NEW YORK CITY, September 28 — More than 1,000 workers and others demonstrated three days ago near the NY Stock Exchange against giving Wall Street a blank check in the financial bailout. This swindle is so unpopular — seen by many as “corporate welfare” — that the NYC Central Labor Council was forced to react and organize one of many similar protests held nationwide to demand a “fairer bailout” which helps working-class people. Big shot union sellouts like AFL-CIO President George Sweeney and teachers union chief Randi Weingarten attended the rally.
One of the AFL-CIO’s top demands is for the bailout to be governed by an “independent board.” (Of course, the bosses pick these “independent” boards.) The labor honchos are banking on an Obama and Democratic Party victory so that some of the allotted $700 billion will finance Obama’s plan for infrastructure repair, which they hope could create many unionized jobs.
But as far as workers are concerned, the union mis-leaders are part of the problem. In every bosses’ bailout — from the NYC fiscal crisis to the one for Chrysler in the 1970s to all others for any company — the union sellouts have been on the bosses’ side, giving them huge concessions on jobs and benefits.
Lack of regulations, greedy bankers and speculators are all part of the problem but not the root cause. The first major post-World War II crisis occurred in 1973; then came the “Black Monday” Wall Street crash of 1987 followed by others in 1990-93, 1998 and 2001-2. As each crisis ended, we were told the problem was “fixed” — but then a new one occurred, slashing workers’ standard of living even more — and because of racism affecting black and Latin workers still more.
Company profit rates have actually not returned to their pre-1973 level. More than a century ago Karl Marx described this as the falling rate of profit. To compete with each other, the bosses invest in new technology, replacing workers. But machines by themselves don’t produce profits. Real profits come from workers’ labor, with the bosses pocketing most of the value that labor creates. While the volume of profit might increase, the higher investment in machinery and technology forces the rate of profit down.
As their crises worsen, bosses try to compensate by exploiting workers even more, by taking out or swallowing the competition and fighting with rival imperialists for new markets through wars. PLP has a different answer: workers of the world unite to smash a system based on war and economic crisis!