by Fabius Maximus, FabiusMaximus.com
Summary: Words have failed to convey to you the nature of the New America being built on the ruins of the America-that-once-was (for a brief period after WW2). Let’s try pictures, pictures about Thanksgiving in the New America — at Walmart.
- WalMart shows us the New America
- Bad news about the New America
- What this story says about America
- About the unionization drive
- For More Information
(1) WalMart shows us the New America
Their photo (above) has gone viral. Let’s hope their headline is a joke: "Is Walmart’s request of associates to help provide Thanksgiving dinner for co-workers proof of low wages?", The Plain Dealer (Cleveland OH), 18 November 2013 – Excerpt:
Kory Lundberg, a Walmart spokesman, said the food drive is proof that employees care about each other. He said, “It is for associates who have had some hardships come up. Maybe their spouse lost a job. This is part of the company’s culture to rally around associates and take care of them when they face extreme hardships.”
… But an employee at the Canton store wasn’t feeling that Walmart was looking out for her when she went to her locker more than two weeks ago and discovered the food drive containers. To her, the gesture was proof the company acknowledged many of its employees were struggling, but also proof it was not willing to substantively address their plight.
The employee said she didn’t want to use her name for fear of being fired. In a dozen years working at the company, she had never seen a food drive for employees, which she described as “demoralizing” and “kind of depressing”. The employee took photos of the bins, and sent them to the Organization United for Respect at Walmart, or OUR Walmart, the group of associates holding the strikes in Cincinnati and Dayton.
Vanessa Ferreira, an OUR Walmart organizer, said she “flipped out” when she first saw the photos taken by the Canton worker. … “The company needs to stand up and give them their 40 hours and a living wage, so they don’t have to worry about whether they can afford Thanksgiving.”
Walmart tells a story to ABC News:
Kory Lundberg, a spokesman for Walmart, said this store of about 300 employees has been hosting a holiday food drive for a few years. “Quite frankly, a lot of people in that store are frustrated and offended that this is reported in a way besides other folks rallying around each other,” Lundberg said. Last year, he said there were about 12 people who benefited from the program. “I couldn’t be prouder of people in that store helping in a tough situation,” he said.
(2) Bad news about the New America
“The few, the proud, the very rich", Sylvia Allegretto (labor economist), Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics, UC Berkeley, 5 December 2011 — Excerpt (red emphasis added):
Source: Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics, UC Berkeley, 5 December 2011
In 2007 (the most recent SCF) the cumulative wealth of the Forbes 400 was $1.54 trillion or roughly the same amount of wealth held by the entire bottom 50% of American families. This is a stunning statistic to be sure.
Upon closer inspection, the Forbes list reveals that six Waltons — all children (one daughter-in-law) of Sam or James “Bud” Walton the founders of Wal-Mart — were on the list. The combined worth of the Walton six was $69.7 billion in 2007 — which equated to the total wealth of the entire bottom 30%!
BTW the new 2011 Forbes 400 has the inherited worth of these six Waltons at $93 billion.
(3) This story says so much about America
- About the importance of local journalists (an endangered species), and how they can break a story with national impact.
- About the ability of line managers, small cogs in massive corporate machines, attempting to help their staff — both enmeshed in brutally exploitative social systems.
- About the growing inequality.
- About the New America being built right now on the ruins of the America-that-once-was. Built because we no longer care about our nation, or each other.
The story of the New America has become visible to all that care to see it. All that remains is for us together to write the ending. To not act is a contribution, a gift to the 1%.
(4) About the unionization drive
We have forgotten about the long brutal struggle to gain workers’ rights at America, led by unions. They made many mistakes, but played a large role in the creation of a large middle class. They have decayed to a only a remnant in the private sector, and the middle class seems likely to die with them. But a few people are fighting back.
Our Walmart: the organization for respect at Walmart:
(5) For More Information
(a) The big picture, posts about reforming America:
(b) Posts about the conflict between labor and capital:
- The new American economy: concentrating business power to suit an unequal society, 27 April 2012
- Public employee unions – an anvil chained to the Democratic Party, 15 February 2013
- Why the 1% is winning, and we are not, 26 May 2013 — They are smart, organized, and have planned how to win.
- On this Labor Day, let’s remember what unions have done for America, 2 September 2013
(c) Posts about inequality:
- A sad picture of America, important for us to understand, 3 November 2008 — About social mobility
- An opportunity to look in the mirror, to more clearly see America, 10 November 2009
- Graph of the decade, a hidden fracture in the American political regime, 7 March 2010
- America, the land of limited opportunity. We must open our eyes to the truth., 31 March 2010
- Modern America seen in pictures. Graphs, not photos. Facts, not impressions., 13 June 2010
- Jared Bernstein examines the economic impact of raising taxes on high-income households, 30 April 2012
- How clearly do we see the rising inequality in America? How do we feel about it? Much depends on these answers., 27 September 2012
- Ugly truths about income inequality in America, which no politician dares to say, 2 October 2012
- Glimpses of the New America being born now, 18 June 2013
- Why Elizabeth Bennet could not marry Mr. Darcy. Nor could your daughter., 12 July 2013
Posts about reforming America:
- The project to reform America: a matter for science or a matter of will?, 16 March 2010
- Can we reignite the spirit of America?, 14 September 2010
- The sure route to reforming America, 16 November 2010
- We are alone in the defense of the Republic, 5 July 2012
- A third try: The First Step to reforming America, 28 May 2013
- The bad news about reforming America: time is our enemy, 27 June 2013
- Understand our problem before you prescribe a cure for America. We’ve gone mad., 17 September 2013
- How to recruit people to the cause of reforming America, 5 November 2013