HomeArticleBezos Bows To Pressure On $15/hr. Keep Pressuring Him. Keep Pressuring Them All.

Bezos Bows To Pressure On $15/hr. Keep Pressuring Him. Keep Pressuring Them All.

In a move that is being widely attributed to pressure from activists and Bernie Sanders’ famous Stop BEZOS Act, Amazon has announced a pay increase for all workers inside the US to $15 an hour as of next month.

Which is of course a good thing. It is a good thing that the aggressively anti-union Amazon, which is owned and operated by the planet’s wealthiest man Jeff Bezos, is finally taking a step in the direction of treating its workers like human beings after the sound of sharpening guillotine blades began to echo off the walls of its warehouses. But that isn’t something people should be grateful for, let alone something that causes them to ease up the intensity of the fight against plutocracy. You don’t thank a man for ceasing to punch you in the face, especially not while he’s still stabbing you in the chest.

Institute for Local Self-Reliance co-director Stacy Mitchell has as usual provided some useful insights into this new development in Bezos’ master plan, pointing out how Amazon is now slashing stock options for some workers, how Amazon workers in Australia already make 18.26 USD per hour, how this concession is largely being made out of fear of an antitrust case which could break up the massive corporation, how this won’t pose much of a challenge for Amazon as it is steadily increasing its automation of jobs, and how this is ultimately just a small band-aid on a gaping wound because no company should ever have this much power. Mitchell described last year how Amazon is not merely working to kill off competition and dominate online product sales, but is actively working to control the underlying infrastructure of the economy itself.

In an article titled “Bezos’ Decision to Raise Wages is Largely a Machiavellian Distraction“, political blogger Michael Krieger observes that Bezos is also calling for a nationwide wage hike, which Amazon would be far more capable of absorbing than its competitors. Amazon can move into automation at a speed other companies won’t be able to afford to keep up with, and can thereby use this maneuver to shore up its domination even further.

“You really think Bezos is advocating for a national minimum wage increase because he’s suddenly a Bernie Sanders populist?” Krieger writes. “Don’t be stupid.”

Yes, please don’t be stupid. Jeff Bezos is an extremely dangerous plutocrat who is forming extensive ties with secretive government agencies while buying up media influence and working to control the way money itself moves and operates in the world. He is most certainly nowhere near anything like a Bernie Sanders populist, and his plans for our species include shipping all heavy industry along with a trillion humans off of our planet’s surface to inhabit the greater solar system. He wants a trillion human beings out in space toiling to fuel his insatiable capitalist empire while his heirs continue to inhabit the beautiful home for which our species is evolutionarily adapted.

Seriously, check it out: Bezos has openly described this as his grand plan for our species, and said this is why he sees his private space program as the most important work that he is doing currently. He wants a trillion humans working in space colonies while perhaps a lucky billion (0.1 percent) of them get to inhabit our beautiful blue planet, and you can be damn certain that he has no intention for his heirs to be among the 99.9 percent.

That’s it. That’s his whole vision. That’s the best possible future we can hope for if we leave control of our species in the hands of the plutocratic class. Not a future in which humanity learns to peacefully coexist with itself and the ecosystem on its home world, but a future in which a trillion of us are bred to turn the gears of the Amazon empire in outer space. Personally I think a much better vision would include shipping Bezos off to space right now, by himself, never to return.

We mustn’t ease off the revolt against the plutocracy just because the richest man in the world decided to give his workers what only amounts to a living wage in some parts of America. The fact that a plutocrat made a small concession is not a sign that it’s time to stop fighting, it’s a sign that fighting works. That fight must be continued until the plutocratic class no longer controls the fate of our species and our beautiful blue planet, until such time as humanity is able to control its own fate in the interests of all living creatures.

Don’t turn our fate over to depraved oligarchs for the price of a few dimes. Keep pushing these sociopathic bastards. Keep pushing them right off the stage.

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Latest comments

  • Kurt, as a Marxian radical I want to point out to you that Marxists like Marx, Engels, Luxemburg, Lenin, and Trotsky always maintained that the state is inherently an organ of repression in the hands of the ruling class, and that for “government” to play a positive rule, beyond regulating against some of the self-destructive aspects of capitalism when public pressure becomes too great, the state itself must be “destroyed” and replaced by a state of a different kind, whose key words are *democracy* and *participatory councils* (in Russian “soviets,” in French “communes”). In “State and Revolution” (1917) Lenin explicittly declares that the only difference between “Revolutionary Marxists” and “Revolutionary Libertarians” concerns the need for a *transitional* democratic state on the way to an entirely stateless society.

