The mounting social inequality is fueling protests around the globe. The global ruling class is determined to prevent these protests from employing the weapon that can bring them down — strikes.
Romantic fantasies aside, revolutions happen, not when the 99% get tired of the 1% and rise up, because the 1% will do whatever it takes to maintain power. That's how they got to be the 1% in the first place.
Rather, revolutions happen when the 1% are divided amongst themselves. Often as a result of foreign threat or economic crisis.
The other condition that is necessary for revolution is for the security services to no longer stay on-side. This is why I pay little attention to the Yellow Vests, to the Dutch farmers, etc.. As long as the police and army are willing to break heads when ordered, nothing will come of them.
Besides striking another effective measure for us, not only as workers, but (unfortunately) as consumers is the BOYCOTT. For a time, it did work for us to boycott lettuce and grapes to help farm workers. But the boycott movement faded probably because we Americans are too willing to indulge in immediate rather than delayed gratification. Amazon is certainly a case in point: imagine boycotting them on a national level to insist on fairer treatment of their workers. We won't because we like getting our merchandise at the click of a computer key. Yet, if we target, carefully, industries that need reform through widespread boycotts (Walmart is another customer for a boycott), that could be another engine of change. Unlike mass protest marches and strikes, boycotts take time and are not glamorous. But could be very effective. Those who would now organize them, however, must be protected because the ruling class will destroy such very quickly. Strikes + boycotts seem a winning combination. You'd have to give up your fruits and vegetables out of season, though. And keep wearing last year's fashions and not buy the latest iPhone....
I agree, Chris. The time for negotiation, protests, advocacy, and education is over. It's time to fight the corporate beast with the power we have. The same goes for the medical mandates, the imposition of the WEF's agenda on agriculture, and just about every other aspect of the corporate takeover. Derrick Broze has written a book on this called "How to Opt Out of the Technocratic State".
We all need to opt out in every way at our disposal.
oligarchs never seem to learn the lesson: if you make sure that people make relatively fair wages, then severe social and economic disruption is far less likely, people are happier, and they tend to spend which brings money to the oligarchs companies. But they can't seem to stand this state of affairs. So, they end up pushing things until there is economic (at minimum) and/or social collapse (the French Terrror, brutal left wing governments, stalin). Then the pattern repeats. Like a lot of people from the 60s, i know my history but i find myself incredibly shocked by how fast the changes from FDR and the 60s are being rolled back and how brutal they are. It seems to be all part of the general systemic collapse, of which climate change is merely the most dangerous. this is not going to be a pretty century. and as always, i weep for my country.
My grandfather was a passenger train engineer with Frisco who retired in 1960. It was a good job, and the railroads continued to be a good place to work into the 1970s as I recall.
It wasn’t until I began reading the coverage of WSWS that I realized just how bad things have gotten for railroad employees. Really bad compared to the conditions my grandpa worked under.
Of course corporate profits everywhere and across the board come at the expense of the workers. But the difference between strikes at Amazon warehouses, Starbucks etc and rail workers is sheer impact. A nationwide rail strike would bring logistics and everything associated to its knees in a way other strikes have not.
Yes, it would create hardship. Ultimately, it might fail. But at this point, what do workers have to lose? The railroads need skilled workers; can’t run them with scabs or robots.
Chris, how would this quote from David Graeber square with Strike, Strike, Strike?
“The theory of exodus proposes that the most effective way of opposing capitalism and the liberal state is not through direct confrontation but by means of what Paolo Virno has called “engaged withdrawal,”mass defection by those wishing to create new forms of community. One need only glance at the historical record to confirm that most successful forms of popular resistance have taken precisely this form. They have not involved challenging power head on (this usually leads to being slaughtered, or if not, turning into some—often even uglier—variant of the
very thing one first challenged) but from one or another strategy of slipping away from its grasp, from flight, desertion, the founding of new communities.”
― David Graeber, Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology
Big Bill Haywood: "If one man has a dollar he didn't work for, some other man worked for a dollar he didn't get."
Thanks, Mr. Hedges. You not only identified the problems we face, but presented clear and timely solutions. My ears pricked up when you mentioned the Taft-Hartley Act. Politicians, no matter the party, who aren't trying to have it revoked aren't on the side of Workers; it's as simple as that.
What needs to be done isn't rocket science, and Americans don't want to be bogged down or confused by complicated theories that require multiple degrees to understand. Organizing requires trust, commitment, clear goals, and knowing who your friends and enemies (the wolves in sheep clothing) are...
"Strike-Strike-Strike." Nothing like having to hit the reader on the head with viable social activism. The general public appears to be a dull lot.
"Taxes on the wealthiest individuals and corporations was as high as 91 percent." Not to nitpick here--there have been times in the U.S. when taxes were legitimately more progressive than they are now--but even in fairer times, figures such as "91 percent" refer to marginal tax rates. An affluent individual would pay considerably lower taxes on his income before he reached that highest tax bracket.
Well, one thing we can say for sure, revolution isn't going to help. Neither the French nor the Russian revolution changed much. Russia had a totalitarian government both under the Tsars and the Communist government (noting that communism is an economic system not a political system). They didn't get rid of the totalitarian government until the collapse of the old SovU. As for the French, they have cycled between royalty and republics a number of times since the French revolution (which republic is this one? 5th or 6th?). The American revolution was largely successful simply because it didn't change much. Although there are some interesting exceptions. Congregationalism was the official religion of the State of Connecticut at its inception. That didn't actually change until the mid 1800s.
