Category Archives: Health Care

Male Genital Mutilation is Profitable

Circumcision is essentially male genital mutilation as it forcibly removes the healthy foreskin attached to a baby boy’s penis often via blunt probe and without anesthesia. A physician who performed a fatal, botched circumcision on baby Ryan Heydari in 2013 was in a recent tribunal in Ontario.   The Ontario College of Physician and Surgeons upheld a mere advisory to the physician who performed the fatal botched circumcision.

Heydari’s parents would have preferred keeping him whole and intact. However, shortly after his birth, and with the physicians insistence, the couple took him in for the procedure. Hours later, they returned him to the hospital with a bloody diaper. The infant died a week later, having lost over 30% of his blood from the operation. While circumcision killed baby Ryan, capitalism directed the instruments.

The bosses’ “medical experts” – including the World Health Organization, funded by the Exxon-Mobil funding Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – have boosted routine infant circumcision as a way to keep males hygienic, prevent penile cancer, and even lower a man’s risk of getting HIV! That is like saying cutting off your toes reduces your chances of getting asthma. Hygiene of the male penis comes from proper washing, removing part of the penis to prevent cancer is like removing an infant’s nipples to prevent breast cancer, too young, too soon, and too absurd. As far as lowering a man’s risk of HIV, the fact that the HIV may hide in the foreskin and slowly creep in long after the sex act hit absurd and then started digging.

This profit system is the reason why. Since the 1980s, hospitals in the U.S. have sold cut foreskins to bio-medical and cosmetic companies for skin-grafts, insulin production, and anti-aging skin-creams. Foreskins feature fibroblasts. These are connective tissues made of amino acids, proteins, and collagens that can quickly grow new cells. One foreskin can produce $100,000 worth of fibroblasts. So, it is less important to the capitalists that anything is prevented, but more like millions of dollars in skin is attached to the head of a baby’s penis.

Circumcision brings in $1.75 billion annually for the U.S. This is the net profit after procedure costs, repair costs, and physician reimbursements. Physicians can pocket $167 per operation when adjusted for medical inflation to 2010, meaning if they perform five a week, they can generate an additional $3,340 monthly, further proving a profit incentive to cut. (Van Howe, 2004) and cut they do, as often as they can to as many infant males as they can.

Companies that profit from the mutilation of infant boys include Intercyx, which receives funding from the imperialist U.S. Department of Defense; SkinMedica, which cashes checks from both the Perseus Soros BioPharmaecutical Fund, a venture capital company managed by working-class misleader George Soros; and Apax Partners Inc. Alan Patricof, who founded Apex, and who regularly donates to campaigns for racist Democratic shills Bill and Hilary Clinton.

Fear mongering and false consciousness supported by the bosses’ favorite opiate, religion, also play a critical role in the procedure’s popularity. The three largest Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – circumcise their male babies because they believe that a promise was made during a conversation between Abraham and his deity. He was ordered to circumcise himself and his sons, along with every male descendant eight days old. These parents are continuing to cut their children because an alleged sky being told a 99-year-old man to do so to himself – this is another example of religion’s nonsensical edicts.

All the religious nonsense aside, even if the religious edicts were a cover to an actual necessary adaptive process to living in a desert environment with a lack of water, at this point, many of the justifications for male circumcision parallel Female Genital Mutilation. The hygiene argument may have held water in an environment that couldn’t support the necessary washing, but now circumcision also has an aspect that specifically concerns sexuality. Male circumcision became prevalent in America as a way to curb masturbation and it has been considered to be more appealing to women; female genital mutilation is rooted in the sexist ideas of chastity and increasing male sexual pleasure at the expense of the female herself. Capitalism is mutilating baby boys for financial gain. Only Communist revolution will put a permanent end to routine infant circumcision based on profit or the brain numbing false consciousness of religion.

Circumcision and the HIV Lies
The claim that circumcision reduces a man’s chances of getting HIV comes from three highly flawed WHO randomized clinical trials on uncircumcised and circumcised men in Africa. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22320006)

As a result, African nations with high HIV rates boost adult male circumcision to combat the virus. They claim these men will have a 60% reduced chance of contracting HIV.

Therefore, many adult men who have undergone the procedure in South Africa believe they are HIV-negative. According to a recent Voice of America article, these men are engaging in unprotected sex as a result, believing they are “too clean” to attract the disease.

In 2013, local sex workers who spoke with a Zimbabwean publication revealed their circumcised clients were refusing to wear condoms for this reason. This creates further dangers for women forced into prostitution in these nations because of sexism.

A Pub Med.gov study also found that in the RCT’s a Ugandan male-to-female trial resulted in a 61% HIV increase in female partners of HIV-positive, circumcised males. .

U.S,. Bosses are, unsurprisingly spearheading Africa’s circumcision initiative. Between 2011 and 2013, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) helped cover 4.7 million circumcisions throughout the continent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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50 Years Strong! Long live the PLP!

From South Carolina to the Middle East, capitalism keeps killing the working class. From bombs falling on Shia to bullets blasting their way into the back of another unarmed Black worker being fired out of the gun of a KKKop, the violence of this economic system continues to brutalize the working class.

Every bomb that falls in Syria or Iraq as the jihadist fascists fight the imperialist puppet fascists and workers keep getting slaughtered is a testament to the need for Progressive Labor Party’s egalitarian vision of Communism. 50 years ago, the international Communist movement appeared to be unstoppable. There were no suicide bombers or Jihadists in the Middle East because there was a powerful Communist movement that inspired the working class with a secular humanist vision grounded in the need to improve our society to benefit everyone. The essence though, was that that movement was flawed due to it being based on maintaining capitalist economic and social relationships.

PLP was born out of breaking with the old CP-USA. The CP was Communist in name only because they had abandoned fighting for Communism by then. By breaking with the CP, PLP was then able to continue the fight against revisionism as an integral part of the fight for Communism. Half a century later and Stalin’s warning of the dark ages of human history should the Communist Movement fail have now come true. The worst part is that these are still the good old days. Nobody has fired off the nukes yet, people are still eating, and the first world countries can still live in the bubbles of safety that come at the expense of the rest of the world’s billions of workers remaining in oppressive exploitation at the behest of profit.

