“I think organized labor is a necessary part of democracy. Organized labor is the only way to have fair distribution of wealth.”
“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”
A particularly insidious method that capitalists have found to maintain social control and class order is by linking people’s work to their healthcare. This causes the job market to be rigid and inflexible for millions of workers who know that if they leave their jobs, their healthcare will not leave with them. Thus, men and women can be compelled to accept austere working conditions because they know that their families will lose healthcare if they complain or lose their jobs. What should be an inalienable human right becomes a political ball of yarn for the ruling mice to bat around for their amusement. Insult is added to injury in states where low income workers and their families have been denied health coverage because of the refusal to expand Medicaid in ideological opposition to the admittedly flawed Affordable Care Act. Allan Lokos, founder and guiding teacher of The Community Meditation Center in New York City, has stated, “There is no illness that is not exacerbated by stress.” Workers in menial, subsistence level jobs are trapped like hamsters in a wheel while technology has enabled a 24/7, always on workforce. The bluest collar is reserved for those who cannot afford to take off work due to lost wages or implied threats to job security and, even if they are able to take off work, do not have sufficient health care to get treatment without incurring life threatening debt. The American dream in the abstract takes on a nightmarish tinge in all of it’s concrete lethalness.
“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.“
Somehow and somewhere along the long and winding road to full spectrum dominance capitalism, we have been conditioned to equate a person’s productivity with their worth. Rather than work for the sake of one’s craft, for personal fulfillment or as a contribution to the greater good, labor became a means to a profitable end which has been funneled to a select few. In the twentieth century, consumerism sped up the hamster wheel as people raced to work and earn more so they could buy more. Industrialism and the ability to mass produce things has been matched by the capability to mass transport things. These factors and many more have created a perfect storm for global capitalists who are no longer confined to narrow trade lanes based on geographical or political boundaries. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, like free trade agreements before it, was crafted by corporate and state interests to knock down any remaining barriers to the glorious Free Market™. A story that has long stuck with me tells of a Palestinian farmer named Avi who rose early tending to the olive trees and chickpeas that were among the ingredients in the fresh hummus he made daily. When an American observed Avi’s operation, his first thought was how Avi could scale up his operation and brand it for a wider market. But Avi told the American, “I don’t want to make more money. I make enough money. And I am done by 9 a.m. every day. The rest of the day is mine.” Some have the wisdom to never put on their collars in the first place. Peace and solidarity to all readers.