Article 43

 

Next Recession, Next Depression

Friday, November 13, 2020

Meat Packers and Covid19

image: meatpackers

Over at the CALL CENTER they had a draconian policy called a ”POINT BASED ATTENDANCE” system.

Every day you’re absent or (even a minute) late for work, you get an attendance “point” on your permanent record. 

10 points = you’re fired.

When I got the flu it knocked me out and kept me home for two weeks straight without pay = 10 points.

To not get fired the boss insisted on a doctor’s note that put me out a few hundred dollars thanks to medical insurance’s yearly deductable.

Think that’s bad?

Let’s talk about meat packers and covid-19

It’s a lot worse than not showing up for their “essential” job because they’re sick.

President Trump made them go back to work, but didn’t make their employers provide masks or PPE.

DONALD TRUMP, invoking the Defense Production Act, has ordered meatpacking plants to stay open no matter the cost. Plants won’t even close for a deep cleaning when a deadly pathogen is found. The president said he is protecting companies from liability - you know, in case somebody keels over because of someone else’s negligence.

Talk about putting people in harm’s way and treating them as disposable.

I wonder how many of them have any kind of MEDICAL INSURANCE .

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Meatpacking Workers Say Attendance Policies Force Them to Work With Covid-19 Symptoms

By Heather Schlitz
Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting
October 20, 2020

As the pandemic rages, punitive ATTENDANCE POLICIES at corporate meat plants coerce sick workers into showing up, according to activists, experts and the workers themselves.

This story is part of a collaborative reporting initiative between the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting and USA TODAY Network and is supported by the PULITZER CENTER ON CRISIS REPORTING.

This story is embargoed for republication until Oct. 30

In April, despite his fever, a meatpacking worker continued to carve neck bones out of pig carcasses at a JBS plant in Iowa.

Two weeks later, he would test positive for COVID-19. But in the meantime, he said, he kept clocking in because of a punitive attendance system widely used in meatpacking plants: the point system.

Under the policy, workers usually receive a point or points for missing a day. If they gain enough points, they’re fired.
according to a
For a few months earlier this year, as case counts swelled, Tyson Foods suspended its point system, and Smithfield Foods said it has halted its version for the time being.

However, the point system has endured at Tyson and JBS plants throughout the pandemic, and it has continued to coerce people with potential COVID-19 symptoms into showing up to work, said plant employees, their family members, activists and researchers.

“People are afraid now to lose points, and they start to go to work even when they’re sick,” Alfredo, a machine operator in a Tyson poultry plant in Arkansas, said through an interpreter. He asked to be identified only by his first name out of fear of retribution.

“If they see that you can walk, they’ll tell you to keep working,” he continued. “If you cant stand on your own, they’ll send you home.”

Spokespeople for the country’s two biggest meat processing companies said employees are encouraged to stay home while ill.

“Our current attendance policy encourages our people to come to work when they’re healthy and instructs them to stay home with pay if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for the virus,” Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson said.

“Regardless of our attendance policy, at no point during the pandemic have we assessed attendance points against team members for absences due to documented illness,” JBS spokeswoman Nikki Richardson said.

“Still, the point system has likely contributed to the virus’s spread,” said Jose Oliva, co-founder of the HEAL Food Alliance, a non-profit that organizes food industry workers.

“It’s probably one of the better propagators for the coronavirus that we’ve seen,” he said. “It’s absolutely disastrous to have a point system in the midst of a pandemic.”

Workers at one Tyson plant and two JBS plants said the only way they can stay home without penalty is if they test positive for the disease. They are required to go to work if they’re waiting for test results, they said.

Once he tested positive, the Iowa worker, 50, was allowed to miss work without racking up points, he said. He requested anonymity because he fears losing his job.

Complicating the situation is that many workers struggle to access testing or avoid COVID-19 tests due to the cost, wait times and fear of being targeted by immigration authorities, workers and advocates said.

The point system varies from plant to plant.

At the JBS plant in Greeley, Colorado, where about 300 workers have contracted the virus, employees can rack up six points before they’re fired, according to a documentshared by the local chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

At a JBS plant in Marshalltown, Iowa, its seven points, and at a Tyson poultry plant in Arkansas, where hundreds of workers have fallen ill, it’s 14 points, according to screenshots and photos shared by meatpacking workers in those plants.

At the Tyson plant, the company’s general attendance policy notes that “approval of prearranged absences is based upon the business needs of the Company. Even if workers give the plant proper notification that theyll miss a day, they receive a point, ACCORDING TO A COPY OF THE ETTENDANCE POLICY.

(Read the whole attendance policy at the end of this article.)

Mickelson said the documentdid not accurately reflect the companys attendance policy during the pandemic, as workers have been encouraged to remain home if theyҒre sick.

The point systems enforcement can also depend on the supervisor. They can bend the rules for employees with whom they have a good relationship, workers said.

While requiring employees to wear masks and installing plastic barriers between workers can reduce the transmission of the virus, the disease will keep spreading if plants donҒt isolate and quarantine sick workers, said Shelly Schwedhelm, executive director of emergency management and biopreparedness at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

To curb the viruss spread, Ғget rid of the point system and dont deter people from calling in ill,Ӓ she said.

