[act-ma] 9/20 - Protest: Massachusetts is in an Economic State of Emergency
Women's Fightback Network
iacboston at iacboston.org
Fri Sep 19 15:28:56 PDT 2008
in this email:
1) *9/20 - PROTEST! - MASSACHUSETTS is in an ECONOMIC STATE OF EMERGENCY!*
*2)* * Capitalist Meltdown - Workers, oppressed to pay billions to bail
out Wall Street*
1) Everyday we see the economic crisis get worse - people are losing
their homes, jobs and healthcare. Families are being forced to chose
between food or heat. The government gives huge tax breaks to the
wealthy, hundreds of billions of dollars to large banks and Wall Street
investment firms and nearly one trillion dollars to the Pentagon to wage
war. Meanwhile, services for our communities have been slashed to the
bare bones and more and more of our youth are in prison. ISN"T IT TIME
TO PUT PEOPLE BEFORE PROFITS?
*Come get involved and help build a movement that puts the needs of the
people before profits. *
*MASSACHUSETTS is in an ECONOMIC STATE OF EMERGENCY!*
*/Heat, Housing, Jobs, Food and Fuel are a Human Right!/*
*Saturday, Sept. 20 - 12 pm*
*Rally - Countrywide / Bank of America
811 Mass. Ave, South End*
(corner of Albany St., across from Boston Medical Center)
*March - South Bay Prison, NSTAR, and South Bay BoA*
(Mass. Ave to entrance of South Bay Shopping Center)
download flyer & "Economic State of Emergency" petition
*Governor Deval Patrick,*
/*We Demand that you Declare a State of Emergency, Now!*/
* Stop Utility Shutoffs & Restore Services Immediately!
* Declare a Moratorium on Foreclosures & Evictions!
* Roll Back Food & Fuel Prices!
Job losses signal change for the worse
Instead of saving people's homes - Gov't gives away
billions to big mortgage bankers
The Winter of 2008 is predicted to be very severe. This will be no
natural disaster, but a life-threatening crisis made in government and
corporate boardrooms. We will not stand by as people freeze or go
without lights, while NSTAR ($7.8B in assets), National Grid and the Oil
Companies make $$ billions more in profits. $150 million more a day goes
to the Iraq war. We need to bring this money back to our communities, now!
The government has just taken over the largest mortgage banks in the
world, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have overseen millions of
families evicted from their homes. The government must not be in the
business of foreclosing and evicting us from our homes. Responsible
government must now use its power to declare a State of Emergency, and
immediately halt all foreclosures and evictions!
This economic crisis brings with it a rise in violence against people of
color, women, and lesbian/gay/bi/trans people who are scapegoated in an
attempt to divert attention away from greedy corporations and banks.
Poor and working families are struggling with housing, jobs, gas prices,
healthcare, and feeding our children. Youth need education and good
union jobs, not police roundups and more jails. Discrimination against
people with CORI should be outlawed.
/Heat, Housing, Jobs, Food and Fuel are a Human Right!/
Together we have the power to build a movement to turn this unnatural
For more info:
(617) 522-6626 www.iacboston.org/wfn
Women's Fightback Network / F.I.S.T / International Action Center
284 Amory Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Profit system wreaks havoc
Workers, oppressed to pay billions to bail out Wall Street
By Fred Goldstein
Sept. 17---With the $85-billion government bailout of insurance giant
AIG, the Federal Reserve Board and the Treasury Department have made
another desperate attempt to shore up a collapsing global financial
This latest attempt to rescue a huge capitalist financial firm comes on
top of the $200-billion-plus bailout of the two largest mortgage banks
in the world, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, just 10 days ago.
*Secret deals stick workers with the bill*
President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Timothy Geithner and
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson have been huddled in round-the-clock
meetings, hammering out deals. It has been done in secrecy, behind the
backs of the workers and the middle class, who will get stuck with the
bill. They have been working out these deals with the same loan sharks
of high finance whose orgies of speculation, gambling and deception in
pursuit of profit led to the crisis in the first place.
Wall Street's speculative binge has led to a truly formidable world crisis.
Over the last three days, AIG, the largest insurance company in the
world with a TRILLION dollars in assets, came within hours of bankruptcy.
Lehman Brothers, a prestigious, 158-year-old investment bank with $639
billion in assets and $613 billion in debts, went under in the largest
bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Merrill Lynch, another pillar of investment banking with another
TRILLION dollars in assets, averted bankruptcy only after being
swallowed up by Bank of America.
Washington Mutual, the largest savings and loan in the U.S., had its
bond rating reduced to junk and is on the ropes.
