I speak about celebrating Labor Day, and of the need to combat racism, anti-Semitism, and LGBTQ+phobia.
I speak about current banking disasters, the welfare state for the wealthy, right-wing fondness for authoritarians, the right-wing attack on learning about racial and LGBTQ issues, and recent Labor activities at Temple, Penn Medicine, and Rutgers.
The shutdown of the federal government-and the forced unemployment, or employment without pay, of approximately 800,000 federal employees- is AT LAST over. The almost 800,000 federal workers included air-traffic controllers, TSA agents screening bags at airports, EPA and OSHA technicians inspecting the safety of the environment and worksites, inspectors of food and drugs, Coast Guard personnel and FBI agents; civil servants (like I was for the City of Philadelphia), not well paid but earning a living, sustaining our families and ourselves, working people like you, the focus of vilification by right-wing propagandists for decades; like the school teachers in Michigan under Scott Walker-how many bought into the slander that Walker put upon them, that they were such horrible people because they (allegedly) had such great pay and benefits, sue to their having a union-so, instead of breaking their union and taking away their benefits, why don’t such people JOIN a union, so THEY can get such goodies? There are people like this, who are in a miserable situation, and instead of joining others to alleviate their situation, they want others to also be miserable. (I grew up among people like that.)
THESE are the horrible federal “bureaucrats” the right-wing propagandists have for decades, have vilified as oppressing the American people-particularly the entrepreneurs who just want to do their capitalist thing and make all Americans prosper-a myth typified in the ravings, uh, writings of Ayn Rand, and which they tried to implement into public policy-weaken workers’ unions; hamper regulations on their activities-pollution, investments, workplace safety, equal opportunity and discrimination; lessen taxes on corporations so they “can invest in new equipment and hire more workers”; and diminish welfare benefits, even those for the elderly, children, and retirees.
It never works out like that in real life. Taxes are cut for corporations and the uber-wealthy, and they invest their extra money in offshore bank accounts- as was shown in the cases of the Paradise Papers and the Panama Papers. The environment is mangled due to greater pollution from car exhaust, chemicals spilling into rivers (thus contaminating sources of drinking water), excessive mining creating earthquakes, polar icecaps melting, and other forms of meteorological disasters. Factories, instead of hiring more workers in THIS country, set up in low-wage regions that have no real worker protections-and finally end up in nations with repressive governments who happily accommodate the companies’ anti-union mood.
In the new model of capitalism-as was practiced my Mitt Romney and his alma mater, Bain Capital- a hedge fund purchases a corporation, loads it up with debt it could not possibly pay off, then sells off parts of it, increasing the profit for the investors-and leaving workers without pay, without work, and without hope-except for some raving maniac who wants to float into office by telling jobless workers that their REAL enemy is the dark-skinned “inferiors” who live off welfare, who commit crimes, who use the government for their advantage (like no one should?), and who want to rape your sister.
I always wondered why conservatives and other corporate apologists have a hatred for welfare: it can’t just be their whining about “lazy welfare bums who don’t work”-cutting their welfare benefits would never close any federal deficit, and sick, elderly people and children, aren’t in any shape to work some jobs.
Plus, with the globalization of the economy, with the shifting of investments, and factories, from one low-wage regions of the country to the next-and even from one low-wage country to the next- jobs aren’t always available, with factories closing down, leaving workers unemployed, and so they’re not able to purchase goods at local stores, closing them down in turn; and local governments can’t collect as much as before in taxes, thereby having to cut back services.
There are several factors to this conservative welfare bashing;
With a welfare system and a labor movement, workers could maintain a level of independence-not complete, but some-from corporate managers, who believe their own propaganda about their own infallibility in managing the economy.
It creates a scapegoat like I said earlier, a THOSE PEOPLE for working people only slightly higher up the economic scale, who are also trying to pay bills and get by. Throw race into the mix, and you get a source of division which politicians, subsidized by corporations, love to exploit-and working and low-income people of BOTH races remain in the same difficult economic situation. For the white working class, the false drug of “racial superiority” does no good.
As a working person, a trade unionist, and as a Democratic Socialist, I must continue to point this out and work to correct it. Bye!