After the Iowa meatpacking worker tested positive, he stayed home for two weeks before returning to the plant.

During the day, he did jumping jacks in his basement in hopes of strengthening his body enough to fight the virus and recited gasping prayers over the phone with his pastor. At night, he walked alone through his deserted neighborhood, worried he wouldnt wake up again if he fell asleep.

He said the company is “making us go back to work because some damn hogs got to die. But they donԒt care about human life. They care more about the damn hogs than they do about people.

New system for the pandemic

Before the pandemic, the JBS plant in Greeley allowed 7.5 points before a firing. Now, itҔs six, said Kim Cordova, president of UFCW Local 7, the union that represents the plants 3,000 workers.

ҒThe attendance policy became even more restrictive, she said.

Six workers died at the plant, making it one of the deadliest publicly reported meatpacking plant outbreaks in the country, according to Midwest Center tracking.

Sick employees can only recoup points at the Greeley plant if they have a doctorӔs note and if they call into an English-only attendance hotline, a problem for a workforce that speaks more than 38 languages, Cordova said.

To remove points from their record, workers must submit to the union screenshots of their call history to the hotline. Many workers find it to be a convoluted process, Cordova said.

They’ll give the point, and then the worker has to fight to have it removed,ғ she said. They make it really difficult to call in while sick, so workers are compelled to come into work even if theyԓre symptomatic.

Richardson, JBSҔs spokeswoman, said their new point system is more forgiving now because it allows workers to miss multiple days in a row. The company reset all its employees points to zero in late July, she said.

Tyson temporarily relaxed its point system in March but brought it back in June, even as case counts swelled.

The timing of TysonҒs decision was no coincidence, said Don Stull, a professor at the University of Kansas who has researched meatpacking for 35 years.

As that initial attention being focused on the industry began to wane, they started trying to run as near to pre-pandemic levels as they could. So they needed as many workers as they could get,ғ he said.

Mickelson, Tysons spokesman, said StullԒs claim was not true.

Few other opportunities

Large meatpacking plants are often in rural areas without many jobs opportunities. That leaves workers in a bind when dealing with the point system, workers and advocates said.

Eric Lopez, a sales manager at U.S. Cellular, said his mother works at the JBS plant in Marshalltown. A Mexican immigrant with no formal education who doesn’t speak English, she had few jobs available to her in Marshalltown other than the pork plant, he said.

She knows people with symptoms have continued showing up to work, he said, and it’s caused her to break down after coming home from work because she fears catching the virus.

For decades, the meatpacking industry has relied on immigrant, minority and poor workers, a demographic that activists and researchers said the primarily white meatpacking executives have exploited.

“Companies are run by old, white guys who think of workers as a piece of machinery,” said Joe Henry, the political director for the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa, a Hispanic civil rights organization.” They see them as people with different skin colors and different languages that they can just go ahead and treat like animals.”

Tyson and JBS strongly denied this characterization.

“That is completely untrue,” said JBSs Richardson, whose response echoed Tyson’s. “We have done everything possible to both protect and support our team members during this challenging time.”

SOURCE

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OSHA fines meat packers for Covid failures (sort of)

By Marion Nestle
Food Politics
September 20, 2020

I have OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION (OSHA), the federal agency ostensibly responsible for” ensuring safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women.”

You don’t believe me?  Try this.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR CITES SMITHFIELD PACKAGED MEATS DEPARTMENT OF LABOT CITES CITES SMITHFIELD PACKAGED MEATS CORP FOR FAILING TO PROTECT EMPLOYEES FROM CORONAVIRUS: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Smithfield Packaged Meats Corp. in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for failing to protect employees from exposure to the coronavirus. OSHA proposed a penalty of $13,494, the maximum allowed by law.

Or <this.  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR CITES JBS FOODS INC. FOR FAILING TO PROTECT EMPLOYEES FROM EXPOSURE TO THE CORONAVIRUS: The U.S. Department of Labors Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited JBS Foods Inc. in Greeley, Colorado, for failing to protect employees from exposure to the coronavirus. OSHA proposed $15,615 in penalties.

They have to be kidding.  We are talking here, according to Leah Douglas’s statistics, about how more than 2500 Smithfield employees and more than 2700 JBS employees have been confirmed with Covid-19.

If these are the maximum penalties (!), how about assigning them to every one of those cases.

The companies can certainly afford it: Smithfield had $13.2 billion in sales in 2019, and JBS had $51.7 billion.

Never mind, even that pittance penalty is too high for the meat industry to accept.

Furthermore, Smithfield is appealing the fine.  A representative said the fine is

“wholly without merit” because the company took “extraordinary measures” to protect employees from the COVID-19 virus. And during the pandemic, Smithfield took direction from OSHA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Translation: It’s not our fault.  Its OSHA fault, the CDCs fault, the USDA’s fault.

That’s NOT WHAT THE MEATPACKERS UNION SAYS.

Today [September 10], the UNITED FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS (UFCW) INTERNATIONAL UNION, which represents1.3 million workers in meatpacking plants and other essential businesses, condemned the new U.S. DEPARTMNET OF LABOR FINE ON SMITHFIELD FOODS as completely insufficient in the wake of the company’s failure to protect meatpacking workers at its Sioux Falls, South Dakota which reported nearly 1,300 COVID-19 infections and at least four deaths among its employees. As the union for Smithfield workers at this plant, UFCW called today’s fine by the Trump Administration insulting and a slap on the wrist that will do nothing to help those already infected or prevent future worker deaths.

