The workers at Chicago’s Republic Windows & Doors decided to fully occupy their workplace after refusing to accept that they wouldn’t be paid what they were owed because Bank Of America had decided not to extend credit. They imagined themselves going to jail, Bank of America probably hoped they would. Instead the workers received worldwide support, moral and financial, from trade unions at home and abroad and even the support of the President-elect who said:
“When you have a financial system that is shaky, credit contracts. Businesses large and small start cutting back on their plants and equipment and their workforces. That’s why it’s so important for us to maintain a strong financial system. But it’s also important for us to make sure that the plans and programs that we design aren’t just targeted at maintaining the solvency of banks, but they are designed to get money out the doors and to help people on Main Street. So, number one, I think that these workers, if they have earned their benefits and their pay, then these companies need to follow through on those commitments.”
Well, that’s all true in a moderate sort of way, but hardly enough. Bank of America will now be extending credit, but the fact remains that the money still being fed to banks for the purposes of increasing credit flow to those desperately in need of credit in the small and middle-size business communities, is not flowing out. The banks are still not lending, their battle is still an internal one of saving their own skins. The entire bailout has been based on the artificial inflation of the banks, and only the banks, but money is being used to accumulate assets through mergers and buyouts of other failing companies. Upon acquiring these companies the workforces are then halved or cut down to a skeleton staff.
Strike action and protest, although buried in the mainstream press, is rapidly gaining momentum and is a real grassroots threat to the orthodox attempt at putting sticking plasters onto the diseased total failure of neo-liberal capitalism. Workers and activists everywhere need to stand up now to prevent corporations and their supporters in the governmental and economics spheres from covering a proven failed economic model with sticking plasters in the hope that it will heal and they can eventually re-open for business as usual after a recession has run its course; and refusing people credit in the meantime. The general public needs to make a decision about whether it is sensible to allow this kind of economics to continue; so that down the line, after recovery, growth and the usual ten or so years of consumption gluttony (which is how market capitalism operates and stays afloat), we can again fall into recession.
The failure of neo-liberal market capitalism doesn’t need expensive band-aids, it needs total debridement to cut it away completely. That can only happen if ordinary people stand up.
(Sources: SocialistWorker, Chicago Sun Times, Labourrightsblog, Reuters)