Response to a Concerned Small Business Owner over 15 NOW

Earlier this month I posted a link on one of my social media sites to an essay I wrote the night before, “Yes, $15 an hour minimum wage, NOW!” Among the people who responded along a spectrum between yes and no were two from my native state of Virginia. Let’s call one of them Brigid, which, of course, is not her real name. Brigid, a progressive liberal more radical than many and as mellow as a Summer pond at twilight, expressed concern about us activists moving too fast to raise the minimum wage. She thought proponents for $15 now would be wise to slow down and take more time. After all, why rush it and mess it up for all of us?

More captivating, however, was a wrenching inquiry from a friend of mine back East. He was a small business owner who ran a small but bustling bakery and café. My friend, let’s call him Isaac, declared raising the minimum wage up to $15 an hour “would put” him “out of business in one month.” Unless, he said, he jacked up his prices. I could hear him as he pounded his fist upon the countertop as he continued. “The socialist-workers rights-stick-it-to-the-man person in me loves it, but I am the man here. This seriously would break me,” he wrote. “Why do this if prices just rise in concert with pay?”

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Yes, $15 an hour minimum wage, NOW!

Fight for 15, Fight for the Working Class, Fight for Justice, Fight for Freedom. Solidarity!

Fight for 15, Fight for the Working Class, Fight for Justice, Fight for Freedom. Solidarity!

Those who argue against raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour do not get it. These naysayers spin broken webs of economic facts and figures rooted not in the reality of our natural environment but inside the charts and computer algorithms of a virtual world divorced from physical reality. It’s not about the money. I want to stand up and shout, “It’s not about the money; it’s about people! Real live human beings! It’s about relationships, our relationships! It’s about class war.”

Life is Struggle. The working classes get life is a struggle. So do artists and small business owners. So do the unemployed, the underemployed, the homeless, the foreclosed, the laid off, the poorly paid, the uneducated, the overeducated, students deep in debt, the hungry, the sick, the pissed off.

This is part of our struggle to build Democratic Socialism. As such we seek to remove banksters and Corporacrats from power. Get them out of out of politics and government. We work to reclaim democracy from the grip of the rich. We intend to go further and put democracy and justice into business, into the workplace, and into the marketplace.

This struggle is part of finishing what the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., started. He knew we couldn’t have political democracy until we also have economic democracy. This is not about the stupidity of self-righteous fools who ridicule the spelling and grammar of hardworking low-wage workers such as myself, but for democracy based upon human rights and social responsibilities instead of property rights and financial violence.

We understand this is an issue of ethics and even morals. We get in a way sheltered pundits do not the Great Global Recession did not end in 2009. Indeed, this worldwide almost-Second Great Depression continues to grind on and on without any clear end in sight. These are hard times for large numbers of people from the poor to the middle.

Remember bad times don’t last forever. We must remember our victories during times of discouragement. We must remind ourselves during those moments when we just wanna quit all this will pass. So, yes, stop and rest a bit. Then get back up and keep going. Because we’ve already come a helluva long way! We learn, adapt, and adjust. Together we recalibrate, grow, and evolve. Ours is the search for what works and best serves us thru inquiry, action, results, and analysis. It is the Dialectical process.

You keep going. We all keep going. We go. Action is better than indulging in cynicism, apathy, and do-nothingism. Struggle serves to move us hard working people from enduring ever more suffering-to-barely-survive to rise up to stand in our power and thrive.

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., reminded us in the last speech he made before he was assassinated he’s “been to the mountaintop,” he stood up there and looked over and saw the Promised Land. He knew all of us would get there. We will get there, and we will get there together!

 

William Dudley Bass
8-9 April 2014
Seattle, Washington
Cascadia

See:

Fight for a $15/hour Minimum Wage, <https://www.15now.org>.

Sign up here ASAP to register for the national conference scheduled for Saturday 26 April 2014 for raising the minimum wage: Onto the Ballot, Into the Streets, <https://www.15now.org/april-26>.

Let’s unite and give each other our support!

Also see William  Bass’s earlier article, “Raise the Minimum Wage,” with its extensive list of Sources, at <http://williamdudleybass.com/raise-the-minimum-wage>.

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