It issued a similar statement on the JBS fine.

The meat industry has rallied to the defense of its Big Meat members.  To wit: MEAT INSTITUTE ISSUES STATEMENT ON OSHA CITATION RELATED TO COVID-19

The meat and poultry industry’s first priority is the safety of the men and women who work in their facilities [every time you read a statement like this, think of a red flag on the playing field - a warning that it means just the opposite]. Notwithstanding inconsistent and sometimes tardy government advice, (don’t wear a mask/wear a mask/April 26 OSHA guidance specific to the meat and poultry industry) when the pandemic hit in mid-March, meat and poultry processing companies quickly and diligently took steps to protect their workers. Companies had to overcome challenges associated with limited personal protective equipment. Most importantly, as evidenced in trends in data collected by the FOOD AND ENVIRONMENT REPORTING NETWORK and THE NEW YORK TIMES, these many programs and controls once in place worked and continue to work. Positive cases of COVID-19 associated with meat and poultry companies are trending down compared with cases nationwide.

The Meat Institute actually has the nerve to cite Leah Douglas’s data to support its defense - this, while meat companies are refusing to provide accurate data.  (Even the union cites much lower figures despite its REPORTS OF WORKERS being forced to stay on the lines without masks despite being ill or risk losing their jobs).

It details its arguments that all those illnesses and deaths are OSHA’s fault in yet another PRESS RELEASE SEPTEMBER 14.

I suppose we will now go through all this again for Tysons, where more than 10,000 workers have become ill.

Expect another of OSHA’s “slaps on the wrist” followed by the Meat Institutes objections.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 11/13/20 •
Section Dying America • Section Next Recession, Next Depression
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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

NWO - Is Covid Killing Capitalism

image: global reset

Capitalism isn’t working anymore. Here’s how the pandemic could change it forever.

By Anneken Tappe
CNN
September 21, 2020

New York (CNN Business) Capitalism is in crisis. The pandemic could change it forever, in favor of workers and those in greatest need.

Covid has put a magnifying glass over the many inequalities of the US economy and society. Millions of Americans are STILL OUT OF WORK. WOMEN and CHILD CARE or the TECHNOLOGY their children need for distance learning at school.

The playing field wasn’t level before, and the virus has shone a new light on the shortcomings of today’s economic and social systems, said Paul Collier, economics and public policy professor at Oxford. The World Economic Forum has ALREADY CALLED FOR A “GREAT RESET” OF CAPITALISM.

It’s emblematic of today’s capitalist society that groups of people get left behind, and it’s the job of policy makers to try to fix that.

This isn’t the first time capitalism is in crisis. In the 1950s America’s so-called golden age ח there were concerns about automation eliminating jobs and people falling through the cracks of the government’s safety net (sound familiar?). And in 2008, corporate greed came under the microscope following the financial crisis.

In modern history, only the Great Depression was more economically devastating than Covid-19. The aftermath of the Great Depression relief, recovery, and most of all, reform - may once again be necessary to create a better economy for the future, said Larry Glickman, professor of American studies at Cornell.

It will be hard to sweep all of America’s economic issues under the rug again when the pandemic is over.

“We are pregnant with change,” said MIT economics professor Daron Acemoglu.

Here are three ways the pandemic might change capitalism forever:

A new social safety net

The pandemic exposed the cracks in America’s social safety net. Enter the welfare state 2.0, which could be more attuned to workers’ needs, experts said.

“We’re in a moment where the pendulum is [swinging] towards a more favorable view of what government can do,” Glickman said.

Better-designed unemployment benefits, programs to help people back into the workforce and more affordable housing could help ease the burden of this crisis for the weakest members of the economy.

Millions have lost their jobs in the pandemic, but regular unemployment benefits are often NOT ENOUGH TO MAKE ENDS MEET, while rents eat up a large chunk of incomes across the country. As the pandemic drags on, HUNGER IS AN INCREASING PROBLEM, too.

On top of that, workers in mostly lower-paid jobs have found themselves at risk for contracting the virus at their workplace, including CASINOS, MEAT PROCESSING PLANTS and SHIPPING WAREHOUSES.

Paying to replace these workers’ wages won’t come cheap, and will likely mean that taxes will have to rise while still staying low enough not to stifle business, economists agree. It’s a tightrope

Globalization and automation challenge the manufacturing sector

Globalization goes hand in hand with capitalism. It has changed the way money and people move around the world.
A big challenge for policy makers is to deal with how that has affected workers.

In today’s capitalism, money is, for the most part, considered more important than workers: If moving jobs elsewhere, or USING ROBOTS SAVES DOLLARS, it’s done.

For workers on the wrong side of these trends, things haven’t improved, and this has exacerbated inequality, Federal Reserve Chairman JEROME POWELL SAID EARLIER THIS YEAR. The pandemic has provided a real-life example that robots don’t get sick, but human workers do.

Welfare isn’t only about benefits. It also extends to education and health care. In a world where machines increasingly take over people’s jobs, educating the next generation so their skills match what’s needed is important.

