value of time. Time is a limited resource for all of us even though there seems to be an unlimited supply from the universal perspective. When we look at time in relation to our labor we can see that we trade our time, our lives, to earn the meager necessities of out existence.

In my daily toil, for instance, my coworkers and I produce great amounts of value measured in revenue for the company and the capitalist but only receive in return a fraction of what we produce in wages. I can create revenue to pay my entire yearly salary in one day —not everyday, but on certain days when I do a certain kind of work. There is no doubt that in one month’s time I and my coworkers create value well in excess of our salary What about the other eleven months. Capitalism takes our lives from us to sustain itself and its profits,then uses the proceeds to both oppress us with state power and confound us and fool us into accepting its presentation of reality with education, media, history and culture.

We must rebel!

Global Divestment Day

Together, we will show that we are a truly global and growing force to be reckoned with. As the fossil fuel industry throws more money at fossil fuel expansion, we will turn up the volume of our divestment movement. And we won’t stop until we win.

Join us for Global Divestment Day on February 13 and 14 and together, let’s make fossil fuels history.


Work Less, Live More and Save the Planet Too.

Sustainable Labor is down with Alexandra Bradbury from Labor Notes. She suggests that we find innovative ways to lower the cost of living.

“We wouldn’t need to work so hard if the rent (and mortgages) weren’t so damn high. If transit were free, and frequent enough. If we had free health care and higher education.

Sound utopian? It shouldn’t. Take the federal money already going to higher ed in loans and grants, hand it straight to public universities instead—and you could have free tuition for all, tomorrow. Same with health care: single-payer would cost less than we already spend on our dysfunctional private system.”

WE agree. Read the rest of her thoughtful piece at Labor Notes.

Sadness and Madness

goat“That connection to this place and the love that people have for it, that’s what Arch Coal doesn’t get. They underestimate that. They don’t understand it so they disregard it. And in the end that’s what will save that place. It’s not the hatred of the coal companies, or anger, but love will save this place.”
Alexis Bonogofsky, Montana goat rancher

I used to believe in hatred, that hatred would move me and others to make the changes that we need to in this marvelous world that we inhabit. Honestly, I still hate. It boils inside me sometimes, making me want to strike out at my enemies. Yes, even those who seek love have enemies. The coal companies, the banksters, pocket picking politicians and CEO’s who use the marvels of our scientific imagination against us working people, funding the development of technology that makes workers obsolete and then throwing us away after extracting every ounce of value from our depleted souls, they are my enemies.

But I don’t think such formidable foes can be defeated with mere hatred alone. Our planet is one huge organism, and we are connected. The good bacteria doesn’t hate the bad bacteria. The good,the bad and the ugly are all part of this collective experience and all this has led us to this point in time. Each of us, and all the wonders of creation, are who we must be in this moment–a profound moment it is too, where so many of the products of human imagination have become weapons of mass destruction pointed at us and all life on the planet. Sadness and madness are intertwined within each breath.

But as we know, crisis can be opportunity.  It is the struggle that defines us as a species and as individuals. All around the world people are struggling to fend off destruction. In remote villages we stand united. In mass demonstrations in cities we fill the man made canyons with harmonies for justice, all in hopes of securing this place—this tiny blue dot, so insignificant in the universe, but all encompassing for the creatures and life who call it home— for the seven generations. The future has arrived. Can we learn to love?