Harvard and Duke study

11 Mar

Harvard and Duke study shows that the top 20 percent own 84 percent of the wealth. Meaning that the bottom 80 percent of the pop. is chasing 16 percent of the wealth.

 

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iFVvbTfKUYgVxsNFsRdbWz_0LRSA?docId=CNG.6f30bc546f63595bb7c3371011b8e415.451

“On average the top 20 percent of earners were seen as holding just 32 percent of wealth, less than the 84 percent in reality.”

“Perspectives on Psychological Science.”

Business school professors Michael Norton and Dan Ariely .

 

Also, ck out 1. Steele and Barlett, journalists
2. Berkeley, economics dept., Saez
3. Common Cause
4. progressive democrats of america

and other research and journalism groups

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Social justice and class interest

13 Feb

Social Justice and Class Interest (second copy)

America has long struggled with the twin issues of civil and economic rights. Capitalism requires an elite alignment of power and privilege in order to sustain itself as such. The law must support the business class and the property owners. The businessmen and women maintain their legally-sanctioned hegemony over the poor and the working-class through laws and corrupt financial practices.

The profit-system entails the continued alienation and exploitation of the workers, or proletarians, who must struggle for unionization in order to support their legal rights, including the right to health insurance, and freedom from discrimination.

What is needed is a living wage, adjusted for inflation — rather than an outmoded ‘minimum wage,’ in order to raise people up from poverty. The poor should unite their interests with those of the working and middle-classes in a mass movement of solidarity.

Historically, we must know that German social democracy was eventually developed in reaction to Marxist agitation during the 1840‘s. Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, in response to the perceived threat of revolutionary socialism, instituted the 10 hour working day and Germany gradually moved toward greater democracy. The middle-class, or bourgeoisie, had displaced the feudal, land-based aristocracy, while profiting from the underpaid wage-slaves and servants who toiled daily in mines, factories, businesses, and households. The end result of such a struggle is social justice.

A similar struggle took place in Britain, followed by America, after the proletariat, led by intellectuals from the upper and upper middle-classes, helped to spark these liberal reforms. The 8 hour workday was the end-result.

Without organization from below, and without greater consciousness-raising in society, the workers will continue to be cheated and exploited by the largely conservative counter-revolutionary privileged classes above them, the politically-connected businessmen and the ‘religious’ reactionary-right.

Facts: “The 3 richest men in America own more wealth than 48 percent of the world’s population.” Gates, Warren Buffett, and Rockefeller are probably the big 3. One percent of the US population owns 35-40 percent of the wealth, and the top 20 percent owns 80-85 percent of the economic pie, which appears to be diminishing. The capitalist system is a pyramid.

Thesis: The elimination of the weak and the concentration of wealth and power in fewer and fewer hands, leads us to predict the inevitable fall of the plutocracy. Capitalism tends toward monopolies of power: mergers make the stock market rise, and an increase in employment makes it fall! The system clearly does not serve democratic and social ends. Only government oversight and regulation of the economy can save the 80 percent of the population from the encroachments of the rich, the corporations, and the bankers.

Capitalism by nature, produced by a “Social Darwinistic” process of weeding out of the weak by the strong, produces economic inequality and injustice on a massive scale. The time has come for the masses to demand that the American system live up to its democratic promise. Currently, the politicians are entirely captive to financial interests. Lobbyists, rather than the people, are the Congressman’s concern. It’s a rigged, corrupt system. Society is becoming increasingly unglued by the class conflict between the rich and the poor. The bosses of capitalist enterprises sometimes make 300 times the amount as the lowliest worker, leading to family conflict and the breakdown of communities.

The de-industrialization of the US, to be followed by the privatization of the US economy, is leading to massive unemployment across middle-America. The outsourcing of millions of jobs, the better part of the manufacturing sector, to Asia, enriches the banks that broker these deals on behalf of the pols who ‘sell out’ the American working-class.

Facts: Labor exists in struggle with capital. Capital always seeks cheap labor, and hence corrupts politicans who are its paid lackeys in the war on unions and the poor. The finance banks and the state are in alliance, along with the corporations, against the bottom 80 percent of the population!

The champagne -drinking class is literally at war with the beer drinkers. “Self-interest” not patriotism is their concern. The class struggle must be analyzed and openly critiqued before it will be reformed. To organize the workers and educate them is the obligation of all true intellectuals! Reform or Revolution!

Conclusion

America, as Theodore Adorno wrote, is a corrupt, authoritarian society which is increasingly at odds with the stated democratic intentions of the Founding Fathers. After Lincoln, the US embarked on a massive project of industrialization which gave enormous power and wealth to the privileged few. The country now exists principally to support its bloated military; Wall Street exists to exploit us economically; the political system has been jerry-rigged in such a way as to ensure white privilege and continued corporate hegemony. The ‘Rights of man’ are consistently being violated by the forces of Law; the natural environment is heavily polluted by industry; the culture is being rendered increasingly trivial by the mass media; and religious communities attempt to stifle public discourse about science. Mass conformity not individuality determines the culture; and hatred of foreigners incites politicians to public expressions of ignorance and foolishness otherwise best left behind in the 19th century.

