Category Archives: Analysis

Class Autonomy

bewareofthefox

What does class autonomy mean?  Autonomy means, in essence ‘without them.’

Just as the company owners and management (capitalists and their representatives, respectively) meet without us, the workers, to make key decisions in the interest of growing bottom-line profits without our presence or input, (read: making decisions about the workflow, processes, expectations imposed upon us), we must heed this strategy to and also meet and organize our interest autonomously, without them. Companies with their owners and management do not just meet without us present,  they always prepare themselves beforehand to best assess,  measure and methodically educate themselves to analyze the present situation to judge what is a course of action, or strategic decision that is most in their interest as a class.

Facing Our Adversary: Why We Freeze

We all know what it is: when we are together with our fellow workers and laborers, even the ones we don’t particularly like, we feel more assured and free to speak the truth, because there aren’t tiers of power-over our livelihood present.  This changes as soon as management calls a meeting with us; we tense up, we shut down, we know the power over us is present and anything said or not said could potentially lead to a cascade of crisis for our families if the paycheck doesn’t come next week and we can’t pay the bills.

Principles are Instructive

The core principle of Class Autonomy in Working Class Struggle calls us to recognize that uneasiness we feel in the presence of management is instinctually correct and instructive.  We must heed its call.  Our condition is shared with our fellow workers and laborers and to firstly identify our interest and criteria we need to meet together and organize independently from these antagonistic interests.

On occasion we may have a supervisor or member of management who seems kind and genuine with us, and while it may feel temporarily comforting to receive a little empathy from him we cannot let our guard down and lose sight that management, regardless of the individual’s personality, is there for one reason alone: to protect the interest of capital no matter it’s expense to your life.

Organize Autonomously!

It is only as a class of workers and laborers gathering in organized fashion without these outside antagonistic interests present that we can begin to identify together our common situation and carve a collective unified response and strengthen our footing as a whole.  Together we must draw these boundaries around us so we may carve the path to command respect and power amongst each other in our workplaces, our communities and when we are isolated facing management so we are not pressured to sell-out our fellows and self.

For far too long, we as workers and laborers have repeatedly been guided by outside interests and represented at the table by non-workers. This has included politicians, figureheads who lobby for negotiating with management on their terms, company seminars and workshops, company installed hotlines, and increasingly so today non-profit organizations with philanthropic missions.  These others have been stepping in to “help” us to do our heavy lifting for us preventing us from building our capacity and strengths of leadership. Without class autonomy a conflict of interest exists: the fox has been guarding the henhouse.  We must reclaim our autonomy, embrace education and organization based on collectivity and unity and kick the fox out.

Who decides on how we live?
Work, taxes, pay cuts and all we give,
Bosses treating us like kids
When we come together we can fight all this!

Unions Seek Lower Pay for Workers—WTF?

The entire purpose of a union is to assert and defend the interests of its members. The reason that workers organized themselves into unions in the first place was because we can assert more social power collectively than individually. Historically, unionized workers have fought heroically and righteously for the 8-hour (as opposed to the 16-hour) day, for overtime pay, for safety measures, for better working conditions, and most importantly for higher wages. This is what unions are for, what they’re all about.

So how are we to interpret the current spectacle of unions demanding the right to bargain for lower wages for their members? Is today “opposite day”? Has the world gone mad?

Rusty Hicks, executive secretary-treasurer at the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, proposed an exemption to the new $15 minimum wage for union members. He wants LA businesses to be able to pay union members less than other workers.

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Non-Jobs Don’t Count: The Working Class Perspective on the Unemployment Rate

Last week there was some debate over how many Americans are actually out of work, i.e., the “real” unemployment rate. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, an agency within the US Department of Labor, put the official number at a laughable 5.3%, down from 6.1% the previous year. (When counting those who have given up but say they still want to work, and part-timers who want to work full-time, they admit the number should be raised to 10.4%). Political clown Donald Trump estimates it at 18%. Former Reagan administration Budget Director David Stockman puts it at a more realistic 42.9%

But none of those bloodsuckers are counting it right. They can’t, because they take for granted their own capitalist definitions of “employment,” “underemployment,” and “unemployment.” This is like snakes describing the reality of horses. Those who should define those categories are the ones living them. For working people it is not a numbers game, but a deeply problematic social relationship.

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Overtime Pay: They Gave Us a Crumb—We Want the Whole Damn Cake

A new rule being proposed by an Obama Administration executive order will update salary regulations frozen since 1975. 5 million salaried workers who’ve been bullied and coerced to provide countless hours of overtime labor without compensation are now (well, next year) supposed to actually get paid for work they do that exceeds 40 hours a week.

Currently, workers who are considered managers or supervisors have to make less than $23,660 to qualify for overtime pay—less than the official poverty level for a family of four. Many employers have taken advantage of this by giving fake “Manager” titles to workers to force them to work extra hours for free. The new rule would adjust that threshold to $50,440, basically restoring it to what it was in 1975 in real purchasing power. The new threshold will not be tied to inflation though, so we’re back at square one, and the price of food is still going to rise faster than our paychecks.

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The Minimum Wage Adjustment

We as workers and laborers are faced with countless hardships. We have to constantly worry about food, clothing, rent and medical expenses. Recently, people have been getting more and more fed up. So, in response, the official unions and NGOs have been trying to get us to “fight for $15”.

The fast food industry makes multi-billion dollar profits each year yet we should be happy with $15/hour?! They tell us how bad the republicans are or this politician or that one. Never do they tell us how it’s the system that is the problem. They told us to vote for Clinton, then Kerry, Bush Obama, etc. Six years after the election of Obama and things are getting worse, prices of EVERYTHING are rising and wages all across are falling or stagnating, that is, except for the bosses (This would happen no matter who is president). Fast food workers, for example, make an average less than $8 an hour right now, most working part-time.

Seven of the largest fast-food companies in the US made millions to billions of dollars in profits in 2012, the lowest being Wendy’s at over $7 million. Mcdonald’s profited over 5 billion dollars! ALL of these profits come from the workers !

Following is CEO compensation (rounded off) of these top 7 in 2012:

McDonald’s $13.7 million
Yum! Brands (Owner of Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, KFC) $14.1 million
Burger King $6.4 million
Domino’s $9.1 million
Wendy’s $5.8 million

That’s a rounded total of $52.7 Million for 7 people for one year!

Meanwhile, the unions, politicians, and NGO’s, want workers to “Fight for 15”?! Why 15? Why is it reasonable for people who do so little work to make millions a year, while most of the hard working people suffer with short hours, rising costs of living, and are forced to go on public assistance, if they are eligible? Who made these rules?

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