As a new year begins and the 2020 presidential election looms closer,
our political focus will start to narrow around the issues thought to
be most urgent and likely to mobilize voters. One issue surely to be
glossed over, if not completely ignored, is the persistence of racial
segregation. Even writing it feels off-topic, like referring to an
anachronism. We have become so habituated to the ingrained treads of our
racial geography that they are unremarkable. When segregation is
remarked upon, it is almost always in reference to the histories of public policy and private action that were necessary to the invention of “black neighborhoods” or “white suburbs”.
by 70,000 auto plant workers in Matamoros, Mexico is now in its second week.
They just held a “day without workers”, where the plants were idle, and
production was completely halted. The strike has already cost the bosses $100
million and is slowing production at General Motors and Ford assembly plants.
Photos on social media showed deserted factories and union bureaucrats
struggling to keep production lines operating after workers put down their
tools en masse. Over 50 factories have now stopped production as a result of
the strike. The union bureaucrats and the bosses have been shown to be impotent.
There is one thing the now
30 day old government shutdown shows for sure – neither Donald Trump nor his
opponents have any concern for poor U.S. workers, the biggest victims of this
power game between the main wing of the ruling class and the usurpers of the on
the right. 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck (CNBC 1/9), and now
800,000 federal employees and hundreds of thousands of contractors, who are 40%
of government personnel, are without one, whether or not they are being forced
to work. To understand the devastation, we must know that 21.2% of U.S.
families have no savings, including over 32% of Latin and 37% of black
families. 40% of all families have less than $400 in available cash for
emergencies, according to the Federal Reserve. What more proof need there be
that workers cannot afford to live under this capitalist system?
The Women’s March, which will occur in many cities on January 19, 2019, began two years ago as Trump became President. It was in large part a response to his coarse and disparaging behavior toward women, and involved several million marchers in the U.S. and around the world. Issues included reproductive rights, criminal justice, defense of the environment and the rights of immigrants, Muslims, gay and transgender people and the disabled. Unfortunately, many of the slogans implied that workers would have been better off if Hillary had been elected. No leaders and scarcely any marchers related the problems of racism and sexism to capitalism.
The scientific Public Health approach to preventing and controlling sexually transmitted diseases has been well established for some 70 years. Why is it then that the HIV epidemic, which began in the US in 1981, has continued to infect over 38,000 people a year, declining only 8% from 2010-15? What was the role of the government as “guardians of the public interest”? The Supreme Court ruled in 1905 that there is a governmental and societal interest in preventing the spread of disease. The historical record demonstrates that the US Government has, for political and financial reason, not only refused to take the necessary well known steps to end the HIV epidemic, they have also cut funding to the major institutions responsible for bringing the epidemic to an end.
This article discusses my union work as a public sector employee. When I started the job, I became a shop steward within my first year. My platform was fighting racism. I held a low level job as a technician, and was one of the few white techs in the library. I distinguished myself as a militant supporter of my coworkers against the bosses. Continue reading “My Life as a Union Steward in a Government Union”
The first George Bush (Bush I),President from 1988-1992 and dead on November 30, 2018, has since been lionized by the same media and politicians that endlessly deride and mock Donald Trump. But Bush I was ever so much more successful at wreaking death and suffering around the world and on poor black and Latin Americans than Trump will ever be. They call him a statesman, for which we can read efficient imperialist; humble, for which we might substitute sinister and deceptive; and heroic, which we might recast as brutal assassin. The real lesson is that the U.S. ruling class wishes its murderous actors to carry out their roles with finesse, rather than bumbling ineptness, like Trump. Bush committed mass murder in the name of spreading democracy, as do all U.S. presidents since the beginning of the American enterprise. It matters not whether we assess liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican presidents – they all kill and conquer the workers of the world in order to preserve power and resources. It is the imperative of the capitalist/imperialist system.
“The wealth of this country should be equally distributed … if one man through shrewdness should then amass more wealth than his neighbor, his surplus should be taken away from him. Every man should carry arms and have the right of self-defense. Shops and means of transit should be free. There would be no need of elections, police or standing army… Every man should bring his products to an immense clearinghouse in each city or town, and every family to receive an equal portion.” Lucy Parsons, 1891. The life of Lucy Parsons holds many lessons for the working class and students today, especially since we recently witnessed a polarizing election, increased xenophobia, and racist, anti-Semitic murders. Lucy gained fame as the widow of Albert Parsons, the labor leader and anarchist whom the city of Chicago executed for his role in the fight for the 8 hour day in 1887. Known as the Haymarket Massacre, cops threw a bomb into the crowd that killed 7 policemen and blamed the deaths on the anarchist and socialist leaders, including Albert. May Day, the international workers’ day, commemorates this event. Lucy spent her life celebrating her husband’s and her political ideas. Today she is honored as a revolutionary leader in her own right. Continue reading “Lucy Parsons, Working Class Anarchist”
In 1982, President Ronald Reagan officially announced the start of the War on Drugs. This was rather interesting timing because drug use in the United States was declining at that time.[i] Within a few years after the War on Drugs was announced, the scourge of crack-cocaine was spreading rapidly across the country. We will show that the transport and sale of vast quantities of cocaine was, in fact, carried out simultaneously by the very same government that was supposedly responsible for the War on Drugs. While dollars from the sale of crack were used to finance reactionary foreign policies, the repression justified by drug usage was used to imprison and impoverish poor black workers. Today, the United States has the world’s highest incarceration rate of 773 per 100,000 people. Compared to 118 in China, 655 in Russia, and 193 in Brazil.[ii] In 1980 the number of people imprisoned for drug offenses in the in the U.S. was about 41,000, and by 2010 it had zoomed up to about half a million people. People of color were especially targeted for incarceration by a variety of methods. Continue reading “MASS INCARCERATION – A MEANS TO OPPRESS BLACK PEOPLE”