Maternal Mortality-Racism Kills

by Karyn Pomerantz, October 13, 2019

Washington, DC has the highest rate of maternal death in the country, and deaths of black mothers and pregnant women are three times higher than white women. The  maternal mortality rate is 33 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared to the national rate of 17 and Maryland’s 12 deaths. This huge disparity persists no matter what the level of income or education.

So what does the DC government do? Rather than improving and reopening an obstetric service at United Medical Center (UMC), which was closed because of poor quality, the City wants to replace it with a for-profit, union-busting hospital that will take years to build, leaving women far from hospitals for delivery and emergency care. UMC (formerly Greater Southeast Hospital) serves residents of Wards 7 and 8, primarily black families, where there are high rates of poor housing, poverty, unemployment and displacement as developers ravage historic neighborhoods to enrich the rich. Housing insecurity and homelessness multiply the stress for pregnant women and new mothers dealing with inadequate income and a new life to support. 

At this writing, there will be 2 community meetings to organize and protest this attack on women’s health (see below for URLs):

October 21: City Paper Community Conversations – HEALTH & WELLNESS: The State of Maternal Health in D.C., 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (EDT), The Outrage – 1722 14th Street NW DC

October 25: Health Public Oversight Hearing, 11:00 am, Wilson Building Room 412, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, DC, 20004.  Come testify for a public 

The DC Health Justice Coalition, a coalition of anti-racist activists, health care advocates, and community organizations, have mobilized to fight these plans. They organized community forums and a social media presence (DC Health Justice Coalition on Facebook), and plan to testify before community and City Council hearings. Other NGOs have produced analyses and recommendations for years. In 2018, the City established the Maternal Mortality Review Committee to ascertain the reasons for the high rates in order to implement solutions. It will initiate meetings and hearings soon.

Continue reading “Maternal Mortality-Racism Kills”

United Auto Workers (UAW) Strike Update – October 9, 2019

by Al Simpson, Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The UAW-GM strike is now over 3 weeks old. The UAW has not given out much information regarding the sticking points in the negotiations. Below is the publicly available information on these negotiations. 

Health Insurance Payments by Workers Increase
GM wanted the health insurance payments by the workers to increase from 3 percent to 15 percent. According to the Detroit Free Press, this demand has been rescinded.

Continue reading “United Auto Workers (UAW) Strike Update – October 9, 2019”

GM Strike – An Important Struggle Long in the Making

Fiat Chrysler workers join GM strikers at shuttered Warren Transmission plant in suburban Detroit. wsws.com

by Al Simpson

September 26, 2019

Since the bankruptcy of General Motors (GM) in 2009, the United Auto Workers (UAW) misleaders allowed GM to reduce wages, health benefits and job security. GM retirees have had to endure pension cuts and healthcare reductions. The reduction in wages was mostly accomplished through a tiered pay system.

Continue reading “GM Strike – An Important Struggle Long in the Making”

MICROSOFT CONTRACT WITH ICE EXPOSED: ONE STEP IN DEFENSE OF IMMIGRANTS

by Ellen Isaacs

September, 2019

On September 14, members of Close the Camps (closethecamps.us) in New York City occupied the showy Microsoft store on 5th Ave. to protest Microsoft’s $19.4 million contract with Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE). Some protestors entered the store, dropped banners and fake bloodstained money and occupied the main floor. Another three rows of demonstrators blocked the front door with signs and banners, while chanting against collusion with ICE, border walls, racism and fascism. Although the police arrived quickly, Microsoft told them to back off, and the action continued unabated for two hours. Meanwhile, other demonstrators took up residence across the street after marching across midtown. Eventually, the occupiers moved to block traffic on Manhattan’s central 5th Ave. and were arrested, 76 in all. The ensuing publicity forced Microsoft, whose store was closed for the entire day, to issue a statement. They tried to appear innocent by denying involvement in locking up children and claiming to be multiracial and multinational, but they were forced to admit that “our current cloud engagement with ICE is supporting legacy mail, calendar, messaging and document management workloads.”

Continue reading “MICROSOFT CONTRACT WITH ICE EXPOSED: ONE STEP IN DEFENSE OF IMMIGRANTS”

Book Review: Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland by Jonathan M. Metzl

Book Review:
Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland by Jonathan M. Metzl

by Karyn Pomerantz, August 2019

Dying of Whiteness examines how racism hurts white working class people. Metzl counters the common ideology of white privilege, which posits that white people benefit from racism in terms of social status, safety, education, and housing. While racism devastates non-white communities, it also hurts ordinary white people. Metzl’s analysis doesn’t explicitly frame these inequities as different levels of exploitation caused by capitalism, but he demonstrates how racism enriches the rich, prompts people to support policies against their best interests, and divides people to keep the working class weak (see other blog pieces on white privilege).

Continue reading “Book Review: Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland by Jonathan M. Metzl”

Citizenship Questions, the Census, and Continued Attacks on Immigrants

By Bill Williams, July 17,2019

Introduction

On July 11, 2019, President Trump scrapped his plan to place a citizenship question on the 2020 Decennial Census and instead ordered federal agencies to provide citizenship data to the Census Bureau. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile pursuing what such a question would have done, its purpose, and other related subjects.

A Vicious Betrayal

I used to work at the Census Bureau (1974-1979), and I processed the entire 1970 Decennial Census many times for many different projects. I was familiar with how the Decennial Census is collected and processed. While I was not directly involved in the collection of Census data, I worked with people who were involved with it. Despite all efforts at trying to convince vulnerable minorities that the Census Bureau, unlike Immigration and Naturalization, is not out to harm them, it is nevertheless treated with distrust. This distrust is well founded, as I found out. During my last years at the Bureau, there was a test of the Census questionnaires in a certain Texas city. This was essentially a dry run for the actual 1980 Census. The Census Bureau put out the word that they will treat your information with care and keep it confidential and so on and so forth. The day after the test, immigration ran massive raids on that same city.

Continue reading “Citizenship Questions, the Census, and Continued Attacks on Immigrants”

Uniting by Class vs Identity in the Fight Against Racism

Allies vs Comrades

By Karyn Pomerantz, 5-24-2019, updated 9-21-19

People represent themselves in many ways.  They indicate their pronouns to reflect gender identification or introduce themselves as belonging to a national or “racial” group.   Adoption of  the concept of intersectionality has made people further refine their identification with overlapping characteristics, such as an African-American woman or a biracial gay immigrant.  People also define themselves as high or low income, employed or jobless, and professional or service worker. Those not included in a particular classification may advance the causes of those in another group, for example whites opposing racism and men opposing sexism. But the fragmentation of identity by personal characteristics leaves many to believe they can only unite with and owe their deepest loyalty to those in the same group or groups. This reduces those in other groups to allies rather than comrades. Continue reading “Uniting by Class vs Identity in the Fight Against Racism”