Article 43

 

American Solidarity

American Solidarity - Time To Stand Up

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Reclaiming Independence Day

image: deceived

Reclaiming Independence Day

By DayRosanne Lindsay
Activist Post
July 3, 2019

Has the concept of independence been lost under Acts of Tyranny perpetrated by government?

Based on historical evidence, the only freedom people have is the freedom they defend. As this country celebrates Independence Day 2019, tyrannical Acts that remove rights are being rolled out under the guise of safety and security.

On June 24th, President Trump signed into law the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Advancing Innovations Act (PAHPA), authored by Rep. Susan w. Brooks (R-IN) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA) to strengthen the country’s preparedness and response program. PAHPA ensures that the country is better prepared to respond to a wide array of Public Health emergencies, whether man-made or occurring through natural disaster or infectious disease.

Problem - Reaction - Solution

The PAHPA Act is part of the HEGELIAN DIALECTIC Playbook of Problem, Reaction, Solution. This Act, act-ivates the government to prepare and respond in any way it deems necessary by doing whatever it wants, wherever it wants, however it wants, without your permission.

This DISCLOSURE to all subjects and slaves of the world show that the ideal of FREEDOM has been a ruse. The Constitution of the United States does not protect freedom. The Declaration of Independence does not ensure rights. True freedom is is not found in any Act, but must be defended through action.

Panic Propaganda

Panic Propaganda is predictive programming that keeps people in a state of fear. Fear is a low frequency. As vibrational beings, what we believe, think, and feel are frequencies that determine HOW WE ACT or whether we act. Fear keeps people is a state of flight, fight, or freeze. Fear keeps people stuck and afraid of acting on their own behalf and for their own best interests.

In a state of fear, people are unlikely to remember that they are the true authors of government, and that elected officials must get permission from the people. Under mandates it is easy to forget that legislators work for YOU.

Have Americans forgotten the words of Thomas Jefferson, written in the Declaration of Independence?

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Undo The Conditioning

Americans have taken on the CONDITIONING of the public SCHOOL SYSTEM to believe that rights come from government and you have no say over your life since all decisions must be made to protect the “Public Health” and well being.

People are made to believe that “Public Health” exists. But “the Public” is like a forest. A forest does not exist except for the individual trees. Therefore, “the public” does not exist except for individuals who make up the public. When it comes to health, wealth, and happiness, it is not “the Public” that benefits. It is individual who does.

Where Does Freedom Live?

When you decide to un-condition yourself from falsehoods you have accepted to the truth that is self-evident, you realize that freedom is not granted by government, or presidents, or kings. Freedom lives in individuals. You are born with inherent rights.

In order to experience freedom, you must live it and express it through your choices. Without choice there is no freedom. Avoid the “pro” vs. “anti” propaganda that is set up by social engineers to DIVIDE AND CONQUER. While you are bogged down in endless debate (pro or anti), mandates are rolled out. Totalitarian rule is established.

The Healthy People 2020 Act is coming. This cradle-to-grave vaccine mandate demands young and old, and every one in between, roll up their sleeves and submit to an injection.  It is an Act that removes choice and tests the will of the people. Everyone will be faced with a choice. What will you choose? How do you reclaim independence?

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 07/04/19 •
Section American Solidarity
View (0) comment(s) or add a new one
Printable viewLink to this article
Home

Union Rise

image: american flag

America’s labor movement is finally waking up after a 30 year slumber

By George Pearkes, Opinion Contributor
Business Insider
June 30, 2019

You may have noticed some labor disruptions in the headlines. A few examples from the past month: employees of Vox Media successfully NEGOTIATED a collective bargaining agreement, Buzzfeed employees WALKED OUT in an effort to get recognition for their union, and VOLKSWAGEN workers in Tennessee TALKED WILDCAT STRIKES after a vote to unionize failed by a small margin.

Last year, teachers walked off the job in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arizona with walk-outs and other disruptions from Colorado to the Carolinas. This may seem like bad news for capitalists, but unions can be a source of stability as well as class conflict. The recent labor renaissance could help to reverse some worrying long-term trends in the American economy, while also still benefiting the businesses from which workers are extracting gains.

The recent uptick in strikes is not just your imagination, and it recalls an earlier era when unions played a greater role in the American labor market. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed more than 485,000 workers were impacted by large strikes that started during the year, the highest number since 1986.

This year, the first five months of the year have seen 307,000 workers impacted by strikes, versus 431,000 in the first five months of 2018.

The return to labor disruptions after a long post-Reagan slumber comes as workers are becoming scarcer. Using BLS data which goes back to 1994, as-of May only 9.12% of the potential workers either had no job and want one, or are working part-time because they can’t find full-time work. The measure is approaching its record low of 8.9%, from April of 2000.

This extremely broad metric measures not just those who are counted as unemployed by the BLS, but goes further to include those who haven’t been looking for work but want a job as well as those working part-time for economic reasons. If employers want to add capacity or replace workers who retire or quit, there are fewer and fewer places to turn, which gives workers more bargaining power.
George Pearkes

The surge in organized labor activity also poses a concern for investors and economic observers: won’t all that labor bargaining power lead to wage-price spirals and runaway inflation? Not necessarily.

