Monthly Archives: August 2009

No Reform Can Fix Capitalist Healthcare

U.S. bosses and their politician-servants are arguing over how best to dole out health care to the working class. One side of this battle, mainly Republicans and the so-called “Blue Dog” Democrats, wants to protect the profits of the insurance and pharmaceutical companies at all costs. The other side, mainly liberal Democrats, sees the current health-care situation as a threat to U.S. bosses’ ability to maintain their position against imperialist rivals. As far as the working class is concerned, the likenesses between these sides are more important than their differences.

Neither faction has offered the real solution for all workers: Free and readily accessible health care, as was the situation after the revolutions in the Soviet Union and China. Clinics were widespread and masses of health-care workers were sent into rural areas to serve peasants and farmers.

PLP believes this history shows that workers in power can provide a healthy environment, just as we’ve learned from what happened when these revolutions were reversed and capitalism restored. In the former Soviet republics, workers’ life expectancy, which dramatically increased in the 30 years after the revolution, has decreased since the late 1960s. In China, schistosomiasis, a disease caused by a parasitic worm that ravaged rural areas, was widely controlled due to planned social action initiated after the revolution; it has reemerged.

The results of socialism were a return to capitalism and renewed attacks on the health of the working class. This is why PLP advocates fighting directly for communism and for a society where all aspects of workers’ health will be primary.

Improving workers’ health is not on the top of the agenda for the ruling class, but the faction that now controls the White House and Congress is focused on maintaining U.S. dominance in the world and therefore has two main goals for health-care reform: 1) force the U.S. working class to accept across-the-board low-quality health care as a fact of life; and 2) discipline the sections of the ruling class which are only interested in short-term profits and threaten to undermine the U.S.’s ability to oppose its rivals. Both of these goals represent a move towards greater fascist control.

Here are the bosses’ plans and a communist analysis:

*Require everyone to have health insurance or else pay a penalty.

This requirement is a direct attack on workers who, because of falling wages, find it more and more difficult to divvy up what they have between food, rent/mortgages, heat, clothing, etc. This racist attack will especially affect black and Latin workers who generally suffer from lower wages and higher rates of unemployment.

* Require small businesses to provide insurance that meets “minimum standards.”

These “minimum standards” will attempt to ensure a working class that is only healthy enough to exploit for profit and fight in their oil wars. This means that health care will be rationed and health care for workers who are not “productive” (in the capitalist sense, meaning they don’t produce profits), namely the elderly and seriously ill, will be limited.

* Expand Medicaid to cover the uninsured who can’t afford to buy their own health insurance.

Medicaid fails to provide decent health care now and would have to be expanded just to adequately cover those who already use its services. The financial crisis has swelled the number of unemployed (and thus added to the nearly 50 million uninsured), with black and Latin workers disproportionately affected, meaning more and more workers will come to rely on Medicaid. Their ability to force us to accept these racist conditions is a measure of their ability to prepare us for future attacks

* Tighter regulation of health insurance companies.

This attempt to increase regulation reflects the split in the ruling class discussed above and indicates that Obama & Co. are attempting to discipline those capitalists who care only about their short-term profit-making. It remains to be seen whether health-insurance bosses will submit to this disciplining, but the working class has no stake in the outcome of this battle, because no matter which group of capitalists are running the show, our health will always take a back seat to profits. Of course it’s gratifying to see CEOs get “punished” in public, but it will not mean that Obama and the Democrats actually care about our health.

* Taxing generous insurance plans.

As a legacy of the militant union reforms of the 1930s and ‘40s, there is a section of the working class which has decent health care insurance, primarily industrial and government workers. Not content with helping to wipe out many of these benefits that went along with unionized auto industry jobs, Obama has called for a tax on the remaining decent health care plans.

This plan to tax those few workers who have somehow managed to retain decent health benefits reveals the essence of the entire reform effort: The heavy taxes on the premium plans will drive them out of existence (for workers) and help to create a single, low-quality level of health care for the working class, one that allows for greater government control and discipline, e.g., fascism.