    • Shane, “… that the state is inherently an organ of repression in the hands of the ruling class…”

      All governments by nature are organs of repression whether they are controlled by the ruling class'” or by “participatory councils”.

  • Like so many left-leaning anti-war journalists, you’re a great writer, a master of words, and your anti-war/anti-empire writing is brilliant, cutting right to the quick every time. However, like so many left-leaning journalists, your grasp of economics and the damage that all governments do to local economies (people’s lives) is lacking.

    Bezos has become a garden variety Crony-capitalist, although he didn’t start that way. He’s not a champion of the free market (simply meaning, voluntary exchanges). Like every other “corporation” (a creation of government, btw), he wields government’s monopolistic power (which at its core is violence or the threat of violence) to crush his competitors.

    Look under the covers of most large corporation’s “success” and you’ll find government influence, favor, and meddling — eminent domain, minimum wage laws, OSHA regs, EPA regs, FDA regs, DARPA grants, local permits and building codes, etc — that helped those large corporations crush their smaller competitors.

    More government is never the right answer, and government is rarely, rarely, rarely ever your friend.

    Eliminate the ever-growing totalitarian modern State, and the Bezos’ of the world will fade away. Hold fast to the ever-growing State, like all good socialists, and continue to be dominated by those who wield your beloved State’s power.

  • “Krieger: Amazon Is Far More Dangerous And Powerful Than You Want To Admit”
    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-09-04/krieger-amazon-far-more-dangerous-and-powerful-you-want-admit

  • Was Walmart that started the monopoly push.. shut out mom and pop’s till not many were left.
    put it all under one roof with price and convenience it’s lure, and the people bought in 100%.
    Amazon has perfected the model no need to leave home
    with the push of a finger your shopping is done
    we humans are funny don’t really think much about how it might end
    we did not shout MONOPLY when first it did trend
    now we’re locked in a prison we’ve made for ourselves
    our lust for convenience and all that is new on those shiny store shelves.

    • if amazon was a workers’ cooperative like Mondragon in Spain (the 7th largest enterprise in their country), then we could have the convenience of wallmart and amazon without the abuses of their workers or the ridiculous enrichment of its single owner.

  • Obomber is very wealthy now. He put Kagan on Supreme Court. She hired Kavanaugh at a college. Kabuki BS. BDS. Did Elana Kagan pay Kavanaugh a livable wage? BDS

  • Is Bezos “the wealthiest man on the planet” or “the richest man on the planet?” There is a big difference. ‘Wealth” is something real–those external things and internal capacities which real human beings can use to maintain and improve the quality of their individual and collective lives. In terms of real wealth there are billions of humans far wealthier than Bezos, who “owns” nothing except unlimited “paper (now electronic bits) assets” (his internal capacities are a negative as far as the total wealth of our species is concerned) which give him the unlimited access to “money” and thereby control over the labor and the products of the labor of millions of humans. That is, he is Rich. Maybe the Richest Bastard on the planet. Riches are not wealth. Quite the opposite.

    • I’ve heard that the difference between rich and wealthy is that the rich make boatloads of money; the wealthy sign their paychecks.

  • Amazon customers are not going to be sent to a different planet. It would be spectacularly expensive to send just one human. If any humans ever go, it will be billionaires like Bezos escaping from the once-beautiful planet they will have made inhabitable with their insatiable greed. The rest of us will be forced to stay behind and die with the earth.

  • The most effective way to impact Bezos is to boycott Amazon. Nothing is sold there that you can’t get somewhere else with a few more clicks of the mouse. If you buy from Amazon you are enabling an Intelligence Agency connected Kleptocrat. Vote with your wallet! It has way more impact than the polling booth.

  • Everyone wants to get rid of the current system but no one wants to say what exactly should replace it. I agree the current system has to go but I do not think we should replace the devil we know with another worse devil either.
    So the question is What should replace the current system everyone seems to dislike?

    • There are many different definitions of capitalism, fascism and socialism. The socialism that i am in favour of is based on the majority of the wealth and power being controlled by the working classes, not by the very rich families, Wall Street, banksters, and huge corporations. Once we take back control (like the Constitution ruled us to be) then our government and politicians will work for us and not for their current major donors and lobbyists. We are still free to boycott the current predatory capitalist system and to create our own local economies. And thankfully, an increasing number of people are doing that right now. Anti-socialism rhetoric is propaganda spewed by the 1% (as they are the only beneficiaries of this bias against socialism).