This is America today- a country of self-deceived fools misled by criminals. President Obama is trying to reform society, but even he cannot take on vested interests.

The crisis of capitalism and the October 2011 revolution

1. Corporate /wall street dollars controls pols of both parties. Lobbyists shuttle back and forth to K Street in DC.

2. Corporations then send jobs overseas, calling it “Globalization” and ruin middle-class families and working-class ones as well. Entire communities become frayed at the seams. The elite then pocket the difference, and translate economic into political power.

3. This is “Gangster Capitalism,” selling out Americans for a profit.

4. Many corporations evade paying taxes, for instance GE and Exxon Mobil.

5. One percent pays 40 percent of the Federal taxes, but controls 40 percent of the wealth.

6. They control the mass media, so that propaganda passes for news and info.

7. The Moguls treat the workers like sheep, and the middle-class shudders, observing this process, praying that it won’t be their necks on the chopping block.

8. The poor, the working-class, and the middle-class should organize and oppose the top 20 percent, which controls 80 percent of the economy.

9. Fifty percent of the people are the working-class. Their wages are stagnant, their incomes barely keep pace with the cost of living.

10. These are desperate times. Goldman Sachs and Citigroup bought “developing world bonds.” If the bonds turned a profit, they would benefit. If they lost, the banks were bailed out, a collusion between capital and the state, and the taxpayers would foot the bill. “Too big to fail,” proving clearly that capitalism is a racket.

The Preppy Prince, or

“Blessed are the war-mongers!”

The Ivy League Universities and the military academies have become the ‘epicenter’ of America’s brain trust. Their alumni include such prestigious leaders as Henry Kissinger, Robert MacNamara, Woodrow Wilson, the Roosevelts, the Kennedys, the Clintons, Gerald Ford, the Bushes, the Rockefellers, and Barack Obama. Their ‘secret societies’ and fraternities with pretensions to natural-born rulership are the fisheries of that rare breed of American wildlife which now lords it over the common man. They are the select rulers who send America’s sons and daughters into harm’s way in a perpetual war for perpetual peace in that heroin and oil-surfeited Middle East.

“The Meritocracy” now rules every aspect of our lives. It supplies the heads of major corporations, the investment bankers, the media elite, the CIA, select groups of preachers and bankers, CEOS, and heads of major think tanks. These are the so-called “Best and the Brightest” who promised us “Victory” in Vietnam, while some of them turned against it halfway through that debacle. They urge us to keep supporting their initiatives and ‘undeclared wars.’ It is they who supplied the grifters on Wall Street, the investment bankers who brought about a precipitous world-crisis. The Preppy Princes, these scions of privilege, have been self-organized to “rule the world.” They are now the inheritors of the earthly throne, Novum Ordum Seclorum.

Just as British leaders are handpicked to attend posh prep schools from which they will be matriculated into Oxford and Cambridge, their American cousins ‘cross the pond’ have emulated them in order to create a class of leaders. They provide the world-class brains for the State. No one dares to criticize them or their institutions which have become sacred cows which dazzle us with their power and glory. Few of the adherents to Ivy League privilege question their own actions, nor do they give any thought to “America’s rightful place in the world” as the most powerful nation. The media largely fawn on them slavishly.

They now hold the keys to the Terrestrial Kingdom. The price of their rulership can be found in military cemeteries and grieving households all across the land.

6/11/11

Oxfam on Global poverty

22 Jan

Published on Monday, January 21, 2013 by Common Dreams

Profits of World’s 100 Wealthiest Could End Poverty Four Times Over: Report   Oxfam report shows how extreme global inequality ‘hurts us all’

 – Jon Queally, staff writer

 

The profits of the world’s one hundred most wealthy individuals last year would be enough to wipe out world poverty, says a new report. And not just once over, or twice over, but the vast amount of money that has flowed to the top of the world’s financial food chain would be enough to eradicate the worst kind of poverty a full four times over.

 Barbara Stocking, Oxfam’s chief executive, who said world leaders should commit to reducing inequality at least to 1990 levels. (Photograph: David Levene) Such an explosion in extreme wealth and income inequality represented by these numbers is exacerbating and hindering the world’s ability to tackle poverty, warns international aid group Oxfam International in a new analysis published ahead of the World Economic Forum starting in Davos this week.   According to the report, ‘The cost of inequality: how wealth and income extremes hurt us all,’ the $240 billion net income in 2012 of the richest 100 billionaires would be enough to eliminate extreme poverty four times over. In releasing the report, Oxfam is calling on world leaders to curb today’s income extremes and commit to bringing back inequality levels to at least those experienced in the early 1990’s.   “Concentration of resources in the hands of the top one per cent depresses economic activity and makes life harder for everyone else – particularly those at the bottom of the economic ladder,” said Jeremy Hobbs, Oxfam’s executive director.   “We can no longer pretend that the creation of wealth for a few will inevitably benefit the many – too often the reverse is true,” he said. “In a world where even basic resources such as land and water are increasingly scarce, we cannot afford to concentrate assets in the hands of a few and leave the many to struggle over what’s left.”   “From tax havens to weak employment laws, the richest benefit from a global economic system which is rigged in their favour. It is time our leaders reformed the system so that it works in the interests of the whole of humanity rather than a global elite.”   In addition, Barbara Stocking, Oxfam’s chief executive, says the world’s extremity of wealth inequality is “economically inefficient, politically corrosive, socially divisive and environmentally destructive”.   Oxfam is calling for a ‘new global deal’ which would stabilize the world’s economic systems and bring equality back in way that would benefit all humanity.   “From tax havens to weak employment laws, the richest benefit from a global economic system which is rigged in their favour. It is time our leaders reformed the system so that it works in the interests of the whole of humanity rather than a global elite.”   The group estimates that closing tax havens – which hold as much as *$32 trillion or a third of all global wealth* – could yield an additional $189bn in additional tax revenues. In addition to a tax haven crackdown, elements of the “global new deal” Oxfam envisions would include:  •a reversal of the trend towards more regressive forms of taxation;  •a global minimum corporation tax rate;  •measures to boost wages compared with returns available to capital;  •increased investment in free public services and safety nets.   According to Al-Jazeera:  