More debt than ever before

Capitalism isn’t only about how a country treats its people and workers, it’s also about how it treats its money.

Covid has brought on government spending like never before and deficits are burgeoning around the world. The Congressional Budget Office predicts the US FERDERAL BUDGET DEFECIT WILL BE $3.3 TRILLION AT TH END OF THE YEAR more than triple of what it was in 2019.

“Debt might be one of the most prominent characteristics of today’s capitalism,” said Christine Desan, professor of law at Harvard.

In the post-pandemic world, policy makers will either have to accept living with enormous debt burdens or address a complete overhaul of the system in place.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 09/22/20 •
Section Revelations • Section NWO • Section Dying America • Section Next Recession, Next Depression
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Sunday, September 20, 2020

The Next Depression Part 62 - Fighting Back

image: class warfare

The answer is not replacing one set of political puppets with another set of political puppets, but for regular people to begin localizing their own production and trade - to decouple from dependency on the existing system and start their own system. Only through this, and the removal of the globalist tumor from its position of power and influence, will anything ever change for the better.
- Zealots

America’s political system was long the envy of the world. It advanced the public interest and gave rise to a grand history of policy innovations that fostered both economic and social progress. Today, however, our political system has become the major barrier to solving nearly every important challenge our nation needs to address.
- U.S. Political System Has Been Hijacked

Dual power is a strategy that builds liberated spaces and creates institutions grounded in direct democracy. Together these spaces and institutions expand into the ever widening formation of a new world in the shell of the old. As the movement grows more powerful, it can engage in ever larger confrontations with the ruling classand ultimately a contest for legitimacy against the institutions of capitalist society.
- Dual-Power Society

Fighting evictions: The 1930s and now

By Michael R. McBrearty
Monthly Review
September 2, 2020

The Current Crisis

It is almost impossible to overstate the gravity of the housing crisis now facing our society. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant mass layoffs, according to the Pulse Survey of the Census Bureau, 20 percent of U.S. tenants could not pay their rent in July. One in three U.S. renters do not know if they will be able to pay their landlord in August. Out of the 110 million Americans who pay rent for housing, by 2021, some 30 to 40 million will face eviction. Such mass homelessness would be an unprecedented social catastrophe with possible revolutionary consequences.

Do not be fooled by any “moratorium on evictions possibly ordered by Donald Trump. Proving once again the lack of honor among thieves, the president is quite willing to temporarily sacrifice his oldest political allies and base - the real estate and construction magnates - for the sake of his possible reelection. But any moratorium is only a temporary putting-off of the reckoning. As one mega-landlord put it, eventually his tenants will have to pay him all their back rent, and then where will they get the money?

The workers will necessarily need to demand a cancellation of that debt and a permanent freeze on evictions in response. In 2008, during the last economic crisis, millions lost properties to foreclosure. Though low income, they were, at least to some extent, people with something to lose. In the 2021 crisis, in contrast, the renters thrown out on the street will have nothing to lose. The class question will be posed most starkly. One side, one class or the other, must win or lose.

Across the nation, the fight for housing security has already become a part of the general struggle against inequality made possible by the epochal rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. And that makes sense. Nationally, 80 percent of evictions are against people of color. The most frequent victim of housing displacement is a woman of color with children. In New York in 2018, for example, according to Census Bureau figures, the zip codes with the highest number of evictions - all in the Bronx or Brooklyn - were all minority neighborhoods.

As Brooklyn’s Crown Heights Tenants Association put it in a July 4 statement of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, “the fights to Cancel Rent and Defund the Police” [are] deeply interconnected. If NYC [New York City] and NYS [New York State] elected officials do not cancel rent, it will be clear that they do not value Black lives, despite whatever posturings they may do.”

The severity of the sudden pandemic has forced the rulers to grant payment moratoriums in forty-three states. Yet there have already been signs of pushback. These are straws in the wind of the hurricane of resistance that is sure to come. Last Wednesday, for example, in Downtown Brooklyn, a direct action was carried out by Crown Heights Tenants Association activists. Assembling outside Eviction Court, disregarding New York Police Department cops and rent-a-cops, they marched into buildings containing two law firms representing landlords and then into the Brooklyn Borough Hall. They carried placards that spelled out their demands “Cancel Rent” and “Shut Down Evictions” - and generated wide publicity for their message: Brooklyn residents, join the struggle against greedy landlords and take the streets!”

In another instance in Crown Heights, on July 7 residents spontaneously intervened to prevent the illegal eviction of eleven queer women of color from a house they rented. The women are in their 30s and 20s, working service jobs. After losing employment due to the pandemic, the tenants decided collectively to go on rent strike. They did not pay their rent for May or June. Then, in the first week of July, without warning, the landlords arrived - a wealthy local white businessman and his ex-wife - with their three children, two dogs, and several maintenance men. Cursing the tenants and shouting for them to get out, the owners tossed the womens’ mattresses and other belongings out on the street.

Fortunately, the shocked tenants resisted. They were able to contact Equality for Flatbush, a local grassroots group. (This organization, led by people of color, declares their goals to be the ending of police murders and the displacement of their community’s longtime residents.) Equality for Flatbush supporters quickly organized a protest online. Soon, about one hundred activists were on the scene, surrounding the house and chanting “Go home!” at the invading property owners. The landlord and his entourage left.

