Posts Tagged ‘combating globalization’

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.

Civic Revolution: Targeting the Dictatorship of Wealth

Friday, October 26th, 2012

The withering away of democracy under increasing economic inequality and growing poverty is a central fact of political life in the 21st century.  In the face of this global (and national) megatrend, breaking the stranglehold of the Dictatorship of Wealth is a central task of Civic Revolution.  The vanguard of the 99% — united and using its collective knowledge, skills, and resources — can be a revolutionary force to challenge the ruling 1% and reshape political processes in the interest of the majority.

Read the entire article and submit a comment.

Challenging the Transnational Corporations with Political Smart Mobs and Flying Squads

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

“Every age and generation is and must be (as a matter of right) as free to act for itself in all cases, as the age and generation that preceded it.”

Read the article and post a comment.

Transient Servitude and Work in the 21st Century

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Synopsis: The ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993 was a stab-in-the-back to the working people of North America.  In his remarks on signing NAFTA, President Bill Clinton cited his primary reason for supporting the treaty: “First of all, because NAFTA means jobs.  American jobs, and good-paying American jobs.  If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t support this agreement.” Former Presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald Ford were all present at the signing ceremony to support NAFTA as Ronald Reagan had done in an op-ed published a few days earlier.

Read the entire article and post a comment.

Globalization, Contractual Employment, and the Decline of Labor Unions — Comment

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Globalization, Contractual Employment, and the Decline of Labor Unions by Bernard Joseph Esposo Guerrero is another valuable contribution to FTL.  Understanding the problems faced by labor unions in the developing world is essential to developing international labor solidarity.

Read the entire essay and offer your feedback so we can begin to move forward.

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”.

American Union: An Alternative to Neoliberal Globalization? — Comment

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Neoliberal globalization, which began after World War II and has expanded exponentially since the 1980s, has produced dramatic inequality between and within nations, fostered continuing militarism, and contributed the lion’s share to the looming crisis of climate change.  The very idea of somehow combating what appeared to be an irresistible force has been a daunting enterprise, to say the least.  Until now…
It is now clear that neoliberal globalization does not serve the needs of a majority of the world’s population, and, as economic metapolicy, is simply not sustainable.   The question of combating globalization is rapidly becoming the question of what will follow the meltdown of the neoliberal global economic system.
From the Left is committed to looking at possible alternatives to the present world economic order and ways out of the ongoing economic crisis.  In that vein, Ruben Botello has submitted the following article about the possibility of an American Union based on the model of the European Union (EU) — it deserves careful consideration.
His concept of an American Union is not to be confused with the neoliberal scheme of a North American Union that lurked behind the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP).  The SPP, negotiated behind closed doors, appears to be nothing more than an expansion of NAFTA for those who benefited from NAFTA — SPPM if you will — a Security and Prosperity Partnership for the Multinationals.  The American Union, on the other hand, attempts to resolve national contradictions rather than just profit the executives and stockholders of the multinationals and their government brokers.
Read Ruben’s article closely — the debate about the future of the Americas after the meltdown of neoliberal globalization must begin now.

Read the article and comment.

There are no sharks in the water and free trade is good for you!

Monday, April 20th, 2009

AMITY ISLAND–June, 1975. Police Chief Martin Brody, who had just recovered the mangled body of the victim of a horrific shark attack, was called to an emergency meeting of the town council. There is was shark problem, Amity Mayor Larry Vaughn informed Brody, no need to be alarmist. The tourist season was about to open and business needed to proceed as usual. Brody reluctantly deferred to the businessmen who ran the town. The disastrous results are cinema history (JAWS).

GRANITE CITY, Ill. — March, 2009. Jeff Rains, a retired steelworker from the Granite City steel mill made a disturbing discovery. While waiting for a slow freight train to pass by, he noticed that the flatcars were loaded with stacks of steel pipe — all clearly stenciled, “MADE IN INDIA” (For photos and story see http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/16/business/economy/16pipe.html?scp=1&sq=pipe%20from%20India&st=cse). This pipe was passing through his city where the local steel mill has been shut down since December — the first time in its 130 year history — and 2,000 workers (10 percent of the city’s work force) have been laid-off.

The final destination of the Indian tubing was the 1,600 mile Keystone Pipeline now being constructed to transport oil from the tar sand fields in Alberta, Canada to refineries in Oklahoma. A section of this pipeline will pass close to Granite City. Forty percent of the 560,000 tons of pipe purchased for the project was produced in India.

“I was very mad when I saw that they were imported; I wondered why this pipe had not been made in the United States,” the New York Times quoted Rains as saying.

After the train had passed, Rains headed to the local union hall to sound the alarm.

Rains’ alarm got lost in transmission. In defiance of logic and common sense, the United Steelworkers’ leaders continue to endorse the free trade policies that have stimulated the mass offshoring of US manufacturing jobs to the cheapest labor markets on earth. With convoluted reasoning union officials argue that the Indian and Chinese steel flooding the US market is not a result of free trade but “a violation of fair trade“! It is the generous subsidies of the Indian government, they contend, that allows for the dumping of steel in the US at below market value. Not a word was said about the US government underwriting the brutal exploitation of foreign labor abroad or ignoring the needs of displaced workers at home.

There are no sharks in the water, Mr. Rains, and free trade is good for you and your community!

US capitalism is utilizing all of the resources that it commands–the mass media, well-funded think tanks and lobbyists, extensive university connections, and class collaborators within the ranks of organized labor–to obscure the critical issue that is at the heart of the current national and global crisis–the fact that free trade labor is a zero-sum game for working people that they will continue to lose until they confront it openly (http://combatingglobalization.com/articles/free_trade_labor.html).

The sharks in the water in the present scenario are the free trade advocates who are working feverishly behind the scene for more free trade to solve the current crisis of capitalism. The last thing working people of the world need now is to continue swimming with the neoliberal sharks.

Free Trade Labor — Comment

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

The impact of NAFTA on income equality across North America offers a good starting point for understanding the consequences of free trade labor on working people.

Read the article

Transnational Capital Seeks to Strenghten Its Position

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

In the midst of the current US and global economic meltdown, transnational capitalism is seeking ways to strengthen its position at the expense of working people in North America and worldwide.   We warned of this in Combating Globalization but did not expect to see capital’s initiatives launched so soon after the US elections.

It is reported in the newspaper article Cross-border truck plan is being revisited that pressure to allow US and Mexican carriers to make deliveries into the interior of each other’s country, a provision of NAFTA that was blocked by the actions of labor unions, independendent  trucking associations, and environmental organizations  in 2007,  is mounting on the US Congress.

The NAFTA Corridors: Offshoring US Transportation Jobs to Mexico presents an  in-depth analysis of transnational capitalism’s plan to employ free trade transportation labor from the South to undercut labor in the North.  This article exposes all of the facts that are obscured in mainstream news accounts.

The threat of this renewed globalization scheme against Northern labor in general and transportation workers specifically is very real.

Combating Globalization reports how a provisional victory for labor was won and offers lessons that are applicable today.  The struggle will be much more intense this time around.

If capital is allowed to strengthen its position vis-a-vis labor during this economic crisis, the increasing inequality and environmental damage that accompanied past neoliberal globalization is just a preview of the future.

To meet this clear and present danger, old alliances will have to be strengthened and new ones formed.

Times is short–congress is scheduled to begin meetings on this issue later this week.