The group says that the world’s richest one percent have seen their income increase by 60 percent in the last 20 years, with the latest world financial crisis only serving to hasten, rather than hinder, the process.   “We sometimes talk about the ‘have-nots’ and the ‘haves’ – well, we’re talking about the ‘have-lots’. […] We’re anti-poverty agency. We focus on poverty, we work with the poorest people around the world. You don’t normally hear us talking about wealth. But it’s gotten so out of control between rich and poor that one of the obstacles to solving extreme poverty is now extreme wealth,” Ben Phillips, a campaign director at Oxfam, told Al Jazeera.

NY Times on Wall St bailout

22 Jan

Wall Street Bailout Plan, Explained

Published: September 20, 2008
<nyt_text>

WASHINGTON — News reports about the upheaval in the world of finance have been full of esoteric terms like “mortgage-backed securities” and “credit-default swaps,” but the crisis has resonated for people who know little about Wall Street and who did not think they would ever have to know. Here are several questions and answers of concern to Main Street Americans:

Q. The bailout program being negotiated by the Bush administration and Congressional leaders calls for the government to spend up to $700 billion to buy distressed mortgages. How did the politicians come up with that number, and could it go higher?

A. The recovery package cannot go higher than $700 billion without additional legislation. As for that figure, it lies between the optimistic estimate of $500 billion and the pessimistic guess of $1 trillion about the cost of fixing the financial mess. But the $700 billion is in addition to an $85 billion agreement on a bailout of the insurance giant American International Group, plus $29 billion in support that the government pledged in the marriage of Bear Stearns and JPMorgan Chase. On top of all that, the Congressional Budget Office says the federal bailout of the mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could cost $25 billion.

Q. Who, really, is going to come up with the $700 billion?

A. American taxpayers will come up with the money, although if you are bullish on America in the long run, there is reason to hope that the tab will be less than $700 billion. After the Treasury buys up those troubled mortgages, it will try to resell them to investors. The Treasury’s involvement in the crisis and the speed with which Congress is responding could generate long-range optimism and raise the value of those mortgages, although it is impossible to say by how much.

So it would not be correct to think of the federal government as simply writing a check for $700 billion. It is just committing itself to spend that much, if necessary. But the bottom line is, yes, this bailout could cost American taxpayers a lot of money.

Q. So is it fair to say that Americans who are neither rich nor reckless are being asked to rescue people who are? What is in this package for responsible homeowners of modest means who might be forced out of their homes, perhaps for reasons beyond their control?

A. Yes, you could argue that people who cannot tell soybean futures from puts, calls and options are being asked to clean up the costly mess left by Wall Street. To make the bailout palatable to the public, it is being described as far better than inaction, which administration officials and members of Congress say could imperil the retirement savings and other investments of Americans who are anything but rich.

But it is a good bet that the negotiations between the administration and Capitol Hill will include ideas about ways to help middle-class homeowners avoid foreclosure and perhaps some limits on pay for executives. And it should be noted that neither party is solely responsible for whatever neglect led the country to the brink of disaster.

Q. How is it that the administration and Congress, which have not tried to find huge amounts of money to, say, improve the nation’s health insurance system or repair bridges and tunnels, can now be ready to come up with $700 billion to rescue the financial system? And is it realistic to think that the parties can reach agreement and get legislation passed in a hurry?

A. The first question will surely come up again, involving as it does not just issues of spending policy but also more profound questions about national aspirations. As for rescuing the financial system, elected officials in both parties became convinced that, while a couple of venerable investment banks could fade into oblivion or be absorbed by mergers, the entire financial system could not be allowed to collapse.

And, yes, the parties are likely to reach an accord. Many members of Congress are eager to leave Washington to go home and campaign for the November elections, and no one wants to face the voters without having done something to protect modest savings portfolios as well as giant investors.

<nyt_author_id>

Stephen Labaton and David M. Herszenhorn contributed reporting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/21/business/21qanda.html?_r=0

Obama inauguration promises hope for progressive lib politics

22 Jan

Published on Monday, January 21, 2013 by Common Dreams

The Extremist Cult of Capitalism   by Paul Buchheit

 

A ‘cult,’ according to Merriam-Webster, can be defined as “Great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work..(and)..a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion.”

  Capitalism has been defined by adherents and detractors: Milton Friedman said, “The problem of social organization is how to set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm; capitalism is that kind of a system.”

John Maynard Keynes said, “Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.”  

Perhaps it’s best to turn to someone who actually practiced the art: “Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class.” Al Capone said that.  

Capitalism is a cult. It is devoted to the ideals of privatization over the common good, profit over social needs, and control by a small group of people who defy the public’s will. The tenets of the cult lead to extremes rather than to compromise. Examples are not hard to find.  

1. Extremes of Income   By sitting on their growing investments, the richest five Americans made almost $7 billion each in one year. That’s $3,500,000.00 per hour. The minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13 per hour.  Our unregulated capitalist financial system allows a few well-positioned individuals to divert billions of dollars from the needs of society. If the 400 richest Americans lumped together their investment profits from last year, the total would pay in-state tuition and fees for EVERY college student in the United States.  

2. Extremes of Wealth   The combined net worth of the world’s 250 richest individuals is more than the total annual living expenses of almost half the world – three billion people.   Within our own borders the disparity is no less shocking. For every one dollar of assets owned by a single black or Hispanic woman, a member of the Forbes 400 has over forty million dollars. That’s equivalent to a can of soup versus a mansion, a yacht, and a private jet. Most of the Forbes 400 wealth has accrued from nonproductive capital gains. It’s little wonder that with the exception of Russia, Ukraine, and Lebanon, the U.S. has the highest degree of wealth inequality in the world.  

3. Extremes of Debt   Up until the 1970s U.S. households had virtually no debt. Now the total is $13 trillion, which averages *out to $100,000 per American family.   Debt appears to be the only recourse for 21- to 35-year-olds, who have lost, on average, 68% of their median net worth since 1984, leaving each of them about $4,000.  

4. Extremes of Health Care   A butler in black vest and tie passed the atrium waterfall and entered the $2,400 suite, where the linens were provided by the high-end bedding designer Frette of Italy and the bathroom glimmered with polished marble. Inside a senior financial executive awaited his ‘concierge’ doctor for private treatment. He was waiting in the penthouse suite of the New York Presbyterian Hospital.   On the streets outside were some of the 26,000 Americans who will die this year because they are without health care. In 2010, 50 million Americans had no health insurance coverage.  

5. Extremes of Justice   William James Rummel stole $80 with a credit card, then passed a bad check for $24, then refused to return $120 for a repair job gone bad. He got life in prison. Christopher Williams is facing over 80 years in prison for selling medical marijuana in Montana, a state which allows medical marijuana. Patricia Spottedcrow got 12 years for a $31 marijuana sale, and has seen her children only twice in the past two years. Numerous elderly Americans are in prison for life for non-violent marijuana offenses.   Banking giant *HSBC, whose mission statement urges employees “to act with courageous integrity” in all they do, was described by a U.S. Senate report as having “exposed the U.S. financial system to ‘a wide array of money laundering, drug trafficking, and terrorist financing'” in their dealings with Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, which is considered the deadliest drug gang in the world.   HSBC received a fine equivalent to four weeks’ profits. The bank’s CEO said, “we are profoundly sorry.”  

In the words of Bertrand Russell, “Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.”   Accurate to the extreme.

 

 

 

Paul Buchheit is a college teacher, an active member of US Uncut Chicago, founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org, RappingHistory.org), and the editor and main author of “American Wars: Illusions and Realities” (Clarity Press).

The argument for social democratic REFORM of capitalism

18 Jan

NEW: We need a system of social democracy that will 1. end militarism 2. fight unemployment and 3. will create A LIVING WAGE law throughout all 50 states.  Capitalism, Marx claimed, was predicated on the exploitation of the workers, ie Cheap labor. He seems to have made that point correctly.

We ask, Why is there poverty in America, the richest economy on earth? Why did we have no mandatory health insurance, until the advent of Obama? Why do we keep having year after dreary year of pointless wars?

Is LABOR America’s problem? Apparently it is! The average worker during the Eisenhower fifties earned only 150 percent of what the average minimum wage recipient earned. To create a class of dumbed -down workers may be the strategy of America, which now ranks 16th in the world, in terms of higher education attainment by the youth of this country. This is atrocious.

It is all, I believe, part of the corporate-Capitalist strategy, in coordination with the state.

What America created after the Great Depression, caused by the stock market crash of 1929, was the need for a ‘mixed economy.’ This could only be achieved through some degree of state planning, a process which World War Two accelerated. That is what we live under now. However, the system needs to be reformed in order to guarantee the poor a living wage.

That is fundamentally our argument.

“The United States of Television”

5 Jan

“The United States of Television”
a brief essay

“Television is the finest instrument of the devil,” wrote author Norman Mailer. Through it, the mass media has invaded the living rooms of virtually every home in America. It has indoctrinated everyone in the power of consumption; shown us the glamorous life of actors; the two parties and their agenda; the importance of household products to our lives; it has reminded us of the joy of giving at Christmas; the noble pathos of war; and of course, the news from around the world, slanted to showing our own country in a positive light in contrast to the others.