Later, a group of locksmiths arrived, saying that the owner had sent them. They attempted to change the locks, but were prevented from doing so by the protesters, who stood with locked arms to protect the premises. Thanks to the tenants and activists’ ability to make use of social media, wide - and sympathetic - media coverage resulted from the spontaneous direct action.

The 1930s: The Battle of the Bronx

In Ralph Ellisons great novel Invisible Man, his never-named protagonist, newly arrived in 1930s Harlem, took part in anon-spontaneous rent resistance action. He joined a crowd returning an old woman’s furniture that had been put out on the street. He narrated: “We rushed into the little apartment… and put the pieces down and returned for more. Men, women and children seized articles and dashed inside shouting, laughing.”

Suddenly, he was surprised to see a white man helping them and, out on the street, several more whites, women and men, were “cheering whenever another piece of furniture was returned.” The shocked Invisible Man asked, “Who are those people? You mean those ofays… We’re friends of the people, one of the white men called.” They all joined the crowd and started lugging the evicted articles back inside.

Of course, the mysterious “ofays” were members of “the Brotherhood,” Ellison’s Cold War code name for the Communist Party USA. Communists were often participants or leaders of such neighborhood protests. So identified was the Party with eviction resistance that, according to Fraser M. Ottanellis The Communist Party of the United States, one resident, upon receiving her eviction notice, immediately told her children: גRun quick and find the Reds!

To help families threatened with cutoffs from utilities, Communists organized Ӕelectric squads or Ӕgas squads to turn the power and heat back on. Unemployed Council members became experts in reconnecting cut off electric or gas linesӔmeter jumps.ה

In the early 1930s, the fight against mass evictions was not separate from struggles against widespread hunger and mass unemployment. Though not shadowed as we are today by the fear of epidemic disease, the crisis of the Great Depression was worse than ours in certain respects: the unemployment payment was not $600 or $400 a week, but $0 a week. Such basics of the social safety net as social security pensions, a federal minimum wage, or a system of unemployment insurance were radical goals yet to be won.

On March 6, 1930, more than a million U.S. workers took part in an International Unemployment Day. Organized by the Communist Party under the dramatic slogan Fight! Don’t Starve!, demonstrators in cities across the nation demanded immediate federal payments for the unemployed or home relief.

In response to the 1930s economic crisis, the Communists’ strategy was to recruit the refuse of capitalist society, the reserve army of the unemployed, nationwide, into Unemployed Councils. In Chicago alone, for example, the group had forty-five local branches with more than twenty thousand members. In Chicago on July 4, 1930, 1,320 delegates assembled to form the first National Unemployed Council. The Reds built their movement on the breadlines and soup kitchens, in the flop houses and the crowds outside factory gates - these insulted and injured were the people they sought to recruit. The Communist organizers believed that the army of workers needed to liberate their class must be recruited from among the workers themselves.

Ottanelli quotes the Communist Steve Nelson on how a typical Council was organized:

Some organizers had approached a group of workers they heard “complaining about the relief that they were receiving and the discrimination in handling the relief.” The workers help draw up a leaflet, distribute it and organize a first meeting. The next step was to circulate a petition… listing their demands. Soon, an Unemployment Council was formed.

The degree of resistance achieved by this strategy was epitomized by one incident of a Depression-era housing struggle in New York remembered as the Battle of the Bronx. In January 1932, due to the economic crisis, a Bronx Unemployed Council voted to support a rent strike at several large apartment buildings. In those days, rent strikes and evictions were tied together. This was because pro and lord judges automatically approved notices of evictions to tenant strike leaders.

But when the New York Police Department and city marshals arrived at the first building to evict seventeen tenants, they were met by a furious crowd of more than four thousand local residents. When the cops started to move out the first of the furniture, the “mob” attacked them, pitting sticks and fists against the police clubs. They almost prevailed, until more police reinforcements arrived. At this point, the landlord gave in, promising a rent reduction and no more attempts to evict tenants. The Bronx Home News reported: When news of the settlement reached the crowd, they promptly began chanting the Internationale, and waving their copies of the Daily Worker. By later that year, there were Communist-organized rent strikes carried out in poor neighborhoods across New York. In the Bronx alone, there were more than two hundred buildings out on strike. As Mark Naison, professor of history at Fordham University in the Bronx, has written,

“Using their networks… in fraternal organizations,” women’s clubs and left-wing trade unions, aided by younger comrades from the high schools and colleges, Communists were able to mobilize formidable support for buildings that were out on strike, and to force police to empty the station houses to carry out evictions.

These interventions were both numerous and effective. Between November 1931 and June 1932, New York had some 186,000 evictions. But many were unevicted by popular force. According to Richard Boyer and Herbert Morais in Labors Untold Story, Ԓ77,000 of these families were moved back into their premises by the people of the Unemployed Council.

What did the 1930s resistance movement have that we lack today? Mainly, two factors. First, they possessed a unifying, scientific, revolutionary ideology: Marxist-Leninism. And, second, they maintained a strong, stable organization with principled, working-class leadership.

