The “Fiscal Cliff” that has dominated news for the past few weeks has been practically burned into the consciousness of Americans. It is a dream for the press: it represents the pinnacle of ideological differences which came to light in the recent election and it comes pre-packaged and sensationalized already! (after all, after a recession what could be more terrifying than falling into another gaping financial hole) This is an ideological deadlock: two sides cannot agree on what is best for our country, because what is best for the portion of the country that they represent is drastically different.
The fiscal cliff represents a significant aspect of corporacracy and of the class struggle which exists within it, but it covers such an enormous umbrella of the political realm that it is almost a moot point; one side will always represent the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the rest of the population.
While all of this dominates the media–after all, a pre-sensationalized RECESSION CLIFF that threatens our whole economy is hard to beat–the struggle that exists between individuals and enormous corporate entities goes almost unnoticed. These entities seek to squeeze as much money and human energy out of the population as possible in order to continue concentrating power at the top of the socio-economic scale, allowing them to wield greater power and influence to continue to skew the playing field. In the country that created the middle class, the one in which Henry Ford paid his workers enough to afford his product and better their quality of living, corporations like walmart are now purposefully paying their workers such a small amount that they can barely survive; they cannot afford to shop anywhere else and are forced to use tax-funded food stamps and medicare instead of having an employment based health plan. The recent Black Friday strikes painted a vivid image of the tension between workers and corporations and highlighted the hidden ways in which workers are disenfranchised by their employers.
The most recent attack of the corporations took place in Michigan, which recently became the latest state on a long list of states which have passed “Right to Work” legislation. I think that this makes a more poignant statement about our country than the ‘fiscal cliff’ because it concerns relations between workers and corporations, not just politicians with fake and/or questionable motives. On the surface this is pushed as a bill which ensures workers the right to work without having to join unions, claiming that it is unfair to force them to do so. Michigan legislators who support this law paint themselves as champion of the American worker, when in reality they are setting them back decades in their abilities to bargain with corporations. It may seem reasonable to let workers choose whether or not they pay union dues: it is their hard earned money that they would be spending, they should have a right to choose how they spend it… right? This would be true, except for the fact that unions will continue to represent all workers, whether or not they paid dues or not. If there is a choice of getting benefits for free or for paying a monthly fee for them, most people, especially working and middle class Americans, will save the money and enjoy the benefits for free.
The Michigan lawmakers who pushed this law through know that this leaves workers and the unions which represent them in an extremely disadvantageous position; this is the whole point. The money that they used to lobby on behalf of the workers and against corporate entities that will do everything they can to increase their own profit margin, even it it means (and it often does) disenfranchising their own workers to accomplish this end. Superficially it gives workers a choice, but below the surface it makes already weak unions much weaker. Without decently funded unions to represent them, corporations have increasingly less opposition to their blind greed. In right to work states, the average worker earns $1500 less than states without the union crippling law.
It is truly sad to see the state which helped make the middle class what it is today fall victim to a law which hands so much power to the corporations which wish to line their own pockets at any cost (least of all the well being of their workers).
The more educated we become about the corporacracy we live in, the better we will be able to combat its suffocating and nation-crippling influences. Comment and share! Spread the word!