"The Division of the Working Class"; "The Canadian Labour Scene"; and "Is There a Future of 'Globalized' Labour Solidarity… And Why"?
(This will be the first of three articles on the "DIVISION OF LABOUR" nationally, internationally and historically… long and short term.)
Economists and writers usually confine the meaning of "the division of labour" to a measurement of the shared, and or divided and commonly experienced activity of workers in local, national or international production of all kinds of commodities, except in the meaning of the 1844 manuscripts of Karl Marx, such a measuring devise carries limited validity.
But from social, political and historical points of view such stereotyping and limitation of the phrase is almost totally bankrupt and meaningless. In our present class society something infinitely sinister, biased and historically relevant is carried in the phrase.
In 1896, Jay Gould, then the pre-eminent railway baron in the U.S.A., had something deadly and different in mind. He was confronted with strike action by his railway workforce of overworked, underpaid and desperate workers. "I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half", he said. That was his "vision" of the meaning of the "division of labour" and in more or less virulent form such has persisted among all the financial and industrial capitalist owners since then.
This idea wore international boots as well, having been preceded by the massacre of Peterloo in England or Lucknow in India and hundreds of other deadly capital vs. labour conflicts and confrontations. At its core was the never-ending purpose of the capitalist owners to maintain, enhance and extend their undeterred rule over their working class and peoples in their own, and particularly in the "colonial world". History around the world tells us (if we search a little for truth) of terrible orgies of bloodshed, violence and corrupt practices to achieve that end.
Three years following Gould's class war" utterances, Adolph Hitler was born in 1899. Unquestionably he was selected as a "hired gun" by the German Nazi monopoly capitalist tycoons and within a very short space of time was to bring unprecedented killing and murder to tens of millions. The first and primary victims were the German trade unionists, democrats and also members of the Socialist and Communist political parties in the death camps of Buchenwald, Auschwitz, Ravensbruk, Bergen Belsen and a myriad of other death and horror internment camps. Added was the obscene racism of anti Semitism and the Holocaust. Hitler, lest it be forgotten, was the "mad-dog" of death serving I.G. Farben, Siemens, Krupp Von Bohlen, Deutchbanke and the very top circles of German monopoly, hell bent on an earlier version of "globalization." Ruthless "Divide and Conquer" was the central credo. Nazism was created by these forces to annihilate every form of resistance to their insatiable appetites for world domination. We know that they failed, smashed by the intended victims.
The Nazi-monopoly capitalist "Drang Nach Osten" (March to the East) was designed to eliminate and destroy forever a newly developing land where capitalism has been replaced by the revolutionary Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Clearly class war to "kill the other half" was an ingrained characteristic of that deadly ferocious Nazi assault that brought a new level of mass destruction of life and economic development to the history books. But it was the massive, unlimited sacrifice of the Soviet working class and people that was essential to smashing the German Nazi-monopoly military force for a world endangered by Nazi forms of "globalization". The stated purpose of the Hitlerites was to erect "A Thousand Years of the Third Reich" on behalf of Hitler's monopoly capitalist masters, but that was totally defeated… for a short time at least. But the ideological, the economic, social and political threat of "Divide and Conquer" to establish new forms of "capitalist globalization" remained.
Fifty-five years following the massive, bloody military defeat of a German Nazi version of "kill the other half", we read in the International Herald Tribune of September 9, 2000, under a headline: "Colombia Tops Unions Peril List" that "At least one half of the more than 140 union members who disappeared or were killed last year came from Colombia, making it the world's most dangerous place for organized labour..." In the same story the General Secretary of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) is quoted as pointing to: "ruthless repression in Latin America; attacks and interference in Asia, plus arrests and imprisonment in Africa; severe restrictions and nonpayment of wages in Eastern Europe and a growing trend to union busting in industrialized countries". It is noteworthy that the ICFTU was formed as a splitting movement from the World Federation of Trade Unions in 1948-49 under pressure exerted to create a "division of labour" by U.S. and British monopoly forces and some unionists, "the better to serve" the Cold War antics of U.S., British, Canadian and other monopoly capitalists in their Cold War, anti-USSR, anti-labour crusade. That purpose was finally achieved in year 1990 with the "achievement" Hitler was unable to reach, by the downfall of the USSR and the birth of a "new unipolar world of "globalized" exploitation. As the ICFTU General Secretary laments now that there is an escalating, ferocious worldwide attack on labour, the ancient "divide and rule" formula continues to bring death and division to trade unionists under the poisonous "to kill the other half". We ask: can we find anything new under the sun?
