AMERICAN CAPITALISM SERIES, Part II: CIO, SOCIALISTS, COMMUNISTS & FDR’s NEW DEAL! Political Solutions Without The Greedy Rich, The Mainstream Media, Democrats, Republicans Or The Supreme Court! That In Itself Is A New Concept! Richard Wolff Offers Viable, Innovative, Unconventional Solutions To Correct Capitalism’s Selfishness, Unfairness & Excesses. Politicians Either Can’t Or Won’t Solve Problems. And He Gives A History Lesson On FDR’s NEW DEAL And Why Corporations And Rich Financed It To Prevent Socialism And Communism From Replacing American Capitalism. New Thinking And New Approaches Are Needed To Achieve Results For Currently Insoluble Dilemmas & Future Crises Just As FDR Used During Great Depression. There Have Been 13 Depressions Or Recessions Since 1929. Every President Has Had At Least 1. Each Promises, “My Policies Will (1) End Current Crisis And (2) Ensure We Never Have A Crisis Like This Again!” Has Any President Succeeded In Keeping His Promise To Date? You Tell Me!

 

CAPITALISM & PREDATION:

THE ROBBER BARONS!

-


Source: Apple Dictionary

 

Transcribed by Tabacco from Documentary ‘All New – The Men Who Built America: More 2 Version’ – Episode: A New War Begins

Narrator: Vanderbilt and his competitors are in a drastic search for passengers and cargo to fill the trains running on their lines.

 

Mark Cuban, owner, nba dallas mavericks: In the 1870s, the country needed to be connected via railroads. And what happens then is everybody, who thinks they have an edge in the railroad business, goes out and raises money, and they start their own railroad. What happened then, as we’ve seen it happen many times since then, is it created a huge bubble.

 

Narrator: John D. Rockefeller’s oil makes up nearly 40% of the cargo shipped on the rails. But, when Vanderbilt teams with his (own) biggest rival (Tom Scott, Pennsylvania RR) to push for a Rate Increase, Rockefeller takes it as a Declaration of War! He builds a pipeline in response and begins to pull his shipments. And since the railroads have been drastically overbuilt, losing cargo means losing money.

 

Stocks plummet as Investors run scared!

 

JIM CRAMER, FORMER HEDGE FUND MANAGER: When prices get out of control, and smart people decide, “Wow, this thing is a bubble – I want out! Then you get a collapse very quickly.

 

Narrator: By the time the PANIC is through, 1/3 of the country’s 360 Railroad Companies have gone bankrupt!

 

ALAN GREENSPAN, Former Federal Reserve Chairman: Every Crisis of this type, whether it’s 2008 or 1873, has got the same roots, namely that it was unanticipated. So a necessary condition for Crisis is NOBODY EXPECTS IT!

 

Narrator: The Crash is the worst America has seen in its short History! Unsure how to prevent a complete collapse, the Stock Exchange shuts down and stays closed for 10 straight days.

 

H. W. BRANDS, HISTORIAN: The Panic of 1873 triggered the FIRST Full-blown, National Depression! And nobody quite knew what to do about it! For the first time, very large numbers of American Workers were without jobs. Workers got laid off, but the Owners still lived in the style they were accustomed to! But no one was shedding any tears for John D. Rockefeller. People were saving their tears for themselves when they found themselves out of work, out of their homes, out of food, out of hope.

 

NARRATOR: While many of the biggest Companies in the country struggled to survive, ROCKEFELLER SEES OPPORTUNITY! His belief in the SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST kicking in! As his Competition collapses, Rockefeller picks them off, buying out bankrupt Oil Companies for next to nothing!

 

DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE MOGUL: I find I do better in BAD MARKETS – I BUY THINGS! You can’t do that in a great Economy. Either you’re going to buy it very expensively, or you’re not going to be able to buy it at all! There’s a lot of Opportunity in the Bad Times!

 

NARRATOR: By the time the Depression is through, Rockefeller has created the largest Corporate Empire in America!

 

H. W. BRANDS: He was playing the Game of Industry, and he was simply better at it than everybody else! He saw the Industrial Marketplace as a place for the ‘Survival of the Fittest’, and he was fitter than anybody else. (Sarcastically) He ‘deserved to survive, and they didn’t!’

 

But Rockefeller’s last remaining Adversaries refuse to go down without a fight! Tom Scott and his protégé, Andrew Carnegie, have managed to survive. And, since Rockefeller’s Pipeline doesn’t extend to Pittsburgh, he’s forced to continue to use their trains.

 

But Scott knows if he and Carnegie don’t diversify, they won’t survive. Scott devises an aggressive plan to expand his Empire, one that’s sure to catch Rockefeller’s attention: he’s going to break into the Oil Business by building a Pipeline of his own!

 

But if there’s one thing John Rockefeller hates more than anything else, it’s COMPETITION! Tom Scott is in for War!

 

TABACCO: And we’ve always been propagandized with that CRAP about how Capitalism is all about and thrives on COMPETITION!

 

While the Titans of Industry play Monopoly with real Money, you suffer and die – these guys fiddle while the Middleclass burns! That is the BASIS OF CAPITALISM! It’s never really about the Money – that’s only how they keep score. It’s about the GAME!

 

Can you say, “Michael Bloomberg”! He’s a BILLIONAIRE (with a “B”), so we know he doesn’t need the money.

 

 

It’s never really about the Money – that’s only how they keep score. It’s about the GAME!

 

 

Are Bloomberg’s recent Populist measures like 16-ounce limits for soda and Pro-Gun Control a Precursor to a BLOOMBERG RUN AT THE WHITE HOUSE!

 

You didn’t really believe Bloomberg had reformed, did you!

 

When Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, J. P. Morgan, Carnegie and Ford donated Million$ from their vast fortunes, it was only to resuscitate their fallen reputations and compete with their Cronies, who had done the same already!

 

 

 

 

WORLD ECONOMIC CRISIS

 

ANALYSIS

 

 

 

Select Excerpts, Transcribed & Edited by Tabacco from Documentary, ‘Richard Wolff: Democracy at Work – The Cure for Capitalism’.

 

Filmed September 6th, 2012, in front of a live audience.

 

Richard Wolff is Prof. of Economics Emeritus, U. Mass. Amherst

 

 

(2) America Out Of Crisis:

 

But I don’t want to limit myself to Crises! I want to also talk about the System when it’s working well – when Unemployment is relatively low. What happens then?

 

First, Capitalism has a tendency everywhere to polarize Income and Wealth. It’s a kind of driven System in which the Competition is pretty cutthroat. And, most of the time, the Company that wins the competition literally eats the one that has been defeated. It buys its Equipment, hires away its workers, and so we get the ever-larger winners. That’s why most Big Industries have 2 or 3 left. They’ve consumed all the others.

 

They become very Big and Powerful. These days they become so Big and Powerful, they’re all household names. And when they begin to have Trouble, they make us all pay for their Problems by telling us they’re TOO BIG TO FAIL!

 

So we POLARIZE in a Capitalist System. We produce Poles of Great Wealth at one end and Poles of Real Poverty at the other.

 

Sometimes, when the System really breaks down, masses of People get so angry that they begin to push back. In America that happened in the 1930s when we had a terrible DEPRESSION, when the Unemployment Rate, which today is about 8.5% officially – if you look at the comparable number in the depths of the Depression, it was 3 times that (25%).

 

Interestingly in the 1930s, the American People pushed back. They were not passive; they were active. Let me tell you what they did. It’s a part of our History that Americans tend not to learn too well in school for reasons I will leave to your speculation.

 

We had the biggest Labor Movement organization that the country ever had. Something called the CONGRESS OF INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATIONS (CIO) organized Millions of Workers in the 1930s in the depths of the Depression. Workers, who had never been in a Union before! We’ve never seen that in the United States. We’d never seen it before, and we’ve never seen it since. In the midst of that misery of the Depression, American Workers decided that a Labor Union could maybe save them, and they were ready to join.

 

And joining was often tough! Working against Government, working against the Corporation, working against the Police!

 

Alongside the Unions were two other Institutions that were important then, and that may surprise you. Socialist Parties here in the United States and the Communist Party of the United States were powerful.

 


http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082979/

 

They had a lot of people. And they worked together with the CIO. And together they went to the government at that time, and they said 2 things:

 

1 – We represent the mass of working people, and

 

2 – We don’t want to suffer the way we’re suffering in this Breakdown of Capitalism. You gotta do something for the People!

