Dear Dirty America


The Elite Must Stop Living Off of the Labor of the Masses

March 08
15:30 2012
Los Angeles

Karl Marx’s Capital Vol 1 uses footnotes in a most delightful and thought-provoking manner:

‘Among the wild Indians in America, almost everything is the labourer’s, 99 parts of a hundred are to be put upon the account of labour. In England, perhaps, the labourer has not two thirds’ (647, footnote 3, Penguin edition).

From that same page, Marx writes:

…the portion of society that lives on the labour of others is infinitely small compared with the mass of direct producers.

Think about how millions of Americans work some of the most difficult jobs for poverty level wages (minimum wage). Servers, baristas, sales associates, fast food employees, janitors, checkout clerks, etc. They make a year what Mitt Romney might gain or lose on his investments in a single second.

Imagine an employee at McDonald’s, on her feet all day, rushing to fulfill orders in a hot, muggy kitchen. She takes orders from managers and from the clerks at the front who process the steady flow of customers’ orders. She works for two weeks and gets a paycheck for those hours, but how much is her time and life energy worth?

In an ideal capitalistic society, where corporations haven’t taken a stranglehold of the market share, a worker would get to keep most of what she makes. A little goes back to society in the way of taxes, and a little goes to whomever might own the shop or business, but most of the income would go to the people who work the hardest.

For the owner and executives who sit on top and take home tens of millions every year, minimum wage is still too much to pay their legion of employees (it’ll kill jobs, they complain, but that’s not true). They’ve got shareholders who are looking to make more and more money every year. The name of the game is always growth. Profit growth. Company growth. Expansion. Nationwide, and worldwide. No time to honor the people who wear out their eyes, arms, hands, legs, joints, and hearts. These workers give their lives to servicing others in society.

In a destroyed economy, such as the US’s right now, works are more than ever disposable. If you’re not happy working forty hours a week, only to still be unable to pay your car payment, health insurance, grocery bills, electricity and internet bills, and rent, there are millions of workers waiting in line desperate for absolutely anything they can get their hands on.

We’ve been destroyed by corporatism, by Wall Street, by speculators, by toxic derivatives on the books at all levels of finance. Don’t think the executives on Wall Street are worried, or your Congresspeople in Washington doing their insider trading, because they are getting, and are going to continue to get theirs. It is the two hundred million of us who have to worry every day about not only landing a job, but making sure that job can pay most of our bills.

Most of us aren’t living high off the hog, either. We have a standard of living that I’d like to see maintained. A suitable apartment or living space with working utilities and internet service. At least two days off for rest and relaxation and time for personal and spiritual (in the biggest sense of the word) development.

We are not supposed to be serfs or modern day slaves. And we don’t have to be, but we need to band together and be two hundred million strong. People with and without jobs are not far apart in this society anymore. Our economy hasn’t recovered. People have just stopped looking for work. They’ve dropped off the unemployment map, which helps out the White House’s economic numbers, but doesn’t mean shit for the stability of our working peoples’ welfare.

We must demand good living wages for everybody. We must demand an end to unlimited corporate cash sent to Washington (that includes Barack Obama as well as Mitt Romney. The Democrats are as rich and ruthless as the Republicans, so don’t let that false duality fool you. A vote for Obama is a vote for Romney is a vote for a Bush). Get money out.

We must defend our fellow brothers and sisters who have lost their jobs. We must defend their right to food and a living space. Not everybody should get a beautiful car, but nobody should be worried about how they’re going to buy food, pay rent, or purchase new shoes for their children’s growing feet.

Nobody should be working forty plus hours a week for wages that will not sustain a person and their family. We are Nickel and Dimed. We are not getting by on minimum wage. It’s goddamned reprehensible. It’s time the small band of elite stop being allowed to binge on the fruits of the labor of the masses.

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