Open Newswire

An Introduction to Modern Slavery
2 years 5 weeks ago
spamsucks
Modern slavery should need no introduction. Modern slavery already intrudes into every aspect of life, debasing all it touches. It is the underlying organizing principle for all major economic institutions east and west, north and south. Its support and defense are the unspoken but automatically-understood objects of all major – and the vast majority of the minor – social, political and cultural institutions. Its infrastructure and demands extend into the deepest levels of modern consciousness, coloring our dreams as well as our nightmares. Yet modern slavery is largely invisible. Modern slavery is officially non-existent. It has been tossed down the memory hole. It is not spoken of in polite company. Every institutional and government functionary, from the lowest levels of bureaucratic purgatory to the upper levels of elite power, knows instinctively that any explicit mention of its name as a contemporary reality means instant social death within the hierarchy. It is a rare day when it is acknowledged in any public context, even by the most radical or reckless of iconoclasts. http://modernslavery.calpress.or...
Will 2012 be the Final Election of Lesser Evilism?
2 years 5 weeks ago
Workers Action

Just when the Obama campaign couldn’t appear any less inspiring, Paul Ryan was put forth as the Republican vice presidential candidate. Suddenly team Obama was supplied with enough political munitions to scare every last American over the possible Ryan destruction of Medicare, Medicaid, cuts to Social Security and the various other evils inherent in his proposed national budget. Consequently, many Liberals and Leftists across the spectrum are now focused on preaching the horrors of a Republican presidential victory and thus the necessity of re-electing Obama.

But critical thinkers are immune to scare tactics. It’s no coincidence that the Obama campaign is not running on its own merits, but the lack of merit of its opponents. Many Obama supporters, such as leftists Bill Fletcher Jr. and Carl Davidson, argue that Obama’s record doesn’t matter, because this election is about defeating the right wing’s “white supremacy and political misogynism.”

For progressive economist and former Labor Secretary under President Clinton Robert Reich, Ryan’s budget represents the nightmare of “social Darwinism”, and therefore Obama must be elected.

This writer will not argue with the above points about the far right, since there obviously exists deep elements of racism and misogynism in its camp. But voting for Obama is no way to fight these evils; quite the contrary.

Voting for the Democrats does not empower working people to fight against right-wing extremism. Instead, working people are forced to give away their power to a political party that is in no way beholden to them, since the Democrats have a corporate agenda divorced from the needs of the vast majority of working people. There is no way to hold Democrats accountable once they’re in office, especially when they’ve all but stopped making campaign promises to working people.

Many Reasons Libertarians, Greens, Dems, Socialists Oppose Romney
2 years 6 weeks ago
Not Romney
Whether you are a Democrat, Libertarian, Green, Socialist, Tea Party member or other, here are some of many reasons to vote against Mitt Romney. Please multipost this article. *********************************************************************************** Chickenhawk and father of 5 chickenhawks, warmonger and US bankrupter, attacker of Social Security contracts government made with people, treason with Chinese government, wealth comprised of stolen pension funds and corporate assets raiding, bloater of national deficit, hider of tax records, tax evader, outsourcer, a man who banks offshore , staff having removed 12 hard drives from Massachusetts governor’s office, directed destruction of Olympics records, violated SEC rules re Bain Capital, supported LDS racism in 1968, LDS denial of women's rights supports premeditated judicial murder, opposes medical marijuana, brutal to many kinds of animals, illegal acquisition of Clear Channel, profiteering from political ads carried on Clear Channel, legally questionable foreign fundraisers, questions regarding Olympics coins minted with his image, decadent lifestyle includes 2 story garages with car elevators, Romney operative vote fraud in Maine etc., general Republican vote fraud, Dr Strangelove re use of nuclear weapons, supporter of nuclear power, opposer of wind power, supporter of offshore and ANWR drilling, and of toxic Keystone Pipeline bringing Canadian tar through US, associater with other bankster criminals, relationship of multiple sclerosis to being dominated, Mormons believe in war but are exempted as missionaries, Mormon capital funded purchase of Bain Capital etc. flipflops on prolife prochoice, on TARP, and many other issues. ************************************************************************************* 1. CHICKENHAWK FATHER OF FIVE CHICKENHAWKS Romney is a chickenhawk (someone who has never gone to war but promotes sending others into harm's way).
Get The Internationalist, Summer 2012!
2 years 6 weeks ago
spamsucks

The Internationalist Summer 2012


Get The Internationalist, Summer 2012!

