We’re Starting to Feel Like There’s Nothing Left to Lose
Striketober is just the beginning.
They wouldn’t pay me.
“If you forgot to clock in, then you didn’t work.”
One night, I stayed late to help clean up the kitchen. We were understaffed again, as usual. The manager clocked us out 30 minutes early. He didn’t tell us until we were finally getting ready to leave.
He had this tone in his voice, like he was doing us a favor. The obvious truth is that he just didn’t want to pay us.
Another night, I almost got fired when a woman wadded up a napkin and stuffed it in her salad. She wanted a free meal, and didn’t care what happened to the people cooking her food.
This is what it’s like to work one of the millions of minimum wage jobs out there. Bosses treat you like crap. Customers treat you worse. There’s nobody to complain to. The higher you go, the less they care about you. Every day reminds you how disposable you are.
There’s no escape from this humiliation anymore. The cost of life has soared far beyond the means of most Americans, and we finally see it now. The biggest story going on is the one the media isn’t reporting, and it’s a great reset. You can smell the mood in the air. Everyone’s done, and not just with work. They’re sick of the way we’ve been living for the last two decades. They’re ready for something new.
They have nothing left to lose.
EVERYONE'S HAD ENOUGH.
We’re all tired. We’re giving up.
We’re doing it in a collective sense. It’s not just about jobs. It’s about everything. This might sound depressing, but it might just be the one thing that forces real change.
There was a time when almost all of us thought if we went to college and worked hard, our lives would improve.
That was a lie.
College did very little but saddle us with a lifetime of debt. It’s not hard to meet someone carrying around fifty or a hundred thousand dollars in loans now, more than they’ll ever be able to pay off.
Still, we kept trying. We got jobs. We worked hard. Our bosses promised us raises and promotions. They never came.
It didn’t matter what we did.
CEOs sang our praises. They thanked us for all the hard work we did. We made so, so, so much money for them.
Would they raise wages?
Not a chance.
THE SUPER RICH DON'T CARE ABOUT ANYTHING.
Stories are floating around about Elon Musk again, how he’s on track to become the world’s first trillionaire.
Never mind that it would take someone like him a hundred lifetimes to spend their wealth. We’ve seen enough charts about income and wealth disparity. We’ve read about K-shaped recoveries. We’ve seen the Pandora papers, and the leaked documents about how little taxes billionaires pay. Our politicians don’t even try to excuse it anymore.
Mitt Romney went on FOX News and laid it out as clearly as anyone could. He said if we tax the rich, they’ll pull all of their money out of the stock market. They’ll buy paintings instead.
The situation couldn’t get any clearer. Billionaires and now trillionaires will hold the economy hostage to protect their wealth.
Politicians will defend them.
The super rich don’t care about saving the planet. They’ve also made this clear. They’re interested in colonizing space now. They want to mine asteroids and moons for precious metals. They’ve taken all of earth’s wealth, and they still want more, more, more.
It’s a form of insanity.
WE TRIED TO WARN EVERYONE.
The workers of the world are done.
They voted blue in the last election, and charged their leaders with fixing everything that’s broken in our economy. Politicians promised us everything from living wages to affordable healthcare.
We were tricked, again.
Instead of taking care of us, our leaders tried to force us back to work in the middle of a pandemic. They forced schools open. They mislead us on key issues, and spent a year bickering over infrastructure.
Meanwhile, we tried to make it clear one last time how dire the situation was for most Americans. We tried to explain how we couldn’t afford to live anymore. We talked about the rising cost of living, not just this year but over the last two decades. They didn’t listen.
They assumed we would keep showing up, because that’s what we’ve always done. We still hoped for a future.
Now we’re finally awake.
Fair wages might be the one issue every normal person can agree on. I don’t care who you are or what you believe in. If you have a job, you should be able to live and raise a family.
Workers see what’s going on. They can’t afford this system anymore. They can’t take on any more debt in order to buy homes or pay rent, or pay medical bills, or send their kids to college. They figure if they’re going to be broke, they might as well go down fighting.
The chickens are roosting.
WE'RE NOT USED TO THIS.
Maybe it feels unreal to see aisles and shelves empty, and to worry about whether we’ll get to have turkey day. The real question is how we made it so long on this broken economy in the first place.
Our bosses and politicians gaslit us for too long. So did the media. They kept telling us everything was fine.
They ignored us.
This is the price. If you look around, it’s even bigger than a labor movement. People are quitting everything.
It’s hard for us to imagine a world where nobody bothers getting an education because it’s too expensive, nobody bothers going to work because it doesn’t pay enough, and nobody bothers buying anything because they have zero money. Some of us can. What’s happening right now makes perfect sense. It’s been two decades in the making.
People are giving up on all of it, because it doesn’t function anymore, and we’re finally being honest.
It’s unsettling, but this is the part of the story that makes sense. What didn’t make sense was how we could keep playing squid games where nobody ever won except billionaires.
If we’re not striking, we’re doing the minimum now. We’re not doing all the invisible work that made our CEOs so much money. There’s no point in going above and beyond, because it leads nowhere.
Minimum pay gets minimum effort.
There’s no reason to do more.
THING ARE COMING TO A HEAD.
Striketober is happening. Workers across multiple industries are protesting. They’re walking out on the job. They’re lying flat.
We’re talking about shipping, manufacturing, education, retail, fast food, and everything in between.
Workers aren’t worried about shortages, because most of them could never afford to live anyway. It doesn’t matter to them if a Peloton bike or a fancy toy doesn’t arrive somewhere on time. They’re not bothered by empty aisles and shelves at grocery stores, because they already knew the pang of hunger and long term food insecurity.
Striketober is just the beginning.
Workers have decided the top 10 percent is finally going to feel the discomforts and inconveniences they’ve inflicted on everyone else. If corporate managers can’t raise wages, then their families can learn to do without the luxuries they’ve gotten used to.
Billionaires can finally watch their profits dry up, and their shares tank, because there’s nobody left to do anything.
The same thing is happening in China, and other countries that relied on massive debt and cheap labor. You can’t run an economy with such staggering wealth gaps. We can’t live in a world where a handful of people are trillionaires, and nobody can afford to buy what they’re making. This is Karl Marx in action. This is what he meant when he talked about alienating workers from the products of their labor. We’ve created a bubble economy on exploitation and debt.