In fact, the FOMC’s most recent Summary of Economic Projections showed 8 of 15 FOMC members see multiple interest rate cuts this year, spurred in part by a weak inflation outlook. Many doves are more worried about slow inflation and the possibility of slipping inflation expectations, rather than inflation surging thanks to excessive labor bargaining power.

One reason a dovish outlook in the presence of low unemployment may carry less risk of a sudden uptick in inflation than it otherwise might: labor share of income is extremely low.

As Bloomberg’s Matt Boelser POINTED OUT in April, Federal Reserve Vice Chair Richard Clarida brought the below chart with him from his role at fixed income fund giant Pimco. It shows that labor compensation share of national income hit a record low earlier in the expansion, and has only risen modestly since.

Tight labor markets may help return some balance to the economy, raising income share for workers after decades of declines and very little bounce during the current economic expansion. Higher labor compensation share of income could push up wages and incomes, without a dramatic uptick in inflation from businesses passing wage costs on to consumers.
Geroge Pearkes

Can a burgeoning push for unions help that process along? It’s always hard to draw concrete causal links between two economic variables, and we should be cautious to say rising union power would definitely raise worker bargaining powerespecially without inflationary consequences. But it’s clear that declines in labor share of income since the 1970s only took place after unionization rates had been falling, and for quite some time.

Today, less than 11% of workers are union members per the BLS, with even lower numbers for the private sector (6.4%). Back in 1960, per the University of Amsterdam’s ICTWSS database, almost a third of the labor force was unionized.

The contemporary political framing of unions is often very negative, and given the experience of high inflation that subsided after supply-side reforms in the 1980s, that’s somewhat understandable, but it ignores a longer and more nuanced history of the LABOR MOVEMENT in the US. Modern edifices like the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) were introduced to balance the conflicts BETWEEN UNIONS AND EMPLOYERS.

Examples of past excesses include a million rounds fired and chemical weapons used at the Battle of Blair Mountain (West Virginia, 1921) or President Truman nationalizing the steel industry by executive order in 1952 in response to a strike. Unrestrained conflict between workers and management is bad for everyone, but a managed negotiation between workers and business can play a role in creating a more equitable and stable society.

Years of political and judicial maneuvering (ranging from the 2018 Janus decision to much older right-to-work laws) have reduced the power of unions and the NLRB. But workers and employers are also well-served to remember that both can benefit from orderly collective bargaining: stability and predictability may be worth the bottom-line cost of paying workers more.

No employer need worry about an armed revolt or sudden nationalization these days, but even small wildcat strikes or walk-outs (which can destroy a business overnight), higher turnover rates in a low unemployment economy, and failure to attract talent can have devastating consequences. Unions and formalized negotiating can be a venue for class conflict that might otherwise boil over if kept bottled up.

For now, unionization movements are still limited. Organizers’ failure to introduce the South to unionized auto manufacturing via the Volkswagen plant is just one example of the difficulties organized labor still faces.

Given the longstanding frustration with slow wage growth and a society that feels imbalanced, recent victories at the bargaining table for journalists and teachers, facilitated by unions, seem likely to get copied in other workplaces.

SOURCE

---

image: union workers

Unions Did Great Things for the Working Class
Strengthening them could blunt inequality and wage stagnation.

By Noah Smith
Bloomberg
June 13, 2018

Politically and economically, unions are sort of an odd duck. They aren’t part of the apparatus of the state, yet they depend crucially on state protections in order to wield their power. They’re stakeholders in corporations, but often have adversarial relationships with management. Historically, unions are a big reason that the working class won many of the protections and rights it now enjoys, but they often leave the working class fragmented and divided—between different companies, between union and non-union workers, and even between different ethnic groups.

Economists, too, have long puzzled about how to think about unions. They don’t fit easily into the standard paradigm of modern economic theory in which atomistic individuals and companies abide by rules overseen by an all-powerful government. Some economists see unions as a cartel, protecting insiders at the expense of outsiders. According to this theory, unions raise wages but also drive up unemployment. This is the interpretation of unions taught in many introductory courses and textbooks.

If this were really what unions did, it might be worth it to simply let them slip into oblivion, as private-sector unions have been doing in the U.S.

But there are many reasons to think that this theory of unions isn’t right—or, at least, is woefully incomplete.

First, even back in the 1970s, some economists realized that unions do a lot more than just push up wages. In a 1979 paper entitled “The Two Faces of Unionism,” economists Richard Freeman and James Medoff argued that “by providing workers with a voice both at the workplace and in the political arena, unions can and do affect positively the functioning of the economic and social systems.”

Freeman and Medoff cite data showing that unions reduced turnover, which lowers costs associated with constantly finding and training new workers. They also show that unions engaged in political activity that benefitted the working class more broadly, rather than just union members. And they showed that contrary to popular belief, unions actually decreased racial wage disparities. Finally, Freeman and Medoff argue that by defining standard wage rates within industries, unions actually reduced wage inequality overall, despite the cartel-like effect emphasized in econ textbooks.

