The Misdirected Hatred of Labor

As a parent, my greatest fear is that the world our generation is leaving for the next will be one which we cannot be proud of. The future is, of course, not set but certain trends which we have established recently does not bode well for our children's millennium. I believe that, for a too short period in our history, this nation attempted to correct its course but those who would now guide our progress are aiming our world's ship directly for the shoals. Their goal is not the same as ours. They desire only to acquire, destroy and sell the ship for scrap while we are still on board and they then proceed to their yachts.

Thomas Mayer, the chief economist for Goldman Sachs in Frankfurt, Germany said recently, with a straight face, "When I look down on the trading floor, I see no need to get the wages of the traders down. That's beside the point. But the need is to get the cleaning worker's wages down and to widen the spread between them." Calling the United States a "model", Mayer went on to say, "Compare the situation of German janitors and U.S. janitors. Why is there such a vast difference? How often does a U.S. janitor go for vacation abroad? Not very often, I think. Here, everybody goes abroad." This attitude should make it obvious to anyone who cares that we are sliding into a nightmare world of greed and divisiveness.

The author of "One World, Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism", (and source for the above quote) William Greider, later states, "The Robespierre of this revolution is finance capital. Its principles are transparent and pure: maximizing return on capital without regard to national identity or political and social consequences. Global finance collectively acts as the disinterested enforcer of these imperatives, like a Committee of Public Safety presiding over the Terror."

What this means is that any business that attempts to contradict this downward pull on wages and social conscience is punished through financial traders lowering the value of the company's stock, thus igniting stockholder anger and, usually, a change of leadership and a return to the fold of greed and divisiveness. Nations are equally disciplined through capital fleeing governments of conscience for countries and governments who are willing to lower their standards a bit further than the average, thus constantly lowering the average.

What might this future hold for our children? If history is any guide, and it is usually a accurate barometer of cause and effect, then this system will become one in which wages and living conditions spiral downwards until the people demand change. Looking towards the example of Germany in the 1920's and 30's, that change will not be a change in the system itself but rather a shift in the focus of blame. Hitler was able to accumulate power rapidly not because his method of governing was superior but because he provided his followers with scapegoats to blame for their woes. He did not point at the leaders who started, then lost, World War One nor to the negotiators who virtually gave complete control of the nation to the allied victors and lost all economic advantages in a rapidly industrializing world. Rather he found a group who was already distrusted, a group who tended to be successful even in the hard times the nation was experiencing; the Jews. Here Hitler found the perfect enemy of the people. A race and a religion without a country or army or government for protection. A group that the self-described greatest nation on earth, America, happily turned away when they sought refuge from the mass exterminations of Hitler's Germany. A group that he believed no one would defend or miss if it were exterminated.

America is already in the process of looking for its own version of that group in order to have someone to blame for our current and future misfortunes. Those who blame rather than repair have experimented with Welfare mothers, teachers, gays, women, blacks, immigrant farm workers, liberals, progressives and so on. They have accomplished their initial task of destroying, reducing or postponing social programs such as Welfare, national health coverage, affirmative action, school lunches, after school programs and so many more. They are in the process of destroying or diminishing the effective powers of labor unions, OSHA and CalOSHA, the EPA, the Labor Relations Board, the Commerce Department, the Center for Disease Control and so many other services and organizations which once served to protect and educate the public about issues which Corporate America would rather not have discussed.

The time will come very soon when the political reality of today will achieve parity with the business reality of tomorrow; each of us will have only the representation and protection that we can afford. The wealthy and the corporations will have complete immunity since they will have complete control. When you ask why this is, they will point at the demon de jour and tell you that "They" are the cause of all of your woes. Since you will have no information available that might contradict these lies, Krystal Nicht will become a holiday for the workers.

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Copyright 8/21/97