China is now the most oppressive regime in the world. It is wantonly destroying the environment in our already damaged oceans by building landing strips on top of corral reefs in the South China Sea in order to impose their imperialistic aims on The Evil Empire. The US Evil Empire is worried about this strategy, as it will be able to deny them from their pivot to Asia. It looks like the US’s pivot to Asia is going as well as their last two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The only war the US has been successfully winning has been the class war they are waging as pigs are free to kill and deport Black and undocumented workers, hospitals are closed and schools are being redesigned to meet the needs of the imperialists. Two years ago, many workers died in a factory fire in Bangladesh, yet the factories are still unsafe and still making vast profits for the bosses. The working class in the US and all over the world is under attack by capitalism.

Half a century ago, the world was divided into two camps, Soviet Imperialism crept under the guise of Communism – even though millions of workers were inspired by Communist ideas, The USSR used them to advance their imperialist aims. Today, the world is still divided by inter-imperialist rivalry and they have no scruples in what fascist groups they use. The Evil Empire uses Nazis in Ukraine and Jihadists in Syria, Iraq, and China to challenge Russian and Chinese imperialism.

In order for a ruling class to build imperialism abroad, they must build fascism at home even more intensely. These fascist attacks in the US use the tried and true strategy of divide and conquer in order to attack the working class as a whole. The fascist attack on education was first done in New York City, and then spread to the mostly white upstate area. It is now affecting them. The attacks on Black workers help to set up the attacks on White workers because “labor in the White skin will never be free so long as Labor in the Black skin is in chains.” Walter Lamer Scott was another victim of the racism that capitalism needs in order to maintain itself. The racist pig Michael Slager who murdered him is on charges of murder, but how many other racist murders have happened since? How many more will happen? It is not just one cop doing the killing, but the system of capitalism requiring the force and terror of the state in order to protect its profit system.

PLP has broken with the Old Communist Movement’s (OCM) focus on reformism, vanguardism, and the two stage theory. Though PLP will always fight to alleviate the burden of wage slavery and the inherent injustice under capitalism, we are clear that this is part of the uncompromising struggle for Communism. We know that capitalism can never be reformed to meet the needs of the working class just as slaves could never run the plantations in order to get rid of slavery. PLP is a mass party dedicated to relying on and trusting the working class. The OCM didn’t believe that the masses could grasp the ideas of Communism and fight for it directly. We do. We know that the working class has built this world and will rebuild a better world. We know that the working class is at its best under Communist leadership. We know that one Party dedicated to creating one world of the working class is what’s needed. Finally, PLP has negated the struggle for socialism. Socialism is just another form of capitalism. Egalitarian profit-based wage slavery can never emancipate the working class. The same ideological superstructure is necessary in order to maintain an economic base predicated upon systemic inequality.

Communism is the answer to the problems wracking the world today. From the way that homosexuals are treated all over the world, to the racist attacks happening in South Africa as one group of workers uses nationalism and racism to attack another group, to racist pigs blasting our working class brothers and sisters on the streets of the US, to fascists massacring villages and rewarding themselves with young girls as sex slaves, the world needs an answer that is based on a scientific understanding of necessity rejecting racism, sexism, and nationalism. We need to organize based on class, the relationship to production, and fight for Communism. In order to do that, we must build PLP wherever we are so that the next 50 years will see victory for the world’s working class. PLP started with less than 20 dedicated revolutionaries in a room of a seedy hotel and has now spread to over 20 countries on 4 continents. We can’t be stopped and we won’t stop until we have ultimately emancipated the working class from all forms of slavery. PLP fighting for Communism is the only hope for mankind.

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MAY DAY!!! Fight For Communism!

May Day’s Communist Roots Belie Rulers’ Reform Sham

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 11:56AM

May Day has always had two sides to it: one that demands reforms, and the revolutionary side that organizes to destroy capitalism. May Day commemorates a massive strike wave in the U.S., and the particular battle in Chicago’s Haymarket Square in 1886. The movement’s leaders demanded an 8-hour day, but also advocated the “abolition of the wage system.” Six of them were hung by the rulers for their allegiance to the working class and defiance of capitalism. Then and now the capitalists feared this revolutionary side to May Day.

In 1848, Marx and Engels wrote in the Communist Manifesto, “A specter is haunting Europe, the specter of Communism.” By 1886, the rulers of Chicago saw this specter. “The newspapers and industrialists were increasingly declaring that May 1, 1886 was in reality the date for a Communist working-class insurrection modeled on the Paris Commune. According to Melville E. Stone, Head of the Chicago Daily News…a ‘repetition of the Paris Communal riots was freely predicted’ for May 1, 1886” (Page 90, “Labor’s Untold Story,” Boyer and Morais).

In December 1886, San Francisco transit workers joined this rising strike wave. They demanded a workday reduction from 13-15 hours to 12 hours (then 7 days a week), and for a pay increase from $2.25 to $2.50 a day. “Strike-breakers were hired, and there was a great deal of violence. Cars were damaged, strike-breakers were beaten, and one person was killed.” Newspapers reported eight instances of the use of dynamite by the striking workers. In March 1887, the Governor signed a bill “limiting gripmen, drivers, and conductors to a 12-hour day.” (“Transit In San Francisco” published by SF MUNI RR Communications Department.)

In the 1880’s the early leaders of the American Federation of Labor were somewhat radical — it was actually an AFL delegate’s report to the Marxist-led International Workingmen’s Association that led to the call for the first May Day.

But by the 1920’s the pro-capitalist AFL leadership, fearing the growth of communist ideas in the working class, collaborated with the U.S. government to subvert May Day. At the 1928 AFL Convention, the Executive Council supported a Congressional resolution to make May 1 “Child Health Day.” They said, “May 1 will no longer be known as either strike day or communist labor day.”

The revolutionary side of May Day dominated when the communist movement was strong. During the peak of the communist organizing of the CIO’s industrial unions in the 1930’s and ‘40s, May Day was celebrated in the U.S. As many as 250,000 would march to New York’s Union Square. However, with the advent of the Cold War, and U.S. imperialism’s launching of a worldwide anti-communist offensive, the bosses’ government in Washington helped oust communists from union leadership by making it illegal for them to hold union office. With the triumph of business unionism and anti-communism, organized labor discarded May Day and recognized Labor Day in September.

However, in 1971 PLP resurrected the annual May Day march from its abandonment by the old U.S. Communist Party. PLP has marched in many cities every year since.