      If most places of employment were owned solely by all those who worked there, and each owner had an equal say in how the place was run and what to do with the profits, the public would have more power and wealth than any elite. The public could decide together to pay for a federal government whose sole role was to create large scale resources that were beyond local capacity, such as highways, telephones, internet, banking, and to coordinate national-scale infrastructures chosen by the majority of the people.

      One thing i believe nature shows us is that diversity of solutions is stronger than a universal solution, which is vulnerable to crashing. That’s why i promote the idea of a democratic economy where most medium to large businesses are totally worker owned and managed; where every single employee is also an employer with each having equal votes. This keeps the power that comes from accumulated wealth distributed widely instead of concentrated in a few hands, with all the abuses of power and corruption that comes with that consolidation. It sounds a bit ‘utopian’ (in the common definition, impractical and idealistic) but there are strong and stable examples of workers’ cooperatives working around the world (e.g. Monsanto in Spain) and the system is increasing in popularity. Giving everyone the choice of what kind of economy they want to live in makes a civilisation much stronger. For example, self-employed entrepreneurs and artisans, bartering groups, self-sufficient homesteaders, traditional capitalist systems where the owners and investors are not the workers, and those unable to work who are supported by govt welfare (the too young, too old, disabled). As long as the corporate system is not dominant, the social hierarchy is fairly flat, so the gap between rich and poor is moderate. This means the political system can be truly democratic, not like the pretend democracy we have now.

      Greed is good when you are dying of famine. But an economic system that richly rewards excessive greed must be abolished. Whatever we want to get rid of, make the system disadvantage people with those traits. Whatever we want more of, make sure the system benefits people with those traits. That old Indian chief said we must feed the good wolf and starve the bad wolf.

      Material equality is not the goal. Just like wealth and income equality are not the goals. Only equality of opportunity and support to achieve goals are worth fighting for. When each of us has enough to make us happy (and that is not just consumer things) the desire to outdo your neighbour will decrease. Some, but not all people desire luxury and materialism. Differences in individual priorities will ensure that life is not uniform and society is not homogeneously regulated.

      Once all the people own and control the government (like the Constitution intended), we will probably decide to create not just livable minimum wages but also maximum allowed income and wealth for individuals and families.

      • Ginger, I appreciate your thoughtful reply. While I agree with most of your goals I do have a few disagreements as to how to get there.
        First, the US Constitution is not going to help us. Lysander Spooner was correct – the constitution either gave us the government we have now or it failed to prevent it. The constitution was not written for “the people” but rather for the banksters to establish a central government (one large centralized government is easier for the banksters to control than dozens of independent nations). I strongly recommend the book Hologram of Liberty by Ken Royce. It exposes the myths and fraud that is the constitution.

        “One thing i believe nature shows us is that diversity of solutions is stronger than a universal solution…”

        Agreed. Which is why I argue that the US must be dissolved. There is no reason for a federal government. None. Disband it and create instead hundreds of sovereign, independent nations/city/states based on a human scale. We indeed should observe and learn from nature.

        You are correct about different types of definitions of political systems like capitalism or socialism. I do not think either one works well except under certain limited conditions. Same with “democracy”. Unfortunately, the people of the US are not currently capable of a democracy. An Idiocracy yes, but a democracy? No. This problem can only be resolved through a breakup of the US. Democracy cannot work under current conditions.

        The one thing I am firmly against though is a system that replaces plutocrats with bureaucrats. Plutocrats at least produce something of value with which individuals can choose to partake of or not. Government does the exact opposite.

        • i totally agree that bureaucratic state capitalism ≠ socialism, which is what most people have been conditioned to believe (by capitalists) is the reality of socialism. how can swapping a private elite for a government elite be defined as an economic system that benefits the people? social = all the people. so socialism must mean that all the people are in control of the economy. whoever or whatever owns the bulk of the wealth/riches determines where the power resides. once power is in the hands of all the people, we control any government we might wish to set up. everyone would be able to easily monitor what government was doing and prevent excesses, cronyism, and corruption. then they would actually be our servants in more than name only.

