The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Issue no. 1004 — February 1 - 15, 2016

Editorial:
Flint
– the Criminals Who Caused It Won’t Fix It

Feb 1, 2016

Bits and pieces of information about the Flint “water crisis” keep trickling out. Not nearly the whole truth, but enough to expose the criminal responsibility of the two big parties. Republicans and Democrats alike both made choices that condemn the people of Flint to pay a terrible price in the health and maybe lives of their children, and the well-being of almost the whole population.

Those choices didn’t begin just two years ago, when Flint’s drinking water began to be tapped from the Flint River, when the poisoning of children began. More than a decade ago, Democrats in Flint and in the state government began to pursue the idea of building a new water line from Lake Huron.

Another line was already nearby, a relatively new line that was underutilized. People didn’t need another one. But companies in the area wanted water: GM, DTE, big agricultural corporations, and a mining consortium that wanted lots of water in order to begin “fracking” underground. The corporations wanted water, but they didn’t want to pay the price for it.

Politicians, ever ready to do the bidding of big corporations, agreed to run a second water pipeline and tunnel from Lake Huron. The people of Flint and nearby rural areas would pay for it in elevated water rates. Industrial users would benefit from rates lower than the ones they currently extort from Detroit’s water system.

Most of the people who began this project were Democrats. But the pipeline has been continued ever since under both Democrats and Republicans, including by “emergency financial managers” who finally made the poisonous decision to replace clean water with corrosive Flint River water.

Not a bit of this information about the disaster would have come out if it hadn’t been for the people of Flint who began to complain about the filthy taste of water coming out of their taps, skin problems in their families, intestinal complaints, problems with their immune systems and difficulties concentrating. They complained. No one heard them, so they kept accounts, made reports, did research, attracting the attention of scientific researchers and doctors, who reinforced what the people already knew. People went door to door, warning other people. They collected bottled water for others who needed it.

But information isn’t enough. Exposure of the criminals isn’t enough. Bottled water doesn’t begin to address the problem.

We shouldn’t expect the criminals who created the problems to correct them. The working people of Flint have to impose their own choices about what needs to be done.

Those choices are simple. Working people would take the billions of dollars given to big corporations and use it to repair the damage to children and adults that can be repaired, and to alleviate the problems that remain. Medical personnel have already engaged themselves to help out. Others would certainly be willing to join the effort.

Working people would repair the whole water infrastructure of the area. It’s been destroyed by insufficiently treated Flint River water, which has been corrosive to the whole system. The water system needs to be rebuilt, including every piece of pipe running up to and in people’s homes.

There are certainly plenty of people in Flint able to do that work – people who need jobs: plumbers, pipefitters, laborers, cement finishers, construction workers, big crane operators – and people who are more than ready to learn these trades while they help to rebuild Flint. Let all of them be hired to rebuild Flint’s water system.

These are the choices that working people would make in the face of the Flint disaster: humane choices, serving the needs of the whole population. If workers were organized politically, these are the choices they would fight to impose.

Pages 2-3

Chicago Police “Testimony”:
Garbage, as Usual

Feb 1, 2016

According to Chicago Police Detective Brian Johnson, Princeton Williamson confessed to firing a gun in the air. Johnson conducted two interviews while Williamson was in the hospital after being shot multiple times by a different cop. Johnson testified – under oath – that Williamson didn’t slur, and “he was very forthcoming and involved in the conversation, I mean, a very good demeanor from what I observed.”

But according to the two nurses who cared for Williamson, he was on a continuous morphine drip, he could not talk, and he had to squeeze their hands to indicate yes or no. For the supposed second interview, he was asleep and heavily sedated!

The judge who oversaw Williamson’s trial threw out Johnson’s testimony, saying “That’s one of the biggest pieces of garbage I ever heard....”

So is Johnson going to be charged for lying in court about what Williamson said in the hospital? No, of course not. The State’s Attorney’s office said “That doesn’t necessarily rise to the level of the person being a liar.” Really? Claiming someone said something that they COULD NOT HAVE SAID sure sounds like a lie to most people.

But lying on the stand is just business as usual for the Chicago police. The only thing unusual in this case is that they couldn’t control all the evidence.

Leak Disaster ... after 2½ Months

Feb 1, 2016

It wasn’t until January 6 that California Democratic Governor Jerry Brown declared a “state of emergency” for the catastrophic natural gas leak in Porter Ranch.

The leak was putting thousands and thousands of tons of methane gas, and other, toxic gases such as benzene and hydrogen sulfide, into the air. The FAA had banned flights over the area, and cell phones and watches were not allowed on the leak site, for fear of an explosion and huge fire. More than ten thousand people had been forced to leave their homes.