But the world didnԒt listen to Freeman and Medoff, and private-sectors unions declined into near-insignificance. Now, four decades later, economists are again starting to suspect that unions were a better deal than the textbooks made them out to be. A recent paper by economists Henry Farber, Daniel Herbst, Ilyana Kuziemko and Suresh Naidu concludes that unions were an important force reducing inequality in the U.S.

Since past data tends to be patchy, Farber et al. combine a huge number of different data sources to get a detailed picture of unionization rates going all the way back to 1936, the year after Congress passed a law letting private-sector employees form unions. The authors find that as unionization rises, inequality tends to fall, and vice versa. Nor is this effect driven by greater skills and education on the part of union workers; during the era from 1940 through 1970, when unionization rose and inequality fell, union workers tended to be less educated than others. In other words, unions lifted the workers at the bottom of the distribution. Black workers, and other nonwhite workers, tended to benefit the most from the union boost.

Now, however, private-sector unions are mostly a faded memory and their power to raise wages has waned—Farber et al. find that although there’s still a union wage premium, it’s now much more due to the fact that higher-skilled workers tended to be the ones who stayed unionized. A 2004 paper by economists John DiNardo and David Lee found that by 1984-1999, unions had lost much of their ability to force wages higher.

Given the contrast between the golden age of 1940-1970 and the current age of spiraling inequality, wouldn’t it make sense to bring unions back? Perhaps. The key question is why private-sector unions mostly died out. Policy changes—right-to-work laws, and the appointment of anti-union regulators, probably played a key role in reducing unionization. But globalization may have also played a big part. Competition from companies in countries like Germany—where unions often bargain to hold down wages in order to increase their companies’ competitiveness—might have made the old American model of unionization unsustainable. Now, with even stiffer competition from China, the challenge of re-unionizing the U.S. might be an insurmountable one.

But it might be worth it to try. Other than massive government redistribution of income and wealth, theres really no other obvious way to address the country’s rising inequality. Also, there’s the chance that unions might be an effective remedy for the problem of increasing corporate market power—evidence suggests that when unionization rates are high, industry concentration is less effective at suppressing wages. Repealing right-to-work laws and appointing more pro-union regulators could be just the medicine the economy needs.

So supporters of free markets should rethink their antipathy to unions. As socialism gains support among the young, both economists and free-market thinkers should consider the possibility that unions—that odd hybrid of free-market bargaining and government intervention—were the vaccine that allowed the U.S. and other rich nations to largely escape the disasters of communism in the 20th century.

It looks like it’s TIME FOR A BOOSTER SHOT.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 07/04/19 •
Section American Solidarity
View (0) comment(s) or add a new one
Printable viewLink to this article
Home

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

New Deal 2.0

By PW Editorial Board
People’s World
December 11, 2009

There are millions of unemployed ready to go to work today. The only missing element is someone to hire them.

Since private industry isn’t hiring, where will jobs come from? What did the country do during the Great Depression?

In the 1930s the New Deal put construction workers on the job building infrastructure we have used ever since. Much of that network is at the end of its life, so let’s do it again, but this time with “green” planning built in.

In the 1930s artists were unemployed. The New Deal hired them and they gave us the fantastic murals, mosaics and monuments in our public places. We could use a lot more of them.

Planting all those trees in our national forests and parks, and building all those lodges, cabins and trail shelters in state and national parks and elsewhere was a good idea. Only thing is, we need more of them.

Under the New Deal the Federal Writers Project subsidized play and book writing and all kinds of other literary pursuits. Advertising people and writers of all kinds are out of work today.

In the 1930s white collar workers with college degrees were unemployed. The New Deal hired many of them into the regulatory bodies it set up to control the worst excesses of capitalism and to regulate private industry. Hiring some of our college graduates to do this again, today, seems like a worthwhile idea. It certainly beats sending them to Wall Street where they work on devising methods that ruin both the economy and eventually, their own livelihoods.

But to win the old New Deal, it took a fight. Its going to take the same thing to win a new New Green Deal.

Below is an abridged caption and short history of the CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps, click HERE for the full history.

When FDR took office, he immediately commenced a massive revitalization of the nation’s economy. In response to the depression that hung over the nation in the early 1930s, President Roosevelt created many programs designed to put Americans back to work.

In his first 100 days in office, President Roosevelt approved several measures as part of his “New Deal,” including the Emergency Conservation Work Act (ECW), better known as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). With that action, he brought together the nations young men and the land in an effort to save them both. Roosevelt proposed to recruit thousands of unemployed young men, enlist them in a peacetime army, and send them to battle the erosion and destruction of the nation’s natural resources.

The CCC, also known as Roosevelts Tree Army, was credited with renewing the nation’s decimated forests by planting an estimated three billion trees from 1933 to 1942. This was crucial, especially in states affected by the Dust Bowl, where reforestation was necessary to break the wind, hold water in the soil, and hold the soil in place. So far reaching was the CCCs reforestation program that it was responsible for more than half the reforestation, public and private, accomplish in the nation’s history.

Eligibility requirements for the CCC carried several simple stipulations. Congress required U.S. citizenship only. Other standards were set by the ECW. Sound physical fitness was mandatory because of the hard physical labor required. Men had to be unemployed, unmarried, and between the ages of 18 and 26, although the rules were eventually relaxed for war veterans. Enlistment was for a duration of six months, although many reenlisted after their alloted time was up.

