Unbearable social conditions fuel the class struggle in the US

A wave of working-class strikes and protests is sweeping the world – from nationwide strikes by railroad workers and dockers in Europe to massive protests in Sri Lanka, Albania and elsewhere against rising inflation. Even though the immediate causes of each struggle are different, they all involve demands to redistribute the resources of society – away from the interests of the rich in order to meet human needs.

But nowhere is the contrast between the high level of technology and production that makes it possible to eliminate suffering and the reality of social poverty as stark as it is in the United States. The ruling class in the world’s most powerful capitalist country has been cutting workers’ wages and living standards for decades. In just over two years of the pandemic, the country was completely disrupted. Now he is shifting the costs of the crisis through his own fault onto the back of the working class.

Scenes of extreme poverty and slaughterhouse slaughter featured in the socially critical novel by Upton Sinclair Jungle about the Chicago meat industry at the turn of the 20th century reads like a description of everyday life in America in the 21st century. The book that sparked a scandal at the beginning of the 20th century is not shocking today.

Fatal accidents at work are commonplace. Last week, docker Uriel “Popeye” Matamoros, an immigrant from Nicaragua, was crushed to death in Newark Harbor when the machine he was operating fell on him. According to colleagues, the management ordered to continue work, also in the vicinity of the accident site, although it has not yet been completely cleaned. “It smelled terrible,” said one WSWS employee.

An employee at the Caterpillar Foundry Mapleton, Illinois (Image: Caterpillar) [Photo by Caterpillar]

On the same day, an employee died in an Amazon warehouse in Cartaret, New Jersey. He collapsed under enormous workload and stress during Amazon Prime Day. In June, a fatal accident occurred at a Caterpillar foundry in Illinois, in which worker Steven Dierkes fell into a crucible filled with molten metal.

Increasingly frequent and intense heatwaves from man-made climate change are also taking their toll. Two weeks ago, UPS driver Esteban Chavez died of a heat stroke while driving his route at nearly 38 degrees Celsius. UPS vans are not air-conditioned. Workers at Ventra, an auto parts maker in Evart, Michigan, passed out on the assembly line and had to be hospitalized due to extreme heat. At the same time, a historic heatwave is raging across Europe, killing thousands.

These appalling death tolls pale in comparison to the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic that killed more than one million people in the United States. Although factories, other large workplaces, and schools have long been known as coronavirus hotspots, governments have kept them open to most of the pandemic in the name of “business.”

Moreover, despite the satisfied media reports, the pandemic continues to rage. Ventra employees report a crown outbreak at their Evart facility. However, the exact number of cases is unknown as epidemics in factories are systematically covered up. Employees often learn about infections only from their colleagues and by word of mouth.

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