Today the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS.org) published a story about how President Trump has ordered meatpacking workers back to work despite unsafe and unsanitary conditions. By invoking the Defense Production Act, the president is “mobilizing all the powers at his disposal” to force the working class to return to highly exploitive and hazardous jobs that provide minimal (if any) protection against the COVID-19 virus. Shockingly, Smithfield Foods has also decided to scale back sanitation measures at one of their Nebraska pork plants.
“Trillions of dollars have been transferred from the working class to the banks and corporations, fueling the massive rise of stock markets. After enriching itself, the ruling class is demanding that workers get back on the job to create the surplus value and profits necessary to underwrite these subsidies for the rich.”
The fact that American citizens are being forced to return to a death trap when the United States is still in the grips of a pandemic, surpassing over one million cases of Covid-19 and over 60,000 deaths, or that Trump is using the Defense Production Act against meatpacking workers instead of ramping up production of medical equipment and testing supplies “marks a new stage” in the Trump administration’s war on the working class.
They Don’t Care If You Die
Wsws.org also reported that Trump’s latest order will “indemnify Tyson Foods and other meatpacking companies from lawsuits from employees who say they have been forced to work in unsafe conditions,” in what is yet another grotesque move to serve and protect the upper echelons of society. We knew this was coming because Trump told us he was going to protect his capitalistic cronies almost ten days ago during one of his infamous Covid-19 pressers:
According to wsws.org, at least twenty meat/food processing workers have died from the virus and 5,000 have been infected or quarantined but that hasn’t stop the corporate machine from reopening the country. Weeks ago I warned about a war on the working class because literally no billionaire wants you sitting at home thinking about how bad you’re treated at your crappy job:
I warned you they would make things as painful as possible. The establishment, the rich, the politicians, the corporations, Wall Street DON'T care about you. They just don't.#WorkersUnite ✊#GeneralStrike ✊https://t.co/aatBGz5Dog— Llama (@jimmysllama) April 29, 2020
It can’t be said enough times that your government, so-called “representatives,” and corporations in no way, shape or form care about you or your loved one. They don’t even care if you die and your child is left without a mother or father. And the sooner you accept this disturbing and hard to swallow fact, the sooner we the people can stop this shit show.
Self-indulgent, entitled billionaires from an economic class that 99% of us will never obtain in this lifetime (for those that are trying), who don’t know you, who don’t know you have a disabled child at home or a sick parent to care for, or that you’re working two jobs and it still doesn’t pay the bills, should NOT have the power to force you into a decision where you’re choosing between your life or your paycheck. Sooner rather than later you’ll be six feet under and there won’t even be a paycheck for your family.
Open those sleepy eyes, this is happening in real time.
The Working Class Fights Back
There’s some good news in all of this. Wsws.org is reporting that “Working-class opposition to the back-to-work effort being pursued by ruling elites, largely ignored by the media, is erupting all over the world.” Workers are fighting back and walking off the job. Recent polls show that most Americans do not support reopening the country right now and workers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, and Bangladesh are taking control by striking.
Yesterday, the Intercept reported that a “coalition of workers from large corporations like Amazon, Instacart, Whole Foods, Walmart, Target, and FedEx were going on strike May 1, 2020 citing “record corporate profits at the expense of their healthy and safety during the pandemic.” They also noted that bus drivers, sanitation workers, meatpacking plant employees, and Amazon workers have been staging strikes since last month in cities likes New York, Colorado, Pittsburg, and Detroit.
“These workers have been exploited so shamelessly for so long by these companies while performing incredibly important but largely invisible labor…All of a sudden, they’re deemed essential workers in a pandemic, giving them tremendous leverage and power if they organize collectively.”
The coalition’s demands include paid time off, hazard/paid sick leave, protective equipment, cleaning supplies, and “full corporate transparency on the number of [Covid-19] cases in facilities.” One of the organizers of the strike stated that they chose May 1st (International Workers Day) “as a signal to workers everywhere that collectively, they can take on corporate behemoths.”
The seriousness of the virus should not be ignored nor its impact on the working class and health providers. Dr. Lorna Breen, a New York City medical director on the front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic, killed herself on Sunday after watching patients die, unable to save them, the unbearable stress eventually taking its toll. And Covid-19 patients die a horrific death alone unless they’re lucky enough to have a nurse or doctor in the room. Read that again. Before you die, you will not be able to say goodbye to your loved ones in person.
This is what the government and all those billionaires have in store for you while they sit back and reap the profits.
Let’s Start a Revolution
It’s mind numbing to think that anyone believes workers don’t deserve a safe working environment, higher wages, health insurance, paid sick leave, and guaranteed hours so it’s pretty weird that that’s exactly how our country is run. Try looking in the mirror and telling yourself that you don’t deserve health insurance and a safe working environment, or that you deserve to die so corporations can pocket enormous profits.
Crazy, isn’t it? We ALL deserve to be treated like human beings not chattel.
But if you want change you have to hit them where it hurts and that’s economically. As veteran and activist Mike Prysner said, you have to “shut down business as usual” to make a difference.
So that’s exactly what we do!
“We shut down our workplacesMike Prysner
We shut down our schools
We shut down the streets
We shut down business as usual
And we fight until we force the people in there
To do what the people out here want”
We can take part in and/or support worker and rent strikes that are happening all around the world. And we can enact the biggest economic boycott this world has seen and f*ck up THEIR business as usual until they listen and we take back OUR government.
Get inspired. Be brave. Let’s start a revolution!