Getting behind either of the factions is a mistake for the working class. Neither side has our interests at heart, a fact clearly indicated when we consider that there has been no mention of a particular super-exploited section of the working class that has a key role to play in this debate: healthcare workers. Mainly women and often immigrants, these workers suffer racist double-exploitation. Their working conditions are awful, especially for home-health providers (who get paid very low wages and have to buy their own gas to get to their patients) and nursing-home attendants (low wages, long hours, too many patients). Improving the health of the working class should begin with improving the health of those who take care of the rest of us.

When we are told of the deaths of workers from disease we often hear “Our mother died of tuberculosis,” or “My sister died from AIDS,” or “My son died from cholera.” These things, the tuberculosis or cholera bacteria or HIV, are only the specific reason for an individual’s demise. The essential point is that capitalism creates the conditions in which these particular pathogens actually kill people.  Clean water and adequate sewage treatment, which is the biggest healthcare improvement that’s available, is denied to hundreds of millions of workers in poorer countries (and millions in imperialism’s heartland).

Whatever it is that makes us sick, from treatable infections to imperialist war, from racist police brutality to stress from having to work two jobs (or from being unemployed), it is capitalism that is the real disease. Fortunately there is a cure: communist revolution and a workers’ society.

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Fascist Economy Rules the Roost for U.S. Big Bosses

In contrast with the rapid and vast restructurings in the auto and banking industries, health care “reform” is proving a much harder task for Obama and the dominant, imperialist wing of U.S. capitalists he serves. The hallmark of fascism, tightened, centralized economic control  — which, like an expanded military, U.S. rulers need to compete in a sharpening global rivalry — is developing unevenly.

In effect, the government runs GM and Chrysler, and banks and brokers have dwindled to a dominant handful. But individual capitalists have yet to display the sense of “sacrifice” Obama demanded at his inauguration, “giving our all to a difficult task.”

Reforming — especially nationalizing — health care would benefit the U.S. capitalist class as a whole in various ways. It could relieve the major expense of workers’ health care — which, for instance, cost GM $3 billion annually — thereby boosting companies’ profits. By reducing such costs, it could free up capital for rebuilding infrastructure and the rulers’ war machine, as well as make them more competitive with rivals in Europe, Japan and Canada where health care is already nationalized. It also could make people more directly dependent on the government and consequently loyal to it.

Health Battle Shows Narrow Capitalist Self-interest Persists

Reluctant, self-interested capitalists are turning Obama’s health roadshow “town meetings” into bad days on Jerry Springer. New York Times columnist, Nobel Prize winner and leading proponent of economic fascism Paul Krugman lamented: “Angry protesters…have been drowning out, and in some cases threatening, members of Congress trying to talk about health reform.” (NYT, 8/6) “Well-heeled interest groups are helping to organize the town hall mobs,” Krugman continued. “Key organizers include…a new organization called Conservatives for Patients’ Rights…run by Rick Scott, the former head of Columbia/HCA, a for-profit hospital chain.” Such hospitals, and their doctors, will lose big if Obama succeeds in eliminating current fee-for-service — which enables them to charge what the traffic will bear — and replaces it with government-mandated salaries and test charges.

Health insurers, HMO’s — fearing marginalization if a federal plan takes hold — also oppose Obama, who’s trying to carry out U.S. capitalism’s larger, long-term interests. Drug makers, however, love him, for the same reason: profits (not patriotism). Their lobbying group PhRMA has authorized a $150-million advertising budget to back Obama’s plan. Pharmaceuticals “stand to gain millions of new customers from the expansion of healthcare coverage.” (NYT, 9/9/09)

Obama’s consolidation/nationalization effort has succeeded most in auto, where short-term profit has vanished. This has slashed the DuPont’s financial power, whose Wilmington Trust is the largest creditor — meaning loser — in GM’s bankruptcy.

At GM, Obama installed ExxonMobil director Edward Whitaker as chairman. This oil giant is the largest beneficiary of U.S. imperialism’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This may even have engineered the demise of the 95-year-old influence of the DuPont family, which sometimes has been at odds with U.S. imperialists’ broader agenda. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, DuPont president Ellen Kullman quit GM’s board in December, just after Obama’s election.