Problems were confronted quickly. The bulk of the nations young and unemployed youth were concentrated in the East, while most of the work projects were in the western parts of the country. The War Department mobilized the nationҒs transportation system to move thousands of enrollees from induction centers to work camps. The Agriculture and Interior departments were responsible for planning and organizing work to be performed in every state. The Department of Labor was responsible for the selection and enrollment of applicants. The National Director of the ECW was Robert Fechner, a union vice president chosen personally by President Roosevelt.

Young men flocked to enroll. Many politicians believed that the CCC was largely responsible for a 55 percent reduction in crimes committed by the young men of that day. Men were paid $30 a month, with mandatory $25 allotment checks sent to families of the men, which made life a little easier for people at home.

Camps were set up in all states, as well as in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Enrollment peaked at the end of 1935, when there were 500,000 men located in 2,600 camps in operation in all states. California alone had more than 150 camps. The greatest concentration of CCC personnel was in the Sixth Civilian Conservation Corps District of the First Corps Area, in the Winooski River Valley of Vermont, in December 1933. Enlisted personnel and supervisors totaled more than 5,300 and occupied four large camps.

The program enjoyed great public support. Once the first camps were established and the CCC became better known, they became accepted and even sought after. The CCC camps stimulated regional economies and provided communities with improvements in forest activity, flood control, fire protection, and overall community safety.

Although policy prohibited discrimination, blacks and other minorities encountered numerous difficulties in the CCC. In the early years of the program, some camps were integrated. By 1935, however, there was, in the words of CCC director Fechner, a complete segregation of colored and “white enrollees,” but segregation is not “discrimination.” At its peak, more than 250,000 African Americans were enrolled in nearly 150 all-black CCC companies.

An important modification became necessary early in 1933. It extended enlistment coverage to about 14,000 American Indians whose economic circumstances were deplorable and had mostly been ignored. Before the CCC was terminated, more than 80,000 Native Americans were paid to help reclaim the land that had once been theirs.

In addition, in May 1933, the president authorized the enrollment of about 25,000 veterans of the Spanish American War and World War I, with no age or marital restrictions. This made it possible for more than 250,000 veterans to rebuild lives disrupted by earlier service to their country.

In June 1933, the ECW decided that men in CCC camps could be given the opportunity of vocational training and additional education. Educational programs were developed that varied considerably from camp to camp, both in efficiency and results. More than 90 percent of all enrollees participated in some facet of the educational program. Throughout the CCC, more than 40,000 illiterate men were taught to read and write.

By 1942, there was hardly a state that could not boast of permanent projects left as markers by the CCC. The CCC worked on improving millions of acres of federal and state lands, as well as parks. New roads were built, telephone lines strung, and trees planted.

CCC projects included:

# more than 3,470 fire towers erected;
# 97,000 miles of fire roads built;
# 4,235,000 man-days devoted to fighting fires;
# more than 3 billion trees planted;
# 7,153,000 man days expended on protecting the natural habitats of wildlife; 83 camps in 15 Western states assigned 45 projects of that nature;
# 46 camps assigned to work under the direction of the U.S. Bureau of Agriculture Engineering;
# more than 84,400,000 acres of good agricultural land receive manmade drainage systems; Indian enrollees do much of that work;
# 1,240,000 man-days of emergency work completed during floods of the Ohio and Mississippi valleys;
# disease and insect control;
# forest improvement timber stand inventories, surveying, and reforestation;
# forest recreation development - campgrounds built, complete with picnic shelters, swimming pools, fireplaces, and restrooms.

In addition, 500 camps were under the control of the Soil Conservation Service. The primary work of those camps was erosion control. The CCC also made outstanding contributions to the development of recreational facilities in national, state, county, and metropolitan parks. By design, the CCC worked on projects that were independent of other public relief programs. Although other federal agencies, such as the National Park Service and Soil Conservation Service contributed, the U.S. Forest Service administered more than 50 percent of all public work projects for the CCC.

Residents of southern Indiana will always remember the extraordinary work of the CCC during the flood of the Ohio River in 1937. The combined strength of the camps in the area saved lives as well as property. The CCC also was involved in other natural disasters, including a hurricane in New England in 1938, floods in Vermont and New York, and blizzards in Utah.

The Civilian Conservation Corps was one of the most successful New Deal programs of the Great Depression. It existed for fewer than 10 years, but left a legacy of strong, handsome roads, bridges, and buildings throughout the United States. Between 1933 and 1941, more than 3,000,000 men served in the CCC.

The effects of service in the CCC were felt for years, even decades, afterwards. Following the depression, when the job market picked up, businessmen indicated a preference for hiring a man who had been in the CCC, and the reason was simple. Employers believed that anyone who had been in the CCC would know what a full days work meant, and how to carry out orders in a disciplined way.

Today, many of the remaining physical features the CCC built have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 10/24/18 •
Section American Solidarity
View (0) comment(s) or add a new one
Printable viewLink to this article
Home

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Democratic Socialism

flag-ani.gif

Why Americans Struggle to Understand Social Democracy
What Social Democracy and Socialism Are  And Aren’t

By Umair
Eudaimonia
August 15, 2018

I chuckle every time I hear it - which is every day, lately. “Denmark isn’t socialism! France isn’t socialist!! There’s no socialism in Europe!” So say American elites, pundits, columnists, usually men with earnest glasses. Have they been smoking too much capitalism?

