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4

Potemkin wrote

A good article! Obviously, the state of labor in the US is pretty deplorable relative to similar economies. The bourgeois coverage of economic news here, has for the last several years made me feel crazy. We see Wall Street being as profitable as ever, unemployment at record lows, the housing market (at least in my area) recovering and exceeding the highs prior to the last crash. Yet, my wages have been flat for about three years, while the cost of living increases. It's very disheartening how rosy the economic propaganda is at the moment, when none of it reflects the realities of myself, my friends, or other working people.

I think it's as difficult as ever for working people in the US, with the gutting and corruption of organized labor and the subsequent massive wealth accumulation of the top one percent. The rosy propaganda (where wage stagnation and other indicators that more directly apply to regular working people are ignored) hides an alarming deterioration in work and working conditions here.

I believe in the power of organized labor (indeed, the only force historically that has improved the conditions of labor), and the economic squeezing of the working class creates the material conditions for struggle and resistance. However, especially in the Trump era but existing for decades, the main barrier to collective action is a lack of class consciousness. In the most advanced capitalist economy, workers now are disillusioned and apathetic, even cynical. There is a pronounced lack of imagination and historical context. Paradoxically, we find ourselves in a situation where, not only is capitalism seen as the "end of history" (or that this economic system and these social relations, are seen as all that ever was, is, and will be) but is so hegemonic that, as Zizek has pointed out, its easier to envision the end of the world than the collapse or even moderate reform of capitalism. An unfortunate situation, indeed!

3

selver wrote (edited )

I've seen Wolff mention quite a few times that the funny thing about unemployment rates is that people who've given up on looking for a job don't count as unemployed. Also that the jobs people have now are generally much worse than before the crash, lots of underpaid, underemployed people. Unfortunately we're due for another crash soon.

The state of workforce consciousness is pretty bleak in my experience, people are extremely beaten down & desperate to not lose what they've got.