Monday, July 16, 2018

Ocasio Cortez Retreats. DSA Must Act.

Here's Ocasio Cortez reflecting the pressure she is now coming under from the Democratic Party establishment and also the many Zionist Jews (and Christians) she will have to answer to. She chose to apologize for using the term "occupation" with regard to the Zionist occupation of Palestinian lands and for the term "massacre" in a tweet in reference to Israel's massacre of children back in May.

Using the excuse that she said those things when she was an "activist" and now she is a politician is even worse. She is apologizing to the US bourgeois, the Zionist lobby, the Democratic Party hacks and part of that apology is admitting that in running for office she did what all the establishment politicians do, she lied. She said what people wanted to hear not what she sincerely believed and what she would fight for in order to get the votes and win the position.

This is one of the reasons why Trump gets an echo, why some people support him. She confirms what Trump says, they're all liars, they're all  dishonest when it comes to the average voter. He may be in the same boat but he comes right out there and says it. It is not possible to accept Ms Cortez' implication that she's not very knowledgeable about the Middle East.  The whole Israel/Palestine issue is regularly discussed fodder especially in NYC. It's one of the world's major crisis areas. She ran for Congress and is not familiar with the issue? She was when she wanted people's votes apparently.

I know next to nothing about her base or if there is a base that can pull her back but it's unlikely. Facts For Working People explained in a previous post how while we do not support the Democratic Party or see it as vehicle for change, her election was positive because it would increase the tension between the Democratic Party hacks, the Pelosi, Schumer wing and the increasingly vocal leftish wing, increasing the divisions in that party. It would add impetus to the developing division in the party which would be helpful in ending the two capitalist party monopoly, as it would bring closer the splitting to act party at a time when the republican party is also heading for a split. Cortez winning against Crowley sent shock waves through the establishment and not wanting to lost that corporate money, the likes of Pelsoi and co rushed to confirm that the party is not "socialist". Their fears have probably subsided somewhat with Cortez' comments. What appears to be a rapid capitulation to the establishment is also likely to increase the divisions in the party making the possibility of a split even more likely.

Ocasio Cortez and DSA

Note: I am adding this an hour or two since this was posted. On thinking more about it I understand that Ms Cortez in in the Democratic Socialists Of America. (DSA). If she is, DSA should demand that she retract her capitulation to the Schumer/Pelosi right wing and stand by her original comments about the Zionist "massacre" of children and also her term "occupation" which is what the Israeli occupation is. She used these terms knowingly when she wanted to make sure she addressed the mood and feelings of those that voted for her and understood the situation quite clearly then. She got elected and then, faced with the reality of the pressure from the Democratic Party hacks, the Zionist lobby and Congress, backtracked instead of using this opportunity to wage an open war against the establishment. DSA should give her the opportunity to reverse course or expel her from membership. RM

Ocasio-Cortez hedges criticisms of Israel– ‘I may not use the right words’

US Politics

Sunday, July 15, 2018

A Comment on France World Cup Victory

 From Tokunbo Oke

I have no interest in football but I rejoice with the African players that are wearing the French Jersey. The victory of Africans in France is a slap in the face to all supremacists world-wide including the block head who is currently golfing in Scotland. The beautiful game is the consummate combination of theory and practice, of thinking and doing. If the combination of thinking and doing is an indication of cultural level, then these Africans are truly cultured.
But we must reject any attempt by the French establishment, especially the current occupant of the Élysées palace, a Napoleon with dandruff, to use this to buttress their anti-racist pedigree. Too many Africans are still dying trying to cross the Mediterranean. Furthermore, we must highlight the fact that the prosperity of Western Europe is based on its control of African resources. We must also highlight the parasitical relationship that France has with Africa: a relationship with the African ruling class that contributes to keeping Africa poor, backward and dependent......

Saturday, July 14, 2018

India to US: Class or Caste. It's all About Social Control.

This woman grew up in what is called the world's largest democracy. But then, we are taught of the greatness of Athenian or Greek Democracy are we not. But Greek Democracy was a democracy for slave owners. Slaves could not vote.  We are now in the grasp of bourgeois democracy, capitalist democracy. Workers won universal suffrage from them but vote for the public ownership of the corporations with compensation on proven need and you'll see how democratic bourgeois democracy is.

