When the union’s inspiration
Through the workers blood shall run
There can be no power greater
Anywhere beneath the sun.
Yet what force on Earth is weaker
Than the feeble strength of one?
Our union makes us strong!
–Ralph Chaplin of the Industrial Workers of the World
I wrote a pretty long article today about the Teamster retirees who are gathering support for their pension fight. Over the past years, the Teamsters have often been there for other people who needed help. Like some other unions, though, they almost never ask for help for themselves. With the bosses intent on stomping us to death, that has to change.
The worldwide competitive race among major capitalist nations has not boiled over into a third world war yet, thank goodness. But they are taking extremely severe measures against their own workers as they fight over which nation, which specific employer, can force the lowest production costs out of their labor force. America, even under a fairly liberal capitalist president, is no exception.
One way of lowering production costs looks relatively easy to the employers: robbing their retirees. The Greek austerity plans, one after another, always feature cuts for seniors. U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has put forward several budgets. All of them contain major cuts for seniors. States and local governments generally pick on their pension plans when they want more money.
Most politicians are afraid to raise taxes because the big money campaign contributors are demanding more tax cuts. Those same employers seeking tax cuts from government are also demanding lower production costs (wages and benefits) from their employees. All for the same reason: international competition. It’s not necessarily the people; it’s the system!
Two parts of the population are being hit the hardest:
- Children, who are being robbed of their hopes of free public education
- Seniors, who get cuts in health care, pensions, and Social Security
There’s only one reason why those two segments of the population are being hit hardest: because the bosses consider them the most vulnerable. The least capable of fighting back. Their side can win by throwing big money into the political system, hiring professional liars to confuse all the issues, and ultimately through force.
Our side can win with solidarity!