They’re reacting to the dire prospect of socialism like priests who just met the devil - only the devil was busy saving souls from hell. They don’t quite know what to do with that. How to process it. They don’t even understand, funnily enough, just like those priests, whether or not to even call it “the devil” anymore. Hence: “Nothing’s socialism!! Nope!! how else to square the prospect of socialism rising amongst young Americans, except by denying it exists?” “That’s not the devil!! - thats just another cowboy!!”

The devil, my friends, is the devil. Only maybe he was never the monster you thought. Lets dispel a few myths.

Social democracy isn’t the cartoonish Cold War caricature of socialism (hence, Americans don’t understand it well.) America’s weary, Red Scare caricature of socialism - a bunch of bearded Marxist-Leninist intellectuals, all of whom look like Che Guevara in berets, sipping coffee on the Left Bank, plotting the violent global overthrow of the bourgeoisie by the proletariat, debating abstruse theories of the “means of production” and the “fraternity of labor,” which will lead inevitably to global communist revolution, under a single world government. If that’s what you mean by socialism - in other words, ideas from the 1850s, spoken by men in the 1950s - its true to say that social democracy isn’t that. But is that what socialism really is at all, in any senseʢ
 this cartoon villain?

Without socialism, life as you know it wouldn’t exist. You already know socialism. Socialism is your favourite park, school library. Its the time you spend there. It’s the people who work there. You like socialism. Socialism is your friend.

Think about in the opposite sense. Imagine we were back in 18th century London, Amsterdam, or Paris. If we’d obeyed modern-day American economics, where would these cities have ended up? Without sewers, pipes, parks, avenues, squares, or even gutters, probably. And yet Flint doesn’t have potable drinking water. Do you see my point? American thought lives in a fantasyland - socialism is the devil!! And yet, modern life as we know would cease to exist overnight without it. You’d be taking out a honeybucket every morning - not flushing a toilet (gross, right?) In that sense, you already know socialism, intimately - and you’ve known it all your life. It isn’t the bizarre Stalinesque, Leninist caricature of the Cold War. Its just everyday life.

(It’s deeply inaccurate, as American thinkers are trying to do these days, to say that all the things above are just redistribution.Ӕ Your public library is eminently not just stuff that was redistributed from the rich, to you. It’s a genuine form of public investment. The labour, the work, the design, the bricks, the pipes, the shelves, the books - these things are what people invested in together. There wasn’t some rich dude they took it from. They reap the benefits together, too. There are rules to make sure no one walks off with all the books, sure - but no one has a right to stop anyone else from using the library. Your public library, parks, and schools, are indeed socialism. And you probably cherish and value them, too.)

Social democracy began as socialism. Just in part, not in whole. Today, its evolved far beyond the Cold War caricature of Marxist-Leninist “socialism.” Social democracy in the simplest sense just means a system that’s partially, not fully, socialist. Now, American thinkers will go on denying this until the cows come home - remember those priests? But the fact is that “social democracy” was born of Marxism. In the late 1800s, after the age of revolutions in 1848, Marxism split up into a few camps. The hardcore still foresaw a need for (violent, sudden) revolution, which would bring about worldwide socialism. But the other camp called for a gradual transition to socialism - one country, one institution within a country, one system, like a healthcare or school system - one step at a time. This was what came to be called social democracy. But for precisely that reason, not to call social democracy socialism - as if they were somehow distinct entities, events, or ideas - is deeply historically, politically, and economically inaccurate, the kind of doublespeak for which Americas now famous, and which leaves Americans foolish. It’s not Leninism (global revolution!), its not Stalinism (the communist party!), it’s not Trotskyism (revolution, comrades, now!) but it is a kind of socialism. A gentler kind. That’s OK. So are the pipes in your house.

Social democracy is so far ahead of American capitalism now its like alien technology to a Stone Age tribe - which is why Americans struggle to understand it. Nobody today, though, really, in a social democracy - except maybe the few hardcore Marxists still left - is sitting around discussing the proletariat overthrowing the bourgeoisie, in a sudden, violent global revolution, after which everyone sings the Internationale, at the inauguration of Global Communism. Can we get real?

Social democracy has gone way, way beyond all that. These days, its something like the world’s most advanced operating system for human progress - full of strange, awesome, profound new ideas, about how to govern, manage, own, and run societies, which are so far ahead, that America simply can’t understand them with obsolete American ideas, like “shareholder value” and “individual responsibility” and 401Ks, all of which are simply now decades behind - and especially not with Cold War caricatures. It’s the most sophisticated and successful set of economic and social ideas and institutions human beings have ever created, which have led to the best - longest lived, happiest, safest, wealthiest - lives ever, full, stop, period, in all of history. What are some of those ideas?

Social democracy goes (way) beyond old-world notions of socialism. It means public goods are held in trust for the very people they are used by - not “state ownership” of the means of production. Socialism’s often said to mean state ownership of the “means of production.” What does that even mean? Have you ever thought about it? This isn’t 1868, my friends. The economy isn’t made of factories and clanking machines anymore. What are the “means of production,” these days, anyways? Server farms?