From the Haymarket battle in 1886, revolutionary workers spread May Day around the globe. But history is written by the conquerors, and many workers born here know nothing of the contribution that the U.S. working class, with the support of the international working class and communist movement, made to the development of this revolutionary holiday. Today May Day is the official Labor Day in most countries, but the leadership of these marches demand reforms, and stress the “common goals” of labor and capital.

PLP has learned from the triumphs of the communist movement in the USSR and China, and from their failure to fight directly for communism. We advocate “Abolish the Wage System” as part of changing the relationship of workers and work in a new communist society.

The abolition of money, of production for sale and profit and of the wage system is absolutely necessary to establish communism. When the international working class wins and holds control over all economic, political and cultural institutions of society, it will unleash a creative power that will propel the human race to its highest accomplishments in all fields of endeavor. We call this the dictatorship of the proletariat. We need a mass revolutionary communist party to achieve this. The capitalists will use every means — including mass, fascist terror and war — to prevent it.

For the last several years some groups now want to “Reclaim May Day.” They want to reform the “evils” of capitalism, but disconnect May Day from its communist roots. PLP seeks to keep May Day as a revolutionary international working-class holiday; to advance and popularize communist production for need as the future of the human race; to develop a strong and healthy class hatred that will destroy wage slavery and fascism everywhere.

Long live the 1st of May, the revolutionary, international, working class holiday! Fight for communism!

plp.org

Capitalism Murders a Worker in Greece Through Suicide

An old worker. A pharmacist who healed by providing medicine to the sick.  Desperate. 77 years old and just had his pension cut. Greece, under assault by the capitalist class.  The angry man goes to the crowded square in front of Parliament, pulls out a gun, screams, “I have debts; I can’t stand this anymore”, blows his brains out, and a note saying that he refused forage in rubbish heaps for survival is found on his corpse.   His death struck a chord in the hearts of the Greek working class. Hundreds gathered and set up a shrine with notes condemning the government and its actions. The crowd that formed was angrily chanting, “this wasn’t suicide, it was murder by the state.”

The crowd was right. The state is the organized force of society and wielded in the interest of the ruling class in order to preserve its rule over the servile classes. It is the concentration of power and authority massed against the class that produces all so that the parasitical class that steals can continue to gorge itself.

A young vegetable seller was the spark of the Arab spring in Tunisia last year. This man’s death, like the young man in Tunisia’s, didn’t have to happen, but capitalism needs more profit.  His note pointed out that the government had “annihilated any hope for my survival and I could not get any justice.  I cannot find any other form of struggle except a dignified end before I have to start scrounging for food from the rubbish.”  If only there were a mass Communist struggle for this man to have joined so that he could have pointed his gun at the real enemies.  When workers commit suicide because there is no work and they don’t know how they’re going to eat, it is more apparent than ever that a Communist revolution is needed.

Workers have already begun battling with the police, the dogs of the bourgeoisie.  Politicians are already shedding tears about this tragic event.  Their tears don’t mean anything.  It would be sweet irony if Greece, the birthplace of Western society became the birthplace of the new.  For that to happen, our friends in Greece need to use this upswing in class struggle and violence to build the PLP.

Students, Parents, Teachers Unite: Fight Fascist Attacks in U.S. Education

The bosses’ assault against students and teachers in the United States has reached epic proportions. The capitalists are using standardized curricula and tests to assert more direct control over what is taught. They are attacking wages and conditions for school workers even as they blame teachers for the system’s decay. In large and overcrowded urban districts, where student populations are predominantly black and Latino, dress codes, rigid discipline, and metal detectors are the norm. Students are treated like criminals, with no time off for good behavior.

These racist attacks serve two related purposes for the ruling class. First, they enable the bosses to lay an ideological foundation for intensified fascism. Second, they make it easier to intimidate and militarize youth for the inevitable broader wars against the bosses’ surging imperialist rivals, such as China. The U.S. rulers need to use the schools to protect their profits and shore up their dominant — but declining — position in an increasingly competitive world economy.

Trillions for War, Zero for Schools

In the current period, the bosses’ economic crisis and the trillions sunk into Afghanistan and Iraq have led to a wave of racist budget cuts and layoffs in public schools throughout the U.S. The results have been devastating. In New York City — the graduation rate hovers around 60 percent — and most graduates require remedial work before they can take college-level courses. In Philadelphia, where the schools had floundered under state stewardship for nearly a decade, district officials estimated it would take until the year 2123 to get all students up to grade level in reading and math. In February, after decades of local mismanagement, the state board of education revoked its accreditation for the entire Kansas City, Missouri school system. Even by the bosses’ own low standards, the public schools are broken.

To distract workers from the real causes of why and how schools are designed to fail, the capitalists push one reform after another. Supported by billionaires like Bill Gates and Eli Broad, these range from the small-school movement to the charter school phenomenon to the bosses’ current vogue, an all-out emphasis on “teacher quality.” By using data-driven teacher evaluations, the bosses claim to have found an objective way to improve substandard schools and weed out unqualified instructors.

Useless Tests A Bosses’ Tool

In fact, these evaluations are based significantly on student performance in standardized testing, where the margin of error is so high that they are statistically useless. But as a political tool for the bosses, the evaluations are invaluable. They give the rulers easy scapegoats for the failure of their schools: “bad teachers” and the unions that “protect” them.

Many of the headlines in the teacher-bashing campaign have been seized by Republicans like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker or by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, or by capitalists like David and Charles Koch. But the main leadership for this attack comes from the dominant liberal wing of U.S. finance capitalism and its loyal servants: mainstream media like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and the Democratic administration of Barack (“Race to the Top”) Obama.

These rulers do have disagreements. Some of their factions on the right, like the Koch brothers, advocate the gutting of collective bargaining rights and even the abolishing of unions altogether. More dangerous, however, are the liberals who want to use the unions to mislead teachers into thinking their interests are best served by the latest reform. Both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, the major teacher unions — containing 30 percent of U.S. union members — have willingly collaborated with the bosses in the new evaluation systems. The leaders of these organizations are loyal to the bosses, not to the workers. More insidious are new reformist groups like Educators for Excellence, which has enlisted broad support among young teachers in its reactionary fight against tenure.