It is no coincidence that President Clinton of the front running TNC-powered US on behalf of HIS top circles of U.S.A. monopoly capitalists is reported in the newspaper Herald Tribune, August 31, 2000, under the headline "Clinton Gives Boost to Colombia Drug War" as giving military and financial aid to the TNC installed and kept government of that same unhappy and war-convulsed state. A forty year long war there has been in process by Colombian guerrilla forces to bring down the U.S.-backed puppet government, long suspected of association with the massive drug trade. Tens of thousands have died and as the resistance forces state, Clinton's intervention is purely designed as "open interference and intervention", just as had the "U.S. aid" to Latin America, such as - Chile, Nicaragua, Panama, Grenada, El Salvador, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, in fact throughout all of Latin America. And that is not even to mention major wars conducted by the U.S. oil and other TNC monopolists in the Middle East, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, and on and on in an endless list of bloodshed, war and violence. All of it is designed to establish (as it has with some success at this time) a total "globalized" world of plunder, and TNC security for at least another "1,000 years" as per the lost nightmares of the "Third Reich". The "BIG FISH" will continue to feast on the smaller "fish" in an orgy of monopoly cannibalism. Workers and people outside the elitist group of TNC owners and bosses will be disempowered and at the mercy of the hidden, faceless masters. Every last bit of individual, personal information will be recorded on computer files to ensure that there is "peace and obedience". The TNC's tiny and faceless crowd will then rest secure, hidden behind all of their "kept" (democratic???) governments, plus the unassailable military might… and most important..."globalized" division of labour... (a la Jay Gould)… and incapable of resistance... a mindless dream of total TNC dictatorship.
A dream...? or just a horror nightmare? Hardly! Milton Friedman, the capitalist guru of so-called monetarist economic policy that is the watchword and "holy grail" held by every TNC-dominated Government and corporation in the world today puts it this way in his "Capitalism and Freedom", on page 133: "Few trends could so thoroughly undermine THE VERY FOUNDATIONS of our contemporary society as the ACCEPTANCE BY CORPORATE OFFICIALS OF THEIR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES OTHER THAN TO MAKE AS MUCH MONEY AS POSSIBLE" (emphasis added - RIS). What kind of nonsense is this Biblical business of "love thy neighbor etc." or share with the beggars (today a REAL GROWTH CLIENTELE EVERYWHERE) the "half-a-loaf"? TNC officials, according to the "holy" teachings of monetarist Mr. Friedman, simply should ignore this and not encumber themselves with such obviously dangerous "Communist" ideas!!! Let the BIG FISH EAT ON… SANS RESTRICTIONS... the workers and people shall pay!!!
Eighty or so years after Jay Gould's classic utterance, a grandson of John D. Rockefeller (Gould's "fellow traveling" tycoon) Nelson Rockefeller, sent a secretive message to the then U.S. President concerning all of Latin America: "The division of labour is one of the tried and true economic principles, and will be as valid in 1976, as it was in 1776." Considering the amount of murder, rapine, and unmitigated violence that has since been dropped on Latin Americans in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Chile, El Salvador, Colombia, Panama etc., we may be forgiven if we conclude this Chase Manhattan-Standard Oil baron and banking TNC mogul was not so slyly or even "suggestively" proposing that a U.S.A. version of the Pol Pot "Killing Fields" should be brought to their "neighbors" to the south. A prerequisite for such bloodstained dominion by U.S. TNC's, of course, includes at base, destruction of Socialist Cuba. Hence the forty-year long economic embargo and covert war against Fidel Castro and his heroic people.