 

And they addressed themselves to a kind of middle-of-the-road Democratic politician, who had just gotten elected President on a program of a balanced budget, Franklin Roosevelt. And the Communists and Socialists added a little barb, “because we think that there’s a better system, an alternative system to Capitalism, and if you keep performing as badly as you’re doing in the Depths of Depression, we’re going to try to establish that Alternative. And they pointed across the ocean to the Soviet Union saying, “Like them!” That scared folks! (Tabacco: By ‘folks’, he means Capitalists!)

 

And Mr. Roosevelt was a good politician – smart! He listened! And he responded because he knew politically because he knew that these 3 Forces (CIO, Socialists & Communists) had enormous support in the United States, and that they could mount a serious problem for this country.

 

So Roosevelt went to his friends, many of whom were businessmen (you know he came from a very well-established, a very wealthy family), and he said, “Well look, I think I gotta do something here, because, if I don’t, we’re gonna have a lot of trouble.” And gentlemen, you, who are very wealthy and you, who run the large Corporations, not only do I think we need to do this, but you’re gonna have to pay for it! The government has no money; we’re in the Depths of the Depression; nobody is paying any taxes; nobody has jobs. So you’re gonna have to pay – the Rich and the Corporations!

 

And here’s what you’re gonna pay for – I’m gonna take care of the people. I’m gonna help poor people, unemployed people, an American population that’s in trouble. And you’re going to pay for it, you know why? Because if you don’t, coming down the road are those Socialists and Communists, and they’re going to cut you a much less attractive deal.

 

Something interesting happened. The business community and the Rich were split – half of them did not buy that argument. They were not convinced by Mr. Roosevelt. But half of them were. And Roosevelt was a good politician. With half of the businesses in his pocket, he knew he could count on the CIO, the Socialists and the Communists to kind of work something out. And here was the deal:

 

I’m gonna get the money from the Corporations and the Rich. I’m gonna help you on a scale you’ve never seen before. And in return, you’re going to stop talking about getting rid of Capitalism. You’re going to mute that part of your message.

 

So what did Roosevelt do – three interesting things:

 

1 – He created the Social Security System – we never had that before. In the midst of the Depression, worse than today, and there’s no money in the hands of the government, the President goes on the radio and announces that every American over 65-years of age, whose had a lifetime of work, is now going to get money from the government for the rest of his or her life. Thank you very much!

 

What! But where would all the money come from? From taxing all the Corporations and the Rich! And no sooner than he did that, he announced another new program:

 

2 – UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION! We never had that before in the United States. In the midst of the Depression when tens of millions of people are out of work, the President announces that everyone, who is out of work, is now going to get a government check. And who’s going to pay for that? The Corporations and the Rich!

 

But now comes the 3rd Program:

 

3 – President Roosevelt says if the Private Enterprise System of the United States cannot provide work to tens of millions of Americans, citizens who want to work, well then I’ll do it! And between 1934 and 1941, Roosevelt created and filled 12.5 million jobs. We were hired by the Federal Government. And who paid for all of that? The Corporations and the Rich!

 

TABACCO: See what happens if you don’t know your History! Republican Politicians and Corporatists make you feel GUILTY for being on the Government dole.

 

But Franklin Delano Roosevelt made a DEAL with the Corporatists and the Rich to preserve CAPITALISM during the Great Depression. Now those same Corporatists, those same Rich, and today’s Republican Politicians want to renege on the DEAL created by Roosevelt. Why? Because they know that we don’t know our History! They know that we don’t know the details of the DEAL to preserve Capitalism!

 

So if those Corporatists and those Rich and those Republican politicians want to renege on the Deal and PRIVATIZE Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and undermine Unemployment Compensation, then We The People must renege also and do what?

 

 

DISAVOW CAPITALISM &

INSTITUTE SOCIALISM!

 

 

How did Roosevelt do this? Well he was very courageous and clever. In the midst of World War II, he proposed a novel Income Tax. Above a certain level, and in those years the level was $25,000 per year, the Income Tax Rate would be 100%!

 

 

$25,000 PER ANNUM WOULD BECOME THE MAXIMUM INCOME!

 

 

You know how we have a MINIMUM WAGE; well this would be the MAXIMUM WAGE: $25,000 per annum. The Republicans, predictably, went crazy! And they fought and they yelled, and they reached a COMPROMISE! And the Compromise was that

 

 

The Highest Rate the Richest Americans would have to pay was 94% – the LAW, signed by the President!

 

 

If you were a Rich man in the 1940s, every dollar that you earned over the top limit, in the Highest Bracket, you got to keep 6-cents, and the other 94-cents went to the Government. And, by the way, in the 1950s and 1960s it continued – 91% was the Top Bracket. Republicans endorsed it, Democrats endorsed it, Republican and Democratic Presidents maintained it.

 

Why? The answer was easy. And everybody understood it. We have just come through the Greatest Depression of our Economic Life, the 1930s, followed by the most severe War, WWII. The country has to pull together to overcome and rebuild from these 2 great sequential crises. And from each must be taken their capacity to contribute! So we’re taking from the Rich THEIR CAPACITY!

 

 

SOME STATISTICS

In 1945, for every $1.00 the Federal Government got from Income Tax on Individuals, it got from Corporations $1.50.

 

What’s the relationship today? For every $1.00 that is taken from Individuals, Corporations today contribute $.25!  

 

And what’s the Highest Tax Bracket today? It’s 35%!

 

 

What’s the lesson here? In the 1930s the Gap between Rich and Poor was reduced because the Government took from the Rich to take care of the mass of people, who had been suffering in Unemployment and Poverty, through no fault of their own, through the Breakdown of the System.

 

No sooner was the War over, then the Business Community and the Rich went to work to undo what had happened in the 1930s.

 

And therein lies a lesson: that it was the Upsurge of a Militant, Organized Working Class that overcame – for a while – the

 

 

Tendency of Capitalism to Polarize!

 

 

But the Lesson here was better learned by the Business and the Rich than by the Working People.

 

 

The Economic History of the United States in the last 50-years has been the UNDOING of ‘THE NEW DEAL’!

 

 

The Problem for Corporations and the Rich, who keep running a System that plunges us into Crisis after Crisis, who really have no effective way to prevent them, who likewise tend to Polarize into Rich and Poor, is this:

 

 

They have an Economic System that constantly provokes the Mass of People into thinking that they might be able to use the Political System to offset the Effects of the Economic System.

 

 

The Danger for Capitalism has been if you actually give everybody the Vote that the Vote will be the Political Way for the MAJORITY to recoup for themselves in Politics what they lost in the Capitalist Economic System.

 

And how has American Capitalism and Capitalism in other countries dealt with this? And the answer is

 

 

YOU’VE GOT TO CONTROL

THE POLITICS!

 

 

Because if you don’t, they will come back and undo what you’ve accomplished in your Economic Life! They learned this by watching in the Great Depression what the CIO, the Socialists and the Communists did.

 

So in the last 50 years, the Business Community went to work:

 

 

1 – They destroyed the Labor Movement

 

2 – They destroyed the Socialist Parties

 

3 – They destroyed the Communist Party

 

 

In the Private Sector of the United States today, the Official Percentage of Workers that are Members of a Trade Union is under 7%! 93% of Private Sector Workers in the United States have no Union!

 

The notion of Unions as a powerful social force requires a lack of understanding of what’s going on in our Society that boggles the mind!

 

 

So what have we got?

 

We’ve got all the Mechanisms in place that allow the Business Community and the Wealthy to control the POLITICS!

 

They’re the ones, who fund the Candidates!

 

They’re the ones, who fund the Parties!

 

They’re the ones, who hire huge Armies of LOBBYISTS to work on an ongoing basis with whoever gets elected!

 

And they fund all these Think Tanks that produce endless resources and reports and researches and specialists for the Radio and the Television to shape the consciousness of what America can see, hear and think.

 

The end result is the two Presidential Political Conventions, in which not a word is said about the System, in which they each blame the other as if the Politicos had the Power to do much about all of this. But there is NO SYSTEMIC ANALYSIS!

 

 

What else about this System is bizarre? Well, one of the results of the shaping of consciousness is the following kind of really strange idea – it goes like this:

 

If you give Corporations a chance to make Profits, then good things will happen to the rest of us. So, for example, we have to create a profitable business climate (say by cutting their Taxes or Deregulating them).