As the women explains here, the caste system is all about economic power and is backed by religious claptrap. Imagine how this type of brutal oppression damages the human character.

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Thai Rescue: The Hollywood Movie is Next

Richard Mellor
Afcme Local 444, retired

Let's not lose track of what's happening here. The goals of the global mass media is to praise capitalism and the so-called free market and win the battle for the consciousness of the working classes throughout the world, particularly in the US and other advanced capitalist countries. 

There are all sorts of stories and coverage that obscures the misery and death that the free market delivers on a day to day basis. The recent daily reports of the Thai children trapped in the cave was an excellent chance to get people's minds off the horrors of daily life.

Thousands have died trying to escape the consequences of capitalism/imperialism's forays in to the so-called "underdeveloped" world. Thousands have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, many of them children,  attempting to escape failed nation states created from without by colonial powers or to escape the endless imperialist wars that have devastated their homelands.

Millions more have been displaced in the Middle East with US imperialism's more than 20 year savagery in Iraq. 500,000 thousand Iraqi's, mostly women and children died due to US imposed sanctions in that country. Madeline Albright, busy trying to sell her latest book, referred to that tragedy as "worth it".  The tragedy is that these developments are not even "worth it" from US capitalism's point of view as its influence on the global stage declines and it faces severe economic, political and growing social crisis at home.

The US mass media which is the planet's dominant news source, made a lot of hay out of the trapped children and of course it is good they were rescued. But the attention the US and British media is giving it is pure propaganda as the US government steals children from their parents here and locks them away in cages and detention centers.

As Hollywood prepares the blockbuster movie about the Thai rescue let's not forget that some 50,000 children died in Yemen last year from starvation bombing and disease due to US weapons, bombs and money. The US has its flunkies the Saudi thugs do most of the dirty work in Yemen.  As the US government praises the Thai rescue it blames Palestinian children for their own deaths as they are mowed down by Zionist snipers funded by the US taxpayer.

Millions of children die each year due to hunger and malnutrition. Mothers literally watch them waste away before their eyes. The UN's World Food Program reckoned in 2015 that $3.2 billion was needed to feed the 66 million school age children who suffer from hunger about Trum's net worth.

The UN, a capitalist club, and the liberal non-profits and NGO's always tell us that food deprivation or hunger is difficult to eradicate of that politicians can't "find the will".  Just as there is plenty of money in the world that would solve so many social problems, there's plenty of food.  The world produces enough food to feed everyone. Food availability per capita has increased from approximately 2220 kcal per person per day in the 1960s to 2790 kcals per person per day in 2006 according to the Borgen Project.

But like capital, it's not that we don't have it. In the case of capital, it is privately owned. Capital is accumulated by capitalists that's why they are called that and they can do with it what they will. To provide food for hungry people capital has to be invested in this area. To provide the social infrastructure to produce, distribute and provide food requires capital. To provide the roads, sewage, water systems and health care in society capital has to be laid out for that purpose and along with this, labor power has to be bought and paid a wage in order to purchase the necessities, or some of the necessities of life. This is a major project and not a profitable one, ties up too much cash. Capitalism is incapable of developing the so called "developing world". If they're going to invest in food production, soy for cattle feed is more profitable. In the US the average American consumes about 250 pounds of beef (or meat but I thin k it's beef) a year.

Capitalists do none of this as it is not profitable. So it's not that we don't have enough food or the ability to produce it, the starving people don't have the money to buy it. If you can't pay, you starve.

And as the capitalist mass media brings us the trailer for the upcoming movie on the now famous Thai rescue, we should think about all those images of starving children, of Yemeni kids children burned to death by US missiles, we should remind ourselves of Iraq and particularly Falujah. The US assault on a country and people that never threatened the US and on a city that will forever be remembered in the minds of the Iraqi workers as a shrine of resistance to an imperialist invasion caused immense suffering and death. In he brutal assault on Falujah and throughout Iraq, the US used white phosphorous and depleted uranium on people and children. In Falujah and throughout the country children are still being born deformed today due to the US invasion, there are "catastrophic" levels of deformed births in Iraq. US imperialism left a similar gift for the people of Laos and Vietnam as it dropped dropped chemicals on the civilian populations there.

