Sunday, August 11, 2013

How to Counteract the Capitalist System

It is very hard to educate and organize at the same time as workers are working 12-hour days seven days a week. You have to work your organizing and protesting in sync with education. Workers must have the knowledge of worker history so they have confidence in what they believe. I once was told by a human resource manager at Point Magu Navy base that the reason labor loses in negotiations is that human resource people know more about labor history than the workers, which is why I study labor history. The Art of War tells us that to win you must know yourself (labor history) and know your enemy. If you only know one of these you will only win about half of your fights, but if you know both yourself and your enemy, you have a better chance of winning all your fights. Also, labor must have a good knowledge of how the capitalist system works for you and fighting for better wages you must understand economics. You can split out the truth and the bullshit and it is not rocket science to learn a basic knowledge of how money works in the capitalist consumer system. One basic rule is the more you make the more you spend, which means someone must make or sell a product to encourage more spending and more taxes paid. When more taxes are paid roads are paved, water is purified, cleaner air and better education. Speaking of better education, this is what we need for our younger workers, whom, I hope, are smarter than we have become by not educating ourselves about labor and the capitalist system we’re surviving in. Protest in the day time and go to school at night or on the weekends. Labor in the 1930s used to have labor education camps. Now we can use computers, cell phones or good old fashion meetings with labor speakers. Right now we have the best start for low-wage worker then we have had in the last 60 years fighting for the $15 to $16 an hour wage. The snow ball is rolling down the hill and getting bigger each day. We must keep it rolling, but we all must understand what we are fighting for and how it will help all of us and the economy. A higher minimum wage will not hurt the economy or cost jobs, but will help both and move low-wage workers back to a middle class. In order to do this we have to counteract the rhetoric of the right with knowledge. People have to understand labor, the capitalist system, the economy and how all three can work to everyone’s benefit.