Revolution-A Rock and Roll Epistle
By Richard Girard
Cover, Beatles' Album "Hey Jude," copyright Apple Records 1968
"You say you want a revolution,
Well you know
We'd all want to change the world;
You tell me that it's evolution,
Well you know
We'd all want to change the world.
But when you talk about destruction,
Don't you know that you can count me out.
Don't you know it's gonna be alright..."
"Revolution", Hey Jude;
The Beatles (1968)
The time has come for the America to remember its revolutionary heritage, and throw down the oligarchs and their surrogates who have perverted and subverted our Constitution, our way of life, and the American peoples' basic human dignity.
We have been at the mercy of the oligarchic bankers and executives of gigantic financial institutions and corporations whose reason for being is the making of money and its concomitant acquisition of power. They have been our nation's curse for far too long, showing no regard for the cost of their hoarding wealth to their fellow human beings, or any other living thing, and without any sort of reckoning for their depredations so far.
Wal-Mart is emblematic of what is wrong with America's economy, most especially the concentration of power and wealth.
David Moberg wrote an article in The American Prospect , titled "Wal-Mart's Shocking Impact on the Lives of Hundreds of Millions of People," (reprinted at AlterNet April 28, 2011, http://www.alternet.org/story/150781), where he stated, "Had unions been stronger, especially in the South, and more devoted to organizing the growing service sector, Wal-Mart might not have become such an obstacle to labor renewal. If antitrust enforcement had not been narrowed, Wal-Mart could never have grown as big as it did. There would be no such mega-stores if state governments had not repealed Depression-era fair-trade laws."
Mr. Moberg continues with the effect on other retail workers in the area where a Wal-Mart opens, "The Wal-Mart effect on wages is more clearly harmful to workers, whether they work for the company, its suppliers, or its competitors. A group of University of California, Berkeley, researchers led by Arindrajit Dube, found in 2007 'strong evidence that Wal-Mart entry reduced average and total retail earnings, retail wages, and health benefits for retail workers over [the 1990s]--primarily in urban areas. The loss of 1.5 percent of earnings for all retailers in a county, plus lost health benefits, with the opening of each Wal-Mart came from substituting poorly paid workers for better paid workers and from Wal-Mart 'driving down wages of competitors.'
On average, Dube reports, workers at large retailers make about 15 percent more than employees at Wal-Mart, which pays an average sales associate $8.81 an hour, according to market researcher IBISWorld.
The Berkeley researchers calculated that in 2000, the downward pressure on wages from Wal-Mart was costing retail workers nationally about $4.5 billion a year. Simply the threat that Wal-Mart Supercenters were coming to Southern California led unionized grocery chain managers in 2003 to unite in a lockout--imposed in response to a strike against one chain--against the United Food and Commercial Workers union. The conflict ended with concessions from workers, such as a two-tier wage schedule and provisions reducing insurance coverage. Three years later, only 54 percent of union grocery workers, down from 94 percent, had health insurance."
Sarah Jaffe in her June 20, 2011 article on AlterNet reminds us of the fact that Wal-Mart's CEO makes more in an hour than his average employee makes every year ("CEO of Wal-Mart Makes in One Hour What the Average Employee Makes In a Year," http://www.alternet.org/story/151351/). The answer to the problems America is facing is not lower prices for ever larger numbers of shoddily made goods. The real answer is real jobs, with better wages and benefits, so that American's can once again buy quality goods made in America. This would (together with a withdrawal from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, as well eliminating the Bush Tax Cuts) fix our budget shortfall, and pull Social Security and Medicare out of their "difficulties," without touching benefits. (Social Security is, according to the most recent Trustees Report, solvent until 2037. Both Social Security and Medicare could be permanently fixed by removing the income cap--currently around $110,000.00--and taxing all income, not just wages.)
Liza Featherstone, in her article in The American Prospect "Wal-Mart's Weakness: Is the Behemoth in Trouble?" (reprinted at AlterNet on April 27, 2011; http://www.alternet.org/story/150770/), made the following observations: