James Ruthenberg

The Kentucky House is escalating class conflict in the state of Kentucky. The recently written and introduced HB 500 has a flood of changes to Kentucky labor law that sets workers’ rights as far back as 82 years. Some of these rights are…

  • The right to a lunch between 3 and 5 hours into a shift
  • The right to a 10-minute break for every 4 hours worked
  • The right to time and a half pay for working the 7th consecutive day of the week

Additionally, the bill eliminates employer liability for paying for travel time and cleanup and reduces the statute of limitations for labor violations from 5 to 3 years. This comes on the heels of another bill which eliminates work restrictions for teenagers in the state, allowing them to work all night and during the school week without restriction. The cover provided for this bill by its authors, is that it brings Kentucky in line with federal labor laws, while failing to address the fact that virtually all labor protections in this country are outdated and weak. This Bill shows this at the state level in contrast to the litigation that Amazon and other Jeff Bezos ventures are pursuing.

This year is turning into quite a show from the capitalists. While profits have been rising due to opportunistic maneuvering around the COVID-19 restrictions and economic benefits, there is shaky footing just below the surface. Last year marked the largest amount of commercial loans expiring in US history. Inflation is still running amok making all forms of credit unaffordable, especially in contrast with the price of food. The threat of further banking crises like that of Silicon Valley Bank still looms, where the reduction in loan payments to the banks creates a much higher than usual likelihood that many banks could become insolvent from a withdrawal run.

These recent legal attacks are an escalation in class warfare from the ruling class. Not only do they inflict pain and suffering throughout the work day, the continued legal onslaught of the capitalists to maximize profit will surely result in the further de-classing of the middle classes, but in the loss of individual property of the workers as they are crushed harder and harder by high prices and poor working conditions.

These laws protect necessities such as rest, payment for work performed, and the right to justice under the law. How is it that in a country where the majority of all people are workers who must work to survive, that these basic liberties are being pried away from the majority? The bare truth is that we have a democracy of and for the rich. While there have been gains made by workers over time, this country’s history cannot escape from its roots. Which beyond liberation from the tyranny of monarchy, is a history of struggle between workers and the owners of private property.

To stop with the constant back and forth, the constant loss and struggle for the most essential of liberties, the workers themselves must take control of governing and prevent any capitalist from ever again taking control of the state. What we have seen developing more rapidly with each passing year is disillusionment with the way things are. Many people are aware of the realities and flaws of the bourgeois system of government. They may not know the problem is the bourgeoisie, and they may not know how to fight them, but the writing is on the wall. To capitalists, essential liberties won through supreme court decisions and long-standing laws can easily be tossed aside at any time if it does not interfere with profits. Because of this, all we really have in the fight against injustice is the working class’s common struggle for socialism. To grow and maintain freedom and liberty and to allow it to flourish all throughout the world we must stop the movement and success of the fascists who are beginning to grow in numbers and liberate humanity from the monstrosity that the US system of government has grown into.

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