Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Professors and Oppressed Elitists of the World Unite!

  • “Global, predatory behemoth”

  • “Wal-Mart wanted at least 60 acres of land, the size of 17 football fields, to build a supercenter.”

  • “The average ‘associate’ is rewarded with an annual salary of $13,861 for full-time work, according to a February 2004 report from Rep. George Miller of California. But about 70 percent of the 'full-time' workers average only 28 hours a week, making their gross average wage less than $11,000 a year. The national poverty-level wage for a family of three is around $16,000. It is clear that the workers can't live on what they earn, leading to a turnover that has reached 150 percent in many of the megastores."

  • “According to the United Food and Commercial Workers, the majority of Wal- Mart employees don't have healthcare coverage, which would cost them 20 percent of their wages. Family coverage would cost more than twice that. The University of California at Berkeley reported that California taxpayers subsidize Wal-Mart employees by a total of $20.5 million a year in healthcare costs.”

  • “Wal-Mart's power goes far beyond its domination of the retailing industry. It has intervened in the public school crisis to recruit candidates for its low wages. It withdrew $20 billion from the tax-free Walton Family Foundation to bankroll a program to privatize the public school system through school vouchers.”

  • “Wal-Mart represents all that is endemic to monopoly capitalism--private ownership by a few of all the productive forces, and the insatiable appetite for amassing profits.”
  • What are these excerpts from? A new letter to the editor from PARD spokesperson Chris Lupke? No, but is sure sounds like Lu Laoshi's writing style, including the use of the words “predatory,” “behemoth,” and “monopoly capitalism,” the comparing of Wal-Mart’s size to recreational activities, and Wal-Mart leading to the destruction of the public education system.

    Actually, the quotes above are from an editorial that appeared two years ago in Workers World, the daily Marxist newspaper. Sounds like Lupke might be a subscriber.

    The editorial is interesting because it clearly explains why our local Marxists are against a Pullman Wal-Mart Supercenter and why PARD has allied with the UFCW and its attorneys, Bricklin Newman Dold:

    Since the late 1990s, the United Food and Commercial Workers have stepped up efforts to organize Wal-Mart workers. They help employees file complaints on issues such as the company's violations of overtime, refusal to pay for healthcare and its discriminatory practices against women. Dozens of class-action suits have been filed.

    If Wal-Mart is to be organized, the UFCW can't do it alone. It will have to marshal forces that include the Black and Latino communities, other oppressed nationalities, youth, seniors, women's groups and the lesbian, gay, bi and trans movement. To change the relationship of class forces, there must also be unity with the movements of immigrants, of environmentalists, against globalization and the ever-growing anti-war movement to foster the growth of an independent classwide movement. It will take shape only from the bottom up.

    Wal-Mart represents all that is endemic to monopoly capitalism--private ownership by a few of all the productive forces, and the insatiable appetite for amassing profits. Cycles of imperialist wars and economic depressions are always at the expense of the workers here and the poor and oppressed abroad. Internationalism will flourish as fierce battles break out between labor and capital.
    It’s not traffic, cemeteries, kids, little old ladies, or blight. It’s class warfare, right here in little old Pullman, Washington. I wonder if the NIMBYers who are sympathetic with PARD realize who they've jumped into bed with?

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