[Editor’s note: This column originally published in the Detroit-based newspaper, The Inner-City Voice (summer 1970), was devoted to the Black Masses understanding and particularly the Black Worker understanding of how the economic situation in this country will continue to effect not only their job and family livelihood, but also the political and social conditions in which we as Black people and workers will find ourselves.]
The Black Worker has always been and will always be the first to go when the racist company owners find that their profits are going down. Since we do not own any of the factories, industries, or plants, we will always find our job security at the mercy of this capitalist economic system.
If the times are “good” we may have jobs. If they are bad we definitely will be fired so that white workers can keep their jobs. But whether times are good or bad, as Black Americans, we are the first to be fired and the last to be hired. Therefore, we find that in order to survive, it is necessary for us to know about the economic situation, probably more than anyone else.
However, the true problem of our survival has never been our lack of understanding whether this year will be good or that year will be bad. Our true problem as Black Workers has been in our not understanding why these trends effect our very lives and what it will take to produce a more progressive system and a system that will make us unexploited workers.
We must understand so we may create a system in which we will be able to cloth and feed ourselves without “breaking our backs” just to live.
In future columns we will talk about why, how, and what we need to build in order to protect our interest and to move toward better living conditions.
Some Facts You Should Know:
- In every year since 1957, our work-load per hour has increased (except 1967 and 1969 which were strike years).
- Between 1946-49, the annual rate of productivity increase was 3.5% per hour while the average annual rate of increase in over-all home pay was only 1.5% (exploitation?).
- For every dollar received by production workers, another $1.55 was divided between stockholders, executives, officials, bankers, lawyers, the government, etc.
Unemployment reached 4.2% in February 1970 and will probably reach 6% which means about five million people will be unemployed. About 45% of them will be Black Americans.
In a recent meeting of 500 businessmen, the Vice Chairman of the Chase Manhattan Bank said it would be necessary to scrap “unproductive workers” for the better ones.
Since the economy does not look good the firing or laying off policy should increase regardless of the needs of the workers.
While Nixon continues to lie about inflation conditions (inflation means that the value and buying power of the dollar goes down) it continues to rise. Nixon said that inflation is being handled and that no recession is either here or ahead. He made that statement on the day the Labor Department another 0.5% rise in the price of goods!
Sen. Phillip A. Hard (D-MI) has estimated that at lease 30% of all buying is wasted.
Auto Repairs: “The figure is $8 to $10 billion wasted yearly for work improperly done, unneeded or not even done.” (Note: Auto Repairs is a treacherous, profiteering racket which feeds on our ignorance and lack of skills.)
Auto Liability Insurance: “Consumers who collected for physical in 1968 paid almost $1 billion for the coverage which duplicated protection they already had – such as hospital insurance.”
A Few Facts On Hunger
Over 20 million people are going hungry in America. Of these, 13 million are Black. Five million persons maintain a bare minimum diet. Another nine million spend from 50% to 100% of their funds on food alone.
Countless numbers of Black Americans are maimed for life by what they eat in the first four years of life or even by what their mothers ate during pregnancy.
Planned Starvation for Black Americans
In the deep south, huge cutbacks in cotton and the use of automated farm machinery led to thousand of no longer needed unemployed Black Americans. This drove hordes of destitute Black Americans into the northern ghettoes where, unskilled and uneducated, they continued to go hungry.
Whether it is Black Americans, Native Americans, Mexican Americans, those who seek to do something about the conditions find that “new poverty” aid only goes to those who accept blindly corrupt local leadership.
The above facts did not occur by accident nor are they isolated. These facts and others are the result of the most treacherous economic and political system known to mankind.
As white workers find their pay getter smaller and as black workers press for more demands, what scapegoat will the government use to contain the anger of the white masses?
History shows that Black Americans have always been the scapegoat in America. Witness what a thousand white workers in Chicago did when black construction workers pressed their demands. In order to insure that we as Black people protect our interest both economically and politically we need to build the machinery to deal effectively with the past and present counter-moves being made in this country to keep us in suppression.
Because of the type of economic system in this country based on exploitation of labor and especially black labor, it must surely be the Blacker worker who organizes such machinery.
Read the Inner-City Voice in its entirety here.