 

There’s a simple Logical Problem here: If you cut the Taxes of Business, then they have more money because their Taxes are lower. What they do with that Money is their Decision! And their Decision is governed by MAKING AS MUCH MONEY AS POSSIBLE.

 

That might mean that they would create a job OK – but not here – in a place where the Wages are much lower, say in Asia, which might be nice for them but isn’t particularly good here! Or they might lend it to a government, or they might play the Stock market

 

Let’s see, what did they do over the last 30 years? One of the most impressive and spectacular things Big Corporations did with the Money they saved from Lower Taxes and with the Profits they were able to get from Deregulation was

 

 

Pay Corporate Executives at the Top Stupefying Amounts of Money!

 

 

I’m sure you’re all proud that we are the Leader in the world in the GAP between what we pay our Top Executives and what we pay the Average Worker in those same Companies. In other countries the numbers are like 30 or 40 times; in our country it’s like 300-400 times (smiling sarcastically)!

 

The Big People at the Top took advantage of the Lower Taxes; they had to pay, to make themselves stupefyingly Rich, which in a Free Enterprise System they’re free to do!

 

The ‘notion’ that “if you do something good for a Corporation, they will in some sense pay you back” is childish! That’s NOT what they do! That’s not what they’re hired to do! In this System, they always try to find the most Profitable thing they can do with their Money! What that does for the Rest of Us – WHO KNOWS!

 

There’s NO CONTROL here! It’s also like allowing a Company to close a Factory in Cincinnati and open it in Shanghai! The Justification for the Logic of the way our Culture works is “We’ll all benefit because the prices they will charge for the things they make over there will be less”. But they’re not required to do that! When they close the Factory here and go to China, it’s precisely with the Big Idea of selling the Goods at the same price to you in the Supermarket but having to pay lower wages to get it manufactured over there. Why should they lower the price! They’d make more Money if they didn’t!

TABACCO: And what if the prices are lower, how will that serve you if you have lost your Job to that OUTSOURCING!

 

It’s not their job – as they will explain to you – to take care of the American Economy. They weren’t hired by the American Economy. They were hired by the Shareholders of that Company.

TABACCO: Obviously, Americans were misled by Henry Ford. Sorry, but Henry died, and even Ford Motors is being run by Egoistical Capitalists today!

 

Every technological breakthrough made by Capitalism in the last 300 years has been justified on the grounds that “with this new machine or with this new process, human labor will mean less drudgery. Machines will replace people. We will not have to work so hard and so long.” How interesting!

TABACCO: Henry Ford was a swell fellow as Capitalists go, but have you ever worked on an Assembly Line doing the same task over and over and over, 7 hours a day, 5 days a week for 50 weeks out of every year!

 

According to the O.E.C.D. (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), Americans today, where we have the most advanced technological breakthroughs imaginable, do more hours of paid labor than any other working class in any country on the planet! Where was all the leisure supposed to come from – all the work that was saved!

 

Less work for mom with all those appliances in the store! Meanwhile mom has to go out and work because the family can’t survive unless she does. She’s not doing less work; she now has two jobs – the one in the house and the one in the labor force! It’s absurd! By the way, that’s not the fault of the technology, which really was liberating. But it’s the fault of a System that has to keep making money whether the technology is advanced or not and drives people because that’s how it makes money.

 

Not only does it produce Crises and the terrible waste and damage, not only does it polarize unless people react, and not only does it deny us the fruits of technical change, but even more, what it does to us as individuals needs to be understood. And it’s a perfect transition to what I think the Solution is!

 

Most production in the United States is done by large Corporations. We’re a Society that celebrates small businesses. There’s something very poignant about that! Small businesses, we are told, are the very backbone of America. NO THEY’RE NOT!

 

 

Big Business is what

runs this Economy!

 

 

 

Small business is a long, old story! Small business, we are told, creates 3 out of 4 jobs – quite true. Small businesses also go out of business on a scale that is fantastic and LOOSES 3 out of 4 jobs – that little detail is left out! Small business is a very hard thing to survive. And the reason is it’s dependent on Big Business from whom it buys many of its basic needs.

 

 

The Big Businesses are where the work and the Basic Employment and Production are done in the United States. And how does a Big Business work? It’s a remarkable Institution! A tiny number of people make all the decisions.

 

 

Here’s how it works! The Group is called Major Shareholders, a handful of people, who have big blocks of stock. Because, in a corporation, you get a vote for each share you own. It’s not one person, one vote – it’s how many shares you own. So, for example, if you own a million shares, you get a million votes. If your grandmother left you two shares, you get two votes. If your grandmother left you no shares and you haven’t any, you get no votes! So the Major Shareholders control the bulk of the Decisions!

 

What’s the most important Decision they make? They select the people, who run the Corporation called the Board of Directors, usually 15 to 20 people. And they make all the Decisions – what to produce, how to produce, where to produce and what to do with the Profits!

 

 

The vast majority of people come to work Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, and they do what? They make whatever that Board of Directors decides that Company is gonna make! And they make it in whatever way, with whatever technology that Board of Directors decides, working on whatever raw materials that Board of Directors presents to those workers. And the Board of Directors decides whether those workers are here in the United States or over there in India or wherever.

 

And when the work is done and there are some Profits, the Board of Directors decides what to do with them. For example, to pay the Top Executives spectacular salaries – that’s a Decision they make. Or to move production to another country!

 

The vast mass of the workers (a thousand in a small company, a hundred thousand in a Big One), or in the case of a really Big One (say Wal-Mart), a Million! A Million people, who come to work at Wal-Mart and a Group of 10, 15 people – if you look at the Board of Directors, you’ll see that a stunning number of them have the name ‘Walton’! But even if you didn’t pay attention to that, a tiny group of people!

 

Now for a country that defines itself as committed to “DEMOCRACY”, there’s something stunning here! Democracy means that if you are affected by a decision, you get to participate in it. The idea being if a decision made by a Mayor, a Congressman or woman, a Senator or a President is something, which affects us, which it obviously does, then we all get to participate.

 

Let’s see, where you work, what they make affects your life. How they make it – with this chemical – that affects your health, your life. Whether they do it here or they fire you and do it in another country, you bet that affects your life. So what exactly is your participation in the Decisions you have to live with the results of? Answer? NOTHING!

 

 

You come to work, and you do what you’re told!

 

 

And at the end of the day, you’ve poured your brains and your muscles into making something. And you know what you’re supposed to do because you all go to the same schools. At the end of the day, you leave there (and whatever it is you helped to make), and you go home. And if you forget and try to take with you one of those things you helped to make, a few hours later there’s a knock on the door. And people in dark blue uniforms hurt you – and take it back – because it’s not yours! You made it, but it’s a very clear idea: you do not participate in controlling your own product!

 

How do you square that with ‘Democracy’? There is no way to do that! And so we conveniently, as a society, don’t ask the question, don’t think about it. That’s the Success of the Business Community, the Wealthy, who want to make sure we don’t think about it because it is an impossible contradiction of the way we’ve organized things. And it has extraordinary effects!

 

Everyone, who goes to work for a Corporation, feels (on some level, consciously or unconsciously) their powerlessness – their irrelevance to the decisions that affect them, including whether they have the job next week or not!

(Tabacco: I remember that feeling well – but I have been self-employed since 1991! And those memories are in the distant past for me.)

 

That inculcates in people a Fatalism, a lack of care, a feeling of “ripped-offedness”! I’d like to remind everybody that it’s an interesting admission of that in our culture because on the way home from almost every corporation, when the workers are finished with the day, they pass a Bar or two, which invites them to come in after work to enjoy a ‘Happy Hour’! Which is a very subtle way of reminding them what the quality is of the hours the precede arrival at the Bar! Those are the ‘Unhappy Hours’! And they’re “unhappy” because you are a Drudge! You’re a Drone! You’re almost like a piece of Machinery! And so you don’t care that much about your job. You’re interested in how much it pays because your excitement is elsewhere – maybe what you can buy with the money you get from working. But the Job itself, for most workers, is purely a “means” to get the money.

 

And yet it’s amazing, if you think about it, 5 out of 7 days for the major part of the day, you go to work. It’s the most important part of your adult life! Why isn’t it made to be a ‘Learning Experience’, a joyous experience, an experience that develops you and develops your potential and develops your understanding! It ought to be! But you accept, don’t you! We all do! That all of that is subordinated to making money, and the people at the Top think the best way to make money is to stick you in a little cubicle with a little computer and throw Muzak at you till you go crazy!