As the bankruptcy crisis was developing on Thursday, Sept. 11, Paulson
told the bankers that the government was through stepping in and that
they would have to solve the problem among themselves. That was last
week. Now the U.S. government has put up another $85 billion to bail out
the banks. It is a sign of crisis and weakness.
While the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had given relief to the
holders of trillions of dollars of debt owed them by the two mortgage
banks, it also put an enormous strain on the financial system and was
another sign of profound weakness and fragility. Further bailouts were
ruled out, the government said. It was drawing a "line in the sand."
But Paulson's and Geithner's declarations made no impact on the bankers.
They all pursued their own immediate interests and stonewalled their own
government. In the end, while Washington let Lehman Brothers fail, AIG
was another story. The Federal Reserve Board and the Treasury made a
humiliating about-face and stepped in at the last minute, "fearing a
financial crisis worldwide." (New York Times, Sept. 17)
The Fed bailout of AIG is instructive about the depth of the crisis. AIG
is not even a bank. It is not regulated by the federal government. The
Fed had to use emergency powers to intervene, which it deemed necessary
not only because AIG issues insurance policies to millions of
individuals and commercial enterprises but because it also has insured
over $400 billion in mortgage-backed securities and other risky
investments of gamblers and speculators all over the globe.
AIG has borrowed money from many of the big banks and gambled its assets
in order to make bigger profits. As the mortgages began to fail and the
holders of the mortgage-backed securities began to demand their
insurance payoffs, AIG's financial position was deteriorating on a daily
and hourly basis.
It is a measure of the system's financial recklessness that an insurance
company, which is supposed to be regulated to keep it conservative,
precisely because it is the custodian of funds that must be available to
meet the emergency needs of the insured, was free to participate in the
AIG operates in over 100 countries, has 116,000 employees---62,000 in
Asia---and has private banking facilities for wealthy people. It brokers
deals in stocks, manages mutual funds, owns 900 planes for its leasing
business, and in general has leveraged its insurance business into a
globalized, speculative operation.
*Crisis of workers and oppressed is ignored*
The crisis of the bankers has made sensational headlines, with
hour-by-hour accounts of the agony of a handful of millionaires and
billionaires on Wall Street. But the capitalist media has sidelined the
real drama of mass foreclosures and layoffs affecting the lives of
millions of workers.
Hundreds of billions of dollars have been doled out to bankers who got
into a crisis largely because of predatory mortgage lending and the
reselling of those mortgages on the global capital market. No relief has
been forthcoming for the victims of the mortgage banking industry.
Little attention was paid to the news that in August there were 303,879
foreclosure filings---a 12-percent increase from the previous month and
a 27-percent increase from a year ago. One in every 416 households in
the U.S. received a foreclosure notice in August. In California alone
there were 101,714 filings, up 40 percent from the previous month and 75
percent over a year ago.
While shedding tears over the travails of bankers, the capitalist press
had no headlines about a recent study entitled "State of the Dream:
Foreclosed," which showed that the foreclosure crisis has resulted in
the greatest destruction of personal wealth in history in the
African-American and Latin@ communities.
According to the study, African-American borrowers have lost between $71
billion and $92 billion because of loans taken out over the last eight
years. The figure for the Latin@ population, which is even higher than
the African-American population, shows losses of between $75 billion and
Alongside the financial crisis is the growing crisis of the capitalist
economy overall, as overproduction results in mounting unemployment.
More than 84,000 workers lost their jobs in August, bringing the yearly
total up to 605,000. More than 2 million people have been added to the
jobless in the past 12 months, bringing the official total to 9.4
million out of work. Long-term unemployment is also rising.
Unemployment for Black workers reached 10.6 percent, mainly due to job
losses among Black women. Unemployment among single mothers and youth is
also growing. And these government figures do not include millions of
discouraged workers who have given up looking for jobs.
In the midst of the credit crisis, it was announced that industrial
production, the basis of jobs and income, fell in August by the most in
three years. There was a 1.1 decrease in output in factories, mines and
utilities. Auto production went down by 12 percent, the most in a decade.
One thing is clear from the present crisis: Neither the capitalist
class, which owns all the productive wealth, nor the capitalist
government, which oversees the system, is in control of the economic or
the financial situation.
Each measure they take to stem the credit crisis is followed by another
outbreak of panic. Each time the stock market surges, it quickly loses
all its gains and more. And no matter how much the pundits declare that
there is no recession, the steady growth of unemployment and the decline
in production continues, regardless of any so-called "economic stimulus."
