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French Lessons for US Workers

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  • The French working class is busting a myth broadcast from governments everywhere, that massive spending cuts (austerity) are "necessary" and worse, "inevitable,” no matter how unpopular (undemocratic).
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  • Mocking the French for getting it right
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  • Midterm Election Further Demonstrates Need for Revolution
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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor John Stoltenberg

If you like reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it.

The world watches as France once again erupts in protests, demonstrations, and strikes. So much is at stake. If France's corporate-dominated government is able to increase the retirement age, other governments will be empowered to follow through with their plans to do the same.
If labor, student, and community groups succeed in stopping the pension reform — or toppling the government — workers in other countries will likewise be inspired to fight back and organize in the French fashion.

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The worldwide recession has encouraged business-focused governments to pursue the kind of anti-worker policies they've been discussing for years. There is common agreement among these governments on a global scale as to the necessity for these polices. Working people disagree.  

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Mocking the French for getting it right,  James Clay Fuller, Evergreene Digest

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  • Everything the American public has been told by the corporate news media about the anti-austerity uprisings in France, England and other European countries is a lie.
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  • There's No Place Like Europe
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Midterm Election Further Demonstrates Need for Revolution, David DeGraw, AmpedStatus

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  • The system is now so rigged via campaign finance, lobbying and the revolving door that it is almost impossible for people who represent us to even get into office, let alone stay in office and enact policies that will bring change.
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  • The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America
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  • 10 Commandments to Revive Progressives After the November Defeat
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Wal-Mart Could Hike Pay and Keep Prices Low

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"The more important question for the future isn't whether Wal-Mart is a force for good or evil in the American economy, but whether the economic benefits provided by Wal-Mart can be preserved even if their labor compensation is dramatically improved," economists Jared Bernstein and Josh Bivens wrote.

Emily Kaiser, Reuters/Corporate Watch

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. could significantly increase employee wages and benefits without raising prices, and still earn a healthy -- albeit smaller -- profit, research released (recently) concluded.

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The Economic Policy Institute study comes as the world's biggest retailer faces a barrage of criticism from labor unions, politicians and community activists, who say it pays poverty-level wages and drives competitors out of business.

Wal-Mart, which has taken steps to improve its health care and other benefits, argues that its low prices boost consumers' buying power and increase their standard of living. The retailer regularly cites a Global Insight study that found Wal-Mart saves U.S. families more than $2,000 per year.

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Dollar Stores: Top Link in the Sweatshop Chain

Family Dollar is one of a growing group of chain-store corporations that cater to America's poor by selling cheap goods, many imported from sweatshops in low-wage countries including China and Mexico.

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Kent Paterson, Corporate Watch

Photo credit: Terry J. Allen

Abel Lopez was a busy man. The El Paso resident’s job with Family Dollar, Inc. averaged 60-80 hours a week. A former graphic designer and ad man from neighboring Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Lopez spent his days unloading trucks, processing freight, scouring toilets, running cash registers, cleaning, shelving, changing prices, doing inventory, and covering for other employees. As a bonus, he was even held up by armed robbers.

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Like others at Family Dollar who wind up spending most of their time doing grunt work, Lopez bore the title of manager. He contends that the company routinely classifies regular workers as managers in order to categorize them as exempt employees and in doing so ensure they are not subject to the overtime provisions of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

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Capitalism Uber Alles: How the American Working Class Got Brainwashed

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  • Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich argues that the economic downward mobility of American workers, has "to do with power...income and wealth in fewer hands." Apparently, many working class Americans want to keep it that way.
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  • Fairer Deal
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  • Washington at Work--for the Wealthy
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  • New Figures Detail Depth Of Unemployment Misery, Lower Earnings For All But Super Wealthy
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Myriam Miedzian, MyriamMiedzian.com/Huffington Post

If you like reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it.

In his recent book, After Shock, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich argues that the economic downward mobility of American workers, has "to do with power...income and wealth in fewer hands." Apparently, many working class Americans want to keep it that way. A recent SEIU poll reveals that, 38 percent of American voters are opposed to rescinding Bush's tax cuts for the 2 percent who earn $250,000 or more annually. 2 or 3 percent of taxpayers probably earn close enough to $250,000, to think they might be affected someday. This leaves about 33 percent voting against their self-interest -- higher taxes on the wealthiest would reduce the national debt, facilitate spending on levies, bridges, schools, healthc are, and create jobs. Similarly, an AP-GfK poll found that in the upcoming election, 58 percent of white working class Americans favor Republicans who opposed rescinding the Bush tax cut, and fought every Democratic bill benefiting low income earners including extending unemployment benefits.

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On the other hand, a 2005 study by Dan Ariely of Duke and Michael Norton of Harvard, reveals that when presented with unlabeled pie charts representing wealth distribution in the U.S where the richest 20 percent control about 84 percent of wealth and Sweden where the top 20 percent control 36 percent, 92 percent of respondents -- who reflected U.S. ideological, economic, and gender demographics -- stated they would rather live in a country with Sweden's wealth distribution.

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Related:

Fairer Deal, Sebastian Mallaby, New York Times | NY

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Washington at Work--for the Wealthy, Sam Pizzigati, Other Words

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  • "We cannot avoid the sad irony," as one new report has just concluded, "that government policy aimed at building wealth is largely helping the rich get richer."
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  • Uncle Sam is concentrating America's wealth, not sharing it.
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  • Think Again: Inequality and America’s Antiquated Politics
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  • Americans Vastly Underestimate Wealth Inequality, Support 'More Equal Distribution Of Wealth'
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New Figures Detail Depth Of Unemployment Misery, Lower Earnings For All But Super Wealthy, Huffington Post

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  • Those Americans earning more than $50 million increased their income from an average of $91.2 million in 2008 to almost $519 million. That's nearly $10 million in weekly pay!These 74 people made as much as the 19 million lowest-paid people in America, who constitute one in every eight workers."
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  • September Jobs Report Reveals America’s Emerging Third World Economy
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