 

That has very bad effects on human beings! And those are ramified in our culture.

 

 

Many of us think that there really isn’t a lot of commitment to our Democratic System, even in the little space we have for it, which is Politics, because it’s excluded from our Economic System!

 

 

But we do have it in the Community – sort of! And so we’re kind of disappointed that half the American people don’t bother to vote. And half of those, who do bother to vote, seem to be more interested in details like whether they can have a Gun in the back of their truck than in some of the larger Issues that might affect them even more than the question of whether they can have a Gun in the truck.

(He’s talking about the REPUBLICAN RANK & FILE, folks! That includes the 14% of Republicans, who think Medicare is NOT a government program, and the 10% of Republicans that just don’t know.)

 

Their attitude towards Politics is one of not caring that much, not learning that much, maybe going in and voting – but who knows! We’re kind of disappointed! Our Democracy seems formal. Well, I’ve got a thought for you: If you deny people, 5 out of 7 days a week, any real Say in something that really shapes their daily life, which is the conditions of work, you’re basically teaching them that they’re NOT Decision-Makers! That that’s somebody else’s job!

 

You train everyday, you understand all the Decisions are left to people – you don’t even know where they are – they sit in a Board Room a thousand miles away. So why are you then going to get excited about Politics, which looks to you more and more like the same thing! Somebody far away makes the Decision! You’re supposed to get excited once a year, go to a little booth, move a little lever – you’re going to have some say? Nah!

 

 

If you want Politics to be real in the Community, you have to make it real where people are – where their job depends, their income depends, most of their life is spent! Otherwise you can’t blame them for Not being interested in Politics when you’ve really trained them into NOT participating, denied them a participating role!

 

 

Here’s another way it stunts human beings! We all have complicated and mixed capacities. In order to find out what you’re really good at and what your contributions to Society can be, you have to have a chance to see what you can do. And it doesn’t even stay the same across your life. You have different capacities at different times. Why should some people have all the control, the design of what’s going on, the Direction Decisions, and other people just do what they’re told!

 

If all you’re doing is what you’re told, you’re not going to develop your capacity to innovate, your capacity to redesign a process, to redirect a process because you don’t have any place to develop those skills. Imagine how much innovation we could have if we really gave everybody a chance to learn, and how the System works, and how the Production of whatever you helped to make, how that’s done! If we gave you some training when you were growing up – wow! We would all be different people because we wouldn’t have divided the Society into a tiny number of people, who make all the Decisions and therefore have to learn how to do that, and the rest of us, who – no point in learning that; no point in teaching that to you cause you’re never gonna do that! You’re just gonna be a Barista at Starbucks! And for that the amount of direction skills you need are small.

 

I don’t mean to pick on Starbucks – I enjoy picking on Starbucks, but I don’t mean to pick on Starbucks!

 

OK, what then is the Solution? Well you can see from the Logic of what I’ve done that it isn’t blaming the Banker for doing what Bankers do, and it isn’t blaming Workers for doing what they do. Workers are told to enjoy the American Dream. They are paid, until the 1970s, they’re paid more every decade. It’s remarkable – the American Wage System! A hundred years before the 1970s, Wages go up and Americans could afford – with a rising wage – to have a higher Standard of Living, which is half the Reason why Millions of Immigrants came from all over the World.

 

In the 1970s, as I hope most of you know, “Real” wages stopped rising in the United States and have never resumed. That was, of course, a Crisis for the American Worker, who had promised himself – to herself – his and her children the American Dream: a home, a car, a vacation, a college education – all of it. What a Torture to a population that has learned to believe that with every decade you’ll make more money, and that will allow you to have these better things, and to give them to your children. You promise it, and you believe in yourself, and suddenly the wages don’t go up anymore. And it’s not explained to people that the wages didn’t go up anymore. They’re just left without the wherewithal to achieve the American Dream.

 

And, if you don’t make it a National Conversation, if you don’t explain it to people why that happened, then AMERICANS BLAME THEMSELVES INDIVIDUALLY! I didn’t go to the right schools, I didn’t take the right courses, I didn’t major in the right thing, I didn’t work hard enough, I didn’t please my boss – whatever, it’s ME! And they turn inward and blame themselves for all the Social Consequences of that.

 

And when that doesn’t solve the Problem, they do something very understandable over the last 35-years. They want to hold onto that Dream! And, if the wages don’t pay for it, BORROWING WILL!

 

And so the American people go on a “Borrowing Binge” the likes of which no Working Class in the world has ever seen! They Borrow EVERYTHING! We had to INVENT THE CREDIT CARD for Mass Consumption, starting in the 1970s. That’s when Master Card, Visa, all that got going. So everybody could borrow!

 

 

We now have a New Generation we never saw before! College Students, who come out of College with a $100,000 or more IN DEBT! Only to discover that we have such a collapsed Economic System that they either will NOT get a job or NEVER get a job to ever get out of that Debt! Nobody prepared them for this! And they’re very upset!

 

 

        

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/23/the-case-for-worker-co-ops/

 

These are SYSTEMIC PROBLEMS! We’re going to blame the College Student for borrowing too much? We’re going to blame that Worker for trying to hold onto what every Advertisement told him or her was the Nature of a SUCCESSFUL LIFE? How Cruel can you be!

 

The System isn’t organized very well! And it’s producing lots of DYSFUNCTIONAL PEOPLE – everyone in this room, of course, excepted! But out there (pointing)!

 

So what do you do if the System doesn’t work? Well you have to take a VERY BIG STEP! You have to ask yourself, “WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?” Is there another System?

 

And Americans have been taught for a long time

 

“NOT TO GO THERE!”

 

Cause that gets you into a DANGEROUS AREA!

 

                 

 

But tonight, safe as we are in this place, we’re gonna go!

 

I may surprise you as to where I think we ought to go. But I’ve given you a lot of hints along the way and now you’ll see.

 

I think we ought to

 

 

BRING DEMOCRACY TO

 

THE WORKPLACE!

 

 

 

 

THE SOLUTION:

 

BRING DEMOCRACY TO

 

THE WORKPLACE!

 

Bring it to where it has NEVER been brought before! And here’s how it would work! This in NOT a Complex Idea! And it isn’t a “New” Idea! And I’m not the only one, who thinks it or pushes for it! It’s an “Old” Idea, as you’ll see! But here’s the Idea:

 

Let’s organize our Enterprises, BIG & small, in a New and Different way! Let’s DEMOCRATIZE them!

 

Let’s arrange that all of the people, who come to work, together make the Decisions – no more MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS, no more BOARD OF DIRECTORS; the Workers themselves become their own Board of Directors!

 

Here’s a sketch, just to have an idea in your mind! Monday to Thursday you come to work; you do what you always did. Friday you come to work; you don’t do what you always did. Together with all the other Workers, you have Meetings – all day on Friday! And together in those Meetings – one Worker, one Vote, you decide what to produce, how to produce, where to produce and what to do with the Profits your work has produced. (The FLAW here is that you lose Friday as a Workday! Somehow, I see a 6-day week here! But that’s a concession worth making!

 

More likely is 9am-noon on Fridays, which would be reduced to 9am-11am, 9am-10:30am, 9am-10am or flexible Friday am-hours, depending on that day’s Agenda, and extended Hours on Critical Fridays such as the end of the Fiscal Year. However, it must be am, not pm!) People are thinking about going home on Friday afternoons, not about making Executive Decisions.

 

And after all, you don’t have to Decide every Friday where you are going to do Production for the coming week! And you don’t need to Decide Pay Distribution every Friday!

 

 

Another name for this that’s old in American History – and even older in other countries – is called

 

 

COOPERATIVE!

 

 

Cooperative, Community Enterprise – lots of words – I really don’t care what word you use! But I want to stress the “Democracy at Work” theme because we’re a country that’s kind of obsessed about Democracy; so let’s use that! Let’s bring Democracy to the place where most of us adults spend most of our time, most of our lives. Seems reasonable if you’re committed to Democracy to institute it where you are most of the time. Otherwise, what does your commitment amount to!

 

WOW! Think about it! I’m now going to take you through some of the Implications of doing this because I want you to see Potential, where it is.

