Since the beginning of December workers have contributed more than $15,000 in “blood money” to the Socialist Workers Party Capital Fund. Blood money is a term communist workers use to refer to bribes from bosses or their government, such as so-called bonuses, gifts and back-wage settlements.
These bribes aim to tie workers to the company and blunt any perspective of struggle to end the wages system. They press us to accept speedup, wage cuts, concession contracts and safety hazards. Communists and other class-conscious workers donate these bribes to the Capital Fund to finance long-range work of the party.
Clay Dennison, a foundry worker in Seattle, sent in a $583 production bonus, “transforming the bribe into its opposite,” his accompanying note says. “My coworkers talk about using bonuses for ‘luxuries’ like new tires or repairs that don’t come easily out of the weekly paycheck. I explain that this is blood money and far from a freebie. We get into discussions about what they are bribing us to do—and not do,” such as organizing a union. Dennison reports the company recently laid off some workers, cut hours for others and is working to speed up the movement of work through the plant.
Katy LeRougetel works in a unionized coffee factory in Montreal, which introduced new shifts a few years ago to extend the workweek. “They offered an ‘inducement’ to convince workers to accept this: a $100 gift certificate each Christmas until the contract is renegotiated,” she writes. “Ridiculous, but true.”
Tony Lane in Minneapolis contributed his “service bonus” of $159. “It’s blood money from the temp agency I worked for last year, 1 percent of my gross based on the fact that I worked over 1,500 hours for them,” he writes. “Their letter thanked me for my efforts. The agency ended my assignment in December and wouldn’t pursue other employment for me.”
To contribute “blood money” to the Socialist Workers Party Capital Fund, contact Militant distributors listed on page 8.