Living In The Modern Day Slave State
by Coast Watcher
A recent meme posted on social media summarizes the nature of modern industrial relations. In the meme—a reproduction of a work announcement at an unnamed place of business—the workers are informed that one of their co-workers has passed away due to COVID-19. It goes on to set out strict instructions on how to mourn the person, any contravention of which will result in their "immediate dismissal." To cap it all the order ends with a line from an Emily Dickinson poem—as if this helps soothe ruffled feelings.
Think this sort of thing doesn't still happen in the 21st century? You believe that the government will protect workers from this kind of exploitation? Here's a telling quote:
How different is this order to slavery in America’s antebellum South? Or indeed anywhere on this planet that had—or still has—a wage slave-based economy?
One can imagine the plight of field slaves in some long ago Southern state. They watch in horror as a fellow slave falls over from a heart attack and dies. He is then carried away to the sparse plot of land where their dead are buried. The overseer approaches and tells the slaves they have five minutes to mourn, and if they want to mourn any more than that they have to do it on their own time. Oh, except that their free time is now curtailed since they’ll have to work longer to make up the shortfall of labor hours caused by the inconsiderate death of their fellow slave...
Next thing that happens, the overseer states blithely, "Anyone questioning this order will be whipped. Here’s a poetic statement I came up with to make you all feel better. Have a nice day. "
The only urgency we’re seeing at the federal level is the urgency of continuing to sacrifice the working class on the altar of economic growth. For too many policy makers, learning to live with the virus means learning to live with preventable death and suffering. Direct, predictable payments could solve that, but at this point, that’s as hard to imagine as the pandemic ever coming to an end under the prevailing political conditions. John Knefel, How Did We Go From Stimulus Checks to "Go To Work With COVID"?
A labor shortfall in modern America is hardly addressed any differently than it was prior to the Civil War. With COVID-19 on the rampage, Delta Airlines found itself facing a staff shortage. As a result, it bribed/coerced the Centers for Disease Control into shortening the quarantine time for an infected person from ten days to a mere five. Schools across the country took advantage of this CDC decision to force teachers back into the classrooms while they were still recovering from COVID, in spite of the disease having a track record of flaring up long past even the previous ten day quarantine. The Chicago mayor even outlawed remote learning and threatened teachers to return to work.
COVID is EVERYWHERE in our children’s hospital. These kids are SICK. Also fun fact: we’re seeing a lot of young kids with bradycardia, junctions rhythms and heart blocks. Like 0-6 month olds with heart rates in the 50-60s.— Pediatric Nursey (@pediatricnursey) January 16, 2022
Childhood hospitalizations due to the omicron variant of COVID have skyrocketed in the last month in some American cities. "It's a mild variety" according to government spokespersons and mainstream media pundits. Can you imagine how much higher the numbers would be if it wasn't so "mild"?
It’s no wonder teachers and other workers are striking. Social media is full of accounts of people quitting after receiving peremptory texts from management ordering them back to work or else. Perhaps those doing so no longer face the whip or the other brutal methods used by slave owners to chastise unruly slaves, but official sanctions bite as hard. Unemployment pay is hard to get, and it doesn’t last for long. Landlords are evicting those who are behind on their rent, and student loan payments will be expected soon enough.
It’s my opinion that much more strike action is needed. Workers at Kroger stores in Colorado, Starbuck outlets across the country, and others are taking strike action and/or joining unions to demand fairer wages and working conditions in the face of the risks taken every day to keep these businesses running. (Target workers are even creating their very own union: https://targetworkersunite.com/)
Meanwhile, the US government is doing nothing to help citizens beyond the token issue of COVID-19 home testing kits (on request only from a government website that's sure to crash). As a further measure to reassure the public, the government has decided no longer to issue daily records of deaths from the disease. Because if we don't know how many of our fellow citizens are dying from COVID, then it's not really happening, right? Now, get back to work!
There are rumors circulating that EU countries are preparing to take an influx of economic refugees from the US, as the American economy is expected to tank later this year. While there’s not much evidence in fact that this is the case, it’s a clear indicator of our times that such rumors circulate at all and are given credence.
It's time to stop all worker exploitation. It's time to let the capitalists know who is really in charge of the economy--the workers. Don't be afraid to walk out, sit down, or march on the picket the lines. Human beings can only take so much punishment and cruelty from the ruling class. Their time of exploiting the people is about over. Let's do all we can to hasten its ending, shall we?
BIO: Coast Watcher is tired of the blatant greed and inhumanity of the bourgeoisie. Why do we let them treat us like trash? It's time to rise up and create a workers' utopia--or at least put everyone on an equal footing with universal health care, UBI, guaranteed housing and education, among other things. Power to the People!
Economic Update: Strikes Amid Reviving US Labor Movement (video) https://youtu.be/4f2SeF60IQU
How Did We Go From Stimulus Checks to "Go To Work With COVID"? https://truthout.org/articles/how-did-we-go-from-stimulus-checks-to-go-to-work-with-covid/
Biden Urged to Fire COVID Response Chief Over Damning Failures https://scheerpost.com/2022/01/16/biden-urged-to-fire-covid-response-chief-over-damning-failures/
Supreme Court Leaves Workers Without COVID-19 Protection https://popularresistance.org/supreme-court-leaves-workers-without-covid-19-protection/
Biden's Failure to Provide At Home COVID Tests Looks Extra Riduculous Arriving from the UK https://popularresistance.org/bidens-failure-to-provide-at-home-covid-tests-looks-extra-ridiculous-arriving-from-the-u-k/
Australian Trade Unions Demand Free COVID Testing For All As Cases Surge https://popularresistance.org/australian-trade-unions-demand-free-covid-testing-for-all-as-cases-surge/
The Trump-packed Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade this summer--and the minute that happens, it will unleash a wave of state-by-state battles by anti-choice radicals to ban abortion with zero exceptions in at least half the country
To kick off their push to ban abortion in as many states as possible in 2022, the anti-abortion movement is planning a march in Washington, D.C., on January 21, the eve of the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and we must fight back.