In any case, the political fallout is the same. Under increased pressure, teachers tend to become more controllable. Some workers get caught up in the blame game, with teachers blaming students and parents blaming teachers when the evaluation numbers fall short.

In a desperate effort by principals and teachers to keep their jobs, some schools focus their attention on students who are relatively close to grade level, triaging the ones who are further behind. As one New York City high school guidance counselor recently told the school’s staff, “Don’t waste your time on them.” The children he was throwing overboard amounted to nearly one-fourth of the student population!

As always, the school reform’s primary targets — and victims — are the students.

There never was a “golden age” of U.S. public education. While government funding has fluctuated over the past century, the schools’ purpose was always to reinforce capitalist values and the profit system. The overwhelming majority of children are trained for low-paying, subordinate tasks in the rulers’ factories, infrastructure, support services, and military. More than ever, U.S. capitalism requires a politically reliable, highly regimented education system to feed a military that will secure its threatened interests worldwide. It’s no coincidence that Obama’s education reform agenda includes the re-opening of Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs at a number of colleges.

To meet the rulers’ needs, the schools infect children with capitalist ideology: racism, sexism, individualism, and incessant competition for the best grades and test scores and then jobs, all against a backdrop of extreme racist and sexist inequalities. Rigid discipline and arbitrary rules nurture passive followers. Gross distortions of history — the “bravery” and “heroism” of genocidal monster Christopher Columbus, the “compassion” of white supremacist Abraham Lincoln — rob students of the ability to understand the world. Regimented teaching-to-the-test saps their creativity and analytical thinking. Daily doses of anti-communism steer them away from the one force that can change the world to meet the needs of the working class.

Graduating to Communism

If the situation sounds bleak, it’s crucial to point out that it’s only one side of the story. As the bosses make their plans, so too must the workers. In New York, for example, masses of furious parents, teachers, and students have routinely disrupted the Panel for Educational Policy (the rubber-stamp body that does Mayor Bloomberg’s bidding) with standing-room-only crowds and deafening chants. Rising anger among teachers has led to fresh attempts to form a serious opposition caucus to the sellout union leadership in New York.

But while this anger itself is positive, and the Party must be immersed in these struggles, no reform will help students get the learning they need. It’s our job to point to the systemic failures of education under capitalism and to win teachers, students and parents to fight for communism and join PLP. To truly educate our children, we must abolish the profit system. We need to create a new society to serve the needs of workers, not the tiny, parasitic minority of bosses. Forward to May Day!

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Obama Rescues Bosses’ Profits

The bosses’ attack against teachers has a precedent in their systematic dismantling of the standard of living of industrial workers in steel and auto, which was won through generations of class struggle. As in the schools, this attack was carried out with the express support of the leadership of the unions.

In his State of the Union address in January, President Obama claimed victory for “rescuing” the auto industry: “We got workers and automakers to settle their differences.” What he really meant was that the bosses forced the workers to accept a two-tier wage system, with new hires making $14 an hour, or half the wages of their previous hires. This give-back was achieved with the active support of the United Auto Workers union leadership. For the bosses, “settling differences” always means protecting bosses’ profits and attacking workers.

www.plp.org

Profit System Hazardous to Workers’ Health; Protest Racist Attacks on Brooklyn Hospitals

BROOKLYN, January 11 — Hundreds of angry hospital workers and supporters rallied loudly in front of the Brooklyn Marriott Hotel here this week as racist financier Stephen Berger, a darling of Governor Cuomo, announced his plan to “save” health care in the borough of Brooklyn. Workers who had never been at such a protest (or at least not for a long time) chanted as bosses from Downstate Hospital, Wall Street moguls and Berger himself entered the hotel for a fancy breakfast.

Brooklyn is a borough of 2.5 million people.  One in five live below the poverty line and two in five are on Medicaid. An untold number are without any health insurance. In 1980, Brooklyn had 26 hospitals — now it has 15. There are now 41% fewer acute care beds, 2.3 beds per 1,000 residents, compared with Manhattan’s 4.7, the state’s 3.1 and the nation’s 2.6. Disparities in health by income and “race” are concentrated in certain New York City communities, including several in Brooklyn. In 2001, life expectancy in our poorest neighborhoods was eight years shorter than in its wealthiest; that is 4,000 extra premature deaths/year in the poorest communities.

Racism: The Worst Disease

The facts show the racist nature of the U.S. health care system. Brooklyn is 36% black and 20% Latino. Latino New Yorkers are twice as likely to have diabetes. Black New Yorkers are three times more likely to die of diabetes than white residents. Ninety-four percent of elevated blood levels in New York City are among African Americans, Latinos and Asians. If infant mortality rates were equalized, the lives of some 200 babies of these ethnic groups would be saved each year (NYC DOHMH “Health Disparities in NYC,” 2004).

The hospitals in Brooklyn who serve its poorest residents have been set up to fail by Medicaid cuts. Stephen Berger, a hedge fund mogul and part of the unelected government of New York has led a task force for Governor Cuomo to come up with a plan to “rescue” health care in Brooklyn. He proposes closing Downstate Hospital in central Brooklyn and Kingsborough Psychiatric Hospital.

Another of the proposals is to invite private investors into Brooklyn hospitals. We have already seen for-profit Medisys’ disastrous mismanagement of  Brookdale Medical Center. We’ve seen Continuum executives making between one and two million dollar salaries while millions of dollars at Long Island College Hospital’s real estate and other assets disappeared under their management. We can’t stand by and watch healthcare for profit drain other hospitals in the poor and black and Latino neighborhoods and, then abandon them for New York State to rescue (or not).

After the rally, workers asked, “Did we accomplish anything? Did anything change?” Our answer is that life is a constant struggle between the working class and the big businessmen who run the economy and the government. We were there in force as this New York ruling class announced its plan to close two public hospitals in the underserved borough of Brooklyn. We took strength from each other. But stopping their attacks is going to take more action. We need to unite patients, communities and workers, black, Latino and white, to oppose them at every stage of their plan, much like what was done during the Civil Rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s.

Interestingly, the unions were absent from this action. The union that made a deal with the Berger hospital closures a few years ago, SEIU-1199, which represents many of the affected Brookdale and Interfaith Hospital workers, was nowhere to be seen. Also the unions from Kings County Hospital, which is across the street from Downstate, including the city union’s District Council 37, were conspicuously absent. Brooklyn patients and  jobs are in jeopardy. We need working-class unity, not territorialism!

The bottom line is that we live in a capitalist system where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer; a system where the only funds the demopublicans “can’t” cut are for oil wars and bailouts of banks “too big to fail.” We have to fight against these attacks on medical care. But living conditions for the working class, especially black and Latino workers, are so rotten under this system that we will never be healthy until we rid ourselves of the profiteers and run things according to the needs of our class. Contact revolutionary communist PLP to find out more.

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2011: Crisis-driven Bosses Attack, But Class Struggle Alive and Well

The events of 2011 served to remind us of two important aspects of capitalist society. First, the bosses of the world, caught in a sharpening struggle against their rivals and a spreading financial crisis, always have their knives out to assault the working class. Attacks intensified against our jobs, education, health, homes and families. The myths of democracy, fairness and opportunity for workers were exposed by a worldwide reality: we live under the bosses’ dictatorship. The past year made clear that regardless of national boundaries, no matter the “race” or gender of the boss, the ruling class will eagerly consign workers to hell on earth for the smallest gain in profit.

The ultimate expression of the boss’s callousness to sacrifice the lives of workers is imperialist war, of which there was no shortage in 2011. The U.S., still the main capitalist power in the world, continued its racist massacres in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan in hopes of securing the Middle East’s oil and natural gas. Without the growth of a new worldwide communist movement, the prospects for 2012 and beyond are not much better.

While the U.S. remains the dominant power, other rivals, most prominently China, are gaining power — militarily, economically and politically. This challenge does not go unnoticed by the U.S. ruling class. The recent announcement by President Obama (the Nobel Peace Prize winner) that U.S. Marines will be stationed in northern Australia, alongside the recent diplomatic overtures to Myanmar, which borders China, signal a future where direct military conflict between the U.S. and China will be increasingly likely.

But the deadly maneuvering of the ruling class is only one side of the story of 2011. The second lesson, clearly visible from a quick look back through the pages of any of the bosses’ newspapers, is that workers are not meekly accepting these attacks. Class struggle is alive and well.  The list of places where large-scale rebellion rocked the bosses this past year is a long one: Algeria, Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, England, France, Greece, Israel/Palestine, Libya, Mexico, Pakistan, Spain, Syria, the U.S., and more.

To advance the cause of communist revolution, the international Progressive Labor Party has joined and led some of these militant struggles. In the pages of CHALLENGE, these battles and many other reports of class struggle were presented with a communist analysis.  If we are ever to defeat the murderous bosses and end their reign of terror, the working class must transform these narrow reform struggles into a fight for the working class to take state power — a fight for communist revolution.

The International PLP Advances

In New York City, the working class took on the racist Department of Education and its plan to impose Jim Crow-style segregation at the John Jay Campus high schools. In Israel/Palestine, a Summer Project participated in the fight against racist evictions and the housing shortage gripping workers there. In Haiti, we struggled to help rebuild a shattered society with communist principles of international solidarity and equality.

PL’s Summer Project in Haiti included a “Freedom School” for the discussion of communist principles. “Serve the working class” became more than a motto; it was put into practice when Party members created a clinic to serve the medical needs for Haitians in tent camps. The racist health care system was also a focus for comrades in the U.S. In New York we fought against the racist closing of Brookdale Hospital. Comrades and friends in Philadelphia fought to prevent the firing of a trusted hospital coworker. In Chicago, where hospital bosses tried to give patients a death sentence by transferring them to a decrepit facility, PL and others fought back.

Chicago was also the battleground for the heroic efforts of students and parents (primarily mothers), supported by the Party, to prevent the racist closing of the Whittier School library. Providing an example for the Occupy movement to follow, the parents (primarily mothers) and students at this majority Latino school, supported by the Party, seized the building and renamed it “La Casita.” For nearly a month, they held off the racist dogs of the Chicago Department of Education from carrying out their plan. Our comrades helped in many ways, from medical care to overnight guard duty. All the while they pointed out that whether we won or lost this particular battle, the bosses would still have state power. Our job is to fight not only “our” bosses, but bosses everywhere.

In Pakistan and Bangladesh, communists infused labor struggles in garment factories and universities with a vision of a society based on need rather than profit. In Mexico, where flooding threatened to destroy a community of 200,000 people, the Party explained that if our communist predecessors in the Soviet Union could move entire factories over the Ural mountains in three months during World War II, we could protect their city — if we had state power.

In these places and others around the world, CHALLENGE was ever-present. It consistently hammered home the point that it is only when we take on capitalism itself — when we transform battles against corrupt dictators, greedy bankers and fascist school boards into a world-wide communist movement — will we achieve workers’ liberation.

Arab Spring and Wall Street Occupy Working Class’s Imagination

Perhaps the most significant expressions of working-class fight-back were the upheavals in North Africa and the Middle East, collectively dubbed the Arab Spring, and in the Occupy Wall Street movement, a worldwide rage at the inequality of wealth that is the hallmark of capitalism.

The Arab Spring began with a rebellion in Tunisia that followed the self-immolation of a desperate young worker. But the uprising was fueled by a 13% official unemployment rate (about 30% for youth), skyrocketing prices for food, and political corruption. Similarly, in Egypt, while the bourgeois media focused on Cairo’s Tahrir Square and the struggle for “democracy,” the real battles were over rampant unemployment and the price of food. Strikes at Egypt’s textile mills, pharmaceutical plants, chemical industries, the Cairo airport, the transportation sector, banks, ports and the Suez Canal are the primary source of revolutionary optimism.

Workers throughout the world cheered on scenes from Tunisia and Tahrir Square, which makes the outcome of these battles all the more painful. In Egypt, ruthless dictator Hosni Mubarak was first replaced by a ruthless military and now in addition by the even more ruthless Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists (see CHALLENGE, 10/19). In Tunisia, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted and elections were held in October, but unemployment still crushes the youth there. This is the essence of reform struggles. However militant it may be, any struggle that fails to attack the entire capitalist system will simply replace one set of bosses with another. For workers, the promise of a new society has been met with the reality of continued joblessness and misery.

Nonetheless, the international working class proudly looked on as workers in Tahrir Square held up signs reading, “We are all Wisconsin,” a reference to the 100,000-strong protest against the attack on public sector workers in that state. Months before anyone occupied a park near Wall Street, thousands of workers occupied the state capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin.