For just that reason, social democracy does indeed involve public ownership - but not of the “means of production,” really. Of basic public goods. Healthcare, education, transportation, energy, media, and so on. These aren’t really “means of production,” in the old Marxist sense - factories oppressing the proletariat. The modern variant of social democracy is about providing exactly those things which everyone needs, but capitalism cannot provide at low enough cost, or high enough quality.

So it’s not the “means of productionm” really, which are socialized - but public goods. And it’s not the “state” which owns them, either. Have you ever wondered what “state ownership” even is? What does it mean? The problem is that it never really meant anything at all - and so it could mean anything. Hence, dictators quickly rose to the top of purely socialist societies, like Stalin. But in modern social democracy, rather than the “means of production” owned by the state, public goods are owned by the people that use them - more accurately . They are held in trust, usually, by cities, towns, regions, and so forth. That means that they genuinely belong to everyone - not just some “council” or party committee, which was often the problem in Soviet style socialism - and yet no single person or actor can skim off their benefits for themselves.

The “means of production,” where they still exist, in the traditional sense, factories and so on, like in Germany, aren’t “socialized” so much in the sense of ownership, but in the sense of management - their workers sit on boards. It’s a vivid example of how the idea that “socialism” can mean something apart from “oh no, they’re taking our property rights!!” and go far beyond what Americans can understand given old, obsolete ideas.

Social democracy has grown because capitalism is becoming obsolete. It lets people realize themselves to a vastly higher degree than capitalism alone. Now, the part that Marx left out of the means of production are owned by the “state” was about purpose. When the means of production were owned by the state, what would the point be? Who’d define it? He didn’t say. Apparently, the proletariat would figure that part out when they got there. And that brings me to my final point.

Public goods each have a different social purpose, which can be maximized under social democracy - but capitalism is only ever one-dimensional. The purpose of a healthcare system is health. Duh, you might say. But the purpose of a healthcare system in capitalism is profit. Hence, American life expectancy falling. The purpose of an education system is knowledge. But the purpose of an education system in capitalism is debt and degree farming. Hence, Americans are getting dumber. Do you see the problem? Capitalist institutions simply are not flexible, functional, or usable enough to build genuinely prosperous societies with anymore. Let me put that another way.

Capitalism is obsolete because it is too blunt a tool with which to build a working society. You can’t build a house with only a chainsaw - at least not a very nice one. You need different tools, for all your many tasks. The same is true of a society. If capitalism’s the only tool you have - you’ll never be able to build a working healthcare, education, financial system, to name just a few, because those things cannot be run just in the old binary of “for profit” or “not for profit.” They must each be run for a different set of human outcomes, far beyond that tired dichotomy - health, life expectancy, knowledge, intelligence, savings, security, investment, and so forth.

Now, so far, in human history, only, really, under social democracy have we learned to construct such institutions best. We can build organizations, whose ownership is held in trust by communities, with explicit, specific goals, such as human health. That’s the modern day NHS. But we can never accomplish any of this under capitalism - we can only use the old model of shareholders owning an organization which is run either for or not for profit. That either serves shareholders with profit - or no one, really, at all. That doesn’t help us one bit when it comes to genuinely building systems which realize human potential.

So you should see the rise of social democracy in America - or at least the slender possibility of it - as an eminently good thing. Just as Russia was the last nation to accept capitalism, so America is the last one to accept socialism. Today, its capitalism that’s becoming obsolete, for obvious reasons. Meaningless, stagnation, misery, rage, despair, greed, ruin. Social democracy is alien technology to Stone Age men.

Or, if you like… if the devil’s saving souls, maybe he’s not the prince of hell. Maybe it was the other guy, all along.

SOURCE

---

Explaining Socialism To A Republican

By Nurse Pam
Addicting Info
June 23, 2012

I was talking recently with a new friend who Im just getting to know. She tends to be somewhat conservative, while I lean more toward the progressive side.

When our conversation drifted to politics, somehow the dreaded word socialism came up. My friend seemed totally shocked when I said All socialism isn’t bad.  She became very serious and replied “So you want to take money away from the rich and give to the poor?” I smiled and said “No, not at all.  Why do you think socialism means taking money from the rich and giving to the poor?”

“Well it is, isn’t it?” was her reply.

I explained to her that I rather liked something called Democratic Socialism, just as Senator Bernie Sanders, talk show host Thom Hartman, and many other people do. Democratic Socialism consists of a democratic form of government with a mix of socialism and capitalism. I proceeded to explain to her the actual meaning terms democracy and socialism.

Democracy is a form of government in which all citizens take part. It is government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Socialism is where we all put our resources together and work for the common good of us all and not just for our own benefit. In this sense, we are sharing the wealth within society.

Of course when people hear that term, “Share the wealth” they start screaming, “OMG you want to rob from the rich and give it all to the poor!” But that is NOT what Democratic Socialism means.

To a Democratic Socialist, sharing the wealth means pooling tax money together to design social programs that benefit ALL citizens of that country, city, state, etc.

