workers freedom

economics as if workers mattered

Why I don’t support “my” public radio station, pt III

Salon recently ran a piece noting that the media — “public” media included — devote endless time and space to following the bosses and their concerns, and no space at all to covering the lives and concerns of those of us who must work for a living — the vast majority of the population.

This has been going on for so long that we take it for granted. But still it galls to be harangued on-air to donate to help keep their pro-boss propaganda on the air.

Sunday afternoon, WHYY “treated” us to an interminable first-person story of a guy who scabbed on the British miners strike 30 years ago. I’m not at all sure why; the strike was crushed long ago, he was not repentant in the least (but offered no coherent explanation as to why he decided to scab – it seems he believes workers don’t have the right to withhold their labor), and he was offended by his fellow workers calling him a scab and his neighbors shunning him. Perhaps they thought they had gone to long without allowing any workers’ voices on the air, but couldn’t bring themselves to give airtime to someone who thought workers had rights. So they dredged up a scab…

A couple of days later, they mentioned unions on their newscast, although of course they did not allow any unionist to speak in their own behalf. Rather, it was a piece about how the bosses are having trouble getting their voices heard in New Jersey government because they can’t afford to buy the politicians:

New Jersey Chamber of Commerce president Tom Bracken said businesses did contribute to candidates during the last election campaign, but doubts they can match union spending.

“I’m not sure that we have the wherewithal to do that,” he said.

I’m not sure what planet they live on; but in reality the bosses hugely outspend unions on politics. New Jersey state workers’ pensions are being systematically looted (first they underfund them, then they “reform” pensions to make them more “affordable,” then they underfund them again, repeat to infinity); hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies are showered on the corporations; the schools where workers send their kids are being starved of resources; etc…..

If you’re in business, it probably makes sense to finance the politicians, since the entire state apparatus was established for the purpose of keeping those on top on top, and the rest of us in our place. Unions would do better to stop wasting their funds trying to rent the polytricksters, and instead focus on organizing, building power, and shutting down business as usual.

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