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U.S. Labor: What's New, What's Not?

by Kim Moody
May 1, 2016

We all know that there’s something different about today’s working class. One obvious difference is that today’s working class produces fewer things “you can drop on your toe,” as The Economist famously put it, and more that you can’t. What’s actually changing in capitalist production in the United States?

While Marx mostly spoke of industrial workers who extracted or made goods, he did not, in fact, define the proletariat by what commodities it produced. As he wrote in Capital, “capital is indifferent to the particular nature of every sphere of production.” For Marx social classes were defined by their relations to capital...

In a sense, the current debate over just how much employment is or isn’t “precarious” misses the bigger change in U.S. working-class life over the past three decades or more: the decline in living standards experienced by the vast majority of this class. One measure of this is the fall in both hourly and weekly real wages which despite some ups and downs remain below their 1972 level. So stagnant has been the income of the working class majority that 30% of the workforce now relies on public assistance to get by. Furthermore, the labor share of income has declined in relation to capital, whose piece of the pie climbed from 18.8% in 1979 to 26.2% in 2010.

What is to be Done with the Banks? Radical Proposals for Radical Changes

from the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt
April 17, 2016

Nine years after the outbreak of the financial crisis that continues to produce damaging social effects through the austerity policies imposed on victim populations, it’s time to take another look at the commitments that were made at that time by bankers, financiers, politicians, and regulatory bodies. Those four players have failed fundamentally in the promises they made in the wake of the crisis: to moralise the banking system, separate commercial banks from investment banks, end exorbitant salaries and bonuses, and finally finance the real economy. We didn’t believe those promises at the time, and for good reason. Instead of a moralising of the banking system, all we’ve had is a long list of misappropriations that have been brought to light by a series of bank failures, beginning with that of Lehman Brothers in 15 September, 2008.

No measures designed to avoid further crises have been imposed on the private finance system. Governments and the various authorities meant to ensure that the regulations are respected and improved have either shelved or significantly attenuated the paltry measures announced in 2008-2009. The concentration of banks has remained unchanged, as have their high-risk activities. There have been more scandals implicating the fifteen to twenty biggest private banks in Europe and the United States— involving toxic loans, fraudulent mortgage credits, manipulation of currency exchange markets, of interest rates (notably, the LIBOR) and of energy markets, massive tax evasion, money-laundering for organised crime, and so on. The scandal of the Panama papers shows how banks are using the tax heavens...

The New Free Trade Agreements (TPP, TTIP AND TISA), Aren't A Solution: They're Another Problem

from the Fourth International
April 6, 2016

Surreptitiously--like bandits who prey on their victim--and undemocratically, the elite which owns finance and the multinationals is driving the implementation of new “Free Trade Agreements”: the Trans-Pacific Partnership, (TPP); the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP); and the Trade in Services Agreement (TSA).

As on previous occasions--when the treaties that gave birth to the European Union or the North American Free Trade Agreement were imposed--the dominant classes present these initiatives as magic formulas to “eliminate poverty and increase wealth and prosperity." The balance sheets of the latter leave no doubt about what awaits those who are seduced by this siren song: new rules that will allow the multinationals to violate the legality and sovereignty of each nation where they are present; “private” courts to settle conflicts between companies and states; the privatization and commodification of public services that are still in the hands of the state (education, health, transport, water, and so on); telecommunications regulation to eliminate freedom of expression in social networks; dismantling of peasant and familial agriculture, expansion of monoculture and genetically modified food and insecticides; prioritizing greed over environmental protection laws; still more degradation of the living and working conditions of people in the city and the countryside; and the provocation of new migratory waves.

May 1, 2016
by Kim Moody
We all know that there’s something different about today’s working class. One obvious difference is that today’s working class produces fewer things “you can drop on your toe,” as The...
April 17, 2016
from the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt
Nine years after the outbreak of the financial crisis that continues to produce damaging social effects through the austerity policies imposed on victim populations, it’s time to take another look...
April 6, 2016
from the Fourth International
Surreptitiously--like bandits who prey on their victim--and undemocratically, the elite which owns finance and the multinationals is driving the implementation of new “Free Trade Agreements”: the...

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