Greedy Execs Ignore War Agenda for Quick Cash

Many bank executives, like health industry bosses, mainly see the current crisis as an opportunity to get even richer. Frank Rich, another NY Times’ U.S. imperialist pundit, noted, “Nine…bailed-out banks — which in total received $175 billion of taxpayers’ money, but as yet have repaid only $50 billion — are awarding a total of $32.6 billion in bonuses for 2009.” (8/9) He includes Goldman and JP Morgan. The same day’s Times editorialized for government regulation of bankers’ compensation.

CEOs and others who won’t submit to the leading rulers’ greater needs invite the full force of state power upon them. Convicted Enron bosses rot, or have died, in jail. The ever-unfolding Madoff case and last month’s round-up of crooked politicians and rabbis in New Jersey and Brooklyn help the rulers test just how much public sentiment they can stir up against wayward servants of their own class. This includes the potential to spread anti-Semitism in case it’s needed against Goldman for grabbing billions in bonuses.

But in-fighting among the bosses is no mere sideshow for workers. Capitalists’ disciplining of one another punishes the working class in far greater numbers. For every Bernie Madoff or Enron or WorldCom telecommunications exec, tens of thousands of workers lost jobs and pensions. This is especially true for black and Latino workers who, due to racist discrimination, have been thrown on the scrap heap in disproportionate numbers.

U.S. rulers are counting on Obama to impose the wartime economic discipline they require. Viewing his proposed reforms as “progress” would be a serious political mistake. Our Party’s task is to spread the only viable alternative — for workers — to Obama’s “town meeting” message. In short, we must eliminate the profit system which creates all kinds of exploiters of the working class — whether those driving for short-term immediate profits or their long-range imperialist opponents, primarily concerned with saving their system. Destroying capitalism with a communist revolution will take a lifetime of effort. J


Auto and Banks Rapidly Consolidate

In further consolidation, the bosses backing Obama have anointed just two firms, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase, as the U.S.’s flagship financiers. Goldman’s close Washington ties have earned it the nickname “Government Sachs.” And, trying not to be too obvious, once word hit the papers, JP Morgan called off an unprecedented July board meeting in Washington that was to have included Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff.

Behind the scenes, Mellon’s Bank of New York (BNY) and Boston’s State Street, both trustees of Obama’s bailout funds, have become, with JP Morgan, undisputed custodians of U.S. capital. BNY manages $19.5 trillion, JP Morgan $13.5 trillion and State Street $11.3 trillion. Beleaguered Citigroup today comes in a distant and dwindling fourth at $1.8 trillion.

And don’t underestimate former titan, now relatively small Brown Brothers Harriman. This old-money “wealth advisor’s” partners, having bankrolled House banking czar Barney Frank, pull important levers in Washington.

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Philly Hospital Workers March Against Speed-up

PHILADELPHIA, PA, August 4 — A group of hospital workers recently marched on the nursing administration to protest the bosses making one worker do the work of two different job classifications.

The workers’ march was provoked by the bosses persuading a nursing assistant to do the job of a nursing clerk. Because this worker wasn’t an actual nursing clerk, the bosses had her enter nursing notes into the computer using an RN’s name. Not only is this a speed-up and a contract violation, but it is also illegal. Even the RN was afraid that she would be in trouble if the wrong notes were entered. A second union member resisted when the bosses tried to force her to do the same thing. She contacted a union delegate who organized a meeting for the clerical workers that led to the march.

While this increased activity can temporarily improve morale, it also highlights some important questions: Where is this activity leading us? Will the unions we’re in (or the unions we want to join) convince us that we have no choice but to accept more layoffs and cutbacks “because of the economy”. Will the workers’ inevitable anger and militancy be watered down into paper grievances, drawn-out legal fights in the bosses’ courts, and voting for the “lesser-evil” bosses’ politicians?

Or will workers refuse to accept that the working class must pay for the bosses’ economic crisis? “Union ideas” alone don’t show workers that we must defy every aspect of the capitalist class system. Heck, “union ideas” these days mean concession after concession without any fight

The rich bonuses paid to the bosses in the auto industry and Goldman-Sachs show that “belt-tightening” only applies to the working class. Despite the U.S. bosses’ efforts to downplay class differences, the working class has nothing in common with the bosses. Our interests can only be served by PLP’s ideas of overthrowing capitalism with communist revolution.

