Wage Slavery Is on the March

Editor, News-Register:

Attention all Americans who believe we had abolished slavery in the 19th century. A form of slavery as old as society itself is surfacing right here in what is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. It appears to be neither. With the Walker win in Wisconsin and the Kasich win in Ohio, let it be known that the 1 percent has now taken firm control of the 99 percent. Workers in those two states have just sold themselves and others into “wage slavery.” They have gone down on their knees to beg the 1 percent for permission to further enrich these already obscenely rich.

I won’t bore you with statistics which can be manipulated to support any argument. Rather let me appeal to your common sense. One would think that with the advancement of technology replacing the need for labor, with huge increases in productivity, it would mean that the time and effort one must sacrifice to meet one’s needs would be lessened markedly. I grew up in the Great Depression during which my father, as the lone wage earner, supported a family of four on $25 a week working for the WPA. This would have been at the very lowest end of the wage scale, but it met our basic needs. Today, it is difficult to imagine a family of four surviving on but one paycheck. The result has been that the benefits of increased production have gone exclusively to the 1 percent, while real income for the 99 percent has declined, making it necessary for there to be multiple wage earners in the average family.

Think of it in terms of the number of work hours needed to maintain a standard of living. My father worked 40 hours a week. The individual today works an average of 40 hours, but when you at least double those hours with more than one wage earner to maintain that same standard of living, it is obvious that the 99 percent is actually losing ground..

In the days of black slavery, the slave was taken care of in proportion to his monetary value. It was even noted, at the time, that the black slave in the South may have had a better life than workers in the sweat-shops of the North. In truth, they were both slaves but in fact, it could be argued that the black slave may indeed have been better off. While the black slave’s only option for freedom was suicide, he, at least was assured that all the necessities for survival would have been provided. The wage slave is threatened with starvation and exposure, with no such assurance.

Please, Americans, wake up and realize that with the destruction of the unions taking place in Wisconsin and Ohio, which is surely to spread throughout the nation, wage slavery is on the march and must be stopped. How anyone of the 99 percent could be manipulated into a position of begging the 1 percent for permission to further enrich them is beyond me, but it’s all too obvious that all too many of them have capitulated and are selling themselves and others with them into a slavery even more onerous and punishing than that of the old South. The only possible explanation I can come up with is that they have been manipulated into believing that it is the greed ot corrupt unions that has caused high prices. Why the greed of the 1 percent is not questioned as well remains a mystery and with the sorry record of banking, corruption is not exclusive to the unions. I agree that many unions are indeed corrupt, but the answer lies not in throwing out the baby with the bath water but in cleaning up the corruption. The worker has as much of a vested interest in the corporation as the CEO, in fact, maybe more so. Should CEO accidentally become crippled and unable to work, his survival is not threatened, but should the wage earner meet with a similar fate, his survival is met with a definite threat.

The freedom (which we have erroneously sold for an illusionary security), is not limited to a constitutional promise of little governmental intrusion. True freedom cannot exist when one party is held hostage to the demands of another party by physical force or by threat to its very survival. Wage slavery represents such a threat.

Hal O’Leary