In a couple of days, I shall return to the campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst for more classwork at their labor Center, where we take such classes as Labor Law, Labor History, Labor and the Economy, Labor Research, Immigration, and Contract Negotiation. This is all accredited, graduate-level work leading to a Master’s degree. I have always believed in education as a form of empowerment; if a person knows the real history and facts, that person cannot be so easily manipulated. It also carries a responsibility-if you know something touted in the media or in politics is a lie, you MUST speak out against it.
If you would like to learn more about this program, contact UMass at http://www.umass.edu/lrrc/.
The Mason Missile
The E-newsletter of
John Oliver Mason
May 10, 2017
Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have been celebrating May Day, THE international day honoring workers and our achievements in organizing for our rights, and what we accomplish if the workers stand together and fight the bosses and their political minions. I have been active in these campaigns-don’t worry, we’ll still have Labor Day in September.
The origins of May Day are in the struggles in this country for an eight-hour working day, led by the Knights of Labor. The American origins of May Day have been obscured by the appropriation by the Soviet Union, China, and other Communist regimes of revolutionary culture to further their ends, which have not been revolutionary; it gave the regimes the appearance of being radical and revolutionary. Now, the truth has been coming out, and I urge you to look up the web site, maydayusa.org. (This raises the question: what other things have we been lied to about, in schools, media, and politics?)
We need to have such solidarity in these times of trump as our “president,” and I have NO obligation to show him ANY respect! A woman was arrested for laughing at Attorney General Jeff Sessions-laughing! Political satire, laughing at the doings of our elected (by whom?) officials is a venerable American tradition; currently, we have seeing a new golden age of it, with the work of Trevor Noah, Jon Stewart, Samantha Bee, and Stephen Colbert-who recently faced trumpist howling after a great monologue.
“Fake News,” one of trump’s favorite lines, reminds you of one of Hitler’s favorite insults, “lugenpresse,” “lying press,” against the news media of his day. The news media is not perfect, it is more corporate-slanted towards what is acceptable or palatable to corporate interests; but it so far has helped in keeping an eye on the trump regime and how the trump family-including Jared Kushner, the son-in-law-in-chief-have used these connections to further their business interests.
The Republicans in the House of Representatives (of whom?) finally passed the trump “alternative” to Obama’s signature law, the Affordable Care Act, and are celebrating that heroic act of stripping health insurance from millions of Americans, while providing another tax break for the billionaire class. All through the Obama administration, Republicans have tried SO hard to have it repealed, even though the Obama plan in partially based on the plan in Massachusetts while Mitt Romney (no Trotskyist he!) was governor.
How much did racism play in the Republican crusade against “Obamacare”, which is a term Obama himself wore as a badge of honor? It was from the debates over health insurance that near-riots and threats emerged during congressional town halls in 2009, and I was sure then that some group or agency was behind this; lo and behold, it turns out the tea party movement is what is termed an “Astroturf” movement (as opposed to a ‘grassroots” movement), artificially created by corporate interests, in particular the Koch brothers and others.
The Republican Party establishment has long looked for foot soldiers, along with the plutocrats writing the big contribution checks, to do their voting, show up at rallies, yell at and intimidate their opponents, hand out leaflets on the streets, and fold and mail said leaflets. In the 1970s through the 1990s it was the religious fundamentalists, led by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson; now it’s the tea parties worked up about supposedly being taxed to death to pay for lazy welfare recipients, who are, in their mind’s eye, people of color.
Now, the foot soldiers have taken over the general staff; Republican leaders, no matter how conservative they have been, are not conservative enough for the Republican base. This is why the republican rank-and-file cast aside politicians, who actually have occupied political office and have strong conservative programs, for a reality-show star whose political leanings consist of his own publicity, whose business record is one of bankruptcies and not paying contractors, who allowed a foreign power to assist him in his campaign and thus undermine our elections and what remained of our democracy.
What are we to make of the trump voters? Are they frightened people worried about the fate of their nation, disgusted by our political elite, and therefore waging a “populist” movement? Or is it a collection of infamous racists and bullies, who enjoy his calls for banning Muslims, his contempt for women, his supporting violence against his enemies?