Strikes must be built, scabs must be stopped, injunctions and the cops who enforce them must be defied, and international multi-racial unity must develop. Past union movements have pursued these goals and won significant reform victories, but now so many of those victories have been taken back. The attack on the auto workers’ pensions alone undermines the pension of every other worker. That’s why all of our fights must have the ultimate goal of communist revolution. Communist ideas give us the understanding to see how even a defeat of one reform fight or another can be a victory if it advances the revolutionary movement.

The current struggle of one Philadelphia union shows the damage when there are no communist ideas to challenge the bosses. After working under their previous contract for the last 18 months, union workers at Acme food markets just overwhelmingly approved a contract recommended by their union leadership, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776. Although Acme leads this area in sales, their competitors are gaining and Acme’s response is to attack their higher-paid union workers. Acme currently paid “250 percent higher than the average competitor in the Northeast region” for health benefits according to Acme’s President Judith A. Spires.

The new contract accepted by the Acme workers has major concessions. The bosses will reduce the percentage of full-time workers from 23% to 18%. This hurts younger workers by reducing the number of available better-paying jobs. The new contract also allows Acme to lease areas in their stores, opening up the door to replacing higher-paid jobs like union butchers with lower-paid workers brought in by sub-contractors.

Why did the Acme workers accept these cutbacks? Without communist ideas the workers were limited to the “leadership” of their union
officials and the bosses. For example, one worker told a reporter, “There’s no strike, which is very good, because no one wins at that,” This is the same idea preached by Acme’s President. “We have to tighten our belts and stop the bleeding,” Spires said “Nobody wants a strike. Nobody wins in a strike.” No wonder the ACME workers conceded without a fight.

We don’t have to be stuck in a system basically playing by the bosses’ rules and fighting the same fights over and over again. Capitalism’s history shows it can only bring workers crises, misery, racism, sexism and war. Communist revolution and building PLP are the only tickets off this bloody merry-go-round.


Airport Bosses’ Sweatshop Conditions Murder Immigrant Worker

QUEENS, NY, August 1 — Bosses at LaGuardia Airport here are guilty of the murder two weeks ago of a subcontractor worker, Yendi Medina. By creating exhausting working conditions, they caused a deadly accident. Yendi, a 22-year old Dominican immigrant worker, leaves behind a two-year old daughter and a grieving family.

On July 29th around 5 am, Yendi was waiting to clean an airplane parked away from the terminal. After a long night on the graveyard shift she sat down next to the plane on a bag of pillows she was carrying. An aircraft mechanic, himself working a ten-hour night shift, accidentally  ran over Yendi with his company pick-up truck. The airlines prefer to have most of their cleaning and repairs done at night since then planes do not have to be taken out of service during the day and they can reap more profits.

This accident reflects the nature of capitalism, that in its quest for maximum profits bosses constantly endanger workers and do not value our lives. Of course, the bosses and their representatives do their best to try to convince us this is not the case. After Yendi’s death, local bosses quickly told workers that it was a “tragedy” and no one was to blame. They spoke out of both sides of their mouth however, scolding the workers for not exercising enough caution when we drive and walk around on the airport ramp. They allowed some workers to attend the funeral but would not stop calling their cell phones telling them to return to work.

These are the same bosses who, a day before the death, yelled at the workers for complaining about mandatory overtime. These are the same bosses who give them a hard time if a plane is delayed, and encourage them to rush. Under capitalism bosses can never hide their number one motive — profit — for long. Communism will fight not only to meet workers needs at home, but also on the job.

Ironically, the company and subcontractor bosses who now are shedding crocodile tears have said nothing about the racist, sexist conditions they forced upon Yendi before she died. Yendi earned $7.15 an hour with no benefits. Most of the subcontractor workers are immigrants and women and perform some of the dirtiest work at the airport (like removing the waste from airplane bathrooms). On top of all this, the subcontractor bosses saw fit to fire one of Yendi’s coworkers two days after her death. They claimed that the worker was “driving in an unsafe manner.” They saw her as an excellent scapegoat.

