Descriptions of the event on Wall Street might seem eerily familiar. “It was a crush out of a blue sky—an unexpected, death-dealing bolt,” one witness observed, “which in a twinkling turned into a shambles the busiest corner of America’s financial center and sent scurrying to places of shelter hundreds of wounded, dumb-stricken, white-faced men and women—fleeing from an unknown danger.… Looking down Wall Street later I could see arising from the vicinity of the subtreasury building and the J.P. Morgan and Co. bank, a mushroom-shaped cloud of yellowish, green smoke which mounted to a height of more than 100 feet, the smoke being licked by darting tongues of flame.”
This document was accepted by the NYC General Assembly on September 29, 2011:
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.
From time to time, someone under 30 will ask me, “When did this all begin,America’s downward slide?” They say they’ve heard of a time when working people could raise a family and send the kids to college on just one parent’s income (and that college in states like California and New York was almost free). That anyone who wanted a decent paying job could get one. That people only worked five days a week, eight hours a day, got the whole weekend off and had a paid vacation every summer. That many jobs were union jobs, from baggers at the grocery store to the guy painting your house, and this meant that no matter how “lowly” your job was you had guarantees of a pension, occasional raises, health insurance and someone to stick up for you if you were unfairly treated.
Young people have heard of this mythical time — but it was no myth, it was real. And when they ask, “When did this all end?”, I say, “It ended on this day: August 5th, 1981.”
Man wouldn’t pay you unless he had to. Chris Rock
The antiunion movement in the United States keeps us underpaid and represents a serious impediment to economic growth. Despite that, the antiunion sentiment remains strong among the political establishment and their patrons. Why?
Worker rights and a decent wage represent a toxic brew to the ruling elite. In the past, they expressed their antiunion position in a crude fashion. From the 1870s through the 1920s, industrialists fought union growth with hired thugs and complicit law enforcement officials. Organizers and union members were harassed, maimed, and killed throughout the country for simply acting on the right to organize and participate in a union. Continue reading →
This is a political crime of deception, an enormous bait and switch, in which liberals and quite a few independents were misled by a serial liar who purposely characterized himself as a reformer…
Did you receive your email from Barack Obama yet? If you are a Democrat, or on his campaign mailing list, the president has promised you are going to be the first to know when he formally launches his reelection campaign. It could be any moment now; apparently the White House is waiting for a slow news day when Libya and Fukushima and Congressional budget negotiations aren’t dominating the media agenda. Once the news is out, you are expected as a loyal Obama supporter to start sending in campaign donations and begin attending campaign organization meetings.
The problem is, if you are a liberal, the chances are pretty high that you haven’t forgotten that the White House thinks of you as “fucking retarded”.
Maine Governor Paul LePage has ordered state workers to remove from the state labor department a 36-foot mural depicting the state’s labor history. Among other things the mural illustrates the 1937 shoe mill strike in Auburn and Lewiston. It also features the iconic “Rosie the Riveter,” who in real life worked at the Bath Iron Works. One panel shows my predecessor at the U.S. Department of Labor, Frances Perkins, who was buried in Newcastle, Maine.
The LePage Administration is also renaming conference rooms that had carried the names of historic leaders of American labor, as well as former Secretary Perkins.
The Governor’s spokesman explains that the mural and the conference-room names were “not in keeping with the department’s pro-business goals.”
Just as an iceberg’s mass is largely hidden beneath the waters surface, despite state and federal budgetary shortfalls, taxpayer priorities remained primarily concealed…until now. The call for austerity measures and the budgetary turmoil experienced in Wisconsin has taken a state economic union-busting policy and turned it into an explosive national ideological battleground.
Governor Walker managed to destroy a budgetary surplus with the sweep of a pen, by giving tax cuts to corporations and was going to make the public workers pay for it. Simply put, public unions ability to collectively bargain was to blame for the deficit he had created and if the peoples hard won rights could just be revoked, then state government could balance a budget.
