What’s up with the New York Times

By on February 17, 2013

When a New York Times lead editorial is titled “More Jobs, Higher Pay” (Feb. 5) you have to wonder. The editorial called for a higher minimum wage that also “raises wages higher up the income scale.” The Times calls for legislation making it easier for workers to unionize and criticizes President Obama for not standing with workers in Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan when those states gutted union rights. And the Times wants more spending to create more jobs in a sluggish economy while Congress talks only about deficit reduction and austerity.

Last time we looked, the Times was still the pre-eminent organ for much of the billionaire ruling class. The paper has always opposed just about every strike, been hostile to unions and railed against “greedy” workers who wanted higher pay.

When the Times comes out with something we can agree on, an explanation needs to be sought. The Times editors are not stupid. The editorial isn’t written to encourage workers to fight for better pay, a jobs program or unions. It is published as a warning to their own class.

The Times has often printed op-ed pieces or articles by various “liberal” economists or sociologists who warn that the steady decrease in the standard of living of the masses will sooner or later result in a working-class uprising. Nobel Prize winning professor Paul Krugman is one such voice. But the Times has now elevated this occasional opposing view to editorial policy.

The capitalist economic crisis has proven deep and enduring. A split is developing among the ruling class — the 1%. One section wants to use the crisis to further smash unions, slash government spending for social programs, and profit from lower wages. Another grouping worries that mass unemployment, poverty and the destruction of unions can only lead to a mass rebellion. They propose that government policies and increased spending can placate the working class and reboot the economy.

But both ruling-class factions are for capitalism. They only differ on which policies will be the best for saving their dire system.

We at Workers World are for unions, higher wages and jobs programs. These are things the working class can and will fight for as it struggles to survive. But in that struggle the workers and oppressed will learn that the capitalist system is their enemy. Capitalism cannot provide a decent standard of living for everyone. It must steadily deepen exploitation and repression to increase the ruling class’s dominant share of the wealth created by our labor power.

The struggle of the working class will more and more seek a solution to the fundamental problem. That solution is called socialism. When that knowledge spreads throughout the hundreds of millions of capitalism’s victims, they won’t be looking to rescue the capitalist economy like the New York Times wants to do.

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