Arizona IWW Calendar
    November 2022
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    Sunday, October 1
    A publication of the Industrial Workers of the World union in Arizona and Sonora
    Una publicaciĆ³n del sindicato de les Trabajadores Industriales del Mundo en Arizona y Sonora

    by: Steve N. and J. Pierce

    (“Filling Up on Ancient Energies,” 1980 by Healy, Botello, and Yepes).

    Inflation is the Bosses re-couping their costs

    Inflation is some serious bullshit. Anytime the working class raises up its wages through struggle, the bosses can simply raise their prices and squeeze that increase back out of the workers. The bosses are duplicitously raising prices in order to shift their production costs onto workers. For example: some group of workers get fed up with their jobs and quit. The boss complains: “Who’s gonna pay the costs of hiring new workers?”. So the company raises prices in order to re-coup the cost of hiring new workers. Another example: longshore workers are stressed out, over-worked, and ships are backed up at the docks. The shipping bosses gripe: “Who’s gonna pay for this back log?” So the logistics companies, ports, and rail carriers raise prices to recoup their costs to pay for the backlog. These raised prices get transferred down the supply chain to the retail stores and onto working class mothers and fathers shopping for groceries. Inflation is finding ‘who’s gonna pay for it.’

    Steve: “I’m doing repairs on my house and had to pay 75 bucks for a sheet of plywood. For those who are unaware, this is triple the price prior to the pandemic.”

    But the most obvious example is that of the oil and gas companies. The oil companies have ‘seized the day’, taking full advantage of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Why sell oil to US consumers at discount prices, when you can sell it to European consumers for the luxury rate? And as we all know, if you raise the price of gasoline, everything becomes more expensive. The oil companies have been laughing all the way to the stock holder meeting over the unbelievable profits they are making right now.

    But just like in the case of regular inflation, charging “what the market will bear” is not really the result of ‘evil and greedy’ business owners; it’s just capitalism at its finest! If you don’t raise prices the moment you can, someone else will. So a ‘good and honest’ capitalist would lose out. Therefore, you cannot just plead for the capitalists to be upright; it’s the flawed logic of capitalism that creates crises and ensures that they happen over and over. It’s some serious bullshit, fellow workers.

    The housing shortage is bogus and easily solvable

    The housing “shortage” is bullshit also. A recent report showed that 16 million homes are vacant in the US!

    Steve: “I thought my landlord was being greedy when they raised my rent 150 dollars a month. Then my mother informed me of her friend whose rent was raised 700 bucks a month! She’s a teacher!”

    Pierce: “I can count a half dozen empty houses on my street, alone. These nice houses have been converted to investment properties, off-limits to families looking for a home. Franky, a neighbor of mine, had his house sold out from under him by the landlord. The new landlord said he could stay a few more months but then doubled the rent. Now, he and his family have moved out and the new landlord has a big pile of junk in the front yard, presumably renovating. How much will they charge the next family? Or will it become another investment property, empty and off-limits?”

    Not to mention AirBnB. (There are stickers going up around Bisbee that say “Fuck your AirBnB, I want my community back.” Not sure exactly who is putting these up and why but it’s pretty close to what we are saying.) Think of the 5.6 million empty houses now being used as AirBnB ‘rentals’. That’s 5.6 million families that used to have a place to live. What happened to staying in hotels? You’ll never hear this on NPR, though, since both NPR and the Democratic party are bought and paid for by developers, real estate interests, AirBnB proprietors, and AirBnB customers. (I wasn’t surprised to hear that Rep. Ruben Gallego is now wedded to a National Association of Realtors lobbyist.) Now contrast this with the sharp increase of human beings thrown onto the streets, living in encampments, latter day “Hoovervilles”, all over the country.

    Pierce: “Imagine my dad’s surprise when he went for a leisurely stroll in the desert just north of the 101 in North Scottsdale and happened upon a homeless camp! They are everywhere it seems. Why are there so many more people with no housing? The internet says that approximately 600,000 people are considered homeless in America. Are you telling me we can’t solve this problem?”