But the 2020 movement is young and will learn from experience. Like the mythological giant Antaeus who drew his strength from the earth, the eviction resistance movement will grow strong to the extent that it bases itself on the overwhelming majority of the common people, the multiracial, multinational, multigender working class.

About Michael R. McBrearty

Michael R. McBrearty is a disabled worker living in Manhattan. He has earned an M.F.A. from Columbia University. He is currently working on a cultural history of the ‘lost world’ of the American Communist movement of the 1930s and 1940s. He can be reached at redallover49 [at] gmail.com.

SOURCE

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A Call for the Formation of Neighborhood Action Collectives in PDX and Beyond

By Anonymous
It’s Going Down
September 8, 2020

What would building dual-power on a neighborhood level look like? Symbiosis offers a proposal for a way forward.

If the current system doesn’t work, then what is the alternative? How do we get there? We do not believe meaningful police reform is possible. We know that the politicians, the puppets of the state, will never deliver justice, just more two-faced lies, hollow promises and movement hi-jacking. What we need is system change. Until then, everyday more youth of color are murdered and locked up by the state, and more protestors against this violence are run-over with trucks or mowed down by fascist’s bullets. In Portland some black mothers in the movement have called for the opening of a new front of struggle, taking the fight to the neighborhoods where we live. We agree and recognize the necessity of building a long-term community based dual-power, to render the police, the state and the capitalist class they serve obsolete through neighborhood organizing.

A dual-power strategy is one that focuses on developing an alternative directly-democratic self-governing social structure. One that consists of a diversity of communal social and economic institutions, existing in parallel opposition to the state and capitalism, that meets the daily material and political needs of the people. The state is the army, the navy, the police departments, the prisons and what have you. All the institutions of the state are intrinsically linked, simply removing one bad apple doesnt solve the problem, we need to throw away the whole basket.

Underlying the nation-state is a colonial system dependent upon the domination of various tribal, ethnic and cultural groups and forcing their compliance to maintain its existence. We believe in the principle of oppressed communities absolute right to self-determination. The realization of this principle entails the unraveling of the nation-state, and the subsequent end to racialized violence that holds it together.  As such, through Neighborhood Action Collectives, we are working to form a dual-power capable of revolutionary change through advancing the self-organization and federation of our region’s diverse communities. In defiance of the capitalist world-system and in solidarity with oppressed peoples’ struggles everywhere, we invite you to join us in building a network of Neighborhood Action Collectives (NACs) across Portland and beyond.

NACs are semi-autonomous neighborhood affinity groups who spark the infrastructure in their locals to build community based dual-power; including everything from alternatives to police, neighborhood mutual-aid projects, urban food-growing programs, direct-actions and community assemblies. NACs, as a particular form of neighborhood organizing, first arose in the people’s response to the 2016 presidential election. Communities in Seattle, Portland, Eugene and elsewhere came together to generate neighborhood projects to meet the crisis. At that time, NACs formed to facilitate self-defense classes, community projects to stop deportations, defend houseless neighbors from vigilante attacks, and to transform neighborhood associations into contested spaces of radical transformation.

Portland has a deep history of revolutionary neighborhood organizing stemming from the foundation of the Portland Black Panther Party who, in response to continual racist police violence in the 1960s, fought for the autonomy of the Albina neighborhood (see Why We Must Abolish All Mayors for a more in-depth history). We believe that carrying further the torch of this local revolutionary tradition, and integrating the lessons hard learned over the years, offers the best solutions we have to the ever escalating crisis rooted in this state of dominion we endure. NACs present a strategy for new and existing affinity groups, mutual-aid crews and organizations to take on a broader collaborative effort towards the building of a revolutionary infrastructure needed to consolidate our movement to effectively meet our goals of real systemic change.

By forming NACs in neighborhoods across the city we can combine efforts to create food resiliency, coordinate the access of material needs for all the peoples inhabiting this region, create police free zones, form neighborhood communes and assemblies. We must build an entrenched patchwork of permanent autonomous-zones. With our combined efforts we can form a new directly-democratic form of communal self-governance to supplant our current city government’s oppressive state structure.

War was declared upon the oppressed people of this country long ago. Now is the time to kick the cops out of our city, neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block. Heading into November we have to prepare for the worst.  The re-election of Trump means exponential increase of police and right-wing terrorism against our communities. The election of Biden would only mean a delaying of the fascist executioners blade, as the machine of capitalist modernity continues it’s immiseration of all society to benefit the billionaires of the world. Our future is either to make revolution or face global annihilation. The revolution will not only be made in the streets but through the daily work we must do to change our material and social relations between each other and our planet. Teargas Ted will not keep us safe from the inevitable march towards fascism of the federal government. We keep us safe. It’s up to us to make the changes we want to see in the world, and if we do not make the long-term commitments to revolutionary community organizing needed to see it through, then who will?

Find out MORE about how to form a NAC in your neighborhood and check out our many guides and resources on how you can get organized today.

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Posted by Elvis on 09/20/20 •
Section Dying America • Section Next Recession, Next Depression
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Friday, September 04, 2020

The Next Depression Part 61 - Economy Unravelling II

image: american dream is over

The Economy Continues To Unravel Despite All Stimulus Measures

By Brandon Smith
Economic Collapse
September 3, 2020

Since the pandemic lockdowns were first implemented in the US I have been more concerned with the government and central bank response than the virus itself. As I have NOTED IN PAST ARTICLES, the pandemic restrictions and subsequent economic and social crisis events they help to create will cause far more deaths than Covid-19 ever will. Not only that, but the actions of the Federal Reserve continue to con the American public into believing that there is some kind of plan to stop the crash that THEY engineered.