So let's recognize the intent behind the massive attention paid to the Thai rescue by the mainstream media dominated by US and western capitalism. It's a publicity stunt as it is painfully clear that the investors that own that media do not care about children dying.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Honeywell, Teachers, All struggles are "Our" Struggles

An Injury to All Must Become More Than Just a Slogan
We Must Act on it if it is to Have Any Real Meaning

Honeywell Workers locked out in 2016
By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

Any gains working class people have made over the years including the right to form unions were won through a ferocious struggle and by relying on our own strength, our ability to shut production and hit the bosses where it hurts them most----profits.

The social legislation won in the 1930’s simply codified what had already been taken in the streets through mass strikes, including three General Strikes, occupations and confronting the employers and private strikebreakers and their state security forces. Despite being a huge victory, progressive legislation excluded large sections of the US working class, the poor, agricultural and service workers often women, immigrants and people of color.

The UAW, the industrial union that was formed in this period opened a new era for workers in auto, steel rubber and other industrial behemoths. But in the past decades we have seen the decline of union power as the heads of organized labor have joined the employers openly through the Team Concept philosophy, and have made concession after concession in order to keep US capitalism afloat and competitive.

Honeywell Corp, based in South Bend Indiana is another employer taking advantage of the passive, pro-business national leadership of organized labor, and has proposed healthcare cuts, increasing the cost of health care and is planning on sending jobs to Turkey where labor power is cheaper. Many of the victims of the move have worked for Honeywell for decades.

Honeywell locked out workers at its South Bend and Green Island NY sites back in 2016 and hired strikebreakers even before negotiations started according to reports.
“My grandfather was there when the union first started in 1936. My dad has been there for twenty years,” says 20-year-old Honeywell worker Brandon Bullerman. “Then I get there and the company just eliminated 60 years of my family’s progress.” Payday Report May 2016

The era of winning minor gains from the bosses' through friendly cooperation has long passed. Cooperating with them as so-called equals has never worked. These attacks come after attempts to accommodate the company and offer concessions, as all unionized workers are expected to accept. These policies handed down from those at the top of organized labor and given intellectual legitimacy by their mentors in academia, have led to one catastrophic defeat after another. Attempts to take a more aggressive class struggle approach from individuals or leaders of individual unions have been halted or driven back by the labor hierarchy. Sometimes it’s been the passive approach, leaving locals isolated, cut off, forced to confront global corporations, the state, the police and the media alone. At other times more aggressive by taking over entire locals and even cooperating with the bosses in firing militant local leaders (Freightliner and the Cleveland Five in SC)

We must not be deterred by the accusations of “class war” from the bosses’, their politicians and media, when workers fight back. Class war exists. Denying a worker an income, cutting wages, removing workplace safety protections, denying or increasing costs of health care is class war and are acts of violence against working class people, it is economic terrorism.

In the case of Honeywell, protests were held outside the South Bend plant last month and we can win these battles, but cannot win them with the same approach. Honeywell supplies the defense industry with important needs like tires for fighter jets. The workers in this industry have tremendous potential power. The problem is Honeywell and its investors know they can defeat one local.
Frank Hammer former UAW to Honeywell workers.

At the recent and other protests, political figures and candidates turned out in support of the UAW workers, members of Local 9. They always turn up at these things proclaiming their support.

Experience teaches us that this support amounts to nothing. We cannot rely on capitalist politicians or lawyers and the courts or capitalist parties to halt this assault on workers even individuals that are well intentioned. Politicians were at the recent rally claiming they, “…stood in solidarity with the workers and would take measures to oppose retiree health care cuts and outsourcing.”

Sisters and brothers; what does this “take measures” mean?  We know what it means, standing up in the sate legislature and saying they support the workers and making that statement on TV. And we can’t rely on the courts. The courts have “paved the way” for Honeywell to “scrap” retirement benefits according to local media reports. The capitalist courts will not oppose a corporation’s right to control the workplace; the justice system does not work for workers or the middle class as it does for the rich, any worker knows this. .If the courts were fair, most of the people in jail would be out and most of the people that put them in jail would be in.

Thanks to Frank Hammer (sees his letter of support above) for bringing the Honeywell issue to our attention.

Despite the weakening of organized labor due to the heads of our national organization refusing to unhinge themselves and their policies from the Team Concept on the job and in the political arena through the Democratic Party, the potential power we have is formidable. More importantly, when we add to our power in the workplace, the unorganized workers, the poor and our communities in which we live and work, there is no limit to what we can accomplish. And international solidarity is a crucial part of our struggle against the capitalist offensive at home as capital is international, capital does not respect borders.