The only reasonable response to these attacks is to fight back. When a worker was suspended for refusing to work mandatory overtime, other workers rallied to his cause and the bosses allowed him back to work. The bosses know that without workers, the planes, the trains, the machines and the whole society would grind to a halt.

Unfortunately, as long as we live under capitalism each small victory will only be temporary. We can win a worker his job back only to see another killed. The bosses ensure that no worker’s life or livelihood is safe under capitalism. This is why Progressive Labor Party fights for communism. We have a world to win!

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Fight ‘Choice’ of Wage-cuts or Layoffs at Cal State

LOS ANGELES, August 5 — “Banks got bailed out, we got SOLD OUT” chanted the crowd throughout their Cal State University (CSU) campus to students passing by. Despite the small summer attendance due to decreasing class offerings and increasing fees and unemployment, a good turnout fought back against the worsening conditions students and faculty are experiencing across the CSU system, the State’s educational system and in the economic crisis in general.

Students received CHALLENGE and leaflets calling on students, faculty and workers to strike against these attacks and to join the long-term fight to eliminate the racist capitalist system which attacks the working class, wages imperialist war and bails out the banks. This campus demonstration followed the Board of Trustees’ meeting where it voted for a fee hike for students, raising the total increase by 32% in one year! (See CHALLENGE, 8/12).)

As community college faculty in Los Angeles were forced to choose between layoffs or furlough days, CSU faculty face the same “choice” — 24 furlough days a year or layoffs. Many faculty, and even students, albeit from good intentions, see the furloughs as a lesser evil of this “choice,” but in reality furloughs put the bosses’ crisis on the backs of working-class faculty, staff and students. It amounts to a 10% wage-cut.

Through conversations with students, as well as various working-class people during PLP’s recent Summer Project, it’s clear that this crisis is an all-out attack on the working class, regardless of occupation, while hitting black and Latino workers and youth the hardest.  In the schools, professors, teachers, staff and K-graduate students are all affected by the budget cuts in apparently different but essentially similar ways. As these attacks on the working class sharpen, we must participate in these struggles in order to fight for the only solution to this crisis: communist revolution.

Imperialists’ Battle over Honduras Kills Workers

TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS, August 10 — hondurasAt this writing, the struggle of the Honduran people against the military coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya is in its 43rd day. There have been uninterrupted occupations of bridges, highways and buildings, work stoppages and massive mobilizations. On August 7, marches began from the country’s interior, slated to converge in Tegucigalpa and the country’s second largest city on August 12. This massive show of force is in support of highway blockages and a scheduled general strike that could paralyze the country and bring to a head the struggle to reinstate Zelaya.

Beatings, arrests, woundings and killings have occurred. Nevertheless, this great capacity for struggle and sacrifice by the country’s oppressed masses will in no way advance their real class interests. The only possible liberation for the Honduran working class lies in an armed insurrection that fights for communism. But without a revolutionary communist party to lead them, the workers in Honduras and throughout the world will be pawns in the hands of the imperialists’ rivalry for maximum profits and world domination.

Presently, Honduras is in the eye of the storm of this rivalry for the control of Latin America. Zelaya’s mortal sin against U.S. imperialism was getting too close to Hugo Chavez and his Cuba-Bolivia-Nicaragua populist bloc. This bloc — together with the rising regional power of Brazil and its MERCOSUR bloc, plus the European, Russian and Chinese imperialists — is challenging the almost two-century-old U.S. hegemony of the continent.

Zelaya and the Honduran capitalists who back him — like the South American capitalists led by Chavez and Brazil — are striving for a bigger share of what’s produced from their workers’ exploitation by allying with the U.S. bosses’ rivals. These rivals, on their part, need to pry this region from the U.S. imperialists’ grip as each tries to enlarge their control of the world’s resources and profits.

Zelaya and his backers, just like U.S. rulers and their lackeys, claim they are “fighting for democracy.” But this is just a scheme to win workers and others to fight for their capitalists’ interests. “Democracy,” whether imposed with bayonets or legalized by elections, is the capitalists’ dictatorship over our class.