The only agenda of the Fed is to increase the pain in the long term; they have no intention of actually preventing any disaster.

This is evidenced in comments by voting members of the Fed, including Neel Kashkari who recently argued for the enforcement of HARD LOCKDOWNS FOR AT LEAST SIX WEEKS in the US, all because the US savings rate was going up. Meaning, because Americans are saving more in order to protect themselves from economic fallout, Kashkari thinks we should be punished with an economic shutdown that would force us to spend whatever we have been able to save.

Do you see how that works?

Fed members and government officials demand hard lockdowns, depleting public savings and destroying small businesses. Then, the public has to beg the Fed and the government for more and more stimulus measures so that they can survive. The people and the system become dependent on a single point of support - fiat money creation and welfare. Yet, the evidence suggests that this strategy is failing to do much of anything except stall the inevitable for a very short time.

If the goal was really to reduce the pain of the pandemic as much as possible, then the strategy should be to keep the economy as open as possible and let the virus run its course.  By initiating lockdowns, all we are doing is extending the economic damage over the span of years instead of months.  We can deal with the comparatively minimal deaths associated with the virus; we cannot handle the disaster that is about to befall the financial system.

The small business sector appears to be the most fragile element of the economy right now. The PPP loans that were supposed to shore up small businesses failed miserably, with data showing only 13% to 19% of applicants getting a loan of any kind. Over 64% of small businesses that received a loan are also worried about being approved for loan forgiveness. In other words, of the few small business owners that got a PPP loan more than half do not have the ability to pay the loan back if they end up not qualifying for exemption.

This problem does not seem to be affecting the corporate sector, however. International companies are enjoying incredible cash infusions from the Fed through overnight loans as well as Fed stimulus propping up stock markets (at least for now). Tech companies in particular are enjoying a rush of investment as the assumption in the daytrading world is that the central bank will not allow these companies to fail.

Maybe they are right, but stock markets today DO NOT reflect the health of our system in any way. Stock tickers are a placebo, a Pavlovian trigger for the public, a tool to make people believe that the situation is improving merely because share values are going up. This is not the case.

Small businesses in the US account for around 50% of all employment and job creation. They are a vital part of the economy. Yet, government and central bank measures seem to have left them out in the cold to die.

To be sure, the $600 weekly unemployment enhancement created through the CARES Act passed in March did boost consumer spending, primarily on durable goods such as computers, TVs, cellphones, etc. Spending on services declined though, which is where the majority of small businesses make their money. And, considering the fact that most durable goods are manufactured overseas, this means that the majority of stimulus dollars that went to consumers did not go into the US economy, but foreign exporters like China.

Now, the unemployment enhancement has ended and its return is in question. It will be interesting to see if the boost to purchases of goods will continue without that extra $600 weekly stimulus. Consumer SPENDING ROSE IN JULY BY 1.9%, but this was already a weak print compared to the increases during the previous two months.

Unemployment numbers have declined due to soft reopenings in numerous states, and at the very least some part-time jobs appear to be returning, but nowhere near the level needed to erase the MILLIONS OF JOBS LOST SINCE FEBRUARY after the initial lockdowns began. If you count U-6 measurements and unemployed people who have been removed from the rolls for being jobless for too long, the REAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS CLOSER TO 30% of working age Americans. This is essentially Great Depression levels of joblessness.

US GDP has CONTINUED TO DECLINE BY 32% according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (despite statistical rigging by the Fed and government agencies), and while it’s possible that stimulus slowed the effects of GDP loss, there is no indication what the trillions of dollars created by the Fed have actually bought other than a few months of time and a massive bubble in the stock market.

The economy cannot survive extreme lockdown conditions for any length of time, let alone almost two more months. And, if you want to know what it means when elites in government and central banking call for a “hard lockdown”, just look at Level 4 restrictions in places like Australia and New Zealand, where only one person can leave home at any given time, can only travel 3 miles from home and only for food and supplies, and anyone caught not wearing a mask is subject to arrest or a $10,000 fine.

THIS MOTHER in Melbourne, Australia was arrested because of a Facebook post calling for protests over the lockdown restrictions.  She later had to take the post down and offered an apology, saying she did not know it was illegal to post such statements on social media.

Yeah, this kind of Orwellian response will do wonders for any economic recovery, and this is what Kashkari is calling for in the US.  Its almost as if the Fed and certain politicians WANT a financial collapse in America.

The REAL solution is to stop the lockdown restrictions altogether. If the goal is truly to protect as many American lives as possible for the “greater good,” then the pandemic response must stop. Luckily, it seems that more and more people are beginning to see through the facade and are rejecting the restrictions. Even in Europe and Australia there have been some signs of protest and rebellion. The problem is that, at least in terms of the economy, it may be too late.