We have pointed out many times the potential power we have. There are 14 million members in the unions nationally. California’s Labor Federation has 2 million workers affiliated, Los Angeles Labor Council alone over 800,000. And that’s in the sixth largest economy in the world. The bosses fear us which is why they use all sorts of different divide and rule tactics to ensure we do not unite, racism, sexism, fear of immigrants , blue collar against white, etc. It is why they cultivate relationships with the leaders of organized labor at the highest levels. And to appeal to the sexual predator Trump for help is pointless. He has harmed the US working class in many many ways. The reader can check out: Don't Panic Over Janus: The Supreme Court is Not Ours.

The teachers’ struggles have shown the way. Teachers in West Virginia struck against the wishes of their own leadership and in a state where it is illegal to strike.; in most of the recent cases it was illegal to strike. This terrifies the bosses and the established hierarchy of the labor movement both. There is a raging class war in Puerto Rico as the US had abandoned its exploited island possession. In all these struggles we must recognize the role of women. This is another aspect of the new era, the rise of women and their leading roles in all the struggles against exploitation, sexual oppression and violence. From the US to the factories of Bangladesh, the war against rape in India and the fields and factories of Latin America women are in the forefront. They will not be driven back.

In these teachers’ struggles what stands out is that they drew in and welcomed teachers whether they were union or not. They welcomed Charter School teachers and other workers in education as the teacher from Arizona in the video below points out. In West Virginia their efforts won a 5% increase not only for themselves but every state worker. What better advertisement for joining a union than that? The struggle is not over, and capital will try to pass the cost of the raises on to other sections of the working class blaming “greedy” education workers. This is the next battle; ensuring this does not happen as well as combating the top union officialdom from undermining the movement, weakening rank and file control and using the Democratic Party as a means to temper the movement, render it ineffective.

Another important aspect of the rising battles on the job is that labor issues are community issues. As the reader will see in the video below on the Kentucky events, black teachers there faced some obstacles trying to get the movement around teachers and their conditions to also include in their demand to the legislature that the school district not be taken over and pensions be saved, to also demand the legislature oppose a gang ordinance. One predominantly black district in Louisville is one of the most economically depressed in the country. These gang ordinances are repressive measures against the black youth in particular who can be stopped and frisked and generally harassed by the security forces that amount to an occupation force in these areas.  There is a racist element to this but also in my experience it is common for many workers to consider social issues outside of the realm of trade union activity. We combated this with great success in my local in Oakland CA. What happens in these communities affects all of us. 

Poverty, lack of opportunity, racial barriers to a decent life creates conditions which threaten the material well being of all workers and it is in our interest to use our economic power as workers to join with our communities in their efforts for jobs, housing, health care and against racism and police abuse.
The capitalist mass media, that insidiously demonizes the poor and especially black youth, would not hesitate to appeal to them for help in crushing a labor dispute if they needed to. There is an excellent article here on this issue:  Why The Teachers Revolt Must Confront Racism Head On.

It is inevitable that these struggles that are taking place on different fronts must eventually be drawn together in to one larger movement.  As this process develops, independent political candidates can be put forward, rooted in the movement, our organizations and communities.  In this way an independent workers political party can arise that can provide a political alternative to the parties of capitalism and the corporations.

Here are three short videos of leaders of the West Virginia, Kentucky and Arizona struggles, they are inspiring and worth watching.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Capitalist Production. End it or Die

This video pretty much sums up the history of the capitalist mode of production or how capitalists see the world and everything in it. The title and description is what this video means to me. I can't speak for its creator. RM

Free trade or protectionism? – the Keynesian dilemma

 Free trade or protectionism? – the Keynesian dilemma

by Michael Roberts

The trade war that has broken out has confused mainstream macroeconomics.  The majority still see tariff increases as ‘protectionism’ and ‘free trade’ as the only way to operate. Trump’s measures are generally condemned.  But among the Keynesians, there is confusion and split.

