They Can See Your Pitch Forks
It would appear as if the ruling class has had a change of heart and decided to spread some wealth our way. Recently, Starbucks announced that they would start paying their employee’s higher wages in January 2015. They did not clarify how much that raise would be but the company’s chief operating officer Troy Alstead stated, “The new rates will ensure we are paying a competitive wage that better positions us to attract and keep the best partners”. Seattle has already raised their minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour and Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti is currently campaigning to raise the minimum to 13.25 over the next several years. But don’t be fooled: we still live in a capitalist structure and they are only trying to buy you off, rather cheaply if I may add. If minimum wage kept up with the increase of worker productivity, then the federal minimum wage would be $22.00. Meanwhile, bought-out unions fight for 15.00/hr for certain industries, making Garcetti’s 13.25 an hour seem like a fair compromise instead of an grave insult. By the way, the strategy of individual-sector wage increases instead of all workers collectively (which would include domestic work as well) allows for the ol’ divide and conquer technique to work far too well. I don’t mean to sound too nihilistic about this. I do see their desire to so quickly offer such a measly compromise as a huge sign of weakness and a great result of our strength. I actually feel quite optimistic that this is the time to strike while the iron is hot, pun intended.
Yes, a strike. And not one organized by the union heads who essentially act as middlemen for the Dems. No, we need a wildcat strike, IWW-old-school-style, except this time lets not exclude the blacks (looking at you, AFL). This strike wouldn’t just be a symbolic one either, like what we saw in Los Angeles in 2012. It would be more than just a spectacle. The message would be loud and clear: this city will be shut down until you give us what we want.
One of the many under-utilized tactics and strengths that we have, the strike stops capital and reminds the bosses & politicians exactly who has the power. And although they continue to try to beat it out of us, that power has always been in the hands of the people. This strike would have to be all-encompassing in order to work. That means blocking or liberating the metros, courts, rent, schools, groceries and the rest of the everyday things capitalists and the state take for granted as sources of income. This would take some community assemblies, resource preparedness and most importantly, workers’ solidarity. I know it might sound like a big fish to fry, but if communities could strike together, without any leadership who could easily be bought off, the status quo would not be able to say no. How else do you think we got child labor laws, weekends, and minimum wages in the first place? If we leave it up to the politicians and their corporate lobbyists, we will continue going steadily in reverse. Our complicity with the capitalist structure only fuels the beast. I also want to make sure that I don’t paint this out to be some rosy dance either: this would not be your symbolic day of action, with John Lennon music and hula hoop dancers. This strategy could have several layers to it in order to make the strike as accessible as possible.
1. One could merely just stay at home
2. Reclaim: people who are more comfortable with direct action would be able to either facilitate or assist in the reclaiming of production, mostly the ones that we still need to be able to survive: food, medicine, and whatnot. The role of the hospitals are vital enough that they remain open and available for all patients, insured or not. This is why workers’ solidarity is so important. As with anything, you can expect a response from the power apparatus by means of their handlers and this is when the police would come in. But, the reality is, same as the reason why the police are spending so much time becoming militarized and collecting tanks and weapons, they know that we out number them. That in fact, it is more difficult for them to go after large crowds than they would like you to realize. Our strength will always be in our numbers.
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