The anti-abortion movement's strategy is to try to convince politicians that most Americans want abortion banned, despite the fact that a wide majority of Americans actually supports legal abortion.1 They think that if enough people show up on the National Mall, it will convince any wavering governors or state legislators that the American people support their radical anti-abortion agenda.
We can't let them get away with it.
To stop the anti-abortion movement from controlling the narrative on this historic day and make sure that the media and the public hear from America's pro-choice majority, we're planning a series of actions to get our message out, including a flash mob at the Supreme Court, petition delivery to every U.S. senator, and a daylong pro-Roe social media campaign.
The current Supreme Court is the most conservative in a generation, and it's clear that there is a majority to end the constitutional right to abortion.
The court declined to block a draconian ban on abortion in Texas--twice. It heard oral arguments on Mississippi's abortion ban, in which they were asked to immediately overturn Roe v. Wade. In the disastrous oral arguments on these cases, the justices compared Roe to the notorious Plessy v. Ferguson case upholding Jim Crow and argued that abortion isn't needed because babies can simply be given up for adoption.2
The moment the anti-choice majority on the Supreme Court dismantles Roe, abortion bans from Idaho to South Carolina will go into effect. Abortion will likely become illegal in 22 states or more. Over 40% of people able to become pregnant will see their nearest abortion clinics close, with Black people, Indigenous people, and working-class people of color being hit the hardest.3
This is the all-out, state-by-state battle for legal abortion that we'd hoped would never come. But it's here, and the fight begins on January 22, the 49th, and likely final, anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
We can't let the anti-abortion minority control the narrative with their lies and disinformation. So, on January 22, we're planning a series of actions to get our message out that Americans support abortion rights, including a petition delivery to every single senator, a pro-Roe social media campaign, and an on-the-ground flash mob in front of the Supreme Court.
Will you chip in $5 to help us go big on what could well be Roe v. Wade's last anniversary?
Thank you for fighting alongside us!
--Sonja, Shaunna, Kathy, Melody, Lindsay, Kimberly, Maria, Elisa, KaeLyn, KD, Iris, Bridget, Katie, Jaya, Meena, Isatou, Luna, and Toni, the UltraViolet Action team
1. About six-in-ten Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, Pew Research Center, May 6, 2021
2. Conservative US supreme court justices signal support for restricting abortion in pivotal case, The Guardian, December 1, 2021
3. Where Abortion Access Would Decline if Roe v. Wade Were Overturned, The New York Times, May 18, 2021
On January 14, nurses held actions across the country, including a candlelight vigil in Washington, D.C. for nurses who lost their lives to Covid-19 and a national virtual press conference. Together, we demanded the hospital industry invest in safe staffing, and that President Biden follow through on his campaign promise to protect nurses and prioritize public health.
As the Omicron variant is exploding across the country, now is not the time to rip away protections for health care workers and the public.
That’s why nurses, other health care workers, and activists all across the country are coming together to demand:
- A permanent OSHA standard that requires employers to protect health care workers against Covid-19;
- Retention and enforcement of the June 21 Covid-19 health care emergency temporary standard until it is properly superseded by the permanent standard; and
- Restoration of guidance on ten-day isolation after a positive Covid-19 test for health care workers, other frontline workers, and the general public.
As of Jan. 11, 481 RNs have died of Covid-19, among 4,760 health care worker deaths overall, according to NNU tracking data. To date, more than 1.1 million U.S. health care workers have been infected.
We know that optimal protections save lives, and we will not stop working to win those protections — but we don’t have second to waste. Will you add your name to call on the Biden administration to protect nurses and other health care workers during Covid-19?
Thank you for standing with us.
National Nurses United
From Friends of the Earth:
ACTION NEEDED: Corporate cruise ships are destroying our oceans -- driving orcas closer to extinction. Last year, we lost Cappuccino and Marina, two of the critically endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population, which is now down to only 73 remaining orcas.
Scientists agree that orcas face three main threats: food shortage, chemical pollution, and vessel disturbance. Corporate cruise ships magnify all three of these risks and are making it harder for orcas to survive.
|SIGN THE PETITION NOW|
Engine waste, plastic waste, and human waste are ALL dumped directly into the water by cruise ships, damaging orcas’ sensitive habitats, food supply, and ecosystem. The pollution from cruise ships drives away orcas’ vital food source -- contributing to their STARVATION.
Yet greedy cruise ship corporations continue to increase the size and number of these vessels -- meaning even more disturbances to vulnerable orcas. These ships add more underwater noise, hindering orcas’ echolocation abilities and making it difficult for them to hunt already-scarce prey. More vessel traffic also results in a higher risk of oil spills that can cause death or injury to orcas, and the physical presence of these massive ships interferes with their migration and mating patterns.
Cruise ships are HURTING orcas. We must do something before these beloved animals are gone forever. Please, take action now to help save the remaining orca population from corporate cruise ship pollution.
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Friends of the Earth