    The developers, evidently, want you to stay focused on the slogan “build more new houses”. In other words, “let’s leave all the inequality as is and keep tearing up more natural areas and cramming people into ugly suburbs and ex-urbs (that they can’t afford).” One could imagine that the 5.6 million AirBnB empty houses, forced back onto the market and made available to working class families, could help give shelter to our 600,000 houseless citizens and lower the cost of housing to boot.

    A phony storyline to the already suspect Supply Chain disruptions

    And let’s talk about the so-called “bottle necks”. First off, most of what the bosses call “supply chain issues” were created over the last few decades by the capitalists who promoted “just-in-time production”, “lean production”, “Precision Scheduled Railroading” etc. where they have eliminated warehouses full for stuff and instead are sending goods directly from the factories in Asia to the retailers. This means that there is a significantly smaller supply all around. Then policies of “downsizing”, “outsourcing”, etc. were simply schemes to fire all but the bare minimum of employees.

    Ships waiting to be unloaded at Port of Long Beach in Los Angeles, CA. We can assume that there was intense pressure on the Longshore workers and their union, the ILWU, to violate all their safety rules as well as efforts by the port owners to attack the gains of the union.

    Then it all came back at once during the pandemic. As COVID drew millions away from the workforce – trapped at home watching their kids; caring for family members sick or disabled from long covid; stuck in the hospital fighting the virus; or tragically succumbing to their symptoms – the capitalists were quickly plotting how to “never let a serious crisis go to waste.” With all the courage and determination they could muster, corporate CEOs set to work ripping off everyone, everywhere, all at once and making astronomical profits along the way – all while we, the populace, were held captive. COVID was the initial excuse for this mass rip off: “Oh, we can’t answer your call, can’t let you in the building, and can’t provide that service… uh, because of COVID!” What they really meant was, we are going to save money by keeping wages low, not hiring enough people, and providing less service for higher prices and then we’ll blame it on COVID.

    Then right away “lazy” workers were to blame. “The ships are stacking up in the ports, lines are long at the grocery store, and nobody will answer the phone because of those LAZY workers. Nobody wants to work anymore.” Nevermind that all these companies were making money hand over fist – posting record profits, selling out of all their merchandise (remember the toilet paper crisis?), making one worker do the work of three, and getting a ton of sweet taxpayer-financed PPP loans (now forgiven!) during the pandemic.

    And now that people are being forced back by the millions, what’s going to be the next excuse for why the bosses can get away with all their financial crimes? We can guess that workers demanding better pay will become the ideal scapegoat as unions and direct action become increasingly common. We, as workers, will organize work stoppages to demand the fruits of our labor and we will be blamed for bread and eggs costing an arm and a leg.

    The intentionally-generated Recession is meant to throw thousands of workers out onto the street.

    At first they used a bunch of euphemisms to hide the strategy behind generating a recession. But then as people started to ask, “How is raising the interest rates gonna lower prices?” the capitalists had to get a little more explicit. They use the phrase “tight labor market” instead of saying directly that workers are comfortable right now because they know the bosses need them. But the capitalist media have let the cat out of the bag in explaining that the effect of raising interest rates is to increase unemployment. In other words, the plan of the shifty Federal Reserve is to engineer a recession: they raise interest rates which slows economic expansion. This encourages companies NOT to hire more workers. Then if a downturn continues, companies will start to layoff workers. Once they start laying off workers, those workers file for unemployment and start looking for work. This will “loosen” the labor market, in other words, put downward pressure on wages because now workers are worried about losing their jobs and being replaced. And then finally bosses can slash wages and bring us all back to the insecurity and pathetic income we knew and loved before the COVID pandemic. Oh, and rent will still be through the roof since the housing “shortage” is engineered and fraudulent and not a result of “market forces”. So the bosses will be happy that wages have been reduced, rent is still sky-high, and workers are put in a vulnerable position.

    So there you have it folks. The ruling class has no love for humanity in general and certainly not for their own employees. We need to fight like hell to get a wage increase and then fight like hell to get rent control and price controls and windfall-profit taxes on the oil industry and in the meantime try and save the planet from total destruction… Where do we start? It all starts with a union, baby. Gotta organize a union and fight like hell. Then maybe we can discipline the ruling class right back.

    Angry about the capitalists stealing your money? Join the IWW and together we’ll take it back. redcard.iww.org

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