Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Neoliberal Globalization and Homlessness in the US

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

I recently received the following question from a reader of combatingglobalization.com:

“Would you mind giving me your opinion about the ways in which neoliberal policies & institutions perpetuate permanent/growing homelessness?”

This is a important question about one of the major consequences of neoliberal policies and institutions on communities across the US. The short answer is that the ongoing Reagan Revolution (the neoliberal era in US government) has sparked massive homelessness across the nation. Here is how it worked:

  1. The extensive offshoring of both manufacturing and service jobs has decimated the working class of the US.? An in-depth analysis of the neoliberal assault on labor can be found in The Evolution of Neoliberal Labor Strategy and the Decline of the American Working Class. Along with their jobs, many working people lost their homes, and some became homeless. This trend is continuing today.
  2. Historically, the working class of the US has carried the bulk of the tax burden. When workers lost their jobs and homes, states and municipalities lost much of their tax revenues and had to reduce their social services. A majority of states, including Texas where I live, shut the doors of their mental health institutions and dumped their patients in the streets. Many of these people ended up in state and county jails, and others became part of the permanent homeless population. (Cities passed no loitering and no camping laws to remove the homeless from public view. Regrettably, it worked!)
  3. The reckless lending practices of of unregulated financial institutions during the neoliberal era have created periodic economic crises, e.g. the saving and loan crisis in the 1980’s and the housing bubble that collapsed in 2008 leading to growing homelessness.
  4. Huge numbers of veterans of the neoliberal US wars in the Middle East have swollen the ranks of the homeless across the nation, adding to the surviving homeless veterans of the Vietnam war.

The phenomenon of permanent/growing homeless offers another reason to combat neoliberal globalization. Learn how to fight in A Primer for Civic Revolution.

Thank you, reader, for the insightful question.

The Evolution of Neoliberal Labor Strategy and the Decline of the American Working Class

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

The decline of the American working class under the neoliberal labor strategy that has evolved over the last 45 years has been ruinous for millions of working people, their families, and their communities. Yet few people are willing to face the full implications of labor’s decline — increasing economic austerity for a majority of Americans and the prospect of a bleak future for the greater part of America’s youth and coming generations.  Knowledge of how it happened and what is at stake offers concrete guidelines for political action.

Read the essay and submit a comment.

CIVIC REVOLUTION: Securing Human Rights and Responsibilities in the USA — Comment

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

The USA, along with the rest of world, is facing a series of daunting economic, social, and environmental crises.  Only a civic revolution based on the recognition of human rights and responsibilities offers the possibility of a sustainable and democratic future for the nation and the world.

Read the article and comment.

Shell’s “Job Migration”: Program: Exacerbating the Economic Crisis

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Royal Dutch Shell’s program to slash 5,000 jobs by the end of 2009, many of them at its US headquarters in Houston, Texas, is the latest example of the impact of neoliberal globalization on working people.  Dubbed a “job migration” by Shell, the program will transfer many good-paying corporate white-collar jobs to “shared service centers” in India and the Philippines.

The history of Shell in the USA follows the corporate strategy of what we have called a war of attrition against US labor.  Shell moved its US headquarters from New York City to Houston in 1970 at the height of the runaway shop movement in order to exploit cheaper white-collar labor in the US South and is now jumping on the bandwagon of offshoring to the Far East for the same purpose — to increase profitability.

The rationale that Shell offers is that they must “get leaner to compete”, but their latest labor program, dubbed, Transition 2009, though good for the company’s bottom line, exacerbates the economic crisis in the US — every job lost reduces the demand for goods and services and undermines the position of working people even more.  This pervasive practice of offshoring is another neoliberal initiative that is as short-sighted as the runaway shop program was.

Until sustainable economic policies replace the opportunistic schemes of neoliberal globalization — the position of working people across the nation will continue to deteriorate.  We have listed specific policy changes for meeting the present crisis in the Fighting Back section of “The Fight of Our Lives”.

Neoliberalism Needs Death Squads in Colombia — Comment

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

Hans Bennett’s Neoliberalism Needs Death Squads in Colombia adds an international dimension to From the Left.  Bennett’s review of Blood & Capital: The Paramilitarization of Colombia by Jasmin Hristov provides the background necessary to understand how neoliberal globalization has shaped the political landscape of Colombia.

Read this important article.

Globalization and the Incarceration of the Black Working Class — Comment

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Incarceration practices in the United States are egregious by any standards, and, although the issue is obscured by pundits and politicians, rigorous political analysis of national prison policy exposes the root of the issue.

Read the article.

Guest Worker Update: May 3, 2009

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

The campaign to adopt a US guest worker program that was temporarily defeated in 2007 has been relaunched.

Foundation work for the renewed campaign was started  by  former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Immigration, Refugees and Border  Security on April 30.

Greenspan reminded the committee members of the contributions that undocumented workers have historically made to the US economy and argued that reform to bring immigration laws “up to date” is urgently needed.

“Up to date”  in the present context means that the US should follow the lead of other developed counties around the world by adopting a guest worker program to legally exploit temporary labor from the poor countries in the global South.

What Greenspan is backing  is a national guest worker program to legalize and control the importation (and deportation) of workers to meet the needs of US capitalism.  He calls it a “flexible” workforce.

The  current strategy is to a refinement of what was done to offset the recession of 2001 through a de facto open border policy.

Greenspan did not mention the impact of a national pool of temporary labor on the working people of the US: that is of no consequence for him or the people for whom he speaks.

The fact that a new proposal for a guest worker program has not yet been placed on the table should fool no one–it is being prepared under the table and will appear suddenly when capital is prepared to play its hand.

History has taught us that blitz legislation is just as binding as laws produced through open negotiation.

I will post regular updates on this critical issue as the campaign develops.

On “Speaking Truth to Power”

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

The current motto “Speak Truth to Power” is an oxymoron. History shows us that the only truth that the ruling class recognizes is power, so we have to learn to speak power to power. Let’s speak truth to our fellow citizens so we can get our act together. Only then will our voices be heard.