This May Day, we’re asking you to join us for a moment to review some facts. Amidst the clamor of the Fight for $15 movement, we’d like to share some figures that reflect the sobering realities facing the working class. We’d also like to acknowledge that the Fight for $15 movement is providing a needed reform, and we are grateful for all those involved in that struggle. This acknowledgement is also a plea to those offering their blood, sweat, and tears to reform-based approaches to the working class struggle. We ask that they consider going all-in on a revolutionary effort to address the sickness of capitalism.
The facts motivating this proposal come from MIT’s “living wage calculator.” It “draws upon geographically specific expenditure data related to a family’s likely minimum food, child care, health insurance, housing, transportation, and other basic necessities (e.g. clothing, personal care items, etc.) costs.” In essence, it determines the minimum one needs to earn to meet life’s basic financial needs.
Setting aside expenditures for entertainment and other areas that contribute toward a life of dignity, if you live in Los Angeles County and are a single parent with one child, you would need to earn $25.72 an hour to make a living wage.
If you are a single parent with two children, that number skyrockets to $29.28. So, at $15 an hour, a single parent with one child is falling behind over $10 an hour for each hour worked. If you live in Milwaukee County and are a single parent with one child, the living wage is $22.75 an hour. If you are a single parent with two children, that figure jumps to $29.26. A single parent with two children in Milwaukee County is negative nearly $15 for each hour worked at $15 an hour.
In some respects, the push for raising the minimum wage is a successful diversion from a focus on addressing the root of the problem, and we suspect that capitalism’s biggest supporters are likely pleased that the broader focus has yet to fully shift toward system change. The Soltysik/Walker 2016 Campaign is saying, “No more!” It is asking you to join us in the effort to address the scourge of capitalism.
In the words of Assata Shakur, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
— Mimi Soltysik & Angela Nicole Walker