Beijing 2008 — America enroute to the glue factory


Expanded from the 7-15-2001 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

A bizarre banquet takes place at the end of George Orwell's novel "Animal Farm."

The more devious critters among those who had ousted the exploitive and murderous Farmer Brown invited to dinner their new cronies — businessmen from town.

Some of the revolutionaries who remained outside in the barnyard were appalled at the new inhabitants of the Brown House. They refused to believe that their fellow critters had resumed the slaughter, cooking and eating of their comrades.

Any threats to the new regime had long since been eliminated. The good ole horse whose angry power had forced Farmer Brown to clear out had been dispatched to the glue factory by the new animal overlords. Those who had not been likewise ousted were too weak or cowardly to start a second revolution.

Orwell concluded that it was becoming increasingly difficult to tell the animals from the men at the banquet table. As "The Who" would sing several decades later, "meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

Orwell's banquet is in serious danger of coming to life during the China Olympics of 2008 as corporate America makes common cause with the butchers of Beijing. This comes as no surprise.

Longshoreman and philosopher Eric Hofer noted back in the 1950's that left unchecked, communism and capitalism both end up at the same place. The logical evolution of each system leads to everyone working for the same huge corporation.

In China, it's the Communist Party and the military-industrial complex which the party controls. In the U.S., it's the military-industrial complex and its subsidiary levels of government.

Commenting on the U.S. and Soviet Cold War military machines, historian Gwyn Dyer put it as succinctly as The Who: "they both end up in the same damn place."

I don't put any stock in the bilge being bandied about that the Olympic Games can bring democracy to China "just as they did to South Korea." That never happened.

Democracy in Korea was similar to organized crime's phony sellout of its Nevada casino interests to corporations. There may have been a new front man wearing a tie, but the new boss was the same as the old boss. Korean presidents were part of the existing corrupt power structure and ended up doing serious jail time.

The correct parallel lies with Nazi Germany. In arguably the most ingenious propaganda campaign ever implemented, Hitler used the games to legitimize his warped view of the world. Hosting them didn't seem to give him a more generous view of humanity.

Signs of both systems coming together abound. A recent report noted that Nevada has lost 7,500 jobs due to the North American Free Trade Agreement. Dubya wants to compound the damage by expanding NAFTA to South America. Corporations lust at the idea of buck-a-day labor without any safety or environmental laws to inhibit profits.

In its official publication, the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce this month endorsed importing new hordes of "temporary" low wage workers from Mexico. It's being spun as a way to manage the influx of illegal immigrants. Read the fine print on any such proposal and you'll find that the "legal" workers will have far fewer rights than their illegal counterparts.

Why the need for more immigrants?

"Chambers of Commerce and other business organizations have been doing their part to increase the work force through welfare to work, school to work, prison to work and other programs that bring new sources of labor through work readiness," LV Chamber Chief Operating Officer Kara Kelley wrote, but it's not enough.

An article about the wondrousness of Nevada prison labor accompanies Kelley's commentary. Business as usual in a state which refuses to adequately fund schools and social services but funds a prison budget the Communist Chinese would envy.

Look around your house. How many consumer items have you bought at Wal-Mart made by slave labor in China?

The thrill of victory. The agony of defeat. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

MORE — Carson City Nevada Appeal columnist Guy Farmer's sobering take on the Beijing Games.

Former Nev. Gov. Mike O'Callaghan: Boycott Beijing

LABOR LINES & PICKET LINES -- To celebrate its first contract with the Reno and Flamingo Hiltons, the Culinary Union will host an all day bash (10 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.) on Monday, July 23, at Reno's Idlewild Park. The event will also serve as a going-away party for longtime business manager Scott MacKenzie, who will replace the retiring Bob Gagnier as head of the State of Nevada Employees Association...Nevada is not out of the running to keep the United Auto Workers jobs at the Sparks General Motors Warehouse. GM is shopping new sites in the area...Strikebreaker nurses are still being used at Washoe Medical Center, even with the one-day strike long gone. Replacement nurses get about $40 an hour. The out-of-state temp agency which provides them gets $1,500 per day per nurse plus travel and luxury housing expenses. Washoe Med will recover the cost from local taxpayers and patients...Wannabe Gov. Dudley Do-Right's Deputy Labor Commissioner? The job now pays more than $55,000 a year, quite a bit more than last year's $32,000. Which is why the position has been unfilled for so long. (The previous guy was fired because he had this nasty habit of fighting for workers' rights. Which was his job.) Tomorrow is the last day to apply...A website has been launched by the family of leukemia victim Ashley Kisman whose case was profiled in last Tuesday's Tribune.

RAILROADERS NEED TO MAKE TRACKS. A lot of rail retirees live in Sparks. Congressional Republicans have bottled up a bill, HR 1140, which will increase pension benefits for surviving spouses. Women live longer than men but that's no reason they should fear poverty. The bill won't give them 100 percent of their spouse's pensions, but will help keep the wolf from the door. The measure has 369 co-sponsors among 435 house members. Its companion bill in the U.S. Senate, S697, has 71 of 100 senators. The entire Nevada congressional delegation has signed on save Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev. Now's the time to get on your favorite congresscritter to get the house GOP to move the bill. For more information, call Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers President Joe Carter in Sparks at (775) 626-6662.

Be well. Raise hell.

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© Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 32-year Nevadan, a member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of NevadaLabor.com and JoeNeal.org/ Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.)Tribune since 1988 .

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