 

So first, if the Board of Directors is the Workers themselves, then one of the Decisions they have to make is HOW MUCH DIFFERENT PEOPLE GET PAID! Aha! In Capitalist countries, like our own, the Board of Directors decides what to pay the Top Managers. And, as I already mentioned to you, over the last 30-years they’ve been extraordinarily generous! So that Top Managers of Major American Corporations get salarie$ in the Millions or Tens of Million$ of Dollar$ – every year! That’s NORMAL!

 

Well, if you’re upset, as most Americans, who pay attention to this are, that the GAP between Rich and Poor has become More Extreme and that that poses all sorts of dangerous Social Problems and Tensions, then I have News for You! Perhaps the Single Biggest Factor accounting for the Growing Divide in the United States are the IMMENSE SALARIES, paid by Corporations to their TOP EXECUTIVES!

 

If the Workers collectively decided what everybody got, what can you imagine might happen! Would the Workers collectively give a tiny number of THEMSELVES HUGE SALARIE$ and everybody else would have to scramble and wouldn’t have enough! Would the Majority of Workers Vote to hobble themselves in that way (GRIMMACING)! NAH! Not likely! Kind a – gosh, NOT AT ALL! Not gonna happen!

 

So if you’re concerned, as many Americans are, to do something about the GAP between Rich and poor in the United States, here’s a really powerful way to get at that!

(TABACCO: I love what Wolff is saying, but I’m beginning to notice a Trend! He answers WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, & WHY, but NOT HOW! Perhaps Richard is waiting for Tabacco to advance that Strategy! Let’s see if he gives that Answer! Read on!)

 

Make it a Democratic Decision! That would allow the Workers to pay some people more than others if they thought that’s appropriate. But my guess is the RATIO would be 3, 4 or 5:1, NOT 300 or 400:1!

 

And, you know we have a Hint, an actual practical Example to show this. Right now in the World the single most successful Enterprise that has converted to a Democracy at Work System exists in the north of SPAIN. Some of you may know about it. It’s based in a little community, a little city called Mondragón in the Basque region just below the Pyrenees Mountains.

 


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondragon_Corporation

 

This is a Company that has been growing since its founding in the mid-1950s. So it’s a good half-century old. It started with 6-workers. It’s a system of Cooperatives. It has grown quite effectively – it now has over 100,000 employees! It’s the 7th largest Enterprise in all of Spain. And it’s just a set of Cooperatives that coordinate with one another. In each of them the Workers are their own Board of Directors. And guess what! The Workers made a Rule:

 

 

the Highest Paid Person in the Coops – in any of them – doesn’t get more than 6.5 times what the lowest paid Worker does!

 

 

TABACCO: A side advantage of this Rule is this: suppose one or more Top Dogs here have Maxed out their salaries. (For the sake of simplicity, I will assume the figure is 6 times lowest salary rather than 6.5 times). Suppose the lowest salary is $20K per annum and the Maxed out salary is $120K or 6x $20K. In order to raise $120K salary $6K to $126K, you must raise $20K salary to $21K. But $6K increase on $120K is not very charitable, so let’s make it $12K to $132K. Then you must raise lowest salary $2K to $22K. That’s provided no one else is making less than $22K. The likelihood is that everyone in the Cooperative will receive a 10% increase in salary ranging from $2K to $12K. Everybody benefits, not just the Top Dogs!

 

So there is no such Enormous Gap between the Rich and Poor! And if you travel in the north of Spain where this Company is the largest Company in that part of Spain, you will see that the cities and towns – I was there this summer – you can see right away, you don’t have the SLUM over here and the FANCY NEIGHBORHOOD over there – you don’t have any of that!

 

There are people with more and people with less, but the GAP is completely different! It’s a part of the World in which you could say something like the following and not be lying through your teeth:

 

 

EVERYBODY’S IN THE MIDDLECLASS!

 

 

They really did that! But if you want that, this is the way to get it!

 

Here’s a second thought! You think if the Workers made the Decisions collectively, they would decide to CLOSE THE FACTORY or THE OFFICE WHERE THEY’RE WORKING & OPEN ONE IN CHINA, thereby destroying their Jobs, their Incomes and the Community? (Making the ugliest face possible and saying) I would guess NOT!

(You folks do remember OUTSOURCING, don’t you!)

 

You know what they would do instead? They would say, “Whatever problems our Company has, one of the Solutions that are not available is leaving”. You can’t do that! And by the way there’s nothing new about this! There used to be a time, not so long ago here in the United States, the Company said the only way we can survive – we have to be able to compete – is we need to be able to hire these 6-year- olds. It’s called CHILD LABOR! “And if you don’t let us do it, well the British will allow it to be done! They’ll do it, and the Spanish and the French”.

 

And at a certain point, the American people looked at the conditions of 6-year-olds we had working, and said we understand you have competitive problems, we understand – but that you can’t do! You can’t have kids, and you can’t do what you’re doing to them! That’s out! You have to find another way!

 

Now if that makes sense, why exactly didn’t we say to them, “You have problems, we understand, we’ll try to help you. But one option you don’t have is you can’t GET UP AND LEAVE! You can’t tell your Workers on Friday, ‘Don’t come in on Monday, we’re moving to Shanghai!’”

 

Not available! You lose! Find another way! Get a better machine, reorganize your Production! Do something else! 50,000 things you can do to try to save your situation, but that you can’t do. And you know why? Because it destroys people’s lives, and it destroys the Community! Kind of what it does to the children, which is why we won’t let you do that!

 

And we won’t let you make a Worker work 18-hours. We won’t let you do that either! It would be nice if you could, but we don’t let you do that!

 

Well, if Workers made the Decisions, they would long ago have ruled out destroying themselves and their jobs. And so the whole question of losing your producer facilities to other countries would not have happened.

 

Here’s another Example! Suppose the Workers run their own Factories! We have a little acronym – WSDE. It’s called Workers Self-Directed Enterprise. The Workers make their Decisions collectively. They are their own Board of Directors. Let’s turn to the question of using a Technology that is difficult or DANGEROUS – a BAD CHEMICAL, a VERY NOISY PIECE OF EQUIPMENT, something that POLLUTES THE WATER, that THROWS SOMETHING OUT OF YOUR SMOKESTACK that’s NOT GOOD FOR PEOPLE TO BREATHE!

 

Well in most American Corporations and most International Corporations, the Board of Directors sits in New York or London or Paris, and they make a Decision based on WHAT’S BEST FOR THE BOTTOM LINE! That’s their job! And if that means Technology that’s TOXIC for people, well put a Filter on the Smokestack! Or we’ll throw something in the water to neutralize the acid – whatever it is! But if the Workers made the Decision, do you think they would do that! They’re the ones, who have to breathe the air, and their children, it’s their neighbors – it’s their Community. They’re not gonna do – they’re going to be much more VIGILANT about the Environment because they live in it! They’re not a distant Decision-Maker; they’re on the spot. And that’s what the whole idea is about in Democracy!

 

 

YOU MAKE THE DECISION BECAUSE YOU LIVE WITH THE RESULTS!

 

 

 

So I think we would have had a different distribution of Income and Wealth in this country. We would have had a very different relationship with keeping the jobs and the production here. And we would have had a very different relationship to the EnvironmeNt!

 

 

Or to make a long story short – I could go on with examples all night! We would have had a different History as a Nation! We’d look different, we’d feel different, we’d relate to one another differently. And guess what! If the Gap between Rich and Poor was narrowed, that wouldn’t allow the RICH TO BUY THE POLITICAL SYSTEM THE WAY THEY DO NOW, would it! So it would make a contribution there too. WOW! Sounds interesting!

 

Let me take it another step! Is this feasible? I know some of you may be entranced by the idea, but you’re wondering to yourself, “Well, how do you do this?” (RICHARD IS NOT GOING TO LET US DOWN!)

 

Well, I’ve already told you about Mondragón, which is a very successful Corporation, composed of hundreds of these Coops that coordinate with each other! So they do prove it CAN BE DONE! Plus there are Coops all over the place! Not very far from here, around San Francisco, are a group of Bakeries: Arizmendi Bakeries! Maybe some of you know them! They’re set up like that!

 


 

 

There’s a cab company in San Francisco – Yellow Cabs, phone number 333-3333

 


 

America’s full of ‘em! People have not figured out that this is an interesting way to organize Businesses!

TABACCO: Those filthy Rich Capitalists, who own those non-collective bakeries, those non-collective cab companies, those non-collective oil companies, those non-collective communication companies, those non-collective firearms companies, those non-collective think tanks, those non-collective grocery chains, those non-collective meat markets, those non-collective farms, etc. etc. have put the brakes on our Mainstream Media, our Politicians and the Supreme Court to prevent word from getting out to America’s Rank & File! That’s why you may not have known about this previously, and that’s why I’m publishing it here and now!