A new tabloid issue of The Internationalist is hot off the presses!

Get your copy, 24 pages of revolutionary Marxist theory and analysis: ask an Internationalist supporter or send $0.50 to Mundial Publications, Box 3321 Church Street Station, New York, NY 10008 USA

Articles in this issue:

* What Happened to the Arab Spring?
Storm over the Middle East
U.S./NATO Imperialists Hands Off Syria!

* The Empty Election Promises of "Mr. Deportations" Obama

* Las huecas promesas electorales de "Mr. Deportaciones" Obama

* Portland Trotskyist Study Group Fuses with Internationalist Group

* Labor Must Clean Its Own House: For a Class Struggle Opposition in the Union Movement (by the Portland Trotskyist Study Group)

* Anaheim Cops on Murderous Rampage Against Latino Youth

* Thousands Protest Racist NYPD "Stop and Frisk"

* Greece: Battle Over Anti-Worker Austerity Comes to a Head

* Brazil Prepares for Militarized Olympics Repressing Poor and Working People

* Teachers in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Stop Work to Stop High Stakes Test

* Mexico: Defeat the Bourgeois Repression of the PRI, PAN and PRD! Workers to Power!
Mission Impossible: #YoSoy132 Proposes to Clean Up the Electoral Farce

* Quebec Student Strike: Defeat the Capitalist Attack

Out of the Slump: The Only Road
2 years 6 weeks ago
Workers Action

A real analysis of the United State’s economic history is rarely discussed by politicians or media alike, since the conclusions that would be inevitably drawn would be out of step with what politicians are currently advocating.

In fact, the current recession is only one more step — though a big one — along the same economic degeneration that has been underway since the end of the post war boom of 1945-1973. The Democrats and the Republicans cannot and will not be able to solve the problems of capitalism in the era of crisis that we’re stumbling through, a crisis that promises to evolve into Great Depression levels.

The post-World War II capitalist “golden age” came about from the destruction caused by the war. It was precisely this destruction that opened up big markets for reconstruction and expansion of markets for the United States. As some wag stated, “War is the health of the nation.” It was capital accumulation, mainly in the advanced capitalist countries, that provided the boom for western capitalism in an otherwise declining system.

America’s economy roughly doubled during the war, from a GNP of $88.6 billion in 1939 to $135 billion in 1944, which established its hegemonic position in the postwar system (eh.net). Now, capitalism, and capitalism alone, knows the peculiar problem of “overproduction” — too many goods produced without a market able to absorb them. The world capitalist class overcame this problem by engaging in what is now called “globalization”: Lowering tariff barriers, engaging in more world trade, increasing the world division of labor, etc., all this has allowed capitalism to overcome its problems for a period.

Keynes and the Illusion Avoiding Economic Slumps

“NO!” means “NO!” EDU response to Tentative Agreement
2 years 6 weeks ago
Workers Action

Workers Action Introduction

The following statement was produced by Educators for a Democratic Union (EDU), a progressive caucus in the San Francisco teachers union, United Educators of San Francisco (UESF).

After enumerating a series of concessions recently negotiated by UESF in bargaining a tentative agreement, the EDU caucus statement correctly urges all UESF members to vote NO on the tentative agreement. In the wake of almost all unions accepting concessions without a struggle, the following statement presents an inspiring counterexample to this trend.

As is typical across the country, state and local funding for education has been reduced, and administrations are implementing cuts and demanding concessions from teachers. Meanwhile budget deficits are depicted as if they were acts of god, entirely out of the control of humans.

In reality, however, the situation is quite different thanks to endemic political corruption. For example, in 2011 the San Francisco Board of Supervisors awarded Twitter a $22 million tax break over a period of six years. Then the Board outdid itself in corporate largess by awarding Zynga a tax break that was worth “$30 million to $50 million in local taxes in the first year alone…” (The New York Times, “Lobbyists Play Outsize Role as Political Fund-Raisers in San Francisco, June 12, 2011).

How do these quite profitable corporations fare so well while education is slashed and hacked to pieces, and the public good is desecrated? The lobbyists for these corporations help almost all the members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, including the most progressive member, John Avalos, raise money for their election campaigns (see The New York Times, “Lobbyists Play Outsize Role as Political Fund-Raisers in San Francisco, June 12, 2011).

