As Congress realizes that a one time payment of $1200 wasn’t enough to keep average Americans afloat during a global pandemic, the House recently passed another set of stimulus payments that did the same thing. I mean most people that understand the basics of Math could tell you a one time payment of $1200 wasn’t going to help people when a juicer marketed to insomniacs goes for 3 easy payments of $39.99. I mean a small scale version of Universal Basic Income has been working for infomercials so a full scale version of it will probably work pretty well for humans!
In the midst of the government bungling their way through this crisis and guaranteeing a financial crisis by the handing out trillions of dollars to the banking industry and slapping corporations committing fraud on the wrist, the Working Class have decided to fight back. According to the PayDay Report, a website dedicated to tracking strikes and actions during the pandemic, there’s over 220 wildcat strikes across the country! Virtually none of these strikes have been covered by the corporate media. They have to cover how Nancy Pelosi throws shade at Donald Trump and how Donald Trump throws shade back at her. This level of political theater just proves that the leaders of both parties are just auditioning for their own reality TV show to premiere in Fall. These aren’t leaders, they’re the human embodiment of vapid egos that most people leave behind at high school graduations to pursue a life of meaning and worth. There’s no leadership in this country, it’s just a pettiness written into legislation.
But that bit of bleakness aside, the rays of hope lies in these strikes occurring all across the country. And after a month of them, you can see how these large corporations and members of the oligarchy are pushing back on them. Earlier in May, New Orleans sanitation workers went on strike demanding hazarding pay and paid sick leave. In March the sanitation workers in Pittsburgh did the same thing and included that the city should provide with masks and gloves to ensure their safety. Now the Democratic Mayor of Pittsburgh said the masks would be dangerous. Really the only thing that dangerous is major lack of testing and treatment we’ve seen and leadership choosing profit over the lives of people.
In New Orleans, a city where you can drink booze on the streets, they took it one step further. The striking sanitation workers were fired and they were replaced by prisoners from a nearby parish. These prisoners are paid a fraction of what the sanitation workers are actually paid. Which is basically the city of New Orleans saying “Hey guys, we’re going to go ahead and keep y’all drunk so you don’t notice is bringing slavery back into the fold!” Is this what they mean by “The South will Rise again?” Honestly I just though that was a marketing strategy by Viagra gone wrong, but here were are looking at Prison Slavery making a come back that nobody fucking asked for!
As Strike Leader Gregory Woods put it “They are trying to show the world that people will still do our job without giving us the proper protective equipment. All of it is a hustle for them, a scam for them. They saving money that’s all they are doing – that’s all it is.” This is a city saying that essential workers, the people that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats calls Heroes in our societies, are going to be to pushed aside and replaced by actual slavery! Eventually there’ll be a hashtag on twitter started by oligarchy says #SlaveryIsEssential, since #DieForCapitalism failed so miserably.
The usual propaganda pushed against striking workers is that they’re lazy and just don’t want to do their jobs. This is simply not true. These sanitations workers in Pittsburgh and New Orleans didn’t come out and say “We’re done picking up after you half eaten pop-tarts, cum filled tissues, broken vibrators and busted Predator 2 DVDs!” They’d like to do their jobs and keep their cities clean, but they want to do it in a manner that ensures their safety. New Orleans’ response just shows how the city’s leadership shows a lack of concern or care for human life, much Pittsburgh’s leadership.
And sanitation isn’t the only concern. Hospital workers from custodial to cafeteria staff are getting fed up with the treatment they’re getting too! At the University of Washington Medical Center, workers delivered a petition about enhancing safety in the workplace. With over 450 signatures from fellow employees & Union support, they said they wanted to shut down their cafeteria after an employee was tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The cafeteria was NOT closed but it was sanitized and masks were made necessary. Plexiglass was not installed because the hospital said the masks were enough. Which basically the equivalent of a fuccboi saying he put a condom over the tip and that was enough. In both cases, there’s a very good chance of unnecessary fluids on a countertop.
And of course Amazon, the first sociopathic love child of one Jeffery Bezos has decided to end hazard pay for their front line workers and offer then a T-Shirt instead! The T-Shirt reads, “Thank You” on the front and on the back “We Deliver Together” and that is an accurate T-Shirt because they are going to deliver these workers a full case of the virus that causes COVID-19! Christmas comes early and it’s guaranteeing no healthcare or paid time off. Bonus, you get to make Bezos even richer! Bezos also ended the unlimited paid time off that he was offering employees at the end of April. He figured out that ‘unlimited’ DID NOT have a different meaning for the working class as it did for him.
Now Jeff Bezos and his depraved child company, Amazon have seen the most amount of strikes from their employees because they aren’t offering protections, better wages or work conditions. They’ve had employees that have contracted the virus and gotten the illness COVID-19, but the corporation refuses to do anything about it and blames the workers instead! IN FACT, Jeff Bezos was in the room when the decision to fire Strike Leader Christian Smalls was made. Amazon says it’s for safety concerns, which is hilarious because that’s the reason for the strike, so no matter how they spin it, they fired Christian Smalls for striking. After this Lex Luthor, famed Superman Villain said “What an asshole that Bezos is!”
This is coming off the heels that Jeff Bezos is on his way to become America’s first Trillionaire as he’s made an additional $30 billion during the pandemic alone! Most of us are living in uncertainty but the one thing that we can be certain about is that billionaires are getting richer. Collectively American Billionaires in the last 30 years have increased their wealth by 1100% from $240 billion to $2.95 trillion. I’ll give you a second to put air back into your lungs. And in that time they’ve decreased their tax obligations by 79%. In that same time frame, the average American worker has increased their income by less than 5%.
In the midst of an expanding income divide, the average working class can’t seem to keep from fighting each other. As the number of strikes from essential workers increase, we are seeing some states opening back up. Small businesses are making adjustments but their fellow citizens are not making it easy. For an ice cream shop in Cape Cod was taking orders an hour in advance of pick up, customers levied insults, rage and were not following protocols. This resulted in a teenager working at the shop to quit! There are also reports of shootings in Family Dollars over masks and McDonald’s. It may surprise most of you but the McDonald’s shootings were not about the fact that it’s not real food or the horrific nature of clowns. Just that there are people who choose to misguidedly exercise their Second Amendment rights in demand of better customer service.
Look the bottom line is if this is the way we treat our fellow Working Class brothers and sisters, why would the oligarchs want to treat them better? Why would the oligarchs, who have become a 1100 times richer, feel the need to change when we are willing to treat each other this terribly? Why would the oligarchs listen to the demands of strikers when are willing to cross the picket lines again and again for something that’s not even real food? I don’t care if it comes with a toy, it’s still bullshit and we should be do better by each other, especially now. Times are tough, but they are tough for everyone, and by not realizing that we make it tougher on each other. And then Jeff Bezos and his billionaire cohorts gets to mock us with a T-Shirt!
Look what we need now is not a redux on Slavery or a Trillionaire. We don’t platitudes from our leaders. We need less Amazon Prime members and more solidarity for our frontline brothers and sisters. We need a better understanding of how math actually works, not how the Market wants it to work. We’re going to need a 3-easy of payments of locking up Jeff Bezos and his billionaire cohorts and a lifetime supply of Medicare For All and UBI!
Krish Mohan is a socially conscious, Indian standup comedian and writer who regularly tours the country. He performs at small theaters, bars, comedy clubs, colleges, DIY and house venues. With his quirky attitude, charming personality, and intelligent humor, Krish captivates and engages audiences of all backgrounds, tackling hot button topics like race, religion, war, immigration, while adding an optimistic, philosophical & sociological twist!