Television has a strange, familiar aspect. In the middle of the night, like the Almighty, it is there when you need it. The sad thing is, we’ve become so conditioned to its presence that we can’t imagine it not being there. Literally, it is our earthly reward for putting up with America’s crime problem; its high cost of living; traffic; pollution; and other ills. The pervasive phenomenon that is television is so potent that it is almost unpatriotic to criticize it. The tube has become, for better or worse, a force in everyone’s lives, replacing the town hall, the parson, and the schoolmarm. It gives us our values, influences our decisions, and has almost achieved personhood. It is the mode whereby commercial forces aim to influence us in our private decisions.

The most salient fact about TV is that it seems to present us with real, unmediated life, when of course, the truth is the opposite. Almost every moment of televised airtime has been carefully stage-managed for maximum result by faceless executives, advertisers, public relations people, political party ops, and other clever bitches and sons of bitches. So powerful is the medium that people have, since its inception, emulated what they see on it. They dress the way they see TV people dress, act the way they act, speak the way they speak. (It can be no coincidence that television emerged, historically, about the same time that Hitler and the Atomic bomb did. It is a symbol of the negation of real meaning. It is a symbol of its own emptiness.)

TV is a force for good, according to some, but to others it is a force of evil. The point is moot. The most salient fact is that TV is not neutral. It propagandizes us, and in the final analysis we allow it to, for the only purpose of television is to get you to watch more television.

Dec 8, 2012

Three essays: On Washington. On the decline of Marxism. On America.

5 Jan

On Wa(r)shington DC

A purely secular culture vs. a Christian one? The problem with Christendom is that it is not national or race-based, but international in scope. The patriots of nations must put the interests of their own nation-states first. Marxism, like Christianity, was primarily a transnational idea. But American nationalism, like that of Germany, was markedly self-interested. Just as a person is capable of self-interestedness, so must be the nation-state, if it is to survive in this world. The Founding Fathers and most of the leaders we’ve had, have put country first. They were both nationalists and patriots, but once the USA became a victor, following the World Wars, we succumbed to the urge to reorder the world. We followed and emulated the class-based British Empire, with mixed results. The American colossus has since then become a dinosaur, inflicting upon us such catastrophes as Vietnam and the Iraq War. Even the formerly pacific-seeming Obama has succumbed to the Beltway. He remains pompous and cautious about expressing his true intentions, while largely failing in his national agenda of improving the lives of people here in the States, long after the New Deal and the Great Society programs were criticized and attacked by the right-wing crowd.

The State, the Pentagon, and the mass media, not to mention Wall Street, have all been shown to be highly fallible. More and more of us are beginning to grow critical of the Establishment. The USA is becoming a ‘society of the spectacle,’ a parody of itself, an emulator of the British Empire. The Georgetown and Ivy Leaguers think that they’ve replaced the blue bloods of the United Kingdom, and are in a position to protect the institutions of capitalism by sending the less-fortunate, less well-educated working classes to fight and die for them in foreign fields. The wisdom of the Iraq war is still being questioned; the Afghan war, less so. Still, it’s clear that our policies in the Middle East have largely failed. The ‘Arab Spring,’ has turned bloody. A war in Syria has consumed 40,000 lives or more. Al Qaeda and the Taliban, far from being defeated, have reconstituted themselves. And what is our earthly reward?
TV, which represents to us a seemingly constricted, if not wholly censored view of the recent wars. The comedy shows and other junk forms of entertainment constitute a decadent parody of American pretensions.
America wants to have its proverbial cake and eat it, too. And the mass media offer up a daily dose of sugary substance for us to ingest.

During the halcyon fifties, the Frankfurt School declared that America was becoming an ‘authoritarian society, but in truth, we’ve become a ‘meritocracy,’ a society in which the Ivy Leaguers and near-Ivy Leaguers rule over the rest of us. America wants first class brains running the country. Have we been well served? And what do the Prepsters of the Northeast corridor really intend for us?

——–

“Those who are ignorant of history are condemned to repeat it.” G. Santayana

From the hour of the caveman, civilization has somehow emerged, triumphant, but man himself hasn’t changed much. Democratic systems protect us with a system of laws that are supposed to protect our inalienable rights.
The Marxist system failed even to acknowledge that people have rights! Hence Marxism needed to be recalibrated or dismissed.
America in response to the challenge of the Soviet Union, developed a form of liberal social engineering, a progressive alternative to the Marxist ideas which we staunchly opposed.
The social and economic disparities of capitalistic society were perceived as being easily remedied by mass education. But can education really socially engineer for us a ‘better tomorrow?’ It stands in contrast to the rough individualism preached by Emerson during the 19th Century. Individualism today is under intellectual attack in the academy. It’s taught to the business class, but it is not embraced in all quarters. It became transformed into Carnegie’s “Gospel of Wealth,” a strange subversion of Christianity, a muscular Christianity, as Teddy Roosevelt called it – appropriate to the age of Titans and so-called “Robber Barons.” Carnegie practiced what he preached, endowing colleges, universities, libraries and museums liberally, in order to bestow upon the common man the benefits of superior culture.
Hence the capitalists began to realize that they had to protect their culture from Marxist critiques of ‘hegemony.’ We must ask, isn’t life in the USA better because of the brains of such giants as Ford, Edison, Carnegie and other great men of industry? They were called ‘robber barons,’ by the newspaper men of their day.