The Dark Heart of the Libor Scandal
2 years 6 weeks ago
Workers Action

Though, for most, the London Inter-Bank Offer Rate (Libor) interest rate fixing scandal appears to be distant and far too complex to understand, its potential consequences may be as economically devastating as a world war.

The Libor is used to set payments on $800 trillion worth of financial instruments. It sets the prices that people and corporations pay for loans and receive for savings. Given that the fraud impacted $10 trillion in consumer loans, the Libor scandal will likely leave a long list of previous financial scandals that contributed to the Great Recession look like child's play.

It also pulls back the curtain on the mechanisms behind the world economy, its anti-social priorities, its willingness to gamble away the future of billions of people, and the government's collusion in these operations. The Libor scandal reveals that the "invisible hand" Adam Smith spoke of in explaining how a capitalist economy regulates itself has been transformed into the trained hand of a swindler.

The Libor and its Problems

The Libor sets interest rates that banks charge one another to borrow on a daily basis. Sixteen (now eighteen) large banks submit their assessment of what they anticipate credit would cost them. The four lowest and four highest calculations are thrown out, and the interest rate is determined as the middle figure among the remaining assessments.

While the method that the banks use to determine the figure they report to Libor is largely arbitrary, it is, nevertheless, assumed that they won't take advantage of the process to game the system. This is a rather remarkable leap of faith since there are billions of dollars of profit if the banks can find a clever way to sidestep the rules. In contrast to popular knowledge, the Libor expects honor among thieves.

Syria’s “Liberated” Future: Ethnic-Religious Cleansing and Genocide
2 years 6 weeks ago
Workers Action

A fascinating shift has happened in the U.S. mainstream media: After a year of anti-Syria war propaganda and lies, glimmers of truth are making their way into the public’s view. This may be too little too late: the country is being torn at the seams into the nightmare of ethnic-religious cleansing and massacres.

 

After non-stop war mongering, The New York Times took a second to wipe the blood off its hands to report the true state of things in Syria. Apparently, the previous, ongoing reports about the Syrian army indiscriminately massacring citizens in the city of Homs was simply a lie, repeated over and over.

It now turns out that the exact opposite was true.

In actuality, many of the refugees fleeing Homs were persecuted Christians, attacked by members of the Free Syrian Army, who have been killing religious minorities in an attempt to recruit hard-line Sunnis in Syria as they wage a religious war against the Syrian secular state.

The Background

Because the Free Syrian Army did not emerge from a popular revolution — but instead the pocketbooks and arsenal
of Saudi Arabia — the war to destroy the Syrian government had to be waged as an ethnic-religious war. Saudi Arabia has a long history of exporting its rare extremist form of Sunni Islam, Wahhabism, as a political tool to help overthrow unfriendly governments.

The U.S. has a long-standing alliance with Saudi Arabia in this effort, a dynamic that, over the years, has given birth to both the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The U.S. refuses to stop using this strategy because it’s incredibly effective at overthrowing “unfriendly” governments, while keeping large sections of the Middle East stalled in the formative years of Islam, which keeps a good check on any political activity from working people, since in Saudi Arabia protests, labor unions, and civil rights are illegal.

Inequalities, Taxes, and More Inequalities
2 years 7 weeks ago
Workers Action

Thanks to Occupy, most working people are well aware of the growing inequalities in wealth. But for those who lack the specifics, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich provides a useful overview:
“…the rich have been getting a larger and larger portion of total income. From 9 percent in 1980, the top 1 percent's take increased to 23.5 percent by 2007. CEOs who in the 1970s took home 40 times the compensation of average workers now rake in 350 times.” (“Confessions of a Class Warrior,” August 22, 2010).
 

During roughly the same period, however, hourly wages declined by more than 7 percent. (Robert Frank, “Income Inequality: Too Big to Ignore,” The New York Times, October 16, 2010).

In other words, not only are the rich getting richer, the rest of us are getting poorer.

What has Contributed to Increased Inequality?

