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Budget Cuts on Transit? – Another Attack on Working People!
Here in Miami, workers and laborers are faced with some of the most brutal and harshest realities of survival in this country. We see shiny million dollar homes a few miles from the slums and decaying public housing. We see cookie cutter condo developments sprouting up all over the place in working class and low-income hoods, slowly displacing the people who live there by raising property values and rents through the roof. We all know the wages we’re paid at work have fallen off long ago. Many have to live with roommates or relatives just to afford a place to live. Many workers live check to check, just one away from homelessness. We see cars that look like space ships and deteriorating trains – or that 1 train line. So on, and so on.
There have been several articles in the Miami Herald over the past few months regarding the ongoing situation with transit and “budget cuts”. We should note that the Miami Herald, a multi-million dollar corporation has been a major mouthpiece for the bosses and exploiters of the world for decades. Never be confused that they are “unbiased”, they’re not. Even when they attempt to be objective, naturally like everyone, they show their colors. After all, they have to survive in a competitive market. Take for example the following article:
In the article, they completely sell us the side of the multi-millionaires. For example, let us look at the title itself: “As Transit ridership drops….” (← Wait, what? Where?)…”Miami Dade wants to cut bus stops and outsource routes”. Hold on a second now. Transit ridership has dropped? Kind of shows you how out of touch these fat salaried politicians, and “journalists” are. We at Workers Struggle are not paid for Workers Struggle. This is not a company, not a non-profit, not a religious organization, no tax exemption, nothing. We do have an agenda and make it honestly clear: we are on the side of the workers! If you read between the lines, they’re pretty much justifying the cuts from title to conclusion where they start and end with the position of the attackers…..yes this is an attack!
Over the years those of us who rely on public transit the most have continually put up with worsening service and rising fares. You know the kind of service where the train gets stuck at a station for 30 minutes. Or a station closes. Or the train just passes by the station without stopping. Or a scheduled bus never comes and you’re late to work. This is classic Miami transit life by now for us commuters. Our monthly unlimited transit pass (because let’s face it, many of us working people rely on public transportation to go to work each day), as of the writing of this article costs $112.50.
To put into perspective the absurd realities of life here: a monthly unlimited in New York City where ALL buses and trains run 24/7, all buses come around every 20 minutes, and there are over 800 miles of railroad tracks costs $121. That’s a $7.50 difference!!! Now New York City, like anywhere in the world has its own internal problems, it’s own housing crisis, its own workers exploited by its own capitalists, etc.
New Yorkers however, have more of a history and memory of organizing and fighting together to make their conditions better which has made life in NY in general slightly better for hard working people. Here in Miami however, any form of working people organizing together for their own interests is erased from history which why the millionaire/billionaire robber barrens can get away with so much more so much easier.
So, What’s Going On?
How come we see such horrible conditions here? Well the short answer is Capitalism. The profit of the capitalists comes straight out of the labor power of the workers. What this means is that workers make value by producing the goods, capitalists pay them much less what the value of their work is and pocket the rest. In turn, this relationship of exploitation reveals a society where every step forward for capitalists is a step backwards for the workers and everyone else.
Just think about it: a piece of land is worth a certain amount of money. But then workers come and build an office building there while they are paid shitty wages, half going to day labor centers which further exploit their labor pools. Now, the piece of land that may have been bought for let’s say $30,000 or whatever the capitalist developer paid is now worth $30 Million dollars. Who did that? It wasn’t magic right? Buildings don’t fall out of the sky. And let’s keep it real out here, developers don’t do anything but buy something and then sell something with money they already stole from other workers work before hand.
That building, the sidewalk it sits on, the street corner near it, the traffic signals, the buses themselves, EVERYTHING WAS ALL PRODUCED BY WORKERS! Workers, by building that building, just added new value into the economy which went straight into the capitalists pockets, who paid them shit wages. So, it isn’t the business owner that is good for the economy, it’s the worker. For all that talk of businesses bringing jobs, when they do they bring jobs they pay their workers the lowest possible wages possible. And, when workers start organizing for wage raises, they try to get highly exploited day laborers that are forced to work for less. Or, they’ll reclassify positions (“independent contractor” for example) to pay less. Or, if they can move their businesses to other countries where they pay workers literally pennies, they do (this is the importance of international working class solidarity which we’ll discuss in another article.
The more money taken OUT of the transit system (if you can call it that), the more money goes directly INTO the pockets of the capitalists and their politicians. The money is there it’s just used for the capitalists interests. The military budget for them to send the poor to fight their imperialist wars is over 800 BILLION DOLLARS right now. Let us be clear here that any cuts on anything used by us is a DIRECT ATTACK on our lives by the class which lives like gods. Think about it, does it make sense to keep cutting buses where more and more people need them? Well, it does if you’re thinking about the markets and you own everything already. After all, if the politicians worked for us, the hundreds of millions and billions the bosses make will be in the pockets of the workers but that’s just not how things are.
What’s to be Done?
Well, maybe if the millions of working people in Miami decided to unite based on their common interests perhaps they can get some things done? Perhaps they can take their time and actually unify to fight the bosses who have declared them an enemy eons ago? Perhaps they can actually push history in the interests of the working class? You know how workers got days off? Child labor laws? Pensions? Health care? 8 hour shifts as the norm over 16 hours?
WORKERS ORGANIZING DID IT ALL!
It was the working class that struggled together and then against the capitalists that pushed history forward and got the workers of this country and across the world the few “rights” we still have. Also, wherever workers organizations were the strongest, the more rights workers have. In our numbers we can make the demands and force the concessions from the multi-millionaire and billionaire robber barrens for our interests. We can build a movement nationwide of for and by the workers, by the laborers, those that build this country every day – of all complexions and ethnicity.
Join workers struggle! Let’s fight for a future for the workers and the masses of people!