Taking a radical view, the Marxists wanted to destroy capitalism altogether, believing that the future is better served by a dictatorship ruling over the Proletariat (the working classes). Few today agree with Marx’s ideas. We prefer to have our rights protected by a liberal democratic state, with a mixed capitalist economy. That’s what we are told we live under; although the fact that twenty percent or more of the US Federal budget goes directly to the waging of warfare in foreign post-colonial nations must give us pauce. Hence, we must conclude that it is the common folk, the middle-classes, the working-classes, and the poor that President Obama must forge together into a new social democratic, liberal alliance. The alternative provided to us by the Republicans, namely a Romney-Ryan ultra-right-wing agenda of austerity combined with tax cuts for the wealthy, failed to win over the majority of the voting public in 2008. So the rich now must pay higher taxes. But what about the rest of us?

Opposing Marxism: there have always been the advocates of “Culture and civilization,” meaning largely, but not exclusively white culture and civilization. Christianity, although Judaic in origin, spread throughout the world, thanks to the Roman Empire. Hence it thereafter became the official belief-system and expression of the white peoples.
Art, science, culture, civilization, and the Christian religion have produced the modern world in its better aspect. The northern hemisphere nations, namely the US, Canada, Europe and Britain, and the Soviet nations share a common civilization. Culture is only aspect of that glorious achievement of Western man. Science was another aspect. And Marxism was sold to the Russian peoples as a form of ‘scientific socialism,’ one which sadly failed. We must address the causes of this catastrophe.
Marxism was the ‘light that failed,’ (Koestler) because it arrogated to itself absolute power and certitude to a tiny ruling class. The Marxist nations had their power struggles and upheavals: the Mensheviks fought the Bolsheviks, the Trotskyites fought the Stalinists. Literally they were at each others‘ throats. Nevertheless, the Marxists did succeed in ultimately creating a ‘planned economy,’ which functioned for a few decades, at the price of freedom.
Unable to spread the Marxist gospel of ‘scientific socialism,’ by force in Western Europe during the late, unlamented “Cold War,” the Communists exported it to the undeveloped or Third World, where it still continues to breed anti-American critics, like Chavez in Venezuela. Marxism was rejected by the northern nations, ultimately, but it was embraced by many of the anti-colonialist intelligentsia in the so-called “Third World.” This is what constitutes Marxism today, or Marx mingled with a strong dose of anti-colonialistic fervor.
Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia, and later Chairman Mao, wanted to become the leaders of a second wave of Marxist insurrection throughout the world. The Red Chinese gov’t adopted the ideas of the German, Marx, and combined them with their own native peasant philosophy. Today, the Red Chinese people have largely sloughed off Marxism, although it is still the official ideology of the State. Over one billion people presently live under the dictatorship of the Party, long, long after the Russian Communist party marched off to lick its wounds following the Soviet collapse on Dec 25, 1991. The question is, Will Marxism take a new form and lead those of the ‘wretched of the Earth,’ to allude to Frantz Fanon?
The people of America largely reject Marxism, preferring our soft and easy Coca-Cola capitalism. No brains required for belonging. In academe, Marxism has become largely passé, but it still has its vociferous advocates in certain trendy corners. Neoliberalism, environmentalism, and feminism have largely superceded fashionable Marxism, but there’s always a certain amount of social discontent, within and without the USA’s borders, which may, like the can of Coke, explode under pressure right under our noses.
Marx, I would argue, is still relevant as a system of criticism of the vagaries of militaristic American state capitalism.

The truth is that the rich, the corporations, and the connected run America, rather than the common folk, who are becoming increasingly vocal about their alienation from the system.

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In America:

In America, there exists the city, the town, the village, the farm and the woods. The people of one part of the country don’t necessarily like or understand those of the next tier of society. Thus we have developed the phony, ‘red-blue’ state division. The people of small upstate towns fear and loathe the people of the great cauldrons of social experimentation that we call big cities. They see in them the future of the multicultural US already being born, and view it with great suspicion.
Hence there is a lot of fear and loathing in these states. The ‘disunited states of America,’ brought to you by
Wa(r)shington. Doubtlessly they will resort to the usual rhetoric of the struggle for the ‘hearts and minds of the masses,’ but in the end, the Karl Roves and the Dick Morrisses, the talking ‘pundits,’ are all cut from the same cloth. They all end up at the same dreary cocktail parties in Georgetown, exchanging engaging witticisms doubtlessly gleaned from Mark Twain or some other true wit.

Hostess; Walmart strike; can progressive-reform politics win?

21 Nov

C(r)apitalism. The struggle of labor vs. capital. Is there a left alternative to Marxism?

We need a statement.

Can we create a progressive reform version of liberal democracy to replace the internally declining American system?

Our complaint:

1. War is brought to you every five to ten years brought to you by the Pentagon and the lovers of high-tech.

2. The stifling of the working-class (the proletariat) and the suffering of the invisible poor.

3. Jobs which are shipped overseas by the corporations and the political class, working hand in hand. The state is supposed to regulate business and protect us from powerful private interests. With their wealth and connections, of course, the powerful can ‘lobby’ politicians. But who speaks for the rest of us?

