[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:

*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 

*Come get involved and help build a movement that puts the needs of the 
people before profits.  *
*/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
* <http://www.iacboston.org/WFN/No_Utility_Shutoffs/092008/rally_092008.pdf>

*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 
disaster around!

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 
global casino.

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 
$98 billion.

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 
their affairs.

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 
capitalist production.

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

National Office:

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