 

 

One more entity that we have to thank – Link TV, Viewer Supported TV (866) 485-8848

 

 

They broadcasted this Documentary featuring Richard Wolff that I’m working so hard to transcribe. They need your Donations so they can continue supplying this essential information to their Viewers, and I can continue republishing here in this Blog for those of you, who do NOT have Dish or DirecTV Satellite TV.

 

The rest (Cable, Verizon, etc.) have conspired to deny this information to We The People! I don’t ask for myself (I love doing this), but I do ask you to call LinkTV and make a Donation. Better yet, switch to Dish or DirecTV and get all Link programs just as Tabacco does. I don’t make anything for saying that either! In fact, I pay for this service monthly just as you do for those Conspiratorial Cable Networks.

 

So there really is no problem in doing this! People have figured that out. Well you might say, “Yes, the examples like the Arizmendi Bakery, the Yellow Cab Company – those are small enterprises.” You’re right; they’re small! But let me remind you of something historically! The origins of Capitalism out of Feudalism – that was always small businesses. In the midst of Big Feudal Landed Plantations, little capitalists grew up – a little capitalist with 3 workers or 6 workers. That’s how it started – in the cities of Europe. Out of Feudalism, the System that preceded, Capitalism was born in little enterprises. That typically is how this is done! New Systems emerge beginning with small ones.

 

Can they become Large? Again, I refer you to Mondragón, from 6 workers in 1956 to over 100,000 now. They managed it! They’re very BIG! They’re very SUCCESSFUL!

 

Well, the second question you might have is, “Where you gonna get the MONEY! How could workers start a collective business with what!” It’s an interesting problem! Where would the money come from? And guess what! There are Solutions to that too because this isn’t a new idea, and there are lots of examples! I’m just going to give you one to tantalize you with the possibilities. But I’m going to choose one that comes from the real world just so you know people have tried it and done it.  

 

This time I’m referring to something called the Marcora Law – M-a-r-c-o-r-a, which is a Law in Italy, passed in 1985. Here’s what this Law does! What an interesting idea, which in Italy is still on the books. If you become Unemployed in Italy, you have a Choice! You can either get your weekly Unemployment Check the way a person in the United States does (and in Italy it runs 2-3 years that you’re eligible), or you have a second option, which we don’t have in the United States: the Italian government will give you the entire 2-3 years of Unemployment Checks up front as a Lump Sum on One Condition – You must have at least 10 other Workers (he means 9 other Workers), Unemployed like you, who make the same Decision, and the money – the Lump Sum – has to be used as the Capital to start a Collective Business run by the Workers!

 

What! Did I make this up? No! Go Google it!

 

TABACCO: There are several Major Problems with this Example:

 

1 – The USA does not have a Marcora Law

and is unlikely to get one;

 

2 – Italy doesn’t have a Republican Party,

but we do;

 

3 – Even well-funded Collective Businesses

can and do fail – a lot;

 

4 – Finding 9 other Risk Takers in the USA will be harder than finding the Zodiac Killer; and

 

5 – How does one eat, pay rent, cell phone, electric bill, Internet service or buy gasoline for the car if all the Lump Sum goes to the Collective Business?

 

And I haven’t even touched on selection of a Business, but if you took the Lump Sum, one would think you already have that Problem solved.

 

Other than that, I love Italy’s Marcora Law! But I really wish Wolff had given us his 2nd Financial Solution Option in addition to his 1st. And it seems it WILL be left to Tabacco to answer the most important question – “HOW?”!

 

 

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!

 

However, I will never be able to thank Richard Wolff and LinkTV properly or enough for making and showing this Documentary for all of us and taking us this far. My sincerest gratitude!

 

 

The Italian Trade Unions and the Italian Socialist-Communist Party pushed for this – SURPRISE! WOW! And it’s been a Big Success! It has helped launch hundreds of Cooperative Enterprises in Italy, which has a long tradition of this sort of thing. And guess what! Workers – SURPRISE! – choose, rather than being unemployed and collecting a (weekly) check, which is a depressing condition to be in, to rather have a Business that they can devote themselves to. They put much more of themselves in it. And, guess what, from a social point of view, which is kind of better – 10 Workers collecting a weekly check or 10 Workers building a whole new Business that they really care about!

 

 

And which they better care about,

because if that fails,

they can’t go back on Unemployment. They’ve gotten their Unemployment!

 

 

Very interesting idea! And the Italian government provides assistance along the way, technical assistance and so on, and subsidized loans. And are there precedents for the government helping in other ways? Of course there are!

 

Here in the United States, for example, we have a longstanding government entity called the SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (SBA). Here’s the idea! In the United States, it’s been going on for decades.

 

Small Business complained that it wasn’t a level playing field. When they competed with BIG BUSINESSES, they had disadvantages. And they wanted to have a better shot at succeeding as a small business, so they wanted the Government to set aside money and support to help small businesses, not available to BIG ONES, to help them compete more successfully. And we have that! The Small Business Administration gives Grants, makes Loans at a subsidized rate. The idea being that America is better off if it has more small businesses than would otherwise be the case.

 

We do the same thing with MINORITY-OWNED BUSINESSES for the obvious reason!

 

Here’s a thought! A WORKER’S SELF-DIRECTED BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION! Why? Because the American Government would like to see these kinds of Enterprises develop and grow. And why that? Here’s a Democratic thought for you! If the Government supported that, helped to develop Cooperative Enterprises everywhere, then all Americans would have FREEDOM OF CHOICE in a way they’ve never had it before.

(TABACCO: This concept has a great shot politically because Republicans are always harping on “Reducing The Size Of Government”, “Cutting Government Spending”, “Privatization”, “Small Businesses” and “Entrepreneurship”, all of which would be accomplished by this, nor does it threaten BIG BUSINESS directly or immediately).

 

We would all, as young people or old people, be able to compare what it’s like to work in a Top-Down, Hierarchical Capitalist Enterprise (because they’re all around us), but for the first time we would have a choice. There would be lots of Cooperative Enterprises  - they’d be as common as anything around the neighborhood. And you could ask people, your friends and neighbors, who work there, what that’s like. You could even Intern for a summer or try it for a while and see whether the kind of job you’d have, if you’re not just a Worker, but also a Director with other people that are in the same boat with you.

 

It might be a much more interesting, much more self-developing, much more exciting, much more Democratic workplace. And Americans could choose it. And the rest of us could even have the following – we can have a Law that says on a piece of clothing, or on an appliance, or on whatever it is you buy in a store, the label no longer simply says ‘Made In China’, but we could require the label to say does this come out of a Top-Down Capitalist, Hierarchical – whatever words we use – or does it come out of a Cooperative Enterprise. And we could see which one makes better products, and we could support what we believe in by buying that!

(TABACCO: Now he has gone too far – not for me – but for Capitalists Corporations, which would fight this “Law” like crazy with all the Lobbying Dollar$ and Media Propaganda they could muster! You know they would!

 

Just look at how the NRA is fighting against Gun-Control to preserve the Sale of as many Guns and Machine Guns as possible – regardless of how many Children are murdered! Even the NRA SOLUTIONS involve the Sale and Use of MORE GUNS by School Security and Teachers (Are You Kidding!) – The WAR PROFITEERS or FIREARMS PROFITEERS or CORPORATISTS & CAPITALISTS IN GENERAL, it matters not! They all fight dirty for whatever they consider to be their own Turf!)

 

It’s a little bit of a play on the ‘Fair Trade’ idea that some of you know of! Just imagine what could happen if you thought like this!

Richard is being disingenuous here – he knows the last thing any Capitalist wants (not just John D. Rockefeller) is ‘Fair Trade’ or ‘Competition’! That’s just the PROPAGANDA they dispense; that’s NOT what they really feel in their little ole’ Capitalistic Hearts! I don’t allow anybody, even the Good Guys, to get away with Charlatanism!

 

 

How different our Economic System would be – if we took seriously the idea of Democracy At Work! And what it could do to get us out of the INEQUALITIES

we suffer in this Society, the

LOSS OF JOBS & INCOME,

the DISAPPEARANCE OF OUR MIDDLECLASS

that everybody whines about, the DESTRUCTION OF OUR ENVIRONMENT!

