“People before profit”, was one of many chants at the anti-capitalism demonstration taking place in major cities around the world during Black Friday.
Black Friday is one of the most profitable days for major retailers such as Wal-Mart. It is also a day that displays the desperation of working people who have lost all their disposable income to the continuing assault on their wages by the large retailers themselves. These workers storm the marketplace to purchase the product of their own exploited labour.
Moreover, the price tags placed on products also reveal the level of exploitation of the workers. Prices are dropped at times to the tenth of what they normally were and the corporation are still able to generate a profit. However, this is easy to understand when considering the low wages paid to over sea sweatshop workers (places such as China, Cambodia, and Thailand) in addition to the raw materials bought in countries that have zero regard for the human beings living there or the environment.
Further, the price tags on objects also hide one of the most systemic contradictions within the capitalist system: the contradiction between use-value, the social labour embodied in products, and the exchange-value. In short, we live in an exchange-value driven system that has lost sight of the social labour that is embodied within the products being sold, and are sold at arbitrary prices that are mostly influenced by the supply and the demand of the market rather than their use-value.
The United States as well as most modern Western Economies, after years of increasing technological growth has effectively pushed millions of industrial workers into the low-paying, no job security, service sector employment. Workers living in the West today have been effectively cornered and are being forced to pay with their wages for the nonsensical compound growth of capitalism.
“Putting people profit” is the call for the liquidation of the entire system, for capitalism cannot and will never be able to produce a human face due to its own internal contradictions. Facing immense despotic exploitation and forgoing the ability to buy products at a lower price: the workers protesting during Black Friday demonstrate a worker consciousness never witnessed before. The connection between poverty and corporate profit has now been cemented in the minds of the people! The most profitable day of the year for corporations has now been turned into the day of protest against the totality of the system! Corporations call out to the people to come out to buy their products and the people answer with chants against corporate profiteering and the systemic misery inherent in capitalism!