Economy  
comments_image Comments

Workplace Massacre in Alabama: Did Endless Downsizing and Slashed Benefits Cause the Rampage?

If you keep squeezing workers to fatten filthy-rich executives' already-obscene bonuses, there can be very violent consequences.

Continued from previous page

 
 
Share
 
 
 

There's more: In 2008, Bo Pilgrim directed Pilgrim's Pride to pay an egg-production facility that Bo owns $775,000 in rental fees; Bo's son, Ken Pilgrim, was paid over a half-million dollars in both 2007 and 2008 as "co-chairman" of the board; another son, Pat Pilgrim, and a daughter, Greta Pilgrim-Owens, were paid a total of over a million dollars in 2007-08 by the Pilgrim-controlled board, and little Pat Pilgrim seems to have learned a thing or two from his father, earning himself an extra half a million dollars thanks to sweet contracts between Pilgrim's Pride and his other company.

The only reason we know about all of this corporate malfeasance -- so typical in the post-Reagan economy -- is because of a shareholder lawsuit filed last year. Indeed, the trajectory of Pilgrim's wealth-plunder is a microcosm of what went on all across corporate America: first Bo Pilgrim squeezed all he could out of the workforce, and when they were squeezed dry, he fleeced his own shareholders, the unter-plutocrats, before finally crying "bankruptcy" and turning to the American government and legal system to protect him and his loot.

Thanks to the "voluntary bankruptcy," Pilgrim's Pride is in a much better position against all the lawsuits against it. In fact, it's in such a good position that the bankruptcy court even allowed Pilgrim family members to be hired back as restructuring "consultants," on company pay. And in case they were having revenue problems to pay Bo, Ken, Pat and the other vampires, the USDA handed Pilgrim's a contract worth tens of millions of dollars in January.

How did Pilgrim's pay back the taxpayers for this little bailout? If you've read the news, you'll know the answer: A few weeks later, Pilgrim's Pride announced mass layoffs at three plants, devastating those communities.

If you're wondering what the Reaganomics concept of "wealth transfer from the employee class to the plutocrat class" looks like, this is it. Multiply this story by just about every corporation out there today, and there you have America.

McLendon's killings holds few similarities to that other massacre that transpired this week in a school in Stuttgart, Germany.

One major difference between the Europe's and America's school shootings is that they happen all the time in America, with a frightening regularity, whereas they're still incredibly rare in Europe -- two school massacres in Finland and two in Germany, all of them unusually bloody by American standards, but none of them appear to have sparked an unstoppable trend in Europe's schools.

That's what makes America's modern-day school shootings so unique -- they happen so frequently and predictably (and for every shooting you hear about, there are dozens of averted shootings, shooting plots, kids caught with hit lists and duffel bags, etc., much of it covered up because they're minors). This was exactly what the most famous school shooters, Columbine's Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, hoped for when they attacked their school: "We need to fucking kick-start a revolution here! We need to get a chain reaction going!"

But whereas they've found a huge cult following among American kids devastated by a culture that coddles the bullies, pushes them to the limits to compete and succeed, and pumps them full of prescription drugs because mommy and daddy are themselves being crushed at the workplace -- outside of America, Columbine's influence has been sparse, as a culture like Germany's is different from ours on so many levels.

For one thing, Germany is much more humane to its citizens than America is: its teachers are much more respected than in America, where "people who can’t do teach," while all citizens have free health care and certain employee rights -- like, for example, mandatory paid vacation time (America is the only Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development country not to mandate paid vacation time to workers).

 
See more stories tagged with: