imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

The “Free Market”: The Greatest Terror Of All

by Richard Mellor Sunday, Jan. 22, 2006 at 11:46 AM
aactivist@igc.org

The economic system of production we live in is called capitalism or the free market. We are supposed to be fortunate because we are free to starve to death amidst abundance. This form of social organiztion has not existed for all time and need not exist in the future. The first step in eliminating it is accepting this simple idea.

By Richard Mellor

Retired member, AFSCME Local 444

Oakland CA

Jaqcquelyn Brechtel Clarkson, a New Orleans city council member is a big fan of the “free market”. In the controversy over the re-building of New Orleans she makes her position very clear, “There’s nothing better than free enterprise and the free market to decide how this city is rebuilt.” (1)

Ms Clarkson leaves out one important lesson that should be absorbed by all working people; it was free enterprise and the free market that destroyed New Orleans. This omission is no accident; after all, Ms Clarkson is a political representative of the capitalist class, of big business. Sitting on the board of the Louisiana Realtors she has a vested interest in building anywhere, anytime. And the aftermath of Katrina has opened up some real opportunities for the real estate business. Politicians like Ms Clarkson, Bill Clinton or George W Bush will always tell us they enter politics to serve the “American people.” They simply fail to tell us which American people.

The destruction of New Orleans was not a natural disaster but a social one. Leaving aside the fact that the increased frequency and strength of hurricanes is widely believed to be caused by global warming, itself a free market product, the inability of the levees to withstand such a force as Katrina was well documented. Monies necessary for strengthening the levees were used for the war in Iraq where privatization of huge sectors of the Iraqi infrastructure have been accomplished by the bomb and thousands of Iraqis and Americans have died as a result.

Ms Clarkson also represents New Orleans District C which includes the French Quarter, a commercial center and therefore more important than working class communities. The communities where the low- waged who worked in the French Quarter live, Ms Clarkson wants to rebuild according to the laws of the market that caused the destruction in the first place. Naturally, being in the real estate business and on the board of the Louisiana Realtors is just a lucky break for this businesswoman. Her political decisions have nothing to do with her business interests she would have us believe. But for the big landlords, bankers, speculators and other moneymakers, Katrina has been a gift from above.

A few hours plane ride from New Orleans, in Detroit Michigan, the free market is wreaking havoc on another sector of American workers. The auto bosses have gone after their employees with a vengeance. Following on the heels of the airline bankruptcies, Delphi Corporation, the auto parts maker spun off from GM in 1999 has declared bankruptcy in order to renege on its contractual obligations regarding employee pensions. This is despite the fact that Delphi is not broke. The employers are using the bankruptcy courts to get around contract obligations with unions. In actuality, the employers, their politicians and the courts that serve their interests are joining together in a more open fashion in order to eliminate all the gains made during the rise of the CIO in the thirties and the civil rights movement that followed. Their efforts are made even easier by the capitulation of the heads of the AFL-CIO to this process. In auto, the UAW leadership has agreed to concessions in wages and retirement benefits and has done nothing to prevent job losses.

Labor leaders, the so-called labor-friendly politicians in the Democratic Party, and the academics who give them intellectual justification for their failed policies argue that the climate is not favorable for workers to make demands on the employers. But this is absurd. According to the Financial Times, profit margins and profits are at a 30 and 50 year high respectively. (2) A recent study published by Linda Bilmes of Harvard and Joeseph Stglitz of Columbia estimates that the Iraq war, under a moderate scenario, will cost at least .1 trillion. Martin Wolf of the Financial Times comments, “to put this in context, the minimum budgetary cost is 10 times the world’s net annual official development assistance to all developing countries.” The world is awash with cash.

The crisis in New Orleans is a free market crisis, a crisis of capitalism. The attacks on workers from Detroit to Bombay are a product of the system not the results of greed in the abstract, bad management practices or corrupt CEO’s and politicians. A political party does not exist in a vacuum; it represents class interests. The politicians in the Democratic and Republican parties are simply representing their class interests when they carry out policies that devastate workers, our communities and our well-being. The fact that they’re corrupt is secondary but still costly for working people.

The recent scandal involving the Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff is a prime example of the rottenness of the present system and its political representatives. Robert Livingston, a former Republican congressman turned lobbyist, claimed on CNN, that “Abramoff was an aberration.” This is the news for our ears. But in the Wall Street Journal, the paper that capitalism writes for itself rather than mass consumption, John Shadegg an Arizona Republican writes: “Powerful members of Congress are able to insert provisions giving away millions -- even tens of millions -- of dollars in the dead of night. The recent scandals involving Duke Cunningham and Jack Abramoff have highlighted the problem, but this is not just a case of a few bad apples.” (4) They have to tell the truth to each other to a certain extent, as their system is not without rules. Livingston, like most retired politicians likes the lucrative lobbying business. According to a new study by LobbyingInfo.org, 43 percent of Congressional members who have left office since 1998 have registered to lobby. No wonder Livingston paints Abramoff as an aberration in the mass media; thieves don’t like their profession maligned.

The two examples above, New Orleans and auto, are a clear example of the failure of the capitalist system where the major forces of production are in private hands. When we say that working people can run society panic sets in. “This is communism” the capitalists will cry”, and the former dictatorship in the Soviet Union will be re-borne in the press. The less hostile will say we are only dreaming, that workers can never run society (we can just fight and die for it), “it’s a good idea…but”, the “but” meaning human nature is inherently greedy and exploitive. And society cannot function without the Carl Icahn’s and Kirk Kerkorian’s of this world owning the factories, the airlines, the mines and deciding with their friends what should be produced, when and how; what should be built and where.

But despite it’s degeneration into a totalitarian dictatorship, the revolution in Russia showed that workers can run society just like Wilbur and Orville Wright’s experiment with flight proved that we could make machines that fly; they didn’t stop the experiment because the model crashed. The Seattle general strike of 1919 showed too that working people can actually administrate society through workers’ councils or committees rather than just produce society’s products by our labor while the direction of work and the administration of the products we create is left in the hands of the bankers and their politicians. What we produce through our labor should be a social product, produced for human need not profit for the few. The social product need not be the property of Steve Miller, the hatchet man for Delphi or his colleagues.

Ideas have a class base. In feudal times the dominant ideology was that the King was King by “Divine Right.” His position in society was given to him by God. It’s pretty clear who benefits from this viewpoint; certainly not the peasant in the fields. It’s hard to overthrow a despot who one believes is a despot by the grace of God, if you believe in God that is. Cromwell, the English farmer decided to test this philosophy: cut off the King’s head and see what happens. A new day was born.

It’s time for a new day.

(1) Financial Times 1-12-06

(2) Financial Times 1-9-06

(3) Financial Times 1-11-06

(4) Wall Street Journal 1-18-06

Visit: http://www.laborsmilitantvoice.com

http://www.bringdownbush.org

Report this post as:

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy