Monday, November 23, 2009

Let's Call In Fed Up

My family and yours are struggling.

We and/or our neighbors are in peril of losing our jobs.

We and/or our neighbors have already lost billions in retirement investments and home equity.

The suicides piling up, the homeless shelters our better towns try to provide, the overwhelmed emergency rooms, even the animal rescues we struggle to keep open as foreclosures and job losses and preventable burst levees and toxic drywall wipe away what remains of our already fragile security and self esteem . . .

These tragedies exist, in significant part, because Wall Street excutives take billion-dollar bonuses from tax dollars poured on their heads with no thought of conditions or consequences for malfeasance.

Because CEOs depress wages so that they can reap 450 x the line worker's annual pay.

Because the Army Corps of Engineers can't be bothered to build canals and levees adequate to protect the citizens of major US cities.

Because our bankers--let's stop saying "banks" as if brick buildings are behaving badly--are hiking interest rates and late fees, and hawking fraudulent products under militantly harmful terms.

Because our investment advisors blithly give false and fraudulent advice.

Because our corporate board members vote to ship our jobs over there.

Because our corporate executives, managers, and supervisors decide in cold daylight first to import, then to wholesale, and then to retail, and finally to install poison dry wall.

Because US corporate executives feed our troops spoiled food and murder them in electrified shower stalls built with criminal indifferene and negligence.

Because our corporate executives and managers and supervisors choose to sell us beef and chicken and peppers and tomatoes toxic with e-coli; or poisoned dog food, and leaded toys from China, and cribs so dangerous that they must be recalled.

Because while our local, state, and federal governments either actively encourage corporate and government corrupion or nothing about it.

And because we put up with it.

Anyone who knows any history knows that the playing field was never level. Do the names Al Smith, Mother Jones, Joe Hill, Clara Limlich, and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory mean anything to you? (And don't think the horrors ended in the 1930s.) If you don't have a clue, you'd best study up on the reasons why unions formed in the United States of America, and what they achieved for American workers, and what we've lost since Reagan broke the unions' backs in the Air Traffic Controllers' strike. Wages, benefits, overtime . . . these pale by contrast to the exploitation by US corporations of women and children in Third World countries so that you get the great privilege of buying trendy sneakers for prices inflated beyond your dreams, so that corporate executives can maintain their multimillion-dollar lives.

If you do investigate US labor history, you'll quickly discover that there's a story beyond union officers' corruption. You'll quickly not only that when it comes to management and labor, there's always been an uneven playing field in the USA, and not since the Robber Barons has it been the ski slope it is becoming today.

Now is the season when we are being pressured to buy buy buy. We hear it incessantly from the ads and the news, and we hear it incessantly on the money channels. It's up to us, they say, to save the economy. It's up to the American consumer to keep on mindlessly consuming, overdrawing credit cards, stacking up rafts of made-in-China shit, and taking it in every orifice with interest hikes, late fee hikes, and cheap, shoddy, dangerous, overpriced crap.

So what say? Let's make our own holiday gifts. Or even better, instead of buying more shit at extortionist prices, let's give each other contributions to worthy nonprofits. I'll buy a $50 gift to your designated nonprofit, in your honor, for your holiday gift, and you do the same for me.

In other words, let's take back control of this F'd-up situation.

Let's all call in fed up.
If we're going down, let's take them with us.