In respect to the fight for minimum wage increase ($15.00 hr.) and union organizing, I believe it is important we give serious consideration to the socio-political relationship between workers and the bosses/corporate entities. While we cannot oppose the fight to increase the minimum wage, this fight is not isolated from the entire gross inequities found in the capitalist system. Why does it cost so much for food, clothing and housing? Why does it cost so much for traveling and health care and education? It is the answer to these questions that speaks to why the fight for increase in minimum wage becomes necessary.
The bosses argue that because of high wages, the cost of everything else develops, and that is why they want to move businesses to other countries for cheap labor, etc. The mitigating argument is, if wages aren’t raised, workers/consumers will not be able to afford the finished product anyway. Furthermore, as underdeveloped countries become more industrialized and technological, those workers will demand better salaries so they can afford the products they make. Ultimately, this is the crisis of capitalism-imperialism with all of its related geopolitical factors of built in crisis; global competition, population displacement, wars, and climate change, etc. The principle problem is the inequal distribution of accumulated wealth!
This is the quandary that appears not to be confronted and addressed full-throttled in building a class struggle toward a mass and popular movement. The fight for $15.00 minimum wage is merely a stop-gap measure to keep workers’ wages on a par with inflation and/or recession, etc. The politics in union organizing have evaporated into simple economic issues … it seems workers are not being educated or inspired to challenge the system of capitalist-imperialism and disempowerment; no longer is agitation-propaganda forwarding the proposition of workers’ ownership of the means and mode of production, i.e. Socialism.
It is unnecessary to reproduce or reiterate the often repeated numbers offered by the former Occupy or Bernie Sanders activists to what degree the 1% of the population reaps enormous profits from workers’ labor. But what must be stated repeatedly, if necessary, is the failure of unions and their representatives to educate their members in the ideological determinants of class struggle. Apparently, the unions and their reps have essentially become a “human resource” arm of the bosses/corporations. They simply function as a mechanism to inform the bosses when worker management has reached a crisis and the workers have to be appeased/addressed to alleviate the crisis and continue to produce. The corporate bosses dicker (negotiate) with unions and reps to find the most cost effective medium solution to ensure profitability and workers’ satisfaction until the next crisis, etc. If this basic analysis is accurate, when will the time come that workers truly understand the dynamics of class struggle in forging a socialist revolution?
It is obvious that the system of capitalism is capable of adjusting to crisis, and in some cases absorb and adapt to changing socio-economic demands, without changing the concrete fundamentals of the division of labor and the socio-political relationship between the oppressed and the oppressor, the exploited and the exploiter. At some point, and hopefully soon, this contradiction will need to be addressed by unions and their representatives as part of an overall mass and popular movement.
I firmly believe that, within the next four years, now that the right wing has successfully managed a political coup d’etat (with the assistance of capitalist roader Putin), the left and progressive forces will need to build a national determination toward class struggle. This particularly means identifying and exposing union and rep collaborators with corporate bosses so they can be ousted. Those unions, their representatives and social activists found to capitulate to the corporate bosses in opposition to building a formidable class struggle toward a mass and popular movement must be exposed and denounced as enemies of the working class!!
The fight for $15.00 is more than a struggle for minimum wage, it is a struggle to win workers to the overall movement of workers’ ownership of the means of production and socialism. Anything short of this are mere stop-gap measures in capitalist crisis management, and the continued super-exploitation of workers.
In the Spirit of Nelson Mandela
in Apartheid NYS Prison System
Jalil A. Muntaqim
Southport, January 17, 2017