The fire and police departments are both excellent examples of Democratic Socialism in America.  Rather than leaving each individual responsible for protecting their own home from fire, everyone pools their money together, through taxes, to maintain a fire and police department. It’s operated under a non-profit status, and yes, your tax dollars pay for putting out other peoples fires. It would almost seem absurd to think of some corporation profiting from putting out fires.  But it’s more efficient and far less expensive to have government run fire departments funded by tax dollars.

Similarly, public education is another social program in the USA. It benefits all of us to have a taxpayer supported, publicly run education system. Unfortunately, in America, the public education system ends with high school.  Most of Europe now provides low cost or free college education for their citizens. This is because their citizens understand that an educated society is a safer, more productive and more prosperous society. Living in such a society, everyone benefits from public education.

When an American graduates from college, they usually hold burdensome debt in the form of student loans that may take 10 to even 30 years to pay off. Instead of being able to start a business or invest in their career, the college graduate has to send off monthly payments for years on end.

On the other hand, a new college graduate from a European country begins without the burdensome debt that an American is forced to take on. The young man or woman is freer to start up businesses, take an economic risk on a new venture, or invest more money in the economy, instead of spending their money paying off student loans to for-profit financial institutions.  Of course this does not benefit wealthy corporations, but it does greatly benefit everyone in that society.

EXAMPLE American style capitalistic program for college: If you pay (average) $20,000 annually for four years of college, that will total $80,000 + interest for student loans. The interest you would owe could easily total or exceed the $80,000 you originally borrowed, which means your degree could cost in excess of $100,000.

EXAMPLE European style social program for college: Your college classes are paid for through government taxes.  When you graduate from that college and begin your career, you also start paying an extra tax for fellow citizens to attend college.

Question - You might be thinking how is that fair? If youre no longer attending college, why would you want to help everyone else pay for their college degree?

Answer - Every working citizen pays a tax that is equivalent to say, $20 monthly.  If you work for 40 years and then retire, you will have paid $9,600 into the Social college program.  So you could say that your degree ends up costing only $9,600. When everyone pools their money together and the program is non-profit, the price goes down tremendously. This allows you to keep more of your hard earned cash!

Health care is another example: If your employer does not provide health insurance, you must purchase a policy independently.  The cost will be thousands of dollars annually, in addition to deductible and co-pays.

In Holland, an individual will pay around $35 monthly, period.  Everyone pays into the system and this helps reduce the price for everyone, so they get to keep more of their hard earned cash.

In the United States we are told and frequently reminded that anything run by the government is bad and that everything should be operated by for-profit companies. Of course, with for-profit entities the cost to the consumer is much higher because they have corporate executives who expect compensation packages of tens of millions of dollars and shareholders who expect to be paid dividends, and so on.

This (and more) pushes up the price of everything, with much more money going to the already rich and powerful, which in turn, leaves the middle class with less spending money and creates greater class separation.

This economic framework makes it much more difficult for average Joes to Ҕlift themselves up by their bootstraps and raise themselves to a higher economic standing.

So next time you hear the word “socialism” and “spreading the wealth” in the same breath, understand that this is a serious misconception.

Social programs require tax money and your taxes may be higher. But as you can see everyone benefits because other costs go down and, in the long run, you get to keep more of your hard earned cash!

Democratic Socialism does NOT mean taking from the rich and giving to the poor.  It works to benefit everyone so the rich can no longer take advantage of the poor and middle class.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 08/16/18 •
Section American Solidarity
View (0) comment(s) or add a new one
Printable viewLink to this article
Home

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Rising Of Global Unions Part 2

image: solidarity

I wish it would have taken a little less than 12 YEARS SINCE PART ONE of this series.

For a another eye-opening report on how bad working for this company is in America - see the Chris Hedges show with JESSICA BRUDER on AMAZONBIES.

Now ask yourself - what’s wrong with Americans that they - we - didn’t join the MULTI-COUNTRY STRIKE?

---

How European Workers Coordinated This Months Massive Amazon Strike - And What Comes Next

By Rebecca Burns
In These Times
July 28, 2018

As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos net worth topped $150 billion last week, making him the richest man in modern history, thousands of Amazon workers across Europe went on strike.

The work stoppage, which lasted three days at some facilities, was one of the largest labor actions against Amazon to date, and the first to receive widespread coverage in the U.S. media. But the strikes and protests in Spain, Germany and Poland were just the latest in an escalating series of actions against Amazon in Europe, where workers belonging to both conventional unions and militant workers’ organizations are forging a transnational movement against the internet juggernaut.

In Germany, which is Amazon’s second-biggest market after the United States, workers at the company’s fulfillment centers waged the first-ever strike against Amazon in 2013. “In the beginning, it was purely about wages, about being able to pay for the cost of living,” says Lena Widmann, a federal secretary and spokesperson for the German services union Verdi. “Now its also about respect, and about being heard.”

After the first strikes, Amazon began to give German workers regular raises. It also made improvements to ventilation and lighting in some of its warehouses, and, in response to worker complaints about the physical and psychological toll of on-the-job requirements, added a “fruit day” with company-furnished fruit baskets.