There is yet another equally deadly device in the hands of the TNC power, that cancer-like grows with the now unrestricted movements of capital investment and control. Whether it is an INCO, investment in lateritic nickel in Salwesi Island under Suharto in Indonesia, or in Guatemala or the Solomon Islands where less than $1.00 a day wage rates to miners, places them in direct conflict of interest relationship with Sudbury, Canada, nickel miners where wages thirty to forty times greater have been won. The same applies in textiles as between the United States itself, Canada, or wherever (it is now virtually impossible to buy Canadian manufactured textiles) and the sub-$1.00 wage rates paid daily to textile child labour for a multitude of hyped "brand name" apparel from "GAP", "HILFIGER" to "NIKE" and on and on in an endless mountain of "cheapest of the cheap labour" manufacture. Investment and jobs now flit from Bangladesh, to Taiwan, to wherever... (including China)... for the benefit of the TNC "super" profiteers and exploiters. The sole criteria being: where does the invested dollar reap the largest return.
With the wildly unstable investment of "free" capital, jobs fly in and out of workers lives and experience in a mad round of impoverishment, illiteracy, plus disease and death. The depth of poverty levels has even prompted David Crane, economic columnist for the capitalist Toronto Daily Star to write under a headline "The World Can't Survive Poverty Gap" that... in the most indebted countries... mainly in Africa and Central (Latin) America... people truly live at the margins of life and death". That could well be extended, but what judgment can be properly made of the apocalyptic dimensions of human tragedy BASED TOTALLY ON THE PRECEPTS OF TNC GURU MILTON FRIEDMAN AND HIS TNC COHORTS AND THE TOTAL REJECTION OF THE ESSENTIAL ECONOMIC TRUTHS THAT WAS PUT BEFORE HUMANITY BY NONE OTHER THAN KARL MARX, FREDERICK ENGELS, VLADIMIR LENIN, STALIN AND THE SOVIET PEOPLE. Have we as species become so blinded by the inherently SUICIDAL CONCEPTS OF TNC PUPPETS AND APOLOGISTS WE CANNOT EVEN SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING EVEN AS IT NOW DEVOURS OUR VERY FRAGILE AND SUSTAINING ATMOSPHERE, OUR EONS LONG STRUGGLE FOR RECOGNITION AND THE PRACTICE OF SOCIAL HUMAN VALUES AND BEING AMONG ALL PEOPLE? Such is the mindless, chaotic, desperate pathway now laid before us, the human species by insensate, technologically and apathetic profit and power driven TNC capital. It is time to get off such a road where blind, ideological acceptance of hiring "one half to kill the other half, is based on the hidden meanings of the "division of labour". That suicidal road is made possible precisely by blinkered acceptance of TNC sponsored "divide and rule".
The "division of labour" that was ushered in to destroy the world-shaping objectives and concepts of the Great Proletarian Soviet and Socialist Revolution must be rejected and destroyed. The "unipolar" TNC-sponsored degradation and destruction of human life in a "globalized world of super-exploitation" must be curbed and ultimately destroyed if the human species is to survive and live in dignity in total recognition of the security of social being and activity among us. Such was the revolutionary heritage of the peoples and leaders of the USSR, until the deadly virus of opportunism, corruption and rejection of the UNITED ROLE OF THE WORKING CLASS destroyed it from within. The heritage of the Soviet Great October Revolution that brought the working class to power in Russia and the Soviet Republics is alive and BELONGS TO THE ENTIRE WORKING CLASS AND ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD... in particular in this epoch of history when TNC monopoly capitalism no longer can even pretend to offer a majority of the world's people a future of social, political, economic security or stability or cultural advance and well being. Ending the "division of labour" in those terms provides the key. International solidarity is the weapon than can and must bring it to real life.
(In the next NSC article, "Historic Division of Labour in Canada" will be dealt with, including the search for new UNITED LABOUR ACTIVITY at both national and international levels. RLS)
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