          • Ginger, while I appreciate your thinking I must respectfully but strongly disagree. The question is who/what is the real enemy? The enemy is not capitalists, communists, socialists, billionaires, religions, dems or repubes, any of the so-called “isms”, etc. The enemy is Power. All of government is based on Power. The Power of violence. Power is the problem and it cannot be corrected simply by switching who gets to control it. Power itself must be eliminated (or at least severely disbursed until it can be removed). Everything else is just “meet-the-new-boss-same-as-the-old-boss” whether it be billionaires or “the people” wielding power. IMHO

            • many european countries have had (or still have) governments that were controlled by the public and therefore acted for the benefit of the public, without abusing that power. that’s why those countries have less poverty, better health, better education, and more peace and prosperity. so government is not the problem — it’s who controls government, which determines how tyrannical and restrictive it becomes.

              • Ginger, I argue that the people of Europe have no more say in their affairs than do US amerikans. Democracy is an illusion there as well especially under the EU. Not to mention that Europeans do not have even the Natural Law Right of Free Speech, among others.

                Also, European nations were until recently largely homogenous which is an important variable in the success of certain forms of socialism.

                Government is violence. “Do as we say or we will kill you”, is the basis of all government. This is the antithesis of voluntary human interactions which are the only moral interactions. Switching who controls that violence does not negate the immorality of the use of violence. I believe it was Lenin who stated something along the lines of “Government is about who does what to whom.” I do not want to replace one psycho with power who wants to do bad things to me with another psycho with the same power who also wants to do bad things to me but just for different reasons.

      • Ouch!! i made a terrible mistake in the post above. My example of a huge workers’ coop that has lasted for 6 decades is obviously not the evil Monsanto! it’s MONDRAGON in Spain.

    • The desire to have power over another is a massive problem. It’s what leads to violence and discrimination.
      However, I think capitalism is a fundamental problem because as a philosophy it has no ethics or morals, other than worshiping profit and abusing the poor.
      People who worship profit place their profit above the welfare of other people, other living creatures and the ecosystem.

      They tell themselves that they are doing people a favour by giving them a job and money to live. This is just self-talk to make themselves feel justified.

      We are imprisoned in a system that we didn’t ask for, forced to use money to obtain food and shelter. See enclosure of the commons. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enclosure
      If we continue to use money some will always have more money and power than others. The philosophy of capitalism results from the use of money, in conjunction with greed and self-interest.

      The system to replace the current system needs to be ecologically sustainable, respect other people, creatures and the ecosystem.
      Society needs to be organised without hierarchy, each person should be considered no more or less valuable than another.
      Society needs to fulfil needs first especially food, clean water, and shelter. Ownership of land should be eradicated. Everything becomes common land, owned by no-one. But people must respect each other and personal space, based on need, not greed.
      There also needs to be a common philosophy based on the above which is respected by everyone. Only through knowledge of the present capitalist, ecocidal, greedy, self-interested, and deeply ignorant system of living, can it come to be appreciated why we don’t wish to live like this anymore, and this realisation will lead us to adopt a different philosophy and way of living.

      We create our own world through our thoughts and actions, so literally anything is possible.

      • NNXXIJ, thanks for the thoughtful response. Although I must strongly disagree with you on most of it I certainly appreciate your concerns and strongly agree with you on other parts. I think you bring up several excellent questions but respectfully disagree with your analysis and solution.
        First, the system we live under now is not capitalism; it is corporatism. This is an important distinction. Corporatism is everything you incorrectly attributed to capitalism but for which you justifiably detest and I am right there with you. What we have now is unsustainable and must be replaced. But replacing a bad system with an even worse system is not desirable either. Therefore I must disagree with your calls for collectivism.
        I argue that the proper goal should be a system of more Individual Freedom not less. Collectivism in any form outside of voluntary collaboration always turns to government violence and misery because collectivism does not respect the Individual and his/her Natural Law Rights.

        “Ownership of land should be eradicated.”

        I absolutely disagree in the utmost. I say we should do the exact opposite. Private property – especially land ownership – is a Natural Law Right and is in keeping with Nature and Man’s Nature.

        “If we continue to use money some will always have more money and power than others.”

        Money itself is not the problem if money is used as an instrument of Productivity rather than as an instrument of Debt. And should not those who work harder, longer, and with more skills be more compensated than those who do not? Some have earned the right to have more than others so long as it is honestly earned IMO.

        “There also needs to be a common philosophy based on the above which is respected by everyone.”

