By Bill Dores
The Soviet Union no longer exists. The Russian Federation is not socialist. But the U.S. military and political establishment is deliberately provoking confrontation with the largest former Soviet republic. The corporate-owned media are egging it on.
What drives this seemingly irrational course of action is the same thing that drove the President George W. Bush regime to invade Iraq in 2003: financial need. And cold economic calculation.
Not the financial need of the hungry and homeless, of the millions who need jobs at living wages, of those who can’t pay their rent or mortgage or must choose between heating and eating.
It’s the financial need of giant banks and corporations to pump up their profits, stock prices and the value of their invested capital amid a global economic slowdown caused by capitalist overproduction.
Lakota and allies have vowed to stop the Keystone XL pipeline and not allow it to go through their treaty territory. They are asking for your support to get prepared now!
Via Tar Sands Blockade
Friday, March 4 - 4pm
Gather at Spirit of Detroit Statue, corner of Woodward & Jefferson
On the 46th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination…
People of our generation have only known cutbacks, war, mass
incarceration, and the destruction of our communities. The overall
unemployment rate in the city of Detroit is 49.1% and for those under 30 years old it is 59%, and there is no change in sight.
We don’t have any illusions; bankruptcy, gentrification, and more military occupations abroad aren’t going to give us jobs, education, and a decent place to live. The state-appointed Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr certainly does not have our interests in mind. After all, according to him, we who live in the city are “dumb, lazy, happy, and rich.”
In the last year Detroit has spent $95 million on a handful of corporate “consultants” to move into the city and come up with ideas to revitalize it. That is enough money to hire 3,000 people on a salary of $30,000 a year to do what these Wall Street goons have never done a day in their lives: real work.
We are marching to demand the end of the parasitic and systematic robbery of the city and its people. We demand an end to paying the loansharks of Wall Street who destroyed the city and who are now demanding retirees’ pensions in the City’s bankruptcy. We demand an end to mass incarceration which
makes a young person of color more likely to be in prison than to be living above the poverty line.
We are demanding Kevyn Orr hire young people to begin the process of revitalizing the city. We need people to repair the roads, to repair homes, to rebuild the schools and medical facilities.
The resources exist, the money is there, and there are people who need the work!
By Fred Goldstein
March 31 — The U.S. imperialists are trying to strengthen their grip on Ukraine, having seized the reins in Kiev through a fascist-led coup against the elected government of Viktor Yanukovych.
In the wake of the coup, the new, unelected puppet regime has signed an “associate agreement” with the European Union that opens wider the Ukrainian economy to European big business. The regime has been promised an International Monetary Fund loan of $18 billion, to be doled out over two years. In return, Kiev has accepted draconian austerity conditions that will strike directly at the masses.
The loan also requires that Naftogatz, the state-owned oil and gas company, operate on a market basis. Already, the unelected regime in Kiev has announced a 50 percent increase in gas prices, effective May 1.
The IMF is also demanding cutbacks in government spending, including wages and pensions; a devaluation of the currency, which will make imports much more expensive; and other austerity measures.
Detroit, Michigan: Retirees, workers and community members came out in force in objection to the bankers’ “plan of adjustment” issued by Kevyn Orr, the state-appointed emergency manager for Detroit, April 1, 2014.
Photos by Stephen Fuzzytek
The city of Detroit bankruptcy case is being played out in a courtroom far removed from the real future of the city and the destiny of its workers, retirees and residents.
Yes, the federal bankruptcy court is in downtown Detroit. But the lawyers representing the emergency-management-run city and the bankers who are trying to squeeze it dry are as far removed from the reality of average Detroiters as is the moon. The courtroom and legal process itself are meant to intimidate workers, as anyone who has observed the bankruptcy trial can attest to.
It is thus a critical development that so far some 300 city of Detroit retirees, workers and residents have made their voices heard by filing objections to the city’s austerity “Plan of Adjustment” that is being offered by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. This plan asks the more than 20,000 city retirees to take a 34 percent cut in their pensions if they reject the plan, or a 26 percent cut if they accept the plan.
These cuts are on top of past wage cuts, the elimination of cost-of-living adjustments, severe reductions to the annuity plans that supplement pension benefits, and major cuts to health care benefits. One union official estimated the total real cuts on the table at 70 percent.
Detroit, Michigan: Hundreds rally outside bankruptcy court to protest austerity plan, April 1, 2014.
Photos by Kris Hamel
Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is offering the court a “Plan of Adjustment.” . This austerity plan asks the more than 20,000 city retirees to take a 34 percent cut in their pensions if they reject the plan, or a 26 percent cut if they accept the plan.
On April 1, Detroiters will rally outside the bankruptcy court and let their objections be heard in the streets. Union members, active employees, retirees, residents and community activists are expected. Some of the collected objections will be turned in to the court at that time.
The deadline for objections to the austerity plan of adjustment has been extended to April 28. They may be delivered in person or by U.S. mail to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Judge Steven Rhodes, c/o Clerk of the Court, 231 W. Lafayette St., Detroit, MI 48226. If done by letter, please reference case no. 13-53846 on your objection. A downloadable “People’s Objection” instructions and form can also be found at detroitdebtmoratorium.org.
An objector is not required to live or work in the city of Detroit to file. According to Moratorium NOW! organizers, the banks’ austerity plan for Detroit retirees and residents is a test case for the rest of the country and must be stopped.
On Thursday, the IMF released the broad outlines of its terms and conditions for loans and other measures for the Ukrainian economy. What those terms and conditions mean is less a rescue of the Ukrainian economy than the onset of a Greece-like economic depression for the Ukrainian populace.
Ukraine’s economy had clearly entered a recession, its third since 2008, sometime in the latter half of 2013. Some recent estimates of the likely contraction of the economy in 2014-15 have ranged from 5%-15% in GDP decline.
The ‘IMF Standby Agreement with Ukraine’ text released March 27, acknowledges the current severe economic instability of the Ukrainian economy. What it fails to acknowledge, however, is how the IMF package will further adversely impact that economy.
Today in history: On March 29, 1948 on Wall Street, 1,100 unionized employees of the New York Stock Exchange and the New York Curb Exchange went on strike.
The strikers were joined by 500 white-capped members of the Seafarers Union. It was the first and only strike in the history of either Exchange. The United Financial Employees Union (AFL) had been organizing low paid workers on Wall Street for years demanding a 25% increase in the salaries of Wall Street employees, job security, benefits of a pension fund and a bonus computed on the volume of trading. Things came to a head with the 1948 strike. The second day of the strike, March 30, was known as the “Battle of Wall Street,” with police charging and beating the strikers, injuring 12 and arresting 45 of them as the workers blocked the entrances to the New York Stock Exchange.
Via Freedom Road Socialist Organization (Fight Back!)