Saturday, April 08, 2006

THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM COMES HOME TO ROOST

COMMENTARY


‘Globalization’ has come home to roost in the West. Now is the time to fight back. Support the French workers, students and immigrants in their struggle against the French version of the two-tier wage system.


Not for the first time in its history the French working class, including the important immigrant and second generation immigrant sections, students and other supporters have massively demonstrated their opposition to the imposition by the Chirac government of a French version of the what we in the United States know as the two (or more)-tier wage and hiring system. This system is not uncommon in the United States where it effectively pits younger workers against older workers, white workers against black, Hispanic and other minority workers for the small piece of the pie. Under the terms of the French law, not fully worked out yet but in effect as I write, youth under the age of 26 face extended probationary periods and lesser protections against layoff and victimization. This is nothing new under the imperatives of international capitalism (or to use the more fashionable but less effective term- ‘globalization’) in its search for maximization of profits.

What is unusual is that this imperative mechanism of the capitalist system has dramatically hit the metropolitan centers of world capitalism ( the German and other European governments are trying to impose like terms on its working class, as well) where a modicum of social legislation has existed as protection against extreme exploitation rather than some outposts where workers receive a dollar a day from these same major international capitalist corporations in their race to the bottom line of their wage bill. Not fighting back will only embolden those who want to increase their unrestricted assess to a ‘free’ labor market. One only has to look at the condition of the working class in the United States as major sections of it watch helplessly (and passively) as their pensions benefits are eroded or taken away, their health care benefits are decreased or eliminated, their wages decreased or eaten up by inflation or their jobs taken away by those same capitalist forces that want ‘their government’ to pass even more restrictive legislation. Enough is enough.

LET THE STRUGGLE IN THE UNITED STATES START HERE AND NOW. SUPPORT THE FRENCH WORKERS AND STUDENTS IN THEIR STRUGGLE AGAINST THE CHIRAC LEGISLATION. FIGHT FOR IMMIGRANT RIGHTS WHEREVER THEY ARE ENDANGERED. CHRIAC- NO REPRISALS AGAINST DEMONSTRATORS. FREE ALL THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN ARRESTED. CALL ON YOUR UNION, SCHOOL OR POLITICAL ORGANIZATION TO SUPPORT THE DEMANDS OF THE FRENCH WORKERS AND STUDENTS. FIGHT FOR THE OLD LABOR PRINCIPAL-EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL PAY- WORLDWIDE. FIGHT FOR WORKERS GOVERNMENTS.


UPDATE-APRIL 12, 2006. AS OF TODAY CHRIAC HAS SHELVED HIS CFE PLAN. THAT IS A VICTORY. OTHER ASPECTS OF THIS LEGISLATION ARE, HOWEVER, STILL IN EFFECT AND NEED TO BE FOUGHT. THE FUNDAMENTAL PREMISE ON MY ARTICLE STILL HOLDS TRUE THAT THE EUROPEON CAPITALISTS, LIKE THEIR AMERICAN COUNTERPARTS, ARE COMPELLED TO SLASH THEIR WAGE BILLS TO SURVIVE IN THE 'GLOBAL' MARKET. BE READY TO FIGHT AGAIN ON THESE SAME ISSUES UNDER DIFFERENT LEGISLATION.

2 comments:

  1. We need at least a 'Minimum Program' -- minimum.

    We can start with both the Living Wage campaign, universal Medicare -- and the 6-hour day at same pay. Sound good?

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  2. THANKS FOR THE IMPUT-I HAVE JUST POSTED A TRIBUTE TO THE HAYMARKET MARTYRS IN WHICH I MENTION A VERSION OF YOUR 6 HOUR DAY PROPOSAL. IT IS THE OLD SOCIALIST 30 FOR 40 CAMPAIGN FROM THE 1930'S. WE NEED TO DUST OFF THAT SLOGAN. LIVING WAGE AND UNIVERSAL, FREE MEDICAL ARE ALSO IMPORTANT PARTS OF ANY PROGRAM FOR SOCIAL CHANGE. THE PROBLEM IS IT IS PROBABLY BE EASIER TO FIGHT FOR A WORKERS GOVERNMENT THAN TO GET UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE UNDER THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM. REMEMBER THE LAST TIME THIS WAS EVEN ATTEMPTED- UNDER CLINTON- THERE WAS ALMOST A CIVIL WAR AND THAT WAS OVER A WATERED-DOWN MINIMALIST PLAN. STILL WE STRUGGLE.

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