4.Corrupt Big Business and Wall St devise strategies to control the media, which helps stifle dissent.

5. The division of society into classes, while pols proclaim how ‘United,’ these disunited states are.

6. The struggle of millions of young people to pay for college education

7. Racism alive and well

8. The decline in living standards, the decline of the dollar, the rising cost of living, and the FEAR that the entire society seems to live under. Capitalism tends toward an hegemony. Monopolies develop, in defiance of the law. All of these create a condition of societal blight — brought to you by the old boys’ club!

9. Environmental disasters, such as BP’s polluting of the Gulf Of Mexico, which are becoming more and more common.

10. The denial in our discourse that there exists a class system, which causes dissension, alarm, and phoney religiosity.

WHAT A SHITTY STATE AMERICA IS IN TODAY, thanks to the 2 parties!
by the author….

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Below are some e-clippings
Join Us for November’s Actions!

Find an Action | Organize an Action

The election is over, now our real work begins. PDA and our partners will address the lame duck session and sequester debates, working to educate Congress in our home districts and on Capitol Hill. Most actions will be on Wednesday, November 21st.

Organize an office meeting or do a letter drop. If you can’t make it to your Congress member’s or Senators’ offices, use this action alert to contact the President, and your elected officials. Call the Capitol switchboard at (202)-224-3121. Tell all your friends to join us in these actions. Take action, then give thanks for all we’ve accomplished and share your inspiration with your friends and family at your holiday gathering.

Educate Congress | Find an Action | Organize One

We will educate our legislators about the need to:

1. Enact The Robin Hood Tax–also known as the financial speculation tax (FST).

2. Get us Out of Afghanistan and cut spending on weapons and war by 25%.

3. Provide Medicare for All, and Jobs for All.

4. To oppose any legislation or policy which would cut Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits, COLAs, eligibility, etc.–which could endanger those programs.

Join activists nationwide telling our legislators to support Prosperity not Austerity. To make investments in people–education, job training, and job creation. We have to educate our elected officials on basic budget math. Tell them: If we stop wasting $trillions on death and destruction, and raise revenues through fair taxation, we can afford to invest in and care for all our people.

See you on the streets and in the suites!

Tim Carpenter
PDA National Director

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Join us!

Come to our Call – Healthcare For All!

What Day: Tuesday, November 20, 2012
What Time: 9:00 PM ET 8:00 PM CT 7:00 PM MT 6:00 PM PT
Call #: (605) 475-4800 Access Code: 791628#

RSVP for the call here.

——————————————————————————–

Moderator: Kurt Bateman, PDA HCHR IOT Co-coordinator

AGENDA:

•Welcome and Introductions–Kurt Bateman, Dr. Bill Honigman

•National Reports: Kurt on DC meeting attended by PDA Re: Saving Medicare and Social Security / Labor Issues. Kurt

•PDA National Medicare For All Slate…. how’d we do? IL 13th CD in particular. Kurt

•One Payer States news. Dr Bill and Kurt

•State Reports: Dr Bill on Calif Organizing model, others.

•Open Discussion–lessons from the elections, invite discussion from other areas. State innovation initiatives under ACA.

——————————————————————————–

RSVP for the call here.

Talk with you Tuesday!

In solidarity,

Dr. Bill Honigman
Kurt Bateman

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Walmart Workers Walk Off Job in First Wave of 1000 Protests
2.How Germany Is Getting to 100 Percent Renewable Energy
3.Ten Numbers the Rich Would Like Fudged
4.Already? Obama Tells Supporters to Expect ‘Bitter Pills’
5.Election Over, Time For Progressive Dems to Face the Truth

NJ GOP’s Failed Attempt to Block Minimum Wage Bill

‘People Over Profits!’: Climate Justice Groups Slam ‘Wholly Irresponsible’ Tar Sands Plan

More News…
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Published on Monday, November 19, 2012 by Common Dreams

Ten Numbers the Rich Would Like Fudged

The numbers reveal the deadening effects of inequality in our country, and confirm that tax avoidance, rather than a lack of middle-class initiative, is the cause.

by Paul Buchheit

1. Only THREE PERCENT of the very rich are entrepreneurs.

According to both Marketwatch and economist Edward Wolff, over 90 percent of the assets owned by millionaires are held in a combination of low-risk investments (bonds and cash), personal business accounts, the stock market, and real estate. Only 3.6 percent of taxpayers in the top .1% were classified as entrepreneurs based on 2004 tax returns. A 2009 Kauffman Foundation study found that the great majority of entrepreneurs come from middle-class backgrounds, with less than 1 percent of all entrepreneurs coming from very rich or very poor backgrounds.photo: withayou via flickr

2. Only FOUR OUT OF 150 countries have more wealth inequality than us.

In a world listing compiled by a reputable research team (which nevertheless prompted double-checking), the U.S. has greater wealth inequality than every measured country in the world except for Namibia, Zimbabwe, Denmark, and Switzerland.

3. An amount equal to ONE-HALF the GDP is held untaxed overseas by rich Americans.

The Tax Justice Network estimated that between $21 and $32 trillion is hidden offshore, untaxed. With Americans making up 40% of the world’s Ultra High Net Worth Individuals, that’s $8 to $12 trillion in U.S. money stashed in far-off hiding places.

