There are numerous strikes, and even more potential ones coming down the pike. What’s that, you haven’t been hearing about it? That’s because the mainstream media has a vested interest in you not knowing about it.
The mainstream media has a financial interest in making sure that you don’t learn about these strikes, or at least in so far as you do, you don’t support them. This has grown increasingly apparent as media has quickly fallen into the hands of a remarkably small group of oligarchs. There has been some hope in recent years because of terminated deals, like the failed purchase of Tribune Media by Sinclair, which would have given the media giant access to over 70 percent of households that perhaps things won’t get too much worse, at least in the immediate future. Unfortunately they already have access to around 40 percent, much of that in more highly populated areas, leading to disturbing videos such as this:
While Americans under 50 are moving away from getting their news from TV, this is still a problem for older groups, and getting your news from social media comes with its own host of problems, being that they are also molded in the same top-down, anti-worker, monopolistic structure. This is a chronic issue throughout the media sphere with all media, new and old, running into the issue of corporate consolidation.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone paying attention that this lack of coverage is no mistake. These oligarchs have a monetary incentive and a fiduciary responsibility to stockholders to keep wages low and profits high. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by making sure that workers don’t have unions, or other methods by which to democratize their workplaces and receive fair compensation for their labor. This strategy has been working like gangbusters for the rich elites on all sides of the political spectrum (partially because they’re on their own side, the rich side). The corporate elite have have divided workers along lines of gender, race, religion, etc, through identity politics, all while running out the back door with an increasingly large bag of ill-gotten cash.
Currently there are a number of strikes, some have gained more traction and tangible benefits than others, but all are at least giving workers a fighting chance to make their voices heard and ensure that they have a chance to have their demands met by collectivizing instead of negotiating one-on-one with bosses who have a huge power and financial advantage over them.
I discussed one such strike with a carpenter, who was at the time, involved in the strike in Washington state (you can listen to the interview here). Unfortunately the striking carpenters did not get the contract that many of them were seeking (keep and eye out for a future interview with Seth discussing the shortcomings of this organizing effort). However, without a union, as imperfect as they may often be, these workers would likely have gotten nothing at all, and would have little to no recourse in the future to negotiate a new and improved contract.
This is the hope for the now tens of thousand striking, and at minimum thousands of others preparing for strikes, in America. They represent a wide range of occupations including members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) at John Deere plants, nurses (including those in Worcester and Buffalo), Kellogg workers, and many more (there are also numerous strikes currently going on around the world). These strikes have only seen moderate coverage in mainstream media, oftentimes even when they do get some coverage it is negative.
The mainstream media seems to be too busy scolding people and fueling culture wars, to boost their ratings, to give their giant megaphone to a growing movement that probably has the most tangible possibility of giving direct and immediate positive change to workers since post-war America. Again, this is not surprising, but it is yet another reminder why many are moving away from traditional media, and are making the intelligent choice in doing so. However, it must be also restated that people should be careful when moving to alternative media, as they are sometimes also owned by the capitalist class trying to package their corporatism in “leftist” rhetoric to extract any drop of extra wealth they can from the already exasperated working class.
Unfortunately those in the media simply don’t understand the plight of normal Americans. This is the kindest interpretation I can give it. Honestly, I don’t know if we can blame them (those we should tax the hell out of them) because they are insanely wealthy. I do think that some might be well intentioned, though I would say more are actively and knowingly hostile to working people. Again they have been selected to ensure that their bosses continue to make money, which necessarily relies on the exploitation of the working class. Which is why they continue to demonize workers, even those that they pretended to care about with performative monikers like “essential worker,” that is until they asked for minute benefits or pay raises for working through the worst pandemic in a century, then they became “entitled.”
Once again, to be overly fair, there are some voices out in mainstream outlets (mostly print, essentially none on TV) that sneak through and do a good job of helping to boost calls for fair compensation by workers, but they are the exception that proves the rule. We deserve and must demand much better. We must also support our fellow workers and be much more careful with which media groups we support with our money and views. If we don’t, workers will continue to be suppressed and ignored and the elites will continue to expand their power and control.