 

 

Last Point! And then we’ll open up to some questions! There has of course been a Debate in the last 100 years between Capitalism, the System we’ve been criticizing, and an ALTERNATIVE. And that Alternative had various names – Socialism & Communism the most famous! And I’m not here to give a long discourse about that, but we have to face that.

 

What was the Hallmark of the Socialist and Communist Systems, whether they were in China, in Cuba, in Russia and so forth? Two things!

 

1 – Socialism meant that the productive property, tools, equipment, factories, land was no longer to be private property owned by individuals, but rather the property of the whole people, run and administered by the State. So from private property to social property!

 

2 – And the 2nd big difference, between Capitalism and these alternatives, was that in Capitalism you use the Market as your mechanism for distributing things, whereas in these societies governments planned the distribution, decided who would get what and so forth.

 

So the differences between the 2-Systems were understood to be

 

 

Private vs. Social Property,

Markets vs. Planning.

 

 

What always struck me as interesting, whatever you thought about that Alternative, was that nobody said a word in this great 100-year Struggle between the 2 about the ORGANIZATION OF THE ENTERPRISE! It’s as if it didn’t matter!

 

It’s as if in Capitalism, you had a bunch of workers going to work everyday, then there was a Revolution, the flags changed the color, and after the Revolution when the workers went to work again, but instead of it being a Board of Directors selected by the Major Shareholders, it was a Board of Commissars selected by the Communist Party and the Government. And that the actual difference it made to the worker, re who was sitting up there doing it, wasn’t all that exciting.

 

I think there’s a point to that Criticism of the Socialist and Communist Alternative! But it’s a Criticism that THIS Idea of Democracy At Work gets at! Because if the Workers are the ones, making the Decisions, then it’s the Workers, who provide the State with whatever Resources it gets! It’s those Workers, who pay the Taxes, either as Individuals or as the directors of their Corporation!

 

The People at the BASE will finally control the Resources of the Society! And the State will have to be accountable to them! Not just because they’re the Voters, but because they’re where the Wealth is! They’re where the Money is! They’re where the Resources are! And instead of having fancy ideas about how to Democratize the old examples of Socialism and Communism – this is a practical way to institutionalize the Power of the Base, of the Mass of People.

 

CLOSING POINT! Whether or not I’ve persuaded you, let me invite you to take a look at this book. And the point of this book, which is new, is simply to make the best case I can for what I’ve been talking about.

 

But the real reasons to pursue these ideas are two!

 

1 – You will not hear a word about them from the established voices of this Culture, not from the Republicans, not from the Democrats. They won’t make a Criticism of this System because they’re Cheerleaders for the System! Whatever their Disagreements, it’s NEVER about this System! If you want to think critically, you have to go somewhere else! And these kinds of ideas open up the space of a change in thinking about the System. Not being trapped within one way of thinking how to organize an Economic Society!

 

2 – And the second reason is that this opens a vista for a whole different kind of life. Imagine what it would mean if all Workers now had a new definition. You’re not just the person, who does this thing on the Assembly Line, or does this thing in the Office or has this job in the Store! Yeah, you have a particular function, but you’re also part of the Decision-Making Organization of the Work. You’re going to have whole parts of your brain and personality being developed on the job that were never utilized before, that were never developed before. We’re going to have a whole new kind of human being coming out of this experience.

 

We’re going to have to reorganize our educational system. We’re not going to have Elite Schools for a handful of People, who run everything – and then the Community College for everybody else. Unh-unh! We’re now gonna have to give proper education finally to everybody because that’s what the job requires.

 

It’s a whole new way of organizing life! We do not have to be Prisoners and Victims of a System that doesn’t work well! We have Options! All we have to do is learn from the past experiences of Co-ops of all kinds, how to build on that to make it possible to change things.

 

And people are doing it around the World and around the United States. You don’t have to feel alone! They used to do it as an interesting experience. Many of them did it as a Religious commitment! Many of the Communes and Collectives come out of all the Religious Communities.

 

We now have a new and additional reason! Capitalism, like every other Economic System we’ve had, was born, evolved and eventually dies like everything else. It may be difficult to understand and scary to see. We’ve had a run with Capitalism for 200-300 years. But 2 Major Collapses in 75 years, the vast waste of People and Resources that every one of these Crises produces and everything else I’ve talked about tonight ought to be more than enough to at least allow us finally to discuss, to debate, to explore ALTERNATIVES that might allow us to live a lot better lives than we do now.

 

There’s a new Political Party in Germany that has a remarkable slogan. And, by the way, it sits in the German Parliament with 12% of the Vote – one out of eight Germans votes for this Party. The slogan of this Party is

 

 

GERMANY CAN DO BETTER THAN CAPITALISM!

 

 

Thank you very much for your attention!

 

 

 

 

“COOPERATIVE” DEMOCRACY:

 

THE SOLUTION TO

 

AMERICA’S RECURRENT

 

ECONOMIC CRISES

 

 

 


http://www.geo.coop/node/199

 

Unions & Cooperatives: Allies in the Struggle to Build Democratic Workplaces

 

By Lisabeth L. Ryder

 

As labor organizers, we struggle in the field every day to improve the lives of workers; we are in search of tools and alternatives for working people that will meet the needs of today’s casualized and insecure workforce, with shrinking or negligible benefits. It is in the spirit of innovative leadership that we propose that the labor movement use worker cooperatives, an alternative organizing strategy added to more traditional labor organizing methods, as a means of returning control of their lives to the American working people.

 

The work of unions is to create workplace democracy, and in the larger picture, economic democracy. Currently, we do this in the context of an adversarial relationship between employer and employee. A worker cooperative is an alternative that reaches outside of the limitations of this model, converting workplaces into democratically run institutions owned by the workers. Worker cooperatives are not a panacea for the woes of today’s labor movement. Yet worker cooperatives have a long history in the American workers’ struggle for economic democracy and hold potential for expanding the labor movement into unexpected workforces, as well as providing alternatives for better serving the workers we already represent.

 

Our objective is to bring about an institutional change that allows members of worker cooperatives to become full dues-paying members of labor unions and to make the formation of new worker cooperatives one of our organizing strategies. Unions could assist in the formation of worker cooperatives by forming an organizing committee in the workplace, researching a business plan, finding funding sources, preparing the legal structure, preparing the documents of incorporation, offering training in leadership development and conflict resolution, acquiring healthcare coverage, and structuring a pension plan and 401 (k). Incorporating worker cooperatives into union membership would broaden our political power and dues base, as well as expand our organizing potential.

 

A worker cooperative can be defined as any democratically organized workplace, which is wholly owned by the workers. In the history of the American labor movement, labor unions and worker cooperatives have gone hand-in-hand as striking workers repeatedly formed cooperatives in response to employer lockouts. The world’s first large-scale working class cooperative was built in the late 1800′s as part of the Populist Movement, the largest and strongest mass democratic movement in American history; and served as the organizational base of the Populist agrarian revolt. Twentieth century experiments in mixed ownership, such as Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) have had some successes, including Southwest Airlines, Home Depot, and Avis Rental Cars. But beyond the rise and fall of these social experiments, worker cooperatives, by their stubborn resurgence, have proven to be a natural component of the struggle for workplace and economic democracy and could help to strengthen and grow today’s labor movement.

 

As the labor movement moves into organizing non-traditional workforces, such as child and home care providers, we have already started moving away from the realm of traditional employer-employee relationships. In these campaigns around the country, organizers have seen worker cooperatives as providing means for improving the lives of these workforces. A registry or referral service, a hiring hall, a pool of substitutes or assistants, or a rotating group of providers to provide coverage for days off, sick days and vacations are examples of worker cooperatives that can meet the needs of both child and home care providers alike. In addition to giving us real solutions for the workforces we are organizing today, worker cooperatives hold potential for opening up new work forces for labor organizing programs.

 

Worker cooperatives tend to be small community-based businesses, for example many taxicab dispatchers and their cabs in Los Angeles and San Francisco/Bay Area are cooperatives. These cooperatives lack a cohesive political lobbying presence. When taxi drivers seek a rate increase, small groups meet with city officials over long periods of time to win miniscule rate increases. As members of organized labor, they would be in a better position to speak truth to power.