Many factors have converged to produce these trends. Good-paying manufacturing jobs have migrated overseas. Technology has replaced many other good-paying jobs. More importantly, across the country many unions have demonstrated an overwhelming willingness to accept concessions without waging a struggle, thereby contributing to the growing inequalities. This willingness to give up hard won gains in turn has resulted in the continuing decline of union membership, which now stands at 8 percent. Who would want to join a union and pay dues only to make concessions? (In contrast, in the 1930s when unions were staging all-out fights for better pay and working conditions, and winning, union membership surged.) The decline of unions signifies the loss of a powerful weapon that can be used to defend the standard of living of the working class.

The Next Stage in the Destruction of Syria
2 years 7 weeks ago
Workers Action

The U.S. media has made its intentions clear: the 'rebels' attacking Syria's government must have more support to advance Syria's "revolution.” This was the result of the much-hyped advance of Syria's rebels into the country’s two largest cities, which the western media portrayed as a defining moment in global democracy. But "journalists" like these have blood on their hands, with much more in the works.

The systematic dismantling of Syria has more to do with western media lies and geo-politics than "revolution;” and the more that the U.S. media cheers on this bloodletting, the more politicians feel enabled to spill it.

Victory Around the Corner?

The rebel attacks on the cities of Damascus and Aleppo were, in actuality, meant to convince the western media that the rebels are near victory, with the hopes of attracting more direct military support from abroad. In reality, however, the attacks in Damascus were instantly crushed by the Syrian government, but the U.S. media predicted "victory just around the corner" for the rebels.

Suddenly Syria is becoming a U.S. presidential topic of debate. Republicans have accused Obama of "outsourcing" the Syrian conflict, refusing to be involved when the rebels deserve extra support (guns mainly). But Obama is the principal cause of this humanitarian catastrophe. Middle East expert Robert Fisk explains:

"While Qatar and Saudi Arabia arm and fund the rebels of Syria...Washington mutters not a word of criticism against them. President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, say they want a democracy in Syria. But Qatar is an autocracy and Saudi Arabia is among the most pernicious of caliphate-kingly-dictatorships in the Arab world."

Taxing the Rich and Its “Left” Critics
2 years 7 weeks ago
Workers Action

In a recent article published on the website of Socialist Viewpoint, Chris Kinder criticized those on the left who call for raising taxes on the rich. Identifying himself as a Trotskyist, Mr. Kinder displayed particular displeasure with Trotskyists who embrace this demand. Yet, as we will argue, his arguments fundamentally deviate from the political-strategic framework established by Marx and Engels and developed by Lenin and Trotsky.

“‘Tax the rich’ is far from a transitional demand,” Mr. Kinder argued and added: “Demanding taxation of the rich presumes the continued existence of the rich! But revolutionists seek to expropriate the rich capitalists as a precursor to creating an egalitarian, socialist society.”

This argument was further developed when he added: “Furthermore, ‘tax the rich,’ by presuming the continued existence of the exploiter class, cuts off any avenue to being a ‘bridge’ to a revolutionary program. As Trotsky explained in The Death Agony of Capitalism..., a transitional demand should help the masses to ‘find the bridge between present demands and the socialist program of the revolution.’”

Mr. Kinder continues his critique by noting that taxing the rich has been promoted by liberals, and, unlike transitional demands, can be won within the framework of capitalism. By improving the lot of the working class it can then defuse their revolutionary impulses.

He also argues that “it’s not a particularly internationalist demand,” since it would only benefit the workers of a particular country.

Houston Janitors Strike for Economic Justice
2 years 7 weeks ago
Workers Action

Echoing the story of David vs. Goliath, janitors in Houston are on strike and taking on such corporate giants as JPMorganChase and Exxon Mobile in an effort to pressure the janitorial companies they employ to agree to the workers' modest demands. It is these big business behemoths that are the real powers behind cleaning contractors such as ABM, GCA, ISS etc. By striking against these contractors, and publicly targeting these contractors' employers, the janitors are using their collective power in a showdown that has great significance for not only the Labor Movement but all workers.

The janitors are members of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1, which has a membership of 3,200 in Houston. Currently, these workers' wages top out at $8.35 per hour. On average, they make under $9,000 a year. The government defines the poverty line as an income of $22,314 for a family of four and $11,139 for an individual.

The janitors are asking for a $10.00 per hour starting wage. In response, the contractors offered a combined 50 cents an hour raise over the course of a five-year contract. With the growing cost of living over this time, these workers would sink even further into poverty if they accepted this. The contractors' proposal was nothing more than an insult.