        Agree, but – and not being confrontational here – can you name this common philosophy and how will everyone be convinced to respect it? It is a great sentiment but not a realistic one IMHO.

        Please understand that I am with you in your spirit for a better way. I just disagree with the road you suggest we take to get there. Peace and prosperity to you and yours.

  • Thank you Caitlin for exposing a plutocrat. But you need to do a little more homework. Bezos is not even remotely “the planet’s wealthiest man,” as you definitively call him. He’s nouveau riche. The authentic plutocrats have INTERGENERATIONAL WEALTH harking back to past centuries (plural). They never make Forbe’s list. They are in the deep background running the banks and economic systems which dictate the perma-wars, their biggest money maker. Bezos has not yet entered that league. For starters, watch this video “Who is Worth $500 Trillion Dollars?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQitwzTjfjg

  • One reference was not contained in the article. Since Bezos bought the Washington Post newspaper and two weeks later double what he spent, by contracting with the CIA, there have been myriad criticism of him and most of what that newspaper has printed is nothing but CIA propaganda.
    On a personal basis, the only way I will buy anything from Amazon is if I must buy a specific gift for someone important to me and the only place you can get it is on Amazon. Otherwise, I have been boycotting it for quite some time, in great part for his CIA connection, as well as everything mentioned in the article.
    One thing you can count on about this $150 billion man is that altruism is not to be found anywhere in his vocabulary. Yes, CIA Jeff is one big walking ulterior motive.

    • The Washington Post has been a cia Operation Mockingbird asset for decades before Bezos bought it.

  • Most readers at this site are too young to be familiar with a long-running comic strip, Mutt and Jeff. Mutt That strip was in syndication from 1907 until 1983, drawn by several cartoonists—chiefly Al Smith who drew it for nearly fifty years. In the 2002 Simpsons episode “Helter Shelter,” Bart laments having access only to Mutt and Jeff comic books and is quoted as saying, “This has been the worst week of my life. I miss my toys and my video games. Mutt and Jeff comics are NOT funny! They’re gay, I get it!” (Mutt and Jeff, Texas, existed as a town by that name from the 1920s to around 1960.) But perhaps the deepest understanding of the twosome is captured by the Jekyll and Hyde personae limned by Robert Louis Stevenson—a good guy and a bad one, wrapped into a single human being. Perhaps the raise in minimum wage was the good guy and all the exploitation and oppression of the Amazon labor force belongs to the other guy. A greater mind than mine might even be able to ID Mutt and Jeff in their roles by character name.

  • so space is the new China?
    And who will be left to buy the products?

  • Bezos didn’t build anything, his customers did. So now we should punish him for doing a great job of getting and keeping customers. Love all the blather on different web sites about how capitalism is the greatest thing since whenever yet it’s full on socialism when the names of Amazon and Walmart come up. People constantly whine about how people have gotten so lazy and don’t want to work yet when Amazon demands they work you same people come out of the woodwork condemning Amazon. In this the age of disinformation we don’t know what’s true or not of employees peeing in bottles or running to keep working but we do know from past experience with Walmart the unions spread fiction in their effort to unionize Walmart. The libertarians are big on having no minimum wage as “each employee can negotiate for their pay”. Yea that’s going to work out well with employers and their take or leave it attitude. If those employers wanted to pay more than minimum they would but those that do the minimum because they can’t go any lower but would love too. That’s why plenty of our illegal “guests” get paid under the table.

    One thing I know is true is many Amazon employees sleeping in cars and campers because they can’t afford the rents. But the rest of the story. Amazon’s warehouses hire huge during the holidays. Many of the same people drive long distances to show up every year to work. As they flood the area any rents go to the moon due to the influx plus after 3 months or so the workers go back home and the landlord has a vacant apartment. Those that sleep in cars and campers do so by choice so as have more money in their pockets when their short term job ends.

    • Let us not forget that most of the time when when employers are forced to increase pay lots of people lose their jobs.

  • He’s a disgusting and pathologically fucked person. Anyone driven to make that kind of an empire out of money is terrifyingly depraved of anything that makes a person’s life worth a damn. Total emptiness. Indeed, take down these plutocratic beasts.

  • i get something out of each of your articles, Caitlin. Please keep them coming..

  • Bezos has it backwards. The elites will turn this planet into a junkyard and then move to serene life in orbit while continuing to dispose their waste on earth, the junk planet.

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