But Amazon has refused to codify even these modest changes through a collective bargaining agreement. The union estimates that approximately 2,400 workers at six of the company’s fulfillment centers in Germany participated in last week’d three-day strike, out of about 16,000 that Amazon employs in Germany. Organizers will continue pushing to incorporate more workers in shop-floor organization, to contact new facilities that Amazon has opened in the past year, and, ultimately, to win a union contract.

“We’re talking about a long fight ahead it’s not going to be solved by Christmas, and our members are very aware of this,” says Widmann. “But more and more people are joining the movement.”

In a statement responding to the strikes, an Amazon spokesperson said, “Amazon is a fair and responsible employer and as such we are committed to dialogue, which is an inseparable part of our culture. We are committed to ensuring a fair cooperation with all our employees, including positive working conditions and a caring and inclusive environment.”

In 2014, Amazon began to open warehouses in Poland, where wages are lower and labor laws are laxer. A chapter in the 2018 book CHOKE POINTS: Logistics Workers Disrupt the Global Supply Chain describes working conditions in the Polish warehouses:

Most employees have to work standing or walking (some for several miles during one shift), and many jobs involve highly repetitive movements, lifting heavy goods and boxes, or pushing heavy carts. Amazon wants the warehouses running day and night. Therefore, workers in Poland have to work four 10-hour shifts per week, with an additional unpaid 30 minutes break. The shifts schedule changes every month from day shift. Such a shift system and shift rotation disturbs workersԒ sleeping rhythm and leads to serious health problems. In addition, it makes it difficult to organise a private life.

To bring down the sickness rate, Amazon Poland hired a company in spring 2017 which checks whether workers are at home during sick leave. A worker who was dismissed because of a sick leave wrote: “At Amazon we hear about safety every day, about health, but the reality is different. Not everyone can keep up the race at Amazon. People are treated like machines. But even machines fail and stand still. We are not allowed to do that.”

Moreover, Amazon’s expansion into Eastern Europe threatened to undercut the effectiveness of strikes being waged by German workers. So in 2015, rank-and-file activists Germany and Poland held the first of what became a series of cross-border meetings of Amazon workers. Polish workers have organized within Inicjatywa Pracownicza (Workers’ Initiative), a radical trade union that uses the black sabo-tabby as its logo. Polish labor law imposes a restrictive bar on strike actions more than half of an entire workforce must participate in a strike vote - but Polish Amazon workers have carried out a series of slowdowns to coincide with ongoing strikes in Germany. 

Coordination between Amazon workers in different countries taking place through cross-border meetings of rank-and-file workers, as well as the labor federation UNI - has played an important role in ramping up strike action elsewhere in Europe. When Italian Amazon workers first went on strike in November 2017, they were joined by Verdi members for a two-day work stoppage during Black Friday. Soon after, Amazon signed its first-ever collective bargaining agreement with Italian unions, which introduced new scheduling protections and wage increases for overnight shifts. 

The call for a Europe-wide strike during Prime Day was issued by Spanish Amazon workers, who first struck in March at the country’s logistics center in Madrid. The Spanish labor union “Confederacion Sindical de Comisiones Obreras” (CCOO), which is the majority union for Amazon workers at a national level, declared the strike a “complete success,” with a reported 98 percent of the 2,000-person workforce taking part.

However, the strike also reportedly led to reprisals and firings of temporary workers, and in May a group of Madrid workers issued a call for a Europe-wide strike under the name “Amazon en Lucha.”

“We know that Amazon is using its logistic network in Europe to counter the effect of our respective strikes,” wrote its authors. “We in Madrid believe that only if we struggle together will we gain recognition for our demands”. Similarly, only with a joint action at a European level will workers organize in those places where there is no union representation yet.

In addition to strikes and slowdowns in Spain, Germany and Poland, Amazon workers in Great Britain marched over the weekend in a festival celebrating the birth of trade unionism, holding signs reading “We Are Humans, Not Robots.” An estimated 87 percent of U.K. Amazon workers have back or neck problems, according to a survey by the trade union GMB. 

“Amazon is a global company and uses global tactics, GMB official Mick Rix told El Pais. ԓWe have to do the same.”

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 07/26/18 •
Section American Solidarity
View (0) comment(s) or add a new one
Printable viewLink to this article
Home
Page 1 of 29 pages  1 2 3 >  Last »

Statistics

Total page hits 9359756
Page rendered in 1.0818 seconds
41 queries executed
Debug mode is off
Total Entries: 3182
Total Comments: 337
Most Recent Entry: 08/15/2019 09:50 am
Most Recent Comment on: 01/02/2016 09:13 pm
Total Logged in members: 0
Total guests: 8
Total anonymous users: 0
The most visitors ever was 114 on 10/26/2017 04:23 am


Email Us

Home

Members:
Login | Register
Resumes | Members

In memory of the layed off workers of AT&T

Today's Diversion

Change is inevitable, except from vending machines. - anonymous

Search


Advanced Search

Sections

Calendar

August 2019
S M T W T F S
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Must Read

Most recent entries

RSS Feeds

RSS Washington's Blog

Today's News

ARS Technica

External Links

Elvis Picks

BLS Pages

Favorites

All Posts

Archives

RSS


Creative Commons License


Support Bloggers' Rights