Don’t Go to Work or Buy Anything on Black Friday.

Original image by @stillness_in_motion on Unsplash.

Americans are on strike. So naturally, American media has been doing their best to pretend that they aren’t.

A general unorganized strike has been taking place in the United States with record-breaking numbers of people quitting their jobs. At least 18 groups went on strike this year including 10,000 John Deere workers across 14 factories, more than 34,000 healthcare workers at Kaiser, 1400 union members at Kellogg’s, 1100 unionized coal minors at Warrior Met Coal Mine, and 1200 Spectrum Cable workers who have been on strike for more than four years. About 5 million Americans have exited the workforce since the pandemic began and Goldman Sachs estimates that about 3.4 million are gone for good, due to retirement, freelancing, or starting businesses. This leaves only approximately 1.7 million Americans open to returning to work.

No one should be surprised, especially when you look at the souring profits that American companies are making. Employees have been the ones doing the work, making personal sacrifices during the pandemic, earning profits for their employers, and waking each day with nothing to show for it. Billionaires became 54% richer during the pandemic. Kellogg’s CEO made $11.6 million in 2020, yet the company cut jobs and benefits. John Deere’s CEO got a 160% salary increase yet the company laid off hundreds of workers. Those billionaires would like you to believe that the person that they laid off during the pandemic who received unemployment aid and can’t pay their bills is the person you should blame for your woes. The same essential workers who companies were referring to as heroes at the beginning of the pandemic have quickly been painted as villains once the workers wised up, realized their worth, and started to expect fair compensation, benefits, and treatment.

u/Ctuckiy on Reddit posted this picture saying that they have started seeing a lot of signs like this around their city since the pandemic began.

Despite billionaires’ best efforts to gaslight Americans into believing that reasonable demands are unreasonable and despite the fact that the U.S. education system conveniently leaves it out of history books, the U.S. has a rich history of labor movements. The fight we are fighting today is nothing new. The video below by Robert Reich, a UC Berkeley professor, details a brief history of labor movements in the United States in comparison to the current movement growing in the country.

A youtube video by Robert Reich, a professor at UC Berkeley, talking about America’s history with labor movements.

Whether it’s having to sell plasma in order to afford an education, being unable to afford basic necessities such as rent and food, or consistently receiving disrespect at work from bosses, coworkers, and customers, America’s workers are beyond fed up.

Just to paint a picture of the breaking point are reaching in our late-stage capitalist hellscape, here are just a few alarming stories:

  • A worker whose brother passed away was scolded by their boss and coworkers for being too quiet. Source
  • A new-gen Xbox console is priced lower than a vial of insulin that keeps people alive for a week. Source
  • Kroger called the police to try to break up union organizing and prevent a strike vote. Source
  • An American shared the medical cost of a rattlesnake bite and it came to a total balance of $153,161.25. Source
  • Someone got ghosted by a company they received an offer from, then 2 years later, the company contacted them to tell them they should report to work on Monday. Source
  • A worker was told to leave their problems at home after their boss insisted to know why they were absent from work and the employee admitted that they were in a mental hospital due to a suicide attempt.
  • After asking about salary, an applicant was told that their application would not be progressed any further. Source
  • A boss told their employee that they always had to answer their phone calls on one ring or they would be reprimanded. Source
  • An American almost lost their job because they were enjoying their lunch break and a director at their company said that it made come across as too ‘comfortable’ stating that they ‘lacked professionalism’ and were ‘arrogant.’ Source
  • An employee wasn’t allowed to have any time off between 24-hour shifts to get their tubes tied stating that he would not give her time off to ‘harm herself.’ Source
  • An American was called by a potential employer who expected them to interview on the spot.
  • A 3rd-grade teacher won $150,000 and donated it to her underfunded school so that the students could have a computer lab.
  • An American’s rent is increasing by 45%.
  • An applicant was told that it was a red flag to ask for the base pay for a position that they were contacted by a recruiter for. Source
  • A company is now selling a wearable device to filter polluted air and transform it into clean air. So, breathing is not even going to be free anymore.

The list is endless. Anyone who is even slightly paying attention can see that the situation is increasingly getting worse for the average American.

The increasing number of strikes and workers quitting is evidence that we, as Americans, are beyond sick of the expectation that we will accept poor wages, poor treatment, and pathetic ‘benefits’ that amount to crumbs. We don’t want pizza parties and pats on the back. We want the ability to provide a decent living for ourselves and our families. Billionaires have proven for decades that they are unwilling to let us have that. So, now’s the time to fight back.

A boycott and strike is being planned for Black Friday by the subreddit r/antiwork which has grown to over a million followers. There are several simple ways you can participate and stand in solidarity with workers. On Black Friday, if you have the means, do not go to work. In fact, if you can, call off work for the week of Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Call in sick if you have to. Why Black Friday? Many corporations rely on Black Friday sales to make them millions. They rely upon your labor to ensure their profits. Don’t give it to them this year. Don’t buy anything and call out of work. Even if you don’t think this issue affects you, and even if you think your participation doesn’t matter, it does. If we stand together, with the workers who make less than us and the workers who make more than us, we as a whole only serve to gain from this movement. One win for workers’ rights is a win for us all. One success can lead to a domino effect and increase our leverage and bargaining power to advocate for better wages and conditions for all of us.

Wake up. Stop blaming the working-class for your problems when the wealthy are responsible and laughing their way to the bank. Your labor carried them there on your broken back. What do you have to show for it? Stop defending people who give you bread crumbs in exchange for your hard work. In a country where both political parties refuse to address the needs of our citizens, let’s take things into our own hands. Your beloved politicians won’t do anything to improve your situation; they never have and they never will. They’ll only keep selling you promises they never intend to keep.

We have the power to organize and affect change. If our votes won’t matter, then we will vote by withholding our pocketbooks and our labor.

Stand in solidarity. Boycott Black Friday.

To learn more about the movement, check out blackfridayblackout.info and join the antiwork subreddit.

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Hayden

Hayden

Anti-work, anti-capitalist unfluencer. Follows the growing anti-work movement, discusses work-related struggles, and advocates for the common worker.