Workers vs. Billionaires

It’s no secret that the world we live in is unequal. We all experience it on one level or another in our lives, and recently the disparity between the billionaire and the working class has reached levels that are impossible to ignore. This didn’t just happen – it’s a result of the constant struggle for power in the economy between working people and the wealthy, a fight that the wealthy have been winning lately, but is as fierce today as it’s ever been.

On one side of the country, workers who have been facing the harshest end of the pandemic and recession are beginning to band together and form unions. They’re using the power of collective action to demand they be adequately compensated for their labor, and to ensure that they are treated with the respect they deserve from their employers.

On the other side of things, billionaires, who have increased their wealth by more than 60% since the beginning of the pandemic, are using their wealth to expand their influence and control. Just this week we’ve seen Elon Musk, the richest man on planet Earth, buy Twitter, one of the world’s leading social media platforms that allows hundreds of millions of people around the world to connect.

This week, we’re highlighting the two disparities between workers, fighting tooth and nail for adequate compensation and working conditions, and billionaires, whose wealth is used to pull strings affecting each and every one of our lives.

Unions Are Making Their Biggest Comeback Since the ’60s. Here’s How Workers are Winning, According to 2 Longtime Labor Organizers by Colin Lodewick
In an interview with labor organizers and authors of The Future We Need: Organizing for Democracy in the Twenty-First Century, Erica Smiley and Sarita Gupta talk about how workers are banding together to fight for better pay and working conditions for themselves and their coworkers. They share how now is one of the most crucial times in history for the resurgence of a labor movement – inequality is at an all-time high and workers are starting to realize that THEY have the power to band together and demand better treatment.

American Companies Have Always Been More Anti-union than International Ones. Here’s Why by ​​Raisa Bruner
Nearly every massive corporation in the country has a budget dedicated to squashing unionization efforts, and some companies like Amazon spend millions of dollars every year on these campaigns. Why is it that American corporations seem to be much more hostile toward unions than their counterparts abroad? The prioritization of maximizing shareholder value at the cost of worker benefits, coupled with the uniquely American value of private property, may hold the answer. As a result of decades of smear campaigns against them, unions have been viewed as an opponent of profits and the private property of the corporation.

Elon Musk is a Problem Masquerading as a Solution by Anand Giridharadas
While Twitter as a social media platform is a place where users can connect, share news, and access educational information, it doesn’t come without its pitfalls, and there are many, from rampant disinformation campaigns to bullying and harassment to racism and other bigotry. Elon Musk with his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter has presented himself as the answer to Twitter’s issues, but a look through his own account’s history reveals that he frequently is the embodiment of them. Elon Musk thinks of himself, with all his money, as the savior of the social media platform, when in actuality he is a manifestation of its worst parts. No rich person, much less the likes of Elon Musk, has any right to wield the immense power he has bought over one of the largest social media platforms in the world.

Elon Musk, Twitter and the Crazy Amount of Power Billionaires HaveLetters to the Editor
We are not the only ones who share the concerns that billionaires have accumulated far too much power for a tiny fraction of the population. Their overwhelming influence stretches through the political, social, and economic spheres. Elon Musk may be one of the starkest reminders of this in current news, but he is far from the only, or the most pervasive example. The level of power and influence billionaires have on the lives of people across the world is beyond anything a small group of people should be trusted with. We have to address this growing power, and one of the most effective ways we can do this is through comprehensive and unavoidable taxation of the ultra-wealthy.

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