Our liberation lies in forging a communist revolution to impose our working-class dictatorship to smash all the world’s capitalists and guarantee they never rise again. From this we will build a communist society that will eliminate the wage system, money and all capitalist evils. We will produce to satisfy the needs of our class internationally, not to make a handful of parasites richer.

Honduras reveals a weakness of U.S. imperialism. Gone are the days when the U.S. can impose their will unilaterally in Latin America. Whatever the outcome of the Honduran crisis, the struggle for the control of the region will intensify.

Honduras shows that U.S. rulers can only use the military option to regain absolute control of the hemisphere. It also shows that the workers’ only option is to organize for a communist revolution. Zelaya, a capitalist whose family murdered many leftist organizers during the 1980s, will never help workers build such a movement. And any so-called working-class leader who supports him or fights for “democracy” is either knowingly or unknowingly a traitor to our class. Joining and building the internationalist Progressive Labor Party and the fight for communism are the only paths to working-class liberation.

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Guadeloupe, Martinique: Bosses Reneg on ‘Promises’ that Ended Strikes

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POINTE-A-PITRE, GUADELOUPE, August 4 — Five months after the 44-day general strike against capitalist profiteering, the situation remains tense on this Caribbean island, a French overseas territory.

One of the islanders’ main grievances has been the profiteering by SARA, the oil company owned by Total, Esso and Chevron-Texaco. But on July 22, barely one month after taking office, Marie-Luce Penchard, the new Secretary of State for Overseas Territories, announced the government will allow a hike in gas prices later this month.

This came although the Ollier/Taubira commission — set up under the March 4 protocol that ended the general strike — has not reported yet. Since the announcement, repeated rumors of impending gas-price increases have caused runs on gas stations, jangling people’s nerves and filling the station owners’ cash registers.

Both the LKP collective (an umbrella organization of unions, political parties and cultural associations which led the general strike) and the UGTG trade union are calling on the government — in accordance with the March 4 protocol — to force SARA to reimburse over three million euros that it wrongly received from local government, instead of allowing the company to grab even more.

A measure of the tension here was the cops’ violent reaction when the slam poet Vasko shouted an insult at French president Sarkozy during his June 26 visit to nearby Martinique, which had also been shut by the general strike. Vasko was immediately slapped twice on the face, thrown to the ground, handcuffed and charged with insulting a public official.

There also may be a teachers’ strike when school begins on September 2, demanding more teacher positions as promised in the March 4 protocol.

But now the bosses’ government is going back on its promises that ended the strike — and end to SARA profiteering and more teacher jobs. This bears out what CHALLENGE reported during the general strike: the bosses try to take away benefits that workers win during their struggles, which is why communist revolution is the only way to obtain real, permanent change.

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S. Korea : Auto Workers Seized Plant, Repelled Cops’ Attack

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, August 7 — Hundreds of workers occupied the Ssangyong Motor ssangyongCompany for over two months, resisting layoffs. After two raids by the police, which the workers resisted by firing nuts and bolts from slingshots, 500 of 900 workers remained in the plant. They occupied the paint shop where thousands of gallons of flammable paint are stored. The workers initially rejected the company’s offer to reduce the number of layoffs and said in a statement that rather than being divided they would “die together.” (NYT, 8/5/09) The next day the union negotiated a settlement that further reduced the layoffs and pressured the workers to end the occupation. The struggle continues.

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Wage-cut, Wage-freeze: GE Practices Obama’s ‘Shared Sacrifice’

GE is following a classic capitalist method of squeezing profits out of workers: pitting one group against another to lower wages and conditions for all. GE chairman Jeffrey Immelt has told the company’s unions that “production costs must be competitive to keep factories from closing and moving to Mexico or China” (NY Times, 8/7) — where GE has been moving all along. Its Schenectady, NY, work-force is now 6,000, down from a high of 40,000.

Now, in exchange for building a new plant in Schenectady and expanding one in Louisville, the IUE/CWA union has swallowed a 2-year wage-freeze and a two-tier wage system that cuts newly-hired workers’ wages $10 an hour. For that, GE has “promised” not to move operations for two years. Immelt whines about “America’s sagging manufacturing base,” saying that the U.S. has “lost its competitive edge in many areas, falling behind other countries.” When he says “U.S.” he means U.S. bosses.