Martin Wolf, the Keynesian economic journalist, who writes for the FT, reckoned that the trade war would be costly for global capital: “Global co-operation would surely be shattered”  Nevertheless, he argued for UK retaliation against Trump’s measures “more because the alternative looks weak than in the belief that it would work. Another thing the rest of the world should do is to strengthen their co-operation.”  On the other hand, he thought Trump’s wild proposal to create tariff-free area (for rich countries only) could be taken up. “Who knows? It might even work.”  He did not explain how cutting tariffs on goods from the 3-4% (that they average now for most advanced countries) to zero would make any difference.

While Wolf looks for ways to ‘save globalisation and free trade’ through retaliation, another Keynesian Dani Rodrik actually advocates protectionism as a good idea for economies with weak domestic growth: “US protectionism surely will generate some beneficiaries as well in other countries.” 

In a contrary view to Wolf, who calls for retaliation to stand up to Trump. Rodrik says Europe and China should “should refuse to be drawn into a trade war, and say to Trump: you are free to damage your own economy; we will stick by policies that work best for us.”  Indeed, he says, domestic industries may benefit from tariffs on their exports to the US – they could sell at home instead. He cites how Boeing could sell more planes in the US and Airbus could do the same in Europe. “Some European airlines favor Boeing over Airbus, while some US airlines prefer Airbus over Boeing. Trade restrictions may result in a total collapse in this large volume of two-way trade in aircraft between the US and Europe. But the overall loss in economic welfare would be small, so long as airlines view the two companies’ products as close substitutes.”  According to Rodrik, “US protectionism surely will generate some beneficiaries as well in other countries.”

The protectionist line has also been peddled by leftist economist Dean Baker.  He points out that not everyone gains from ‘free trade’. He claims that it was free trade that lost manufacturing jobs in the US, echoing the Trumpist argument.  However, there is much evidence that this was not the case.  As I said in a past post on Trump, trade and technology, “the loss of US manufacturing jobs, as it has been in other advanced capitalist economies, is not due to nasty foreigners fixing trade deals.  It is due to the inexorable attempt of American capital to reduce its labour costs through mechanisation or through finding new cheap labour areas overseas to produce.  The rising inequality in incomes is a product of ‘capital-bias’ in capitalist accumulation and ‘globalisation’ aimed at counteracting falling profitability in the advanced capitalist economies. But it is also the result of ”neo-liberal’policies designed to hold down wages and boost profit share.”

Baker claims that trade deficits lose jobs because it reduces “demand” and so reducing the US trade deficit would save jobs.  He makes this argument when the official unemployment rate in the US, the UK and Japan is at an all-time low (yes, I know many are crap jobs)!  Apparently, if everybody ran a trade surplus (impossible by the way) all would be better off.  What he really means is Trump is right to turn the US trade deficit into a surplus and get manufacturing jobs back from the developing world and Europe. It is certainly a weird and confused argument for nationalism.

The Keynesians are confused about whether they favour ‘free trade’ or protectionist/nationalist measures.  That echoes that confusion that Keynes had during the last Great Depression of the 1930s.  He changed his mind from a strong free trader in the late 1920s to a protectionist and advocate of tariffs by the mid-1930s.  This changing view was really an expression of the changing view of British capitalism.  Free trade is fine for those winning in markets; protectionism is better when a national capital loses share.  And that was Britain’s position.

In 1923, Keynes endorsed free trade in no uncertain terms: “We must hold to Free Trade, in its widest interpretation, as an inflexible dogma, to which no exception is admitted, wherever the decision rests with us. We must hold to this even where we receive no reciprocity of treatment and even in those rare cases where by infringing it we could in fact obtain a direct economic advantage. We should hold to Free Trade as a principle of international morals, and not merely as a doctrine of economic advantage.”

But his ‘moral’ position soon dissipated as British capitalism fell into a long depression in the mid-1920s and then in the 1930s.  In his seminal work, The General Theory, published in 1936, he concluded that “the one big (and smart) idea of absolute monarchy was to push exports over imports…..“A favorable balance, provided it is not too large, will prove extremely stimulating; whilst an unfavorable balance may soon produce a state of persistent depression.”

He advocated tariffs on imports into the UK as an alternative way of cutting real wages (by increased import prices) and to boost domestic production.  For Keynes, it was a way for British capital to gain a cost advantage over its rivals by reducing wage costs in real terms.  “I am frightfully afraid of protection as a long-term policy,” he testified to a UK parliamentary commission, “but we cannot afford always to take long views . . . the question, in my opinion, is how far I am prepared to risk long-period disadvantages in order to get some help to the immediate position.” Of course, once capitalism globally had recovered and, with it British capital, then ‘free trade’ could be renewed.