Just as in Cairo, however, the brave workers of Wisconsin have been misled, this time into backing electoral politics and the Democratic Party. In the midst of this struggle, the Party brought forward the idea that both the fascist Governor Scott Walker and the supposedly “heroic” Democrats were all defenders of capitalism — and were all therefore enemies of the working class. This communist idea attracted many workers in Wisconsin and around the world.

In September, the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement began in New York City before spreading to more than 1,500 cities worldwide. OWS captured the attention of workers who were tired of seeing banks get trillions of dollars in bailouts while education, transportation, health care, wages and jobs are slashed. One chant especially reflected this anger: “Banks got bailed out; We got sold out!” Throughout 2011, the Party participated in many of these occupations, picket lines, schools, churches and job sites, armed with leaflets and CHALLENGE.

PLP continues to strive to replace the dead-end reform tactics of the old communist movement with the fight for revolutionary communism for billions of workers in the world.

May Day

This past year was the 140th anniversary of the Paris Commune, the first time workers took control of the state. In this spirit, we celebrated May Day with marches, dinners and songs. From Colombia to El Salvador, in Los Angeles and New York, in Haiti and Palestine, we raised the red flag honoring our revolutionary ancestors. This year our May Day celebrations grew in size and better reflected the international character of the working class.

Turning Fascist Oppression into Communist Organizing

The working class continues to suffer from the racist exploitation and oppression that capitalism requires. In their increasingly desperate competition for dominance, the various national ruling classes outdo one another in making workers homeless, sick, maimed or killed in pursuit of profit. Frantic about “sovereign debt,” collapsing banks, currency disasters (notably the euro) and the industrial crisis of overproduction, the world’s bosses are peeling back their thin masks of “democracy” to reveal the bloody maw of a fascist monster. Meanwhile, the fight over Central Asian and Middle Eastern oil and natural gas appears to be careening toward broader military conflicts.

As we move into 2012, the battles against our capitalist enemies will continue to rage. The workers of the world will continue to fight back, in ways large and small. Everything we do as workers and communists counts: every march or picket line or discussion strengthened by  communist ideas, every time we help another worker and demonstrate how we can build a society without the parasitic bosses. By doing these things and more, the Party will help the working class move closer to ushering in a classless society that produces for need, not profit. Communist ideas are essential for this crucial advance. A mass, international, revolutionary party is necessary to lead the way. PL is that party. Now is the time to join!

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‘Our Union’s in bed with the Bosses…’ Brookdale Rank-and-File Must Unite and Lead the Struggle

BROOKLYN, N.Y., July 29 — “So what they’re talking about doing here is building a whole working-class movement, beyond our union,” stated one Brookdale worker to another at a home visit by PLP members. Despite torrential rain, we met to discuss the ongoing struggle at Brookdale Hospital, which foreshadows the even bigger racist cuts coming from the Obama-Tea Party circus, such as the $655 billion federal cuts in Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. Brookdale Hospital and its 3,500 workers, in the majority black and Latino working-class Brownsville neighborhood have been stripped bare by the racist bosses of MediSys. The misleadership of Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU  — see previous CHALLENGE, 8/3).

Workers expressed their disappointment that the fight hasn’t escalated further, regardless of the militant sit-downs and picketing. “When we go outside now to march, we tell everybody in our department, ‘hey! You all should take your lunch break and come march with us!’“

After the previous months of struggle and confrontation between the workers and bosses, these workers didn’t hide their frustration with the declining militancy, and exasperation at how the hospital bosses are getting away scot-free. “We were telling the union for months what was going on here.” Another worker declared, “but they kept telling us to wait until the legal people did something.” The 1199 leaders are out for their own interests; it’s time to call upon new leadership, ourselves.

The MediSys-owned Peninsula Hospital, located in the borough of Queens, announced last week it is closing. This news was received with surprise and anxiety at Brookdale. The union Local 1199 leadership, is not only uninterested in fighting back at Brookdale, but uninterested in fighting back at all! Peninsula Hospital is closing due to the same series of attacks MediSys has made on Brookdale. Union leadership does not have the workers’ interests; as workers we need to unite and fight for our class interests.

A PL’er asked, “Why didn’t the union, which was aware of Peninsula’s troubles for months, organize any solidarity events between Brookdale, Peninsula, and every union member in the city with it’s 250,000 members?”

“Because our union’s in bed with the bosses!” shot back a worker.

PLP isn’t building some union or electoral party, but a fighting, revolutionary communist working-class party.

CHALLENGE, unlike all other media, is the working class’s paper and shows capitalism as the root cause of our current problems. Brookdale workers are learning that PLP is with them shoulder-to-shoulder. A major aspect of our struggle with the Brookdale workers has been trying to keep a long-term outlook. Strike or no strike, “win” or “lose” this round, the bosses’ racist class war rages on against the working class; the struggle continues.

Distribution of CHALLENGE to Brookdale workers, struggling with the workers over the ideas in the paper, making new friends, and uniting our lives through our struggles are the orders of the day. Communist revolution is necessary, and can happen as growing CHALLENGE networks make PLP’s ideas mass ideas.

PLP Summer Project Backs: Strikers with ‘Mops and Stethoscopes’ Fighting U.S./Haitian Bosses

PORT-AU-PRINCE, July 21 — “Haiti has a hardscrabble beauty,” an art historian said about its eroding slopes, its city streets turned into a huge informal market, its people always on the move in the daily scramble for food. However, Haiti, at the bottom rung of racist capitalism, has the beauty of workers struggling with their backs against the wall.

Workers at the University Hospital (HUEH) led off a strike with a demonstration at the Ministry of Health, for unpaid wages, decent health services for patients and working conditions for workers. Our PLP Summer Project medical clinic team spotted the demonstration and learned more from the local nurses working with us. The strikers are in the Syndicat des Travailleurs de Santé (STS — Health Workers’ Union), an industrial union whose logo combines a stethoscope with a mop.

Today we brought 50 students from our Project’s freedom school, and health workers and translators from our medical clinic to the sweltering STS union hall. We were given some of the few seats, fans were brought up, and they looked at us expectantly.

Charles, the head of their negotiating committee, explained the problems at HUEH, whose administrator lives in Canada and, with his cronies, gets paid in U.S. dollars. They have, in essence, destroyed the hospital.