We have to consider the fact that once a large portion of the business sector (like small businesses) takes a massive hit like the one they have suffered over the past several months, many such businesses and jobs will simply not come back. There are many reasons for this, but primarily its a matter of debt. The average small business owner carries almost $200,000 in debt for 3-5 years before he reaches profitability or breaks even. This is assuming that there are no major economic catastrophes in that time.

With the pandemic, the riots, the restrictions, etc., businesses will have to take on much more debt with little guarantee of recovery in the next few years let alone the next few months.  Chapter 11 business bankruptcies in the US rose over 26% in the first half of 2020 alone.

Even if lockdown restrictions were completely eradicated tomorrow, a large number of businesses would go bankrupt anyway.  The “Retail Apocalypse” has been growing over the past decade, LONG before the coronavirus was on issue.  Thousands of businesses shut down last year and tens of thousands more are slated to close this year.  The virus and lockdowns simply accelerated the existing decline.

This is why large banks are cutting off loans to business owners and consumers right now; they know exactly where all this is headed.

Banks act as middlemen for the PPP loans financed by the Fed, yet those loans are not getting to most businesses. Banks have also cut CREDIT CARD LENDING in the past few months, and general lending has crashed. All of this despite low interest rates for banks receiving stimulus injections from the Fed. Where is all of the money going? They are keeping it for themselves, buying up hard assets as well as propping up the stock market. As noted above, the elites have NO INTENTION of saving the economy, only themselves.

If the stimulus is not getting to the main-street economy then the only purpose it serves is to give the public a false sense of comfort. The people who gain the most from the ongoing pandemic chaos are establishment elites that want severe restrictions on personal liberty.  Not to mention, the virus and lockdowns offer a convenient scapegoat for the financial crisis that was already brewing due to central bank mismanagement of stimulus, inflation and interest rates. The bottom line is, the banks do not want the crisis to end.  Why would they?  The longer the panic continues, the more they benefit.

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Posted by Elvis on 09/04/20 •
Section Revelations • Section NWO • Section Dying America • Section Next Recession, Next Depression
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Thursday, September 03, 2020

The Awakening Part 17 - 7 Trillion Bailout

image: new world order

“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”
- 1984, George Orwell

U.S. CENTRAL BANKERS STOLE $7 TRILLION AFTER GOVERNMENT LOCKED PEOPLE DOWN

By Mac Slavo
SHTFplan
June 22, 2020

While the mainstream media focuses on WHICH senile sycophant will be the bankers puppet for the next four years, the central banks are destroying what’s left of the economy and sovereignty to usher in the New World Order.  The election is all just a distraction from the REAL ENEMY; the banking cabal that runs the world and has already selected the next president.

The mainstream media seems to be part of a propaganda operation that is trying to change the conversation right now from what really matters, which is that the most powerful banking cabal in the world the people who essentially own and operate the government of the United States, the West, and most of the world.  And if anyone dares to point out the New World Order is being forced on us right in front of our eyes while Donald Trump, who swore he’d “drain the swamp” is still occupying the White House, the cognitive dissonance rears its ugly head.

The truth is that Trump has only helped enrich the bankers and the elitists with the constant passage of MORE STIMULUS TO COVER THE CENTRAL BANK COLLAPSE. Those central bankers stole at least $7 trillion, primarily from poor people during the government-forced COVID-19 lockdown which destroyed small businesses all over the world. Poor people all over this planet are now starving while the fat cats in Washington rest easy after the printing of unlimited money for the world’s biggest wealthiest bankers. It bailed them out of their debt crisis and gave them the right to give themselves and their friends as much money as they want by printing it out of thin air and they are doing that even as we speak.

It will also be convenient to repossess all the land and building when those payments to the banks are not made later this year. The fact that people cannot see that the New World Order is progressing at a rapid rate and Donald Trump isn’t even putting speed bumps in the way is alarming, in and of itself.

This is the biggest robbery in the history of the world, and ordinary people are suffering horribly. They were locked down and they felt like they couldn’t breathe. Their economic lives have been destroyed. They feel like they couldn’t breathe.

ALWAGHT News:

And so then suddenly, just at the moment when they should have risen up and revolt and stormed Wall Street, stormed Washington, DC and overthrown these thieves who just conducted the biggest robbery in the history of the world, suddenly this conversation changes to race, and the ordinary working white people and black people are being turned against each other, talking about race, rather than this robbery, conducted under the premeditated pretext of a COVID pandemic which was almost certainly manufactured in a biological warfare lab, under the direction of the very bankers who have stolen six, seven or more trillion dollars based on this pandemic which they obviously plotted out in great detail ahead of time, as part of an effort for them to centralize their wealth and power to stop the rise of China by blowing up the globalized world economy that is the engine of China’s rise and to allow them to impose a top-down police state on the people of the West so they can be ready to continue to centralize and strengthen their control of the West and the world. That’s what COVID really was. And they’ve changed the conversation to race so that we don’t notice it.

Wake up while you still can! I’ve been saying since the beginning of this nonsense that the only way to stop it is to DISOBEY THE IMMORAL orders of government (which, at this point, is almost every single order and law passed) and make every preparation you can to leave the system. The system they set up of centralized control and power over everyone requires you to have faith in it and participate.  It cannot work when people remove their compliance and leave their Matrix.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 09/03/20 •
Section Revelations • Section Dying America • Section Next Recession, Next Depression
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