The current confusion in macroeconomics and particularly among modern Keynesians mirrors the changing views of Keynes as the current Long Depression lingers and ‘globalisation’ fails for all.  So now we have Keynesians like Rodrik and Baker supporting tariffs on US imports and pushing for trade surpluses, while calling on Europe and China not to retaliate!  And Wolf calls for retaliation by Europe and Asia.

What is the Marxist view?  Should we support tariffs and other protectionist measures introduced by weaker capitalist nations to ‘stand up’ to Trump’s measures (Wolf)?  Alternatively should we support Trump’s measures as a way of saving US manufacturing jobs (Baker) and perhaps helping other countries to boost their domestic industries (Rodrik)?

Free trade or protection?  I outlined my answer in a previous post.  Free trade has been no great capitalist success.  Capitalism does not tend to equilibrium in the process of accumulation.  As Adam Smith put it, in contrast to Ricardo, “When a rich man and a poor man deal with one another, both of them will increase their riches, if they deal prudently, but the rich man’s stock will increase in a greater proportion than the poor man’s. In like manner, when a rich and a poor nation engage in trade the rich nation will have the greatest advantage, and therefore the prohibition of this commerce is most hurtful to it of the two”. Capitalism does not grow globally in a smooth and balanced way, but in what Marxists have called ‘uneven and combined development’.  Those firms and countries with better technological advances will gain at the expense of those who are behind the curve and there will be no equalisation.

Free trade works for national capitalist states when the profitability of capital is rising (as it was from the 1980s to 2000) and everybody can gain from a larger cake (if in differing proportions).  Then globalisation appears very attractive.  The strongest capitalist economy (technologically and thus competitively in price per unit terms) will be the strongest advocate of ‘free trade’, as Britain was from 1850-1870; and the US was from 1945-2000.  Then globalisation was the mantra of the US and its international agencies, the World Bank, the OECD and the IMF. But if profitability starts to fall consistently, then ‘free trade’ loses its glamour, especially for the weaker capitalist economies as the profit cake stops getting large.

Marx and Engels recognised that ‘free trade’ could drive capital accumulation globally and so expand economies, as has happened in the last 170 years.  But they also saw (as is the dual nature of capitalist accumulation) the other side: rising inequality, a permanently floating ‘reserve army’ of unemployed and increased exploitation of labour in the weaker economies.  And so they recognised that rising industrial capitalist nations could probably only succeed through protecting their industries with tariffs and controls and even state support (China is an extreme example of that).

Engels re-considered the case for free trade in 1888 when writing a new preface on a pamphlet on free trade that Marx had wrote in 1847.  Engels concluded that “the question of Free Trade or Protection moves entirely within the bounds of the present system of capitalist production, and has, therefore, no direct interest for us socialists who want to do away with that system. Whether you try the Protectionist or the Free Trade will make no difference in the end.”

But it is informative to see the Keynesians split over favouring free trade for global capital (Krugman) or protection for national capitals (Rodrik and Baker for the US and Wolf for the UK and Europe).  Sign of the times.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Trump Responsible For Attack on 91 Year Old Mexican

Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444. retired

This is a 91 year old Mexican man beaten by a group of people. This atmosphere has been whipped up by the Predator in Chief and Klan and Nazi supporter Donald Trump. If you support him this is the consequence of it. I am not a Democrat and do not support that party. No one should need partisan loyalty to despise the degenerate sexual abuser Trump.

I was disciplined once when I was still at work and a shop steward for creating a hostile atmosphere in the workplace. I had a dispute with another worker whose actions seriously undermined our union solidarity and the gains our union had won us. I leafleted outside the plant against his views.  

Workplace violence was becoming the rage and like anything else, the bosses' were going to use it to their advantage. They would use it against union people and "trouble makers" . A worker who read the back and forth between me and this other guy mentioned something about the possibility of trouble and that's what kicked it off.

To his credit, the person I was writing about stated he never felt threatened in any way. It went to arbitration and was thrown out. This was important as I was very active in the union and also in contract negotiations. The worker I was confronting about his actions was a principled individual in many way but he was wrong. 