GE’s billionaire CEO says that by expanding domestic manufacturing, the company is “putting its money where its mouth is.” Translation: GE is “putting workers’ money (stolen from them) into GE’s profits.”

Immelt wants to mask the class contradiction between workers and bosses behind what Immelt says is “more alignment of management and labor.” He wants bosses and workers “on the same side” — with the bosses on top and workers at the bottom. This is Obama’s “shared sacrifice” with a vengeance: a $10-an-hour wage-cut, a wage-freeze and a (bosses’) “promise” to stay put in this juicy situation for two years.

They need workers’ help in producing more goods for less wages to enable U.S. capitalists to compete with rivals worldwide, and guarantee they can ensure production for their imperialist wars.

Rather than helping GE to “put its money where its mouth is,” workers need to put the bosses where they belong — six feet under.

Clinton Visit to India

Red Revolution Needed to Stop Global Warming

Global warming, caused by capitalism’s mad rush for profits and devil-may-care attitude about the future, has already produced alarming weather events — increasingly violent hurricanes like Katrina, and hurricanes in the North Atlantic, where they had never been recorded. It has produced more severe droughts and flooding and the potential for a rise in sea level that will chase tens of millions from their homes in cities near coasts. So what do we make of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent visit to India (July 18-20), where she failed utterly in pressuring India’s leadership to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that cause global warming?

Clinton’s approach to India was a study in the imperialist rivalry that dominates global politics. Rather than accommodate her, India’s Environmental Minister Kamesh criticized the U.S. for generating a century’s worth of greenhouse gases (GHGs) without let-up and then preaching to the developing nations that they should stop emitting GHGs.

The capitalist ruling classes of both India and China — the two most populous nations in the world, containing over one-third of the world’s working class — know that the U.S. call for capping GHG emissions is mainly an attempt to slow their growth and prevent them from challenging the U.S. economically. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund already predict that the Chinese economy will surpass that of the U.S. in the next 20 to 30 years. This is what Clinton is trying to stop, not global warming!

U.S. bosses want a new international treaty on global warming at the December intergovernmental conference in Copenhagen, Denmark (the sequel to Kyoto). But developing nations are fighting against mandatory caps placed on their GHG emissions because it would hinder their economic growth, so Copenhagen is likely to fail due to the maneuverings of competitive capitalist interests. This neglect of the future of the working class and our planet illustrates why smashing capitalism is necessary to stop global warming.

Recently, the U.S. ruling class switched gears in its position on global warming. Previously, it had encouraged media denials that global warming was a problem or that it was caused by GHG emissions. The media and government were obedient to the short-term interests of giant energy companies like Exxon-Mobil. Now the rulers are pretending that they are about to tackle the problem and decrease U.S. emissions. The Obama presidential campaign began this shift in earnest.

But the world’s working class should not be fooled. Obama remains loyal to the profit interests of the energy companies. The U.S. capitalists are merely adopting a strategy to attack and isolate their Chinese and Indian rivals. The actual changes proposed by Obama and reflected in the Waxman-Markey bill (recently passed in the House of Representatives and being debated in the Senate) are too trivial to begin to make any difference in the rising concentrations of GHGs in the atmosphere. The 17% reduction in U.S. GHG emissions by 2020 proposed in the legislation won’t even touch the problem.

Obama & Co. have no intentions of doing anything to harm the global strategic position of the U.S. ruling class. No capitalist government, no matter how worker-friendly it pretends to be, will ever do so. That’s why the world’s working class can only end the emissions of GHGs and prevent the devastating consequences of global warming by taking matters into its own hands.

We must throw the capitalists off the stage of history around the world through communist revolution, and organize a communist society in which both the short-term and long-term needs of workers (including the ecological health of our planet) will be the only considerations in determining how and what to produce.J

BOX: What Else Was Clinton Up to in India?

Clinton’s visit to India wasn’t just about global warming. Loyal to her capitalist masters, she also played the saleswoman for the big bosses. She pushed for a contract for U.S. corporations to build two nuclear power plants, and for a deal for India to buy $10 billion worth of fighter jets from Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The Indian bosses liked this part of her visit.  It’s all about the money!

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