Posts Tagged ‘unemployment’

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”.

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.

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.