Based on a historical stock market return of 6%, up to $750 billion of income is lost to the U.S. every year, resulting in a tax loss of about $260 billion.

4. Corporations stopped paying HALF OF THEIR TAXES after the recession.

After paying an average of 22.5% from 1987 to 2008, corporations have paid an annual rate of 10% since. This represents a sudden $250 billion annual loss in taxes.

U.S. corporations have shown a pattern of tax reluctance for more than 50 years, despite building their businesses with American research and infrastructure. They’ve passed the responsibility on to their workers. For every dollar of workers’ payroll tax paid in the 1950s, corporations paid three dollars. Now it’s 22 cents.

5. Just TEN Americans made a total of FIFTY BILLION DOLLARS in one year.

That’s enough to pay the salaries of over a million nurses or teachers or emergency responders.

That’s enough, according to 2008 estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the UN’s World Food Program, to feed the 870 million people in the world who are lacking sufficient food.

For the free-market advocates who say “they’ve earned it”: Point #1 above makes it clear how the wealthy make their money.

6. Tax deductions for the rich could pay off 100 PERCENT of the deficit.

Another stat that required a double-check. Based on research by the Tax Policy Center, tax deferrals and deductions and other forms of tax expenditures (tax subsidies from special deductions, exemptions, exclusions, credits, capital gains, and loopholes), which largely benefit the rich, are worth about 7.4% of the GDP, or about $1.1 trillion.

Other sources have estimated that about two-thirds of the annual $850 billion in tax expenditures goes to the top quintile of taxpayers.

7. The average single black or Hispanic woman has about $100 IN NET WORTH.

The Insight Center for Community Economic Development reported that median wealth for black and Hispanic women is a little over $100. That’s much less than one percent of the median wealth for single white women ($41,500).

Other studies confirm the racially-charged economic inequality in our country. For every dollar of NON-HOME wealth owned by white families, people of color have only one cent.

8. Elderly and disabled food stamp recipients get $4.30 A DAY FOR FOOD.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) has dropped significantly over the past 15 years, serving only about a quarter of the families in poverty, and paying less than $400 per month for a family of three for housing and other necessities. Ninety percent of the available benefits go to the elderly, the disabled, or working households.

Food stamp recipients get $4.30 a day.

9. Young adults have lost TWO-THIRDS OF THEIR NET WORTH since 1984.

21- to 35-year-olds: Your median net worth has dropped 68% since 1984. It’s now less than $4,000.

That $4,000 has to pay for student loans that average $27,200. Or, if you’re still in school, for $12,700 in credit card debt.

With an unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds of almost 50%, two out of every five recent college graduates are living with their parents. But your favorite company may be hiring. Apple, which makes a profit of $420,000 per employee, can pay you about $12 per hour.

10. The American public paid about FOUR TRILLION DOLLARS to bail out the banks.

That’s about the same amount of money made by America’s richest 10% in one year. But we all paid for the bailout. And because of it, we lost the opportunity for jobs, mortgage relief, and educational funding.

Bonus for the super-rich: A QUADRILLION DOLLARS in securities trading nets ZERO sales tax revenue for the U.S.

The world derivatives market is estimated to be worth over a quadrillion dollars (a thousand trillion). At least $200 trillion of that is in the United States. In 2011 the Chicago Mercantile Exchange reported a trading volume of over $1 quadrillion on 3.4 billion annual contracts.

A quadrillion dollars. A sales tax of ONE-TENTH OF A PENNY on a quadrillion dollars could pay off the deficit. But the total sales tax was ZERO.

It’s not surprising that the very rich would like to fudge the numbers, as they have the nation.

Paul Buchheit is a college teacher, an active member of US Uncut Chicago, founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org, RappingHistory.org), and the editor and main author of “American Wars: Illusions and Realities” (Clarity Press).
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borrowed from:
Common Dreams
Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community.
Independent, non-profit newscenter since 1997.

To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

http://www.commondreams.org
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This Black Friday, tell Walmart: Workers deserve respect

Valarie Long, SEIU

Last month, employees at 28 different Walmarts all walked out of work simultaneously to stand up for living wages. But this Friday — Black Friday — it’s gonna get even bigger.

Flashmobs, Twitter storms, and justice-themed caroling are just a small portion of what will sweep Walmarts nationwide on the biggest shopping day of the year.

Stand with Walmart strikers, and find out now how you can take part in this national outpouring for good jobs. Click here.

In October, for the first time in Walmart’s 50-year history, more than 70 workers at multiple Los Angeles-area Walmarts walked off the job to demand a living wage, affordable healthcare, and respect from their employer. The strikes caused a ripple effect, and soon there were strikes in 12 other cities around the United States. But Walmart refused to listen, even retaliating against their workers.

Now, thousands of Walmart employees from across the country are coming together on Black Friday in an unprecedented action. The action will protest Walmart’s continued retaliation against its employees, and advocate for improved working conditions and fair schedules. But most of all, these actions are about respect.

This Friday, gather with friends, family, and co-workers to stand with Walmart strikers, and stand up for better jobs and a better future.

In Solidarity,

Valarie Long,

SEIU Executive Vice President

IN solidarity with:
http://occupywallst.org/