*Shift in ruling class psychology*
The intervention of the capitalist government in the banking crisis has
brought about a sudden shift in the psychology of the ruling class as
they watch their system spinning out of control. After the capitalist
system got over the crisis of the 1930s, the bosses in the U.S. began to
forget why President Roosevelt had taken unprecedented measures to
rescue the economy. They began to scorn any government intervention in
Of course, they have always been ready to take handouts in many
forms---subsidies, military spending, special legislation, tax cuts,
etc. But they have felt themselves to be the high and mighty corporate
rulers of the world.
Government intervention, they said, was for Europe and for social
democrats. The European ruling classes had been rocked by the workers
and by class struggle, division and war. Because the European rulers
were weak and needed to be propped up by the capitalist governments,
they had to submit to state monitoring of their affairs. Such a course,
however, was strongly rejected by Wall Street and the giant industrialists.
This latest crisis is a huge comedown for U.S. finance capital, which is
used to lecturing the other capitalist governments on the evils of
government intervention. Suddenly, however, the bankers and bosses are
all united, from the right wing to the moderates and liberals, in
applauding the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Board for their "timely"
intervention. They are submitting, grudgingly but clearly, to government
oversight and monitoring in the interests of saving their system from
With this crisis, the structure of U.S. capitalism is entering a new
stage. The capitalist government has begun, on a piecemeal basis at
first but perhaps more systematically in the future, to absorb the
liabilities and bad debts of the gambling and speculating financial
oligarchy. This can only deepen the crisis in the long run by driving it
deeper into the organism of U.S. capitalism.
This is bound to have not only economic but political repercussions
around the world as rival imperialists see the vulnerability of the
rulers in the U.S. It is bound to weaken U.S. imperialism and at the
same time make it more dangerous as it seeks to get out of its crisis.
It is no accident that the Wall Street Journal on Sept. 16, in the midst
of in-depth reporting on the financial crisis, ran an article entitled
"Keeping Their Powder Dry: Draft Boards Hang On, Just in Case." The
Journal does not necessarily speak for the whole ruling class, nor for
the Pentagon at the moment. But one reflex emerging in the midst of the
crisis from some section of the ruling class is beginning to think about
an expanded war drive as a solution.
With the "New World Order" stoking conflict with Russia in Georgia,
invading Pakistan and escalating the war against Afghanistan, the
possibility of a new military adventure should never be ruled out.
*Capitalism's basic contradiction*
The Democrats want to blame things on Bush and call for more regulation.
Of course the financiers have gotten the government to overturn most of
the regulations, dating back to the Depression, putting restraints on
their gambling operations. This deregulation started with the Reagan
administration and reached a high point in the Clinton Administration.
At the instigation of Citicorp and Robert Rubin, who left Goldman Sachs
to become Secretary of the Treasury, the Glass-Steagall Act was repealed
in 1998, under the sponsorship of now McCain economic adviser Phil
Gramm. The law forbids commercial banks from becoming involved in
investment banking, underwriting stocks and stock market operations,
underwriting and other activities that facilitated widespread
hyper-speculation of the type that preceded the Depression.
And of course the Bush administration undermined all attempts to inhibit
the predatory mortgage lenders and gave a complete free hand to all
manner of unregulated speculation in trillions of dollars worth of
speculative gambling, which increased the overall risk in the global
financial system. But, Democratic Party demagogy notwithstanding, the
Bush administration is not the cause of the crisis.
Government intervention, stronger regulation of the monopolies and more
"prudent" practices cannot overcome the fundamental contradiction of
capitalism: private ownership of the globalized, social means of production.
It is an irreconcilable contradiction that a tiny minority control the
production of the world's wealth for their own profit. It is an
irreconcilable contradiction that this global apparatus stops
functioning when there is a crisis of profitability for the bosses. And
such a crisis always arises, sooner or later, because of the anarchy of
No capitalist knows where what is produced can be sold. But in the rush
for "market share" for the highest profit, each capitalist grouping is
compelled to expand production.
Simultaneously, the laws of capitalism compel each capitalist to reduce
the wages of the workers as much as possible. In the last three decades,
the capitalist class has created a low-wage capitalist system that pits
workers against each other on a global basis. This just aggravates and
accelerates the contradiction of the profit system.
Under capitalism production is anarchic and eventually expands to a
point where the workers cannot buy what has been produced at a price
that will bring the bosses a profit. This anarchy of production is being
reflected in the anarchy of the financial system in the present crisis.
In the present crisis, billionaires at the top of capitalist society may
be losing part of their wealth, which really existed only on paper, but
they are keeping their mansions, servants, limousines and Lear jets. It
is the workers who are bearing the brunt of the economic crisis.
The only way out is the way of resistance---like the movement to stop
foreclosures, which is gathering steam around the country.
Women's FightBack Network
wfn at iacboston.org
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