We had another worker who made some stupid comment (given the whole thing about creating a "hostile workplace") something along the lines of, if he got cancer and was dying he'd come in and take out his boss. He said this out loud so confident he was that it would not be taken seriously. He had his issues but he was a strong advocate for the union on the job and was making accusations about his boss making some shady deals. Police came to his house, shackled him in front of his kids, there was an injunction against him to not come near the plant and he never came back to work. This is what happens when a worker is accused of creating a hostile work environment. The workplace is hostile enough to all workers and it is class solidarity and comradeship that helps. A union, even a weak one, is generally better than no union because it gives people a structure through which to fight back to some extent.

This attack on this 91 year old Mexican man is as much Trump's fault as the people that committed it. He has made the most violent racist attacks on Latino's and Mexicans in particular. It is to their credit, (and I do not advise combating Trump's racism and the brutality of capitalism in this way) that Latino's and Mexicans in particular have not resorted to extra ordinary individual acts of retribution for what is happening to them and especially their children. It shows particular restraint give that the force in society that can drive back this offensive against immigrants, black folks, the poor and all working people including and especially, organized labor, is held back by the heads of organized labor themselves.

In the face of the attacks on the children of immigrants, locking them up in cages, cells, camps whatever you want to call them, those figures at the helm of organized labor and to which 14 million workers belong  are a disgrace. The Los Angeles labor council alone has over 800,000 workers affiliated to it. They have not only betrayed their own members through their decades of concessions and supporting the employers assault. They have betrayed the poor among us, the unorganized, women, the black people and other people of color that face additional oppression in capitalist society.  Remember the building trades leaders that met Trump in the White House and kissed his ass. Teamster head Hoffa (a lawyer) praised him. Every attempt by labor's rank and file to drive back the assaults on our wages rights and working conditions has been met by a powerful combination of the bosses, their state and the heads of organized labor. For the trade union leadership it is not so much because they are corrupt, or taking bribes or money which occurs. Why would it not? We live in a corrupt society. They are corrupt ideologically, that's the problem.

The trade union leadership cooperates with the bosses', forces concessions on its own members because they do not see any alternative to the present system in which we live.  They support capitalism. They support the right of the boss to own the factory, the agribusiness and they support the right of Stephen Scwartzman of Blackrock, a thoroughly unproductive parasitic individual, to take home $800 million in 2017. They just plead with them to be a little less aggressive in their ways. Their support of the bosses is expressed by the philosophy that has not to my mind been publicly condemned by any major labor official and that is the Team Concept, the view that workers and bosses have the same interests.

If some Latino's do resort to taking things in to their own hands, the heads of organized labor share some of the blame for not providing an alternative, for not mobilizing the tremendous potential social power of their membership; for not giving workers a place to go. It's part of why drugs are such a problem, violence is, depression and despair. There's nothing worse than feeling helpless, a victim. It always pays to fight back.


Monday, July 9, 2018

Meeting: Irish Bill to Ban Illegal Trade with Zionist Settlements

From Joan Collins TD. (member of Irish Parliament)

Senator Francis Black has passed on the following message about tomorrow night's meeting. It would be great to get as much support as possible on the evening for this very important meeting.

"I'm delighted to have been invited by Deputy Joan Collins to speak in the Iveagh Grounds in Crumlin tomorrow night 10th July at 7.30pm about the situation in Palestine and what Ireland can do to oppose the ongoing injustice. I'll be discussing my recent visit to Gaza  and the West Bank, and my 'Occupied Territories Bill 2018', which would end Irish trade in illegal settlement goods. The bill will be back in the Seanad this Wednesday 11th July.

I'm really honoured to be joined by Fayez & Mona Owda (58 and 55 years respectively) a Palestinian farming couple who have travelled all the way to Ireland to share their story about the challenges of farming under Occupation in the West Bank. They will be in Cork today and Dublin tomorrow, and are really keen to meet the Irish communities who are standing up for them. They'll also highlight the importance of opposing illegal settlement expansion in the West Bank before it's too late, and the importance of the Occupied Territories Bill in doing this. They have basic English, but are traveling with Mr Fadi Quran, senior campaigner with Avaaz, who will translate.

There has been huge public interest in this bill, and I'd be delighted if people would come and help welcome Fayez Mona tomorrow. They have been striving for decades to keep their farm alive, despite losing much of their land to the occupation wall and suffering continued pollution."
Here is a very short video about the couple."