Since the earthquake, labs, medicines, even food for the patients are missing or are allowed to deteriorate. Workers must find food for the patients themselves. The bosses allow patients to pile in without the means of caring for them. And workers being paid? Maybe.

As Charles said, these terrible services for patients occur alongside terrible working conditions for their caretakers, plus the stress of being unable to provide needed care.

The STS president Milot, a doctor, wrung his hands as he described the pain workers felt, prevented by the bosses’ system from using their strength, skills and creativity to treat other workers who need them so badly. He and Charles thanked us for our solidarity across the seas, his hands clutching the precious handful of $20 bills we donated to the fund.

Someone started a chant in English, “Same Enemy, Same Fight! Workers of the World Unite!” Our STS hosts took it up as best they could. Some of us lost our voices there today.

A Physician’s Assistant from the Bronx described his public hospital’s conditions as failing to improve over his 30 years of service, actually declining steadily over the last five years. A Dominican teacher, also from the Bronx, called for unity of workers on both sides of the bosses’ colonial border dividing Haiti from the Dominican Republic. A student from Mexico working here in our clinic added greetings from workers in Mexico.

We did the best we could with English and Spanish translated into French so a friend from Haiti could put it all into Kreyòl. We said we’d start a campaign of letters of support from the U.S. and elsewhere, and picket the Haitian consulate. It was, well, beautiful — and then we bumped our way home over the hardscrabble streets.

What is beauty? This recalls the common question among PLP’ers: “What is winning?” Workers’ struggle in and of itself is, as the Irish poet Yeats wrote, “a terrible beauty,” and nothing is uglier than the blank, depressed defeat of the dark night of the soul. But all reform struggle fades, slowly if it wins, and with a sad and terrible speed if it loses.

What our class needs in Haiti is a communist revolution. It cannot come a moment too soon, clearly seen as you watch a hungry child devour the bananes braisées from our Sunday picnic on a public beach as if they were sacred.

The revolutionary beauty our class needs must come from the strikers with mops and stethoscopes and from the anger of hungry children. It must come from their worldwide communist party. The truth of PLP’s ideas and the strength of its international organizing are the only adequate response to the racist crime that is Haiti today.

Send letters of strike support to Syndicat des Travailleurs de Santé, Siège Social HUEH, Rue Monseigneur Guilloux, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The Bosses’ Profits Have No Ceiling

The recent drama over the federal debt limit, with politicians in gridlock amid scare stories that the U.S. government might default on its bills, marks a significant move toward fascism by an embattled capitalist ruling class.

A default was averted when Democrats and Republicans agreed to at least $2.1 trillion spending cut over the next decade to counter a hike in the debt “ceiling,” the legal cap set by Congress on government borrowing. But the rulers’ internal crisis remains. The debt ceiling battle reveals their two essential needs in the current period:

To wring extreme profits from the working class with cuts in critical social services in a period of perpetual and massive racist unemployment.

To discipline their own ranks to help fund imperialist wars abroad and repair a crumbling infrastructure at home.

These imperatives are the hallmarks of fascism, the phase of capitalism that forces the ruling class to discard its mask of liberal democracy. President Obama recently took the lead on both fronts with his “Grand Bargain.” This ploy for “shared sacrifice” called for a devastating $3 trillion in spending cuts over the next ten years, alongside just $1 trillion in tax increases for corporations and the wealthiest Americans.

The Republicans’ “no-new-taxes” (on the rich) pledge, pushed hardest by the elements coalescing around the Tea Party, gives Obama cover to maintain his liberal credentials even as he ruthlessly targets the most vulnerable workers: the old, the sick, the poor. And as the first black president, he is the bosses’ perfect tool to impose racist cutbacks that fall most heavily on black and Latino workers, the same people who were hardest hit by the latest economic crisis (see box on page 5).

Capitalists Divided

Liberal analysts misrepresented Washington’s debt standoff as a battle between crazed GOP ideologues and sane if ineffectual Democrats, like Obama, who are striving to protect a fragile economy.

In fact, both sides are acting rationally, against the working class, in selfish pursuit of profits. They represent two camps of capitalists with conflicting interests. As Lenin noted in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, there is a yawning gulf between entrepreneurs, who profit by managing capital in productive businesses, and financiers, who profit purely from “money capital” and seek to extend their domination over finance capitalists in other countries. The biggest financiers’ massive overseas investments require “the intensification of antagonisms between imperialist nations for the division of the world.” By that, Lenin meant world war.

In the U.S. today, both capitalist factions demand the racist looting of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Their clash stems from how they get their respective wealth. The entrepreneurs (such as Koch Industries; see box) have a short-term, domestic focus that favors younger, rising firms. The financiers, represented by Obama and the banker-backed liberal wing led by the Rockefeller interests, have a longer-term, imperialist outlook to defend their worldwide empire, from Iraq to Afghanistan to Pakistan to Somalia and beyond. The financial capitalists still dominate U.S. policy — although, as the debt flap reveals, not absolutely.

On July 28, the nation’s biggest imperialist bankers sent a letter to Obama to plead for a resolution to the recent Congressional impasse. The consequences of a default, they wrote, would be “very grave” for “America’s global economic leadership” — a code phrase for imperialism. The signers included the chiefs of JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of New York Mellon, and Boston’s State Street, which hold a combined $71 trillion in global assets under custody. By contrast, Forbes magazine estimates the Kochs’ wealth at $44 billion.

Going Where the Money Is

Obama’s cut and tax strategy has been shelved for now. But the president and his cheerleaders at the New York Times, both representing the main wing of the ruling class, will soon be back to demand that bosses big and small pony up — and $1 trillion will be just a down payment.

For the bosses, it’s less a matter of “fairness” than of narrowing options. They are willing and eager to drain the working class, but they’re running into objective limits. The global financial meltdown obliterated millions of jobs in the U.S., along with the tax revenues they generate. (In June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the “real” unemployment rate — including unemployed, under-employed, and people “marginally attached to the workforce” — stood at 16.2 %, or more than 25 million people suffering for lack of work in the third year of Obama’s dead-on-arrival “recovery.” And for black and Latino workers, those jobless rates are double.)

Workers are being sucked dry. Thinning the social safety net will not be enough to keep the war machine humming. Both Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who signed off on the Grand Bargain before buckling to anti-tax Tea Party pressure, know that they’ll eventually have to go to where the money is: to the rich.