It’s all on video: the punching of protestors at his rallies, the racial slurs spouted by the attendees, the racism and anti-Semitism, and the Confederate flags, on display. It’s not being “elitist” to call out people like this; it’s telling the truth, and it’s calling for challenging the racism that has been a pre-existing condition in our country that needs to be cured once and for all. We must plainly tell any fellow citizen, most particularly any working person, who engages in violence against Muslims, African-Americans-LGBT people, or any minority, “Brother, sister, you’re+ wrong to do this. It’s not worthy of an American.”
Since the Civil rights movement, so much has been made of the ‘white working class,” as if they are one homogeneous group, violently opposed to any minority group-women, African-Americans, Hispanics, LGBTs, what have you-asserting their rights. Commentary I have heard says that the Democratic Party lost its way, made a big mistake, by seeking the votes of these former outgroups, and neglecting the “white working class” voter.
Is this true? Should, therefore, the needs of the former outgroups be ignored so that the party could attain once again the “white working class” voter? Is this an either-or situation? I don’t see the logic in this idea.
This bifurcation, if it truly exists, is not inevitable. Due to my education in Labor Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, I have learned that issues of race and class in this country are inseparable; the Civil Rights leaders of the 1960s-Martin Luther King Jr., A. Philip Randolph, and Bayard Rustin-sought the labor movement as allies in the struggle for equality for African-Americans, the vast majority of whom are working class, just as Americans in general. The March on Washington For Jobs and Freedom of August 1963-where Dr. King gave his “I Have A Dream” speech”-pointed out the problems the nation faced with racial and economic inequality. Civil rights Activists worked closely with progressive Labor groups, such as the Congress of Industrial Organizations, and King worked with the United Steel Workers of America (USWA) and the United Automobile Workers of America (UAWA) under Walter Reuther.
Randolph, leader of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, brought together over 800 trade union and civil leaders to take part in the march, along with the International Fur and Leather Workers Union (IFLWU), the Seafarers International union, and several public sector unions, all with an interracial membership. Along with this Randolph and Rustin organized a group of economists, trade unionists, and civil rights activists to draw up the “Freedom Budget,” released in 1966, which called for job-creation programs to combat unemployment, a guaranteed annual income for poor families, and increased federal spending on schools, eradicating slums, and public works.
I have just come from voting in the local elections here in Philadelphia-District Attorney, Controller, judgeships-mundane stuff, but these offices it most directly affect our lives, and this is where Presidents, Senators, and other officials get their start. It’s at this level where we begin to know the kind of elected officials they would be, and it’s where progressives needs to start to bring the party into a more people-oriented direction. Plus, people coming out for such unexciting races as for township supervisor, county commissioner, and city council-member sends a message that we the people are paying attention to the affairs of our community, and are willing to hold our officials accountable.
This is something we must continuously work on-especially in this dangerous era-for the sake of our children-bye!
THIS is the Republican economic policy, proto-slavery, and denial of historical fact. This shows Republicans must NEVER get back into power AGAIN.
Paul Ryan: Lowering Minimum Wage to $0 an Hour Will Get 0% Unemployment
There was a time when the left-liberal wing of the Democratic party was shunned by the party apparatus, after the Nixon reelection of 1972 and the election of 1988, when the Republicans called Michael Dukakus a “liberal,” like it was an STD. (With his treatment of welfare recipients and the LGBT community, he was anything but.)
Now, the progressive element of the party is on the march. Great, and I’m in the movement that will eventually move the country more towards Democratic Socialism.
“These people can now stop pretty much anyone they want”: Wall Street in the Elizabeth Warren era – Salon.com
It’s the workers that make the economy, not the capitalists. Without the workers buying stuff they make, there would be no demand for their products. LEt’s pay attention to this, and plan for a better future.
Are We the World\\’s Most Anti-Worker Nation? | Les Leopold
Joseph Stiglitz on Why the Rich are Getting Richer and Why it Could Get Much Worse | Alternet
This is terrible, our government once again shows itself a wholly-owned subsidiary of such corporations as Citigroup. How can working and low-income people get a word in edgewise to our government if they’re not in the process? And this is the “DEMOCRATIC” party, supposedly the party unions are allied with. IT’s proven to be a terrible ally, one we can’t count on.
Elizabeth Warren was right: The links between Citigroup and government run deep – The Washington Post