Elon Musk, the world’s wealthiest man and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, issued an ultimatum to the employees of Twitter Wednesday, demanding that they accept an “extremely hardcore” culture or face termination.
In an email titled “A fork in the road,” Musk decreed that Twitter staffers would now be subject to the most severe work environment in the interests of competition. According to the Washington Post, which obtained a copy of the email, Musk wrote, “This will mean working long hours at high intensity,” adding, “Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.”
Employees were given the option to either respond to the email by Thursday indicating their agreement or be fired with three months severance pay.
The email comes less than a month after Musk finalized his $44 billion private takeover of Twitter, a mass social media platform with nearly 400 million active monthly users.
In a rational society, this service that is utilized by hundreds of millions of human beings for news and information would be publicly owned, but under capitalism it has become the plaything of a single billionaire oligarch, and a fascistic buffoon to boot.
While Musk initially claimed that his purchase was motivated by his desire “to try and help humanity, whom I love,” this nonsense was quickly exposed.
Just a few days after his purchase, Musk immediately fired the firm’s board of directors, declaring himself its sole executive. Aiming to transform Twitter into a profitable enterprise, he stated bluntly that mass layoffs would be necessary, while beginning the rollout of a subscription charge to obtain a “blue check” on the platform.
Musk proceeded to order the termination of over half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees, a process that is now being extended to the contract staff. Among those culled were the staff responsible for content moderation as well as the entire human rights department, Musk’s love for humanity notwithstanding.
The mass layoffs at Twitter are part of a wider jobs massacre in the tech industry, a prelude to an all-out assault on the jobs and living conditions of the entire working class.
The “extremely hardcore” Musk is a political criminal. In May 2020, while the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading throughout the globe, Musk defied the lockdown orders issued by local health authorities and reopened his Bay Area Tesla plant in Fremont, California. Following the reopening, over 400 workers were sickened and several died.
Musk railed against lockdowns and other public health measures, referring to them as “fascist,” while saying that the initial worry over the pandemic was “dumb,” predicting that “there will be close to zero new cases.” For this, he earned the support of Trump and the far-right elements around him who were then engaged in a fascist coup plot, aimed at the elimination of all restrictions on the spread of the pandemic.
Musk was also a vocal supporter of the far-right “freedom convoy”—made up of small business owners, far-right activists and other human dust, some of them veterans of the January 6, 2021 insurrection—that occupied the center of Ottawa, Canada, earlier this year, demanding that vaccine mandates and other public health measures be scrapped.
With this history in mind, Musk’s acquisition of Twitter carries an additional sinister element. Trump, who utilized Twitter as a platform in the attempted overthrow of the elected government of the United States, may have his account reinstated. And there can be no doubt that the most backward, anti-science conceptions, including outright denial of the pandemic and climate change, will now be promoted, including by Musk himself.
Musk was one of a whole layer of billionaires who saw their wealth skyrocket to unfathomable heights during the course of the pandemic. During 2020, he added over $100 billion to his fortune; in 2021, another $127 billion, surpassing Jeff Bezos as the richest man.
Between March 2020 and May 2022—when the COVID death toll surpassed one million in the US—727 individuals saw their wealth balloon by a total of $1.71 trillion, fueled by an explosion in stock prices after the multi-trillion-dollar Wall Street bailouts of 2020.
While the working class has been subjected to mass infection and death due to the pandemic, along with soaring inflation and a steady erosion in living conditions, exacerbated now by the US-NATO war against Russia, the members of the financial oligarchy have quite literally never had it so good.
Musk, who has risen to the top of this trash heap, is the cream of the crop. In October 2019, in response to the coup in Bolivia that deposed the democratically elected government of Evo Morales, Musk tweeted, “We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it.”
In his crude arrogance, Musk epitomizes a ruling elite whose fabulous wealth is only matched by the depths of its intellectual and cultural backwardness, combined with a ruthless determination to defend its wealth and privileges.
But in his contempt for the masses, Musk and the ruling elite that he speaks for are blind to the storm that is on the horizon. History is bringing the capitalist class face to face with the specter of revolution. The rising tide of the revolutionary working class will sweep away Musk and the rotten system that has brought him to the heights of bourgeois society.