In 2008, the median income of the U.S. capitalist elite — the top 0.1% — was $6 million, versus $50,000 for American households as a whole. In 2007, the top 1% of the population controlled 43% of the nation’s financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one’s home), or  1½ times the bottom 95 percent. The federal government has locked in these gross inequalities by slashing capital gains and estate taxes and by failing to enforce anti-trust laws (Vanity Fair, May 2011).

But even as the biggest U.S. capitalists rake in more and more, they are contributing less and less to the government that is dedicated to protect their interests. Corporate income taxes now account for only 7% of federal revenues, as compared to 23% in 1960. The jobless rate tells us that corporations aren’t using this extra cash to hire more workers. Instead, they’re hoarding. The bloodsucking banks aside, non-financial companies are sitting on close to $2 trillion in liquid assets.

The outrageous greed of the super-wealthy fits neatly with the small-government creed of the Tea Party caucus. It works less well, however, with the overriding needs of U.S. imperialism. The debt ceiling fracas was the public face of the rulers’ fight over how to divide their wealth and rule their weakening empire. The bitter struggle over the fallback measure, with no boost in needed revenues, is a mere prelude to the struggle to come. The battle should escalate in the fall, when Obama pitches his “balanced approach” (more taxes) to the new Congressional “supercommittee” charged with fleshing out the deficit reduction deal.

Bosses’ Rx: War and Fascism

In the end, the rulers’ Rockefeller-led main wing must prevail for U.S. imperialism to fend off its competition. The regional wars of today foreshadow the world war to come, as new imperialist rivals (China, India, Brazil) and old ones (France, Germany, Russia) challenge U.S. dominance. Both now and later, huge infusions of cash will be required to expand the military. Meanwhile, Obama’s backers will continue to exploit debt concerns as they build a fascist mass movement — including a military draft and even more extreme worker “sacrifice” — all for the greater good of U.S imperialism.

Fascism represents the ultimate exploitation of workers. The income losses of millions of unemployed and the slashes in wages of tens of millions of those still employed are intensifying the exploitation of workers worldwide. It should be remembered that Germany’s Nazis supplemented their extermination camps with thousands of forced labor camps. Millions of Jews, communists, and others were commonly worked to death at mines, quarries, farms, factories, and construction sites. The free labor both shored up the German bosses’ profits and sustained their war effort.

Under capitalism, economic crises aren’t caused by debts or deficits. They reflect the contradictions of a profit-driven system that can never meet workers’ needs. That’s why we must fight for a world run by workers for the working class, not for the bankrolls of a few parasites on the top. Fight for a communist society for the working class led by PLP! Join us!J

 

 

Kochs Challenge Rockefellers; Workers Must Throw Them All Out

The Koch brothers, who finance the Tea Party and bash Obama, buy oil and manufactured products in many countries. They are heavily invested in industrialist accumulation in the U.S. but do not own a major bank nor do they profit from the huge U.S. war machine. However, they are also trying to establish a niche in their own special form of “imperialism on the cheap.”

The Kochs bankroll the Cato Foundation think-tank. Its Mid-East expert Leon Hadar thinks that the “ballooning deficit and an overstretched military leave Americans no choice but to make major cuts in defense spending by shrinking [the] U.S. role in the Middle East.” (Huffington Post, 7/5/11)

Hadar, no doubt smelling a potential supplier to Koch Oil, sees a deal with Teheran in the offing: “The United States should take part in any negotiations leading to regional agreements on Afghanistan and Iraq, a process that could also become an opportunity to improve the relationship with Iran.” (Cato Institute, 7/1/11) This, of course, runs counter to the interests of the Rockefeller-led, imperialist wing of the U.S. ruling class which controls the largest chunk of Mid-East oil supplies.

Obama Fronts for Dominant
Rockefeller Wing; Kochs Want Piece of the Action

The Koch brothers dream of catching up to the Rockefellers but the closest they’ve come to wielding state power is Tea Party obstructionism in Congress. They have a long way to go to match the Rockefellers’ long history of transforming their Standard Oil monopoly into a banking empire. Having trumped the J.P. Morgan clan by the 1930s, World War II left the Rockfellers heading up the biggest U.S. banks and therefore with the resources to supply the controlling capital in the U.S. war industry, putting them in position to shape U.S. foreign policy to protect their imperialist interests abroad.

During the Vietnam genocide of the 1960s and 1970s, James and David Rockefeller personally headed the ancestors of Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase. Nelson Rockefeller was governor of New York and later became U.S. vice-president. David Rockefeller ran U.S. imperialism’s most influential policy foundry as president of the Council on Foreign Relations; its most influential university as president of Harvard’s overseers; and its most influential “philanthropies,” the various Rockefeller foundations.

The Koch brothers’ challenge to this mammoth empire puts them into a fierce dogfight with the world’s most powerful capitalists, a battle over who can exploit the most workers. The Rockefellers have been reaping super-profits from workers on five continents. The Koch brothers were behind the attack on Wisconsin’s state workers and teachers that cut their wages, benefits and bargaining rights. The only interest the working class has in this fight is to overthrow both sides with communist revolution.

 

 

 

Depression Intensifies Racism As Basis of Capitalist Super-profits

A Pew Research analysis (7/26/11) “shows the racial and ethnic impact of the economic meltdown, which ravaged housing values and sent unemployment soaring.” (AP, 7/26)

The net worth of black households in 2009 at $5,677 was one-twentieth of that of white households. For Latino households at $6,325 it was one-eighteenth.

From 2005 to 2009, Latino household net worth declined by 66%. Black household net worth shrank by 56% over that period. Much of this was due to their home equity losses, both from home foreclosures and plummeting home values, as well as double unemployment rates.

The Pew Research report also found that 35% of black households had zero or negative net worth. For Latino households it was 31%.

Said Roderick Harrison, former chief of racial statistics at the Census Bureau, “Typically in recessions, minorities suffer from being last hired and first fired. They are likely to lose jobs more rapidly at the beginning of a recession, and are far slower to gain jobs as the economy recovers.”

Across all groups, “the wealth gap between rich and poor widened. The share of wealth held by the top 10% of U.S. households increased from 49% in 2005 to 56% in 2009.”

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