In the 1950s, the average CEO was paid roughly 20 times the earnings of a typical worker. By the 1980s, that figure drastically escalated to 42-to-1 and further ballooned to 120-to-1 by the 2000s. The inequalities between compensation and CEO earnings of the aughts seem downright harmless compared to the wealth gap between labor and the executives that has nullified the American dream and replaced it with never-ending anxieties for workers and small business owners.
We did not get to a place where one man, Jeff Bezos, is worth more than the bottom 20% of Americans and where the billionaire class sip Chablis and dine on 18 karats-covered chicken wings while the rest of us are eating hope sandwiches overnight. It started after the Civil War ended and deteriorated after World War II as multinational corporations weaponized their wealth to buy off politicians and initiated a campaign to discredit unions through association.
Using the Red Scare as a cudgel, Wall Street convinced tens of millions of Americans to literally vote against their own interests and to hand over their rights to bargain for fair wages and humane treatment to corporations that viewed them as just cogs in a machine. What started with nibbles turned into bites as mega-corporations waged a vicious war of incrementalism with the aim of completely destroying any leverage that workers have when they have the means to bargain collectively.
The most powerful weapon ever wielded by mankind was not the atomic bomb but words and those who know how to manipulate them to form narratives and shape public perception have the means to enslave humanity. That is precisely what global oligarchs have done as billionaires consolidated media outlets to form a potent propaganda machine and commandeered our government all to condition us to accept corporate bondage as liberation.
“Right to work” was sold to the general public as patriotism and unionizing was presented as a treasonous conspiracy and a threat to “our way of life”. Wall Street didn’t have to hire strikebreakers like the Pinkerton Boys the way David Rockefeller and JP Morgan used to, they instead unleashed a media war that eviscerated union membership and left workers to fend for themselves against conglomerates that were dead set on depressing wages by globalizing the supply of labor and inflating their profits by driving out their competitors.
In this way, the war that is being waged against workers is also a direct attack against small businesses and entrepreneurs. The greed of oligarchs like Bezos, Gates, Zuckerberg et al is unquenchable; even when they have hundreds of billions of dollars in their vaults, their desire to attain more will compel them to squeeze every last drop of blood from the burdened 99%. As predatory corporations feast on workers, they are cannibalizing marketplaces and driving mom and pop shops out of business. Putting profits ahead of people means placing money above the needs of humanity and demolishing the environment for the sake of maximizing revenues.
Make no mistake about it, corporations are a clear and present threat to humanity because these soulless institutions will consume humanity and our planet in the process if it means making the next marginal dollar. The difference between privately owned companies and “publicly traded” corporations is night and day in this respect, Wall Street CEOs are incentivized to make month over month profits no matter the cost and are punished for missing revenue projections. This is why corporations are intent on squashing any attempt to unionize, workers that gain leverage cannot be abused with impunity by C-suite executives who are determined to increase top and bottom lines by reducing our abilities to earn a living.
That is why what happened last Friday at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Staten Island was such a pivotal moment. Despite spending millions of dollars to stop workers from unionizing, Amazon employees succeeded against the odds and won the right to collectively bargain. This was literally David vs Goliath even though Bezos and his henchmen stooped to underhanded and unseemly tactics to derail the Amazon Labor Union from forming. What started at one is now spreading to other Amazon facilities as workers fed up with being treated like disposable assets are inspired to emulate the strategy of Christian Smalls and his peers at JFK8 warehouse.
At the same time that Amazon workers were working tirelessly to form a union, an unheralded but unrelenting worker by the name of Laila Dalton was fired by Starbucks for daring to organize her co-workers in order to seek fair pay and better treatment. A company that makes a show of inclusion and being anti-harassment quickly excluded Laila and harassed her as they revealed their inherent Wall Street supremacist ideologies. A young shift manager was tormented by high-priced attorneys and ultimately fired for exercising her Constitutionally protected rights of free speech and assembly.
It is time to call this what it is, corporations that engage in this level of bullying and intimidation are not only un-American, they are trafficking in corporate fascism. We cannot afford to keep falling for their Madison Avenue formulated talking points and we must reject the rhetoric of both political parties that are doing the bidding of their corporate overlords, it is time to say no more to Wall Street totalitarianism before the few freedoms we have left go the way of Myspace.
This is an issue that I care deeply about, seven years ago I went from being a high-priced consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton to being homeless in a blink of an eye. I know firsthand how thin the line is between comfort and crisis; all it takes is a few missed paychecks before almost all of us end up knowing poverty on a first-name basis. Take a look around you wherever you live and you will most likely see panhandlers begging for money, they are victims of a system that has enriched the corporate CEO class by indenturing workers.
For more than seven decades, multinational corporations have methodically and systematically dismantled the human rights of workers, it is time to reign in the global oligarchy and restore fairness in America. #Fikre4VATweet
This is precisely why I am running for Congress as an independent who refuses to take a red cent from corporations. What has become painfully clear is that the plight of workers at the bottom of the wage scale eventually becomes the pain of everyone else. Unless we immediately arrest the nearly unchecked powers that multinational corporations have on our government and in our daily lives, one by one we will become statistics of a pyramid scheme that transfers wealth upward and socializes poverty for the rest of us.
As much power these seditious and ungodly corporations have, they are only able to oppress billions around the world because we keep falling for the oldest trick in the world. They divide us based on our differences and then we proceed to defeat ourselves. We bash each other based on identities and ideologies that don’t pay our rent and overlook that we are all being pillaged irrespective of our skin complexion or our belief systems. The way to overcome their treachery is to have solidarity that bridge the social divides—the only path to justice is through inclusiveness.
Moreover, we don’t need bipartisanship in DC because that is another euphemism for Democrats and Republicans working for Wall Street while ignoring the will of everyday Americans. What we need is a fundamental disruption of the status quo and a reorientation of our economy so that it focuses on restoring power to We the People and reviving the communities where we live. I am running for Congress so that workers and small businesses can finally have one seat at the power in Congress that can advocate for this much-needed course of action and I will work tirelessly to earn the trust of voters in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District to do just that.