Finally, Obama will be delivering real change. But not the kind envisaged by those who voted for him. Rather, Obama’s revolutionary change builds upon the foundations laid by Reagan, who drastically altered American society by promoting the corporate sector at the expense of working people.
Obama’s state of the union speech was the culmination of months of right-wing policies that began in earnest after the mid-term election, where his fake liberal garb was completely shed. Now, the naked, corporate President presides unhindered by any pretense to help working people.
The American left is a phantom. It is conjured up by the right wing to tag Barack Obama as a socialist and used by the liberal class to justify its complacency and lethargy. It diverts attention from corporate power. It perpetuates the myth of a democratic system that is influenced by the votes of citizens, political platforms and the work of legislators. It keeps the world neatly divided into a left and a right. The phantom left functions as a convenient scapegoat. The right wing blames it for moral degeneration and fiscal chaos. The liberal class uses it to call for “moderation.” And while we waste our time talking nonsense, the engines of corporate power—masked, ruthless and unexamined—happily devour the state.
The loss of a radical left in American politics has been catastrophic.
The life of a trade unionist in Colombia is very difficult and complex”, visiting union leader Edgar Paez told Green Left Weekly.
Paez said 4000 unionists have been murdered in Colombia in 28 years. “Last year, 47 unionists were killed, 48 the year before. Union leaders need armed guards, bulletproof cars, camera surveillance and bulletproof windows on their offices.
“They lose the possibility of a normal family life.”
Come on: Is the West really in such decline? Yes, we can sit here on our island continent and gloom about the rise of China, as our elite now like to do. Or we can go out into the world and start competing like the Europeans. For here’s a strange fact: since 2003, it’s not China but Germany, that colossus of European socialism, that has either led the world in export sales or at least been tied for first. Even as we in the United States fall more deeply into the clutches of our foreign creditors—China foremost among them—Germany has somehow managed to create a high-wage, unionized economy without shipping all its jobs abroad or creating a massive trade deficit, or any trade deficit at all. Sure, China just pulled slightly ahead of Germany, but that’s mostly because the euro has soared, making German goods even more expensive, and world trade has slumped. Meanwhile, the dollar is dropping, and we still can’t compete with either nation. And even as the Germans outsell the United States, they manage to take six weeks of vacation every year. They’re beating us with one hand tied behind their back.
Greece is turning into a battle royal between the global financial elites and the average worker in the industrial West. This started out as a more limited struggle, pitting the finance ministers and central banks of the European Union against the Greek unions, but the fight has unexpectedly broadened with news of the surreptitious involvement of Goldman Sachs in helping Greece avoid borrowing constraints.
The picture painted in the Western financial press makes the unions the villain in this play. The unions are described as greedy, lazy, too quick to strike, and insensitive to the burdens they were imposing on the Greek economy. To cope with union threats and extortion, various Greek governments had no choice but to borrow excessively, and well beyond the European Union target range that allowed domestic budget deficits to be no higher than 3% of GDP. As of last year, Greece’s budget deficit was 12.7% of GDP.
The sheer level of these deficits – the highest in the European community – has spooked international investors and the ratings agencies like Moody’s, which have dropped the Greek sovereign credit rating and threatened further demotions if nothing is done. This, along with the prospect of default on their government debt, has thrown Greece into a crisis and into the hands of the EU commissioners and finance officials who are contemplating a bailout.
Another way to look at this is to ask yourself who knows how much has really been borrowed by various governments around the world?
When we think of heartwarming tales, they tend to be of the sort like “Miracle on 34th Street,” where little Susan Walker gets the house she wanted for Christmas after all, or “It’s a Wonderful Life,” where George Bailey’s neighbors and customers put self-interest aside to save his bank. Those are yummy treats of magical doings and brotherly compassion that the season inspires. But in real life happy endings don’t often come so easily or tidily.
wesayfightback.com/wordpress. The network to fight for economic justice
By Kari Lydersen
“They say cut back, we say fight back” was the rallying cry and title of a national conference in Chicago Oct. 3, which tied together struggles by unions, immigrants and people facing foreclosure nationwide.