 

Worker cooperatives are usually restricted to the private sector, but subcontracting of public sector jobs creates an opportunity for organizing worker cooperatives in the public sector. The conservative program of cutting taxes and shrinking government has led to a public sector workforce under attack. The rising tide of contracting-out of public sector jobs is shrinking the core workforce for traditional organizing of public sector unions. Yet the large national and international corporations that contract with public agencies have proven difficult targets for traditional labor organizing.

 

When traditional organizing methods have failed against a subcontractor, unions could assist the workers in forming their unit into a worker cooperative that could bid for the local contract. Since they would not be supporting large management salaries, they could under-bid the large corporate subcontractor.

 

The labor movement could then use their lobbying strength to create legislation and budgetary policy favoring local worker cooperatives. Awarding a contract locally keeps the monies in the local community, within the local tax base. Much like the Living Wage campaigns, this strategy would help stem the tide of outsourcing of public sector jobs, while safeguarding of public monies and ensuring the greatest community benefit from the expenditure of public funds.

 

Yet there are obstacles to this marriage. The labor movement is in a life and death struggle in an economic war. Representing only eleven percent of the American workforce, the labor movement seeks to organize in larger and larger bites with fewer and less experienced staff (for those in the field, this sometimes seems uncomfortably close to the logic of the desperate gambler who places larger and more reckless bets to recoup devastating losses). Worker cooperatives tend to be small business endeavors, ideologically attractive but strategically unattractive.

 

To win the numbers game, labor must do a better job of agitating, educating, and mobilizing its members to become volunteer member organizers actively involved in small scale organizing campaigns in their local communities on an ongoing basis. As it stands, most locals lack an organizing program and lack organizing targets. Empowering locals to help organize worker cooperatives in their community would benefit all working people.

 

Therefore we appeal to the worker cooperative community to join with us in developing the labor-coop paradigm by helping us to find organizing targets in the worker cooperative model. As we all know, the labor movement is built on small incremental gains of brave committed people standing up for their ideals. Healthcare and other benefits, worker’s compensation, the fourty-hour work week, eight-hour over time, vacations and sick days, pay increases, health and safety regulations, and the ever popular weekend add up to a lifestyle we now take for granted. Many smaller bites may prove a more easily digestible staple diet for union organizing without precluding the periodic feast.

 

Lisabeth Ryder is the Western regional field administrator for the American Federation of State County & Municipal Employees in Oakland, California. Email her.

 

United States

Worker Cooperatives

Unions & Worker Organizations

Organized Labor

Workplace Democracy

Networking & Collaboration

Cross-Sector Alliances

GEO Volume 1: GEO 73/72 (I)

 

 


http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/23/the-case-for-worker-co-ops/

 

November 23, 2009, 7:45 am

The Case for Worker Co-ops

 
By NANCY FOLBRE

 

Nancy Folbre is an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

 

Since many of our most prestigious economic institutions have embarrassed themselves at our expense over the last year, maybe it’s time to look around.

 

Worker-owned and -managed businesses combine the romance of entrepreneurship with solid family values and commitment to community. What’s not to like?

 

Rousing examples abound, from the large Mondragon group in Spain (whose planned collaboration with the United Steel Workers featured in my last post) to the two companies that shine in Michael Moore’s recent film, “Capitalism: A Love Story” — the Alvarado Street Bakery and Isthmus Engineering.

 

CNN Money recently profiled six worker-run businesses including Pelham Auto, whose mechanics have cheerfully fixed every car I’ve owned for the past 20 years.

 

When the times get tough, the tough form co-ops.

 

The upscale Colors restaurant in New York City was founded by workers who lost their jobs when the 9/11 attacks destroyed their previous site of employment in the north tower of the World Trade Tower.

 

Co-op determination isn’t limited to big cities and college towns. In Cleveland, community activists and politicians have rallied support for several new cooperative ventures to help create local jobs.

 

But we shouldn’t rely on anecdotes, videos or wishful thinking. What does economic research tell us?

 

Not nearly as much as this economist would like to hear. As an organizational form, worker-owned and -managed companies are largely ignored in economics textbooks. Still, research by Richard Freeman, Henry Hansmann, Douglas Kruse, John Pencavel, Louis Putterman and others has informed my thinking on the issue.

 

Democratic decision-making can be costly and contentious. But we knew that already. Why should workplace democracy be harder — or less efficient — than shareholder democracy (which, in principle, most public corporations are bound by)?

 

If workers receive a share of profits, they may try to free-ride on the efforts of other members of the collective — especially if effort is difficult to monitor.

 

Yes, indeed, but similar problems characterize the typical capitalist company, in which most workers gain little from improvements in overall performance.

 

If workers like one another, they may be unwilling to impose the level of discipline required to achieve efficient outcomes — like firing slackers. More generally, workers may favor the quality of their own work environment as much as increased profitability.

 

True, but similar concerns apply to most other companies. In principle, market competition should have the same salutary effects on all of them, rewarding only those that provide the best.

 

Workers shouldn’t invest all their savings in the same company they depend on for job security. Fine, no problem! They can diversify their pension plans.

 

Worker-owned and -managed companies may have a hard time borrowing from banks that aim only to maximize return on capital. This explains why they may need to develop their own sources of finance, as Mondragon has done.

 

Maybe worker-owned and -managed companies, with more complex goals than maximizing profit, are less growth-oriented than other companies.

 

Don’t tell Wall Street, but that could be a good thing.

 

The structure of companies may matter less than the political, institutional and cultural environment in which companies operate. The success of an individual species, after all, is largely determined by its place within a larger ecosystem.

 

And our ecosystem — of which our money economy is only a small part — is undergoing rapid transformation largely as a result of unhealthy forms of growth.

 

Frankly, the main reason I like worker-owned and -managed companies is largely ignored in the economics literature.

 

They could help develop the democratic institutions and collaborative skills we need to manage our planet better, along with the plants we grow and build on it.

 

 

 

Read ‘AMERICAN CAPITALISM SERIES, Part I: THE CAPITALISM MYSTIQUE!’

http://tabacco.t-a-b-a-c-c-o.org/?p=1213

Published March 31, 2013

 

 

Tabacco: Look for Part III in the near future!

 

 

Tabacco: I consider myself both a funnel and a filter. I funnel information, not readily available on the Mass Media, which is ignored and/or suppressed. I filter out the irrelevancies and trivialities to save both the time and effort of my Readers and bring consternation to the enemies of Truth & Fairness! When you read Tabacco, if you don’t learn something NEW, I’ve wasted your time.

 

Tabacco is not a blogger, who thinks; I am a Thinker, who blogs. Speaking Truth to Power!

 

In 1981′s ‘Body Heat’, Kathleen Turner said, “Knowledge is power”.

T.A.B.A.C.C.O.  (Truth About Business And Congressional Crimes Organization) – Think Tank For Other 95% Of World: WTP = We The People

 

 

www.wyandanch.t-a-b-a-c-c-o.org

Subdomain re Exploited Minority Long Island community


 

 

T1634\3589

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One Response to AMERICAN CAPITALISM SERIES, Part II: CIO, SOCIALISTS, COMMUNISTS & FDR’s NEW DEAL! Political Solutions Without The Greedy Rich, The Mainstream Media, Democrats, Republicans Or The Supreme Court! That In Itself Is A New Concept! Richard Wolff Offers Viable, Innovative, Unconventional Solutions To Correct Capitalism’s Selfishness, Unfairness & Excesses. Politicians Either Can’t Or Won’t Solve Problems. And He Gives A History Lesson On FDR’s NEW DEAL And Why Corporations And Rich Financed It To Prevent Socialism And Communism From Replacing American Capitalism. New Thinking And New Approaches Are Needed To Achieve Results For Currently Insoluble Dilemmas & Future Crises Just As FDR Used During Great Depression. There Have Been 13 Depressions Or Recessions Since 1929. Every President Has Had At Least 1. Each Promises, “My Policies Will (1) End Current Crisis And (2) Ensure We Never Have A Crisis Like This Again!” Has Any President Succeeded In Keeping His Promise To Date? You Tell Me!

  1. admin says:

    Note how much easier the Pill is to swallow if you use the D-word (Democracy) and the C-word (Cooperative) while omitting the “pejorified” S-word (Socialism). Americans are a sensitized group of sheep, who are easily propagandized against their own best interests by clever spokesmen, admen or Judas Goats for the Elitists and Corporatists, who have run this country since its inception, while hawking and selling Capitalism, like an Elixir that doesn’t work, to the very people, whom Capitalism exploits the most – the Middleclass!

    Tabacco

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