Alexander Herzen, speaking to a group of anarchists about how to overthrow the czar, reminded his listeners that it was not their job to save a dying system but to replace it: “We are not the doctors. We are the disease.”
Indeed-I agree with this 100%- it was not their job to save a dying system but to replace it: “We are not the doctors. We are the disease.” Thanks again for keepin' it real Chris!
Of all the statistics shared by Mr. Hedges in this report, the one that made me most aware of the dire situation of our beloved country is that the previous year to the beginning of the Great Depression, the top10 percent richest people owned 23.9 percent of the national wealth but now their worth is 70 percent.
We urgently need a radical change in our form of government. Those readers that frequently complain that Mr. Hedges does not offer solutions here have them loud and clear: Strike and Strike.
I've been retired enjoying my pension for many years (a luxury denied to our youths now) so I have nobody to strike against. My activism has been reduced to strike against our traditional parties by voting only for bona fide progressives and third parties. Also contributing to good causes and exhibiting thoughtful political bumper stickers in my car that have earned me the congratulations from kindred spirits at the parking lots and the middle finger in the road.
We have many interesting theories about the origins of the revolutions and I love to read the informed opinions of our commentators but the important task at hand is to start acting knowing that it will be difficult and the reaction from our capitalist and from the rest of the world will be hard to endure. But history shows us that when a population truly desires a change it will be achieved.
I do believe that a condition for being a revolutionary is to be a romantic. Mao and the Che Guevara are good examples. After all, we need to have some loose bolt in the brain to be willing to fight against almost impossible odds.
Here in America, we had our unionist Joe Hill with his last will and poem, shared also in this report, that invite us to bloom in our love for justice. The instructions left in Hill's last poem were carried out: "And let the merry breezes blow/My dust to where some flowers grow/Perhaps some fading flower then/Would come to life and bloom again." Hill's ashes were put into small envelopes and on May Day, 1916, were scattered to the winds in every state of the union. This ceremony also took place in several other countries.
Wow! What a radical prescription for systemic change you’re proposing. Of course, as always, you make a strong #NEARLY convincing case for a “nationwide strike,” with emphasis on the Railway portion of our otherwise heavily automobile/truck-dependent transportation system.
The “Worker Solidarity” required for such a broad & deep communal Action is highly unlikely even at the state or regional level, however, as we know from even a casual acquaintance with #AbrahamMaslow’s #HierarchyOfNeeds. “Food first, then morals” (Bertholt Brecht,) right?
It’s a “tipping point” in Public Opinion to NEARLY an Albert Finney-like point of saying “I’m mad as hell and I won’t take it anymore” (ref. #Network) that’s a necessary precursor to such radical societal Change.
The “tinder” of intense dissatisfaction is obviously present, but a fiery & violence imbued situation like in the past is simply untenable today.
Ours is a strictly nonviolent #RevolutionOfAwareness to achieve #TruthAndReconciliation (ref. Bollyn.com & #NelsonMandela). Reprioritization is key. Prioritizing “Internal improvements” and extricating our country from imperialistic “foreign entanglements” (ref. #AbrahamLincoln) will cause little to no disruption in #WeThePeople’s vaunted “lifestyles.” “It doesn’t take (much) sacrifice” (ref. James Taylor’s “Shower the People), but it will take some “period of adjustment.” That’s where proper & adequate planning comes in. Aligning with the ideas at SolutionaryRail.com is NEARLY a sine qua non (without which there’s none).
“A Working Class Hero is Something to Be,” and you’re certainly that Reverend Hedges.
Lew A (Lincoln) Welge
#CREATORS (Conspiracy Realist Educator Activist Truther Organizer Reader Socializer)
P.S. #WeThePeople are All more NEARLY to greater #Wellness when aware Nutrition Exercise Attitude (of gratitude &) Rest Lengthens Youthfulness.
Christianity basically holds that humanity lives in sin by a move away from the command(s) of god. This is merely another parody that skirts the more core error of humanity, ie. the fallacious assumption that the thinker is an entity separate from his thoughts. This is the 'original' error (seen as sin). No love, peace or harmony will ever appear socially unless we individually face this personal distortion for its own sake irrespective of whether or not it will change all humanity. Yet humanity at large can not change unless this individual possibility of stepping out of the illusion of self and its society is faced.
The following paragraph from page 32 of the Presidential Emergency Board 250 Report and Recommendations, which spawned a tentative agreement that would take the railroaders economically backward and was rejected by the IAMAW [International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers], is justification for a massive STRIKE, STRIKE, STRIKE:
The Carriers maintain that capital investment and risk are the reasons for their profits, not any contributions by labor. The Carriers further argue that there is no correlation historically between high profits and higher compensation, either in the freight rail industry or more generally. To the contrary, one of the Carriers’ experts maintained that the most profitable companies are not those whose compensation is the highest. The Carriers assert that since employees have been fairly and adequately paid for their efforts and do not share in the downside risks if the operations are less profitable, then they have no claim to share in the upside either.
An excellent call to action!