I’m continuing to promote my novel, Soldier Of The Cross; it’s available through Amazon. (https://www.amazon.com/Soldier-Cross-John-Oliver-Mason/dp/0578988402/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3VQ9PDCKAUKLK&dchild=1&keywords=soldier+of+the+cross+john+oliver+mason&qid=1635266248&rnid=2941120011&s=books&sprefix=soldier+of+the%2Caps%2C111&sr=1-1)
But I encourage you to first order it through your local independent bookstore; there you find writing workshops, meet-the-author events, and poetry readings. It’s at the grassroots level, in these small indy bookstores, where new literary talent flourishes. And, please support all you other small businesses, like the small grocer and local diner; they’ve been particularly hit hard by the pandemic, and the billion-dollar mega-corporations don’t need the money as much as these small family businesses do.
Amazon, in particular, is wealthy enough that Jeff Bezos can afford to have his own space program, Blue Origin. But the latest is that Amazon is in negotiations to purchase MGM Studios. Amazon is about to pay $8.45 billion for MGM, as they paid $13.7 billion for Whole Foods. (https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/26/amazon-to-buy-mgm-studios-for-8point45-billion.html) This has been possible through the series of tax breaks that corporations over the past 40 decades have attained from Congress, with the help of their lobbying firms; I’m thinking particularly about the 2017 tax cut, which created the federal deficit, and the Republicans have no problem with it. (But, to the Republicans, spending money on such socially beneficial things as infrastructure, schools, medical assistance, nursing mothers, and unemployment would be an economic catastrophe.)
Workers have never benefitted from these corporate tax breaks; it’s only more money for more luxury items-such as Bezos’ brand-new, $500 million dollar yacht. ((https://www.geekwire.com/2021/see-worthy-first-look-jeff-bezos-reported-500m-superyacht-netherlands-shipyard/) (https://www.autoevolution.com/news/first-look-at-jeff-bezos-new-toy-record-breaking-oceanco-sailing-yacht-y721-launched-172333.html) Bezos’ acquisition of MGM, Whole Foods, and The Washington Post, shows the need for the mega-billionaire class-along with Elon Musk and Jeff Zuckerberg-have to be taxed at the appropriate rate.
Elon Musk has been particularly vehement about his class being taxed, (https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-democrats-billionaires-tax-arguments-tesla-stock-net-worth-2021-10) proclaiming on Twitter, “Eventually, they run out of other people’s money and then they come for you.” All of the plutocrats in history try to make the lower classes identify with them, like they have the same thing in common; whereas the in reality, all of the tax cuts from Reagan to today have benefited billionaires and corporations, with no benefit to workers or consumers.
Fortunately, workers are flexing their power; the pandemic has shown the importance of “essential workers,” works who had to work throughout the COVID crisis-store works, medical professionals, sanitation workers, etc. Another set of essential workers are the bus, trolley, and subway workers of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), who were prepared to go on strike on November 1, but they, through their union, Transport Workers Union Local 234 (TWU) settled it just before deadline. (https://www.inquirer.com/transportation/septa-strike-update-2021-contract-agreement-20211029.html?utm_source=browser_notification&utm_campaign=browser_notification&utm_medium=notification&utm_content=No-strike-SEPTA-and-its-largest-union-reach-a-contract-agreement-)
The strike by the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (https://bctgm.org/) is continuing its strike against Kellogg, the cereal and food company. The issues for the workers have been of moving production to Mexico (leaving the workers stranded without a job), the taking away of health-care and retirement benefits, cost-of-living wage increases, holiday and vacation pay, and that the union label be on each box of Kellogg’s products. There are picket lines around all Kellogg facilities, including in Lancaster, PA; I hope soon to be able to get there, and celebrate the workers’ victory.
The strike of John Deere by the United Auto Workers (https://uaw.org/) goes on. With the skilled assembly-line workers out on strike, the Deere company has resorted to bringing in scabs-in this care, salaried office workers for the company. This has resulted in accidents by the salary workers and orders from the company not to talk about what goes on in the plant. (https://theintercept.com/2021/10/26/john-deere-strike-accident/)
I’m currently reading Philip Foner’s History of The Labor Movement In The United States. It’s a great history of the terrible conditions that working people endured as the nation developed into the capitalist powerhouse it is now: poor or no housing, meager pay a family couldn’t live on, dangerous working conditions for long hours; and any attempt to organize workers to resist this, so workers could live and work as full human beings, were put down by all the ruling corporate elite had at its disposal-courts, legislatures, company goons, police, sheriff’s deputies, militia, the regular army, the era’s news media, vigilantes (composed of some of the most respectable men in the community), and the clergy.
But in the face of all that, workers persisted in their organizing, so that they can be the basis of the American middle class-which has been eroded for the past four decades by tax breaks for billion-dollar corporations, the transfer of manufacturing overseas (leaving American workers jobless), the weakening of unions and protections for workers, and the weakening of laws controlling the amount of money donated to political campaigns (I’m thinking now the Citizens United case).
We have a history of Labor organizing and struggle in this country. Our ancestors fought and died so that workers live a decent life. We must NOT disappoint them, and allow the corporate elite to take away our rights. We must support our fellow workers, at John Deere, Kellogg, Nabisco, Frito-Lay, IATSE, and in our own shops and neighborhoods as they fight our fight, and fight alongside of them. The ballot is the mightiest weapon in the freedom-fighting arsenal, and on November 2, I want you all to use it, for your friends, your coworkers, your families, and your neighbors.
Stay safe, stay strong, and Stay together! America will be free! Bye!