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by Archie Kennedy
Tuesday, May. 03, 2005 at 7:10 PM
Wal Mart has recently given workers in Quebec the great 'fuck you' for having the guts to organize. A sign of the times.
After World War 2 the Western World began a grand party that certainly climaxed in the late 60’s. Optimism was everywhere. Tons of gadgets were being invented and bought and suburbs were growing out of Henry Ford’s factories. Everything was on the upswing. Social programs and workers benefits meant that the children of capitalism were secure and the future was brilliant. There was only one direction – up. Sure there may have been bumps and grinds, but there was a definite positive, upward trend.
In the mid-1970’s, when nobody was looking, the direction changed. We have been on a downward slide ever since and lately, it’s becoming uncomfortably noticeable. We have been tightening belts, cutting programs, cracking down on senior citizens and poor people and slaughtering thousands of Arabs for oil. Those factories that were the economic basis for the suburbs have been closing and the inner cities are starting to rot. Some American states spend more on jails than they do on education.
Capitalism has grown into an ugly insatiable beast that has no loyalty to anyone. Shiny toys will be made where they can be made cheapest. Monsters like Wal-Mart manufacture in so-called communist China, where the state controls capitalism as opposed to the other way around, and they can sell goods for lower prices than anyone else. Manufacturing firms have been moving to Mexico and Vietnam and the suburb dwellers kids won’t have a pot to piss in.
Workers in Quebec were heroic enough to become the first unionized Wal-Mart in North America. Last week the monster spit those heroes out like a bad meal and sent a message, not only to other Wal-Mart workers with the guts to demand enough to eat and buy Christmas toys. They send a message to all workers. This is a message from the private sector (courtesy of Wal-Mart) to workers period. There is a class war on and whether you bury your head in the sand or not, you can’t escape reality. It’s all over the place. And in reality, the message is, we don’t need you. You need us.
The optimism of the past is gone. We may be afraid to look at where we’re headed, but eventually we will have to. The working class, waged and unwaged, is entering the dark ages of capitalism and there is nothing short of revolution that will stop it. The ideological madmen have taken over politically. Not because it’s suddenly fashionable to be a neo- con as much as capitalism grows and it grows fast, and it matures. We happen to be fortunate enough to be living in a time when it is getting rotten. The capitalist corporation and the capitalist state are unapologetically intertwined and they are shamelessly taking over the world like madmen in a 60’s Batman movie.
They used to say that if we (workers) organize they (the owners) will close up shop. Most times, it was a bluff. But they ain’t bluffing anymore. Real wages have been going down for three decades now and capital can flee across borders at the tap of a keyboard.
The real bottom line is this. All wealth, everything you see around you is there because workers mined the ore, we shipped the ore, we cut down the tress, we built the gadgets and the factories and the homes and the hospitals, we loaded and unloaded, and hammered and transported – everything. Every dime that is in a rich man’s(sic) pocket is the result of the labour of workers. That wealth and the concomitant power isn’t legitimately theirs. The bottom line is the workers have all the wealth and the power. It has been misplaced into the pockets of parasites that don’t ship, mine, manage, build, or engineer. They just play the grand casino and they play politics and they play - and they play. But they are parasites and they are consuming the host and some day the game will be over.
We have a choice. We can take matters into our own hands now, or our kids and grandkids can do it later. We at least owe it to them to prepare them for this monumental struggle that they will have on their hands far more than we do. It could get real ugly. It will.
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