On Tuesday, Amazon’s fame Jeff Bezos, the richest individual in the world, briefly flew into space, along with three other companions.
The American media establishment, on the whole, vanished from the vision, celebrating “historic space travel.” The various experts, sycophants in the pay of the oligarchy, would congratulate Bezos if he proved that one and one equaled two (“What an innovation!” “What a breakthrough!”).
Without particularity, the Washington post, owned by Bezos, published an opinion piece on Monday titled: “Billionaires’ space efforts may seem deaf, but these are important milestones.” The column said, “You may not like them, but the billionaires behind these private sector efforts have both the resources and the impatience with government bureaucracy to put Americans back into space.” , where they belong.
The WSWS completely debunked this bogus and self-serving argument, pointing out that “far from the plutocrats who advance space exploration, their activities represent a significant setback even from the scientific, technical and social achievements of 60 years ago. years, alone the colossal effort on the scale of the company which led to the moon landings in 1969-1972.
Right-wing commentators, meanwhile, have tried defensively, nervously, to argue that the flight of NS-16 represented the triumph of “American individualism, ambition, perseverance, technology, creativity and entrepreneurship ”. Reactionary veteran John Podhoretz, former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush, ominously asserted in the New York Post (the personal property of fellow billionaire Rupert Murdoch) that “Bezos’ flight has now solidified a future that will feature private exploration of the universe beyond Earth and sea.”
Overall, however, the vision of Bezos buying his way just outside the stratosphere has inspired widespread indifference or open revulsion. These comments in response to a video of the brief theft were typical: “It’s a shame they had to bring it back”, “Amazon is going into space but my package is still taking a month”, “Look like the man who wrecks the business the world spends more on personal extravagance in 10 minutes than many of its employees will in their entire lifetimes! “,” Just give your employees better wages and working conditions, I’ll be more impressed. “
On the flip side, without the slightest hint of sincerity, various Democrat Party politicians have attempted to capitalize on the general public’s hostility to Bezos’ feat by offering meaningless criticism. The gist of the comments was summed up in Massachusetts Representative Katherine Clark’s suggestion that it was “time for billionaires to pay their fair share.”
As might be expected, Senators Bernie Sanders (Vermont) and Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts) and New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made similar comments. All of these individuals are defenders of the profit system that produced malignant social inequality and allowed Bezos to accumulate more than $ 200 billion in wealth in a time of massive human suffering. Their comments, as they were supposed to, did not engage these cheap demagogues at all.
Bezos is a major financial and social parasite. In May, the media reported that he was purchasing “a 417-foot-long yacht that spans multiple decks and has three huge masts.” The ship also has a “support yacht” with a helipad. “The ship, known only as Project 271, would cost around $ 500 million. “In February 2020, Bezos purchased the Warner Estate in Beverly Hills for $ 165 million,” the most expensive home sale in [California] the history of the state. A few months later, Bezos bought “a $ 10 million house that shares a hedge line with the Warner Estate.”
According to Bezos, Blue Origin, the aerospace maker and suborbital space flight services company he founded, has already sold nearly $ 100 million worth of tickets for future passenger flights. At a public auction, a seat on the first theft fetched $ 28 million.
A commentator (at Microphone ) noted that, taking into account the median salary of Amazon workers, the average worker earned around $ 2.75 “during the 11 minutes his former CEO left Earth,” while the latter increased his wealth up to $ 1.57 million.
Claims that Amazon’s founder’s space flight was a pioneer, and that he is obsessed with climate change and “saving the world” need to be put in proper context.
Nonetheless, something revealing came out of the sordid excursion on July 20. After Bezos returned to Earth on Tuesday, at a press conference, Bezos explained that he wanted to “thank a few people.” The former Amazon CEO first paid tribute to the engineers at Blue Origin and the people of Van Horn, Texas, where he owns hundreds of thousands of acres.
Bezos then observed, “I also want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you paid for all of this. So seriously, to every Amazon customer and every Amazon employee, thank you from the bottom of my heart. It’s very appreciated.”
The words have drawn criticism, even in the submissive American media, for their odd inappropriateness and provocation. In 1682, when the Palace of Versailles was spacious enough (with some of its solid silver furniture) for Louis XIV and his family to settle there, the king likewise expressed his gratitude to French citizens : “After all, you paid for all that”?
Bezos’ comment evoked an image of Amazon employees, in an act of collective generosity, happily lending themselves to sending their boss into space. However, there are very few things that are truly willing to go and work for Amazon. That over a million people work for the giant company is more a comment on their economic desperation than anything else. “I work for Amazon” is something that company employees in the United States and elsewhere often spit out angrily, bitterly, sometimes interrupted by a curse, as if protesting a prison sentence.
The WSWS has extensively documented the grueling conditions of Amazon’s facilities. A RevealNews commentary in 2019 noted the accumulated injury records “at 23 of the company’s 110 distribution centers nationwide.” Overall, the serious injury rate for these facilities was more than double the national average for the warehousing industry: 9.6 serious injuries per 100 full-time workers in 2018, compared to an average of industry that year of 4. “
The report notes that “several former workers have said they have to break safety rules to keep pace. They would jump or stretch to reach an upper basket instead of using a stepladder. They twisted and bent to grab boxes instead of taking the time to squat and lift with their legs. They hoisted very heavy objects on their own to avoid wasting time getting help. They had to, they said, or they would lose their jobs. So they took the risk.
“Then if they were injured,” the report continued, “they would lose their jobs anyway. Even some workers who liked the pace, camaraderie and pay of Amazon fulfillment centers told Reveal they were quickly replaced as soon as their bodies collapsed.
Bezos was telling the truth when he mentioned that Amazon workers were responsible for all of his fortune. They wear out their body and destroy their health to generate its wealth. Or, as another reviewer (at Vice ) argued graphically: “Bezos was able to go to space because Amazon pushes workers so hard they miscarry, pass out in heat waves, work ten-and-a-half-hour shifts in the cemetery called “megacycles”, piss in bottles and defecate in bags, and much more.
Everything here is a confirmation of Karl Marx’s analysis of the capitalist system, made over a century and a half ago. In Capital, volume 1, Marx explained that “in order to be able to extract value from the consumption of a commodity, our friend Moneybags must have the chance to find, in the sphere of circulation, on the market, a commodity whose use value possesses the particular property of being a source of value, the actual consumption of which is therefore itself an embodiment of work and, consequently, a creation of value. The possessor of money finds in the market such a special commodity in capacity for labor or labor power.
“Moneybags” Bezos and the rest of the American elite confirm Marx’s analysis across the board. Through their brutality and exploitation, as well as their obscene consumption and antics, they teach workers to hate capitalism and capitalists, thereby hastening the end of their own system. Among the workers, explain the founders of socialism, Marx and Friedrich Engels, “What the bourgeoisie produces above all, therefore, are its own gravediggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are also inevitable.