Not content with merely insulting their employees, the contractors began to back up their position with injury. The janitors were subject to captive audience meetings where their jobs were threatened if they participated in union activity. Management warned that they would call for an immigration audit if the employees didn't quiet down. In addition, they also withheld paychecks of some union supporters. In all, 13 Unfair Labor Practices have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board.

PHILIPPINES: Akbayan calls on Sandiganbayan to issue warrant of arrest against Arroyo
2 years 8 weeks ago
spamsucks


AKBAYAN (Citizens Action Party)

Akbayan Chairperson Risa Hontiveros called on the Sandiganbayan today to issue a warrant of arrest against former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) in connection with the plunder charge filed against her and several others before the anti-graft court by the Office of the ombudsman.

Hontiveros said the Sandiganbayan has original jurisdiction over cases for plunder, while the Ombudsman acts as the prosecutor.

“Since the Rules of Criminal Procedure applies suppletorily to cases filed with the Sandiganbayan, Section 5, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court can be applied which states that within ten (10) days from the filing of the information for plunder, the Sandiganbayan justice shall personally evaluate the resolution of the Ombudsman and its supporting evidence. If the court finds probably cause, it shall issue a warrant of arrest,” Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros said the Sandiganbayan already deemed the case has probable cause when it issued a hold departure order against Arroyo.

“The plunder case has probable cause. It is rock-solid. It won’t take long for Arroyo to realize that she has simply jumped from the frying pan and into the fire. The Sandiganbayan has no reason not to issue a warrant of arrest against Arroyo. We look forward that the anti-graft body will swiftly act on this issue,” Hontiveros added.

Recently, Akbayan called on the Sandiganbayan to expedite the plunder charge against her, which they said will land Arroyo in jail.

Grassroots to Aveda: ’Safe Fracking’ Won’t Fly: You can’t Put Lipstick on a Pig
2 years 8 weeks ago
spamsucks

On Thursday at rush hour at five New York State store locations of the cosmetics
giant, Aveda, customers were greeted by more than the smiling make-up-caked faces
of customer service representatives. On that summer day, environmentalists rallied to
challenge the corporation’s support of Environmental Advocates of New York (EANY),
an Albany-tied organization that has taken an increasingly prominent role in the widely
disparaged industrial practice of fracking. Activists drew attention to EANY’s support for
regulated fracking (or ‘safe fracking’, as the industry has called it). EANY’s Washington,
D.C.-based parent organization, the National Wildlife Federation, also came in for some
bruising criticism for their support of this polluting practice.

“Aveda should know that consumers of its goods are being informed about their
partnering non-profit, Environmental Advocates of New York. EANY sits on Governor
Cuomo’s Hydrofracking Advisory Panel,” said Robert Jereski, an environmental
activist handing out literature outside Aveda’s swanky Flatiron District salon in New
York City. “This panel includes other promoters of ‘safe fracking’ such as the Natural
Resources Defense Council and Riverkeeper. It does not represent the vast majority of
environmentalists who oppose fracking and want it banned and criminalized.”

Environmental activists rallied outside of Aveda stores in 5 locations across New York
State including in New York City and issued the following demands to Aveda:

Demand that EANY resign from and publicly denounce Governor Cuomo’s ‘safe
fracking’ Advisory Panel, which is tasked with “developing proper regulations”
(for ‘safe fracking’);

Profane Sass arrested for inciting in Park City Utah
2 years 9 weeks ago
spamsucks

Portland based conscious hip hop artist Jeremy, and the band Profane sass, had an encounter with the park city, utah police. While playing their set on the street, the police arrived and ordered them to stop. The band finished up the song they were on, and this enraged the po-pos, who called in for an additional 8 officers. The crowd booed and chanted free speech slogans. The police singled out Jeremy, and Tomas, who were both snatched away, and are charged with inciting a riot. Bail was set for $5,700 for each, an exhorbitant fee that they need help with. The judge will not be in for arraignment until next tuesday! The popular underground band has a lengthy tour schedule that they are on, and this majorly disrupts and jeopardizes their remaining dates, several of which are in Colorado. If you can help with bail,please do so by calling Eric or Roger at 970-245-3720. Jeremy and Tomas are prisoners because their rights to free speech and assembly have been grossly violated. Any probono lawyers are especially sought after. This is a clear case of judicial overreach, and cannot stand. More information will follow as we get it.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYEMRyqrXSc