Thursday, February 24, 2011

The thesis is sound

Although, I don't know if the facts align with it just yet. I have maintained for some time that the globalization of the manufacturing supply chain meant Karl Marx's vision of the source of social agency and a new phase of human history was obsolete-- unless some labour leadership emerged which was able to organize around the world via the 'net. The ricochets back and forth from Egypt to Wisconsin are undoubtedly too rhetorical to make a substantive difference.....

But since the GFC I routinely peek in on the Tokyo markets in the evenings, and the London market in the wee hours when I wake up. Capital never sleeps, which is why capital is revolutionary. You say you want a revolution? go 24/7.

I'm still waiting for the first net mobilized labour action across all time zones. But maybe we won't have to wait too long. If can do it, why not labour? Then watch the elites soil their knickers.

From Matt Stoller via Yves at NC):

Egyptians are trying to throw off the IMF-imposed austerity measures that created such a system for their country. The new government there is proposing raising taxes on oligarchs, increasing food subsidies, and reducing inequality. Their new cabinet is letting more people apply for “monthly portions of sugar, cooking oil, and rice.” The previous cabinet, “which was comprised of businessmen and former corporate executives”, had refused this.

And look at how Egypt is treating public employees: “Temporary workers who have spent at least three years working for the government will now be given permanent contracts that carry higher salaries, and benefits such as pension plans, and health and social insurance.”

Pension plans, health, and social insurance, oh my! How are they planning to pay for this? One member of a left-of-center party made it quite clear:

Confiscating wealth looted by cronies of the former regime, more egalitarian distribution of wealth, gradual taxation, better government oversight, and placing “a reasonable ceiling” on profitability of goods and services sold to the public are among the measures that should restore an economic balance to society, he said.


Perversely, people may be so beaten down that they only want to side with institutions that are visibly and aggressively advocating for them. This might lead them to recognize that middle class interests are aligned with those of labor, which was the widespread view in the first generation after World War II. However, that also means that the de facto business unionism of the 1970s onward isn’t appealing. People might only like unions when they see strikes, otherwise all they hear about is backroom negotiations. Perhaps effectively striking is actually the way to force people to ask questions about what kind of country they want to live in. I haven’t seen this much labor coverage since, well, ever in my lifetime. There seems to be multiple feedback loops at work: political, global, and economic.

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