Walmart protestor, who courageously stands for justice in his or her
workplace, stands for 100 who are too intimidated to do the same.
Most Americans were unconcerned about the efforts to garner and
renew the respect of Walmart workers. Some Americans
asked, “What’s wrong with Walmart? I like Walmart!” The protests on Black Friday were not designed to
end capitalism or crush Walmart, though some in the
media attempted to portray it as such.
The protests were not meant to prevent people from shopping on the
hottest deal day of the year but to bring attention to the disregard for
workers - not only at Walmart stores but around the
country. There are people who place profits over people no matter which
corporation it may be. To them, the dollar is so sacred as to take precedence
over the lives of human beings.
Fox News reported the Walmart talking
point that “only 50 workers” participated in the protests - nationwide! There
was nothing further from the truth. Workers staged protests at 1000 Walmart stores in 46 states, with support from United Food
and Commercial Workers Unions. Walmart unashamedly
opposes labor unions and aggressively intimidates its workers from organizing.
Support for workers at a DC suburban Walmart also
came from a church pastor. Remember, churches during the early 20th Century
were the leading social justice organizations in the Black community.
Even the day after Black Friday, Fox was still running that report,
but why? The reports kept pre-empting the worker actions or protests with the
Black Friday numbers but why? Walmart makes concerted
efforts to convince the public nothing is wrong at its stores, but if that were
the case, why are workers protesting? All is not - and hasn’t been for years - well
at the world’s biggest retailer.
While people were battling for their piece of the consumer pie - right
in line with the corporatocracy’s plan - other people
were standing up for the respect of the American worker.
The individualist-minded person was thinking solely about his or her own corner
of the world, while the Walmart protestor was thinking
about the world.
Am I surprised? Never. In America, the
scourge of capitalism has ruled the mind and conscience of this nation’s
residents. Big corporations continue to lead us to believe that unions are the
problem. One Fox News headline was (paraphrased): Are unions or the bad economy to blame for the looming fiscal cliff?
Fighting for the rights of workers is demonized and blamed for the
drag on the economy. Of course, since unionized workers make up only 6% of the
workforce, that’s an absurd proposition, yet that doesn’t stop the corporate
elite from saying it. The danger in faux news ‘lies’ (excuse the pun) in the 47.8
percent who believe it; they are the same 47 percent who voted for Mitt Romney
(how ironic for one who characterized the same percentage of Americans as
perceiving themselves as ‘victims’ and ‘entitled’).
The continued effort to bring America to a place of shame for
what it has allowed corporations to do to the American workforce is not an
overnight task. This awareness didn’t dim overnight, and won’t re-ignite
overnight. It will take generations of degradation, disrespect and pain before America
grants the respect due to its backbone - the American worker.
Workers staged protests at 1000 Walmart stores in 46 states, with support from United Food and Commercial Workers Unions.
That backbone has been broken by those who agree politically with
Conservatives, who have placed profits over people for the last two generations.
The value of the American worker has been under attack since then-President
Ronald Reagan declared war on collective bargaining and the Taft-Hartley Act in
1981. Air Traffic Controllers through their union, PATCO, exercised their
legally-protected right to strike, however, Reagan
seized dictatorial power by disregarding the law and firing the workers when
they elected to proceed with collective bargaining.
We hear talk about a “struggling economy” and how people are
struggling “just to make ends meet.” But from reported Black Friday numbers,
Americans spent more than $11 billion in a single day! Somebody had some money!
Though some might view the “numbers” as a barometer of success, I
posit this: Each Walmart protestor, whether employee
or supporter, who courageously stands for justice in his or her workplace,
stands for 100 who are too intimidated to do the same.
While consumers remain consumed with buying stuff (that’s the
American way), despite living on the brink of financial disaster, Walmart workers struggle for respect in the workplace. Just
ask an employee who relies on SNAP (food stamps) to make ends meet and hospital
emergency rooms for access to medical care. Our country’s economic house of
cards cannot survive and when it falls, martyrs and consumer-collateral damage
will fall too. Until then, Walmart workers deserve
our support, for they are standing for the working class - that is, the
majority of us, when many whom are too consumed to notice or care.
BlackCommentator.com Columnist, Perry Redd, is the former Executive Director of
the workers rights advocacy, Sincere Seven, and author of the on-line
commentary, “The Other Side of the Tracks.” He is the host of the internet-based
talk radio show, Socially Speaking in Washington, DC. Click here to contact Mr. Redd.