Corporate vultures taking advantage of Trump shutdown
For Chase and other big banks that hold mortgages it is business as usual to foreclose on homes owned by workers who are late making their payments - a situation that many find themselves in as a result of the Trump shutdown. | AP

The month-long federal shutdown/lockout has clarified yet another big problem with the capitalist system: the ability of corporate vultures, as a class, to use economic conditions to prey on the rest of us. We knew that, but the lockout by such a vulture, President Donald Trump, means now we really know it.

To their credit, Senate Democrats, led by Hawaii’s Brian Schatz and Minority Leader Charles Schumer, are trying to stop it, at least as it applies to the 800,000 federal workers whom Trump has either locked out or ordered to toil for a month – so far – without pay. Remember that in his corporate career, Trump routinely stiffed workers and builders.

The Democrats filed legislation to bar landlords from serving eviction notices and banks and loan companies from repossessing cars, among other financial ills – such as ruined credit – those capitalist interests could inflict on the federal workers during Trump’s lockout.

The Schatz-Schumer legislation is a good start, and workers should, and do, welcome it. Both Treasury Employees President Tony Reardon and Professional and Technical Engineers President Paul Shearon, whose unions represent thousands of the locked out (IFPTE) or unpaid employees whom Trump forced to work with no pay (NTEU) praise the legislation.

But the actions of the landlords, the loan firms, and the credit card companies point to a bigger problem with “the system.” As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka frequently says, it’s rigged against workers, and they – we – know it. And the corporate crooks rigged it.

We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again: The corporate moguls’ exploitation of workers is widespread, crooked, corrupt, unjustified, and unjust. These plutocrats earn billions off workers’ backs and don’t do one damn thing for us, except rip us off.

They’re directly ripping off financially failing shut-down victims with evictions and repossessions. They’ll do the same thing to contractors – janitors, security guards, childcare workers – who also suffer from payless paydays because they work for firms with contracts with the government. They’ll do so to the poor who depend on government subsidies, such as housing vouchers.

The moguls want to “privatize” — i.e. smash the workers at — the Postal Service, too.

Private-sector workers are also targets of a capitalist class that wants to reduce the rest of us to serfs and slaves. Just ask the workers at newspapers owned by vulture – oops, “venture” – capitalist investment firm Digital First Media.

DFM’s common tactic is to buy a local daily, strip it of staff and coverage, rip off profits, then dump the remains. Sounds like notorious takeover artist “Chainsaw Al” Dunlap.

Staffers at one leading DFM daily, The Denver Post, openly revolted. Now DFM wants to buy the Gannett chain, including USA Today.  The News Guild is battling that takeover.

All this isn’t your fault, workers. This isn’t just a crime by Trump and his cronies. This misery is a characteristic of a capitalist system that rewards vultures and makes the rest of us their prey.

Which means it’s time not just to fix the symptoms of their predation, as the Schatz-Schumer legislation does for 800,000 people, but to upend the structure that caused it in the first place. It is time to use this Trump lockout and the general war of the rich on the rest of us, to dethrone the corporate criminal class, Wall Street especially included.

And if that sounds like a social, economic, and political revolution, then so be it.

 


CONTRIBUTOR

Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of Press Associates Inc. (PAI), a union news service in Washington, D.C. that he has headed since 1999. Previously, he worked as Washington correspondent for the Ottaway News Service, as Port Jervis bureau chief for the Middletown, NY Times Herald Record, and as a researcher and writer for Congressional Quarterly. Mark obtained his BA in public policy from the University of Chicago and worked as the University of Chicago correspondent for the Chicago Daily News.

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