“Everyday we lose more jobs,” the ad implored, “And some in Congress want to take away workers’ rights to secret ballots and contract negotiations.”
Silhouetted “workers” began multiplying like bacteria, filling the tiny ad-box, and then the screen flashed to white and emphatically declared “Stop the Employee Free Forced Choice Act!”
I clicked it, intrigued, and was transported to the website of the Workforce Fairness Institute. Basically, the WFI wants to kill the pending, broadly supported Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) and bring back the good old days, when workers sweated through 13-hour shifts and their children were expected to hold their own in the salt mines alongside mom and dad.
It doesn’t take more than a few hits of The Google, however, to figure out that these guys are totally full of shit.
For example, one of the WFI’s most prominent members is Mark McKinnon, a cowboy-hatted media wizard who cut ads for George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign (including this little gem) before affixing himself to the colonic-lining of Sen. John “Nuts” McCain. Like FOX News’ Roger Ailes, who cut his own fanged, blood-stained teeth way back in ’68 as media guru for Nixon’s narrative-driven presidential campaign, McKinnon is the latest in a long line of grossly-overpaid charlatans and frauds whose job is to make presidential races about a candidate’s beer drinking-compatibility and other important memes. Ergo, he’s a professional dickhead.
Just this February, McKinnon appeared on the apocalyptic-Muppet Glenn Beck’s television program and coughed up the following maxim:
Labor is just an antiquated notion [in a] global economy. It’s all about competition. And all the labor does is it drives up the cost. [sic]
This view — that labor’s only intrinsic value is that of burdensome overhead costs to be scoffed at by lizard-like shareholders — and its accompanying wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing PR-strategy pretty much sums up the entire Republican Party’s ethos concerning matters important to working-class Americans.
By obfuscating the true nature of the EFCA (i.e. saying that it will limit workers’ rights when it would, in fact, not do that at all; invoking the image of the corrupt union boss a la straw-man argumentation; making shit up out of thin air; etc.), McKinnon and his ilk continue to drive the false narrative whose unchallenged assumptions have yielded our present era of General Fuckedness, four-week market rally or not.
I know it’s easy to forget, but the very same news organizations whom you trust on a daily basis to keep you informed about ‘The Economy’, Michelle Obama’s disrespect of an old lady, WMD’s and other Newsy Things either do their jobs poorly or are going out of business this very moment. And I know we all thought Regan was a badass when he broke that air-traffic controller strike, but the truth of the matter is that Big Labor’s power has atrophied alongside the decaying domestic manufacturing base (see Detroit) to the point where they couldn’t harm the country even if they were as evil as everyone says they are. Jimmy Hoffa is dead, after all.
If Coca Cola won’t hesitate to put a cap in a worker’s ass, then why is it that we, the people, should be afraid of we, the worker? Contrary to the past three-decades’ worth of anti-labor dehumanization tactics (and our traditional hatred of anything socialist other than Barack Obama), labor is more than a word used by conservatives to denote an imaginary, creeping communist boogeyman whom apparently still threatens to do destroy the fabric of American society twenty years after the fall of the Soviet Union. Let us, then, consider whether it’s labor we really have to fear, or neoliberal philosophy itself; the latter of which has seen fit to systematically demonize the rights of individuals who demand to share the fruits of their labor.
After all, labor is people; politically and economically disenfranchised people, that is, who’ve suffered under decades of laissez-faire global trade laws, who’ve watched members from both sides of the aisle vote again and again on legislation that has enabled credit-card companies and banks to facilitate an unsustainable American dream. These people whose pensions were transmuted by a Congressionally-enabled Wall Street into the smoldering, fetid pile of elephant shit we now call ‘The Economy,’ are not served by creatures like McKinnon. And they can ill afford to let the same tricks be pulled on them again if they truly insist on remaining a nation free from late-capitalism’s inevitable debtor’s purgatory.
By making unions easier to create and to join (thereby negating the “join us or die” zero-sum dynamic) and generating dividends that work for the worker — not the white-collar criminal — perhaps we can better protect the average American consumer-bot from the lethality of the “free” market and its unscrupulous, cowboy-hatted propagandists.