And yet, for two and a half months, Governor Brown dismissed calls for the state to intervene. Brown saw no emergency in this raging, enormous human disaster!

Was it perhaps Brown’s own ties to the oil and gas industry, and SoCalGas in particular, that were blurring his vision?

Brown’s sister Kathleen Brown, a former California State Treasurer, sits on the board of Sempra Energy, the parent company of SoCalGas! In fact, Kathleen Brown is a member of Sempra’s health and safety committee, which has oversight responsibilities on issues like the leak.

Jerry Brown himself has received ample funding from the oil and gas industry for his campaigns; and he has been their pet politician for years. In 2011, Brown fired two top state regulators, who pointed out (as had the EPA) that the oil and gas industry’s underground injection activities would contaminate the state’s groundwater. In 2012, Brown himself bragged about speedily giving the industry the permits they had asked for: “The oil rigs are moving in Kern County. We want to use our resources ... It’s not going to be easy.... There’ll be indictments, and there’ll be deaths. But we’re going to keep going.”

In August 2015, Brown once again fired oil and gas regulators, this time because they had not issued drilling permits to Occidental Petroleum fast enough, according to a lawsuit.

Of course, the Browns are not alone. Politicians who run the different levels of government, both Republican and Democrat, all have similar ties to Big Business. Capital pays for politicians’ careers; and it gets the favors it asks for in return.

It’s business. It’s how politics works in the capitalist system.

Gas Company:
“Too Big to Fail”

Feb 1, 2016

In the face of a dangerous and growing disaster from a catastrophic natural gas leak, residents of Porter Ranch in Los Angeles have been calling on SoCalGas to shut down the storage facility. The company has ignored the pleas so far, saying that the facility provides more than half the natural gas distributed in Southern California, and if they shut down, they will have to increase rates for customers!

SoCalGas is so shameless and brazen because public officials, who have allowed the oil and gas industry to ignore safety rules, continue to protect the interests of SoCalGas. The Democratic Congressman from the area, Brad Sherman, for example, defended the company’s right to run the leaking storage as it sees fit, saying, “They’ve created a facility that is literally too big to fail.”

Heard that one before? These same politicians, Democrat and Republican, told us banks were “too big to fail,” when they handed them billions of dollars to cover for the risky investments the banks had consciously made. And now they are telling us we have to accept being poisoned and put at risk of a bigger disaster because of conscious decisions made by a big, greedy gas company – and others, of course.

In fact, this capitalist system we live under, which allows these greedy capitalists to get “too big” is too dangerous for us to keep in place.

Dearborn Cops Murder a Black Woman

Feb 1, 2016

Dearborn police shot and killed Janet Wilson, a black woman from Detroit. This comes on the heels of Kevin Matthews, a Detroit resident also shot and killed by Dearborn cops on December 23rd.

The Dearborn police were making a traffic stop. Wilson apparently tried to get away. Maybe she thought they would shoot her like they shot Matthews.

Well, they did. The police just began firing multiple rounds into Wilson’s car. They had no idea what was going on with her. Was she having a heart attack? Did she just receive terrible news? What? They didn’t have a clue. They shot first without regard for human life. Earlier she was described as being “distraught” by Fairlane Town Center security guards.

Michigan State Police, who are investigating the shooting, confirmed she was not armed with a gun, but said she was “armed with a three-ton vehicle.” What was she driving, a Humvee? She was reported as driving a “black Chevrolet.”

Dearborn police Chief Ronald Haddad said “We are very proud of our long history of civil rights advocacy as well as appropriate use of force.” Their long history includes 36 years of Mayor Orville Hubbard, whose statue stood for 25 years in front of Dearborn’s old City Hall as a constant reminder of Dearborn’s bitter style of “civil rights advocacy” – which included public warnings by Hubbard for black people to get out of Dearborn by sundown! This was the mayor who once examined the bullet-riddled body of a black man and called it an open-and-shut case of suicide.

Dearborn has a long history of racism. The police can say how “ridiculous” it is to say this is a black and white issue because a white officer shot a black woman. What is really ridiculous, outrageous, and yes, racist, is shooting into a car for a traffic stop!

In L.A., Murder Is OK

Feb 1, 2016

The L.A. County prosecutors said last Wednesday that they will not charge eight Los Angeles police officers who opened fire on two Los Angeles Times newspaper delivery women.

These eight officers opened fire in 2013, as Margie Carranza and her mother, Emma Hernandez, were slowly driving though a Torrance neighborhood in a pickup truck delivering papers. The police claimed they thought that these two women were one Christopher Dorner, a male former Los Angeles cop wanted by the police! (If you’re a cop – any ridiculous excuse seems to work.)

Carranza characterized the incident as a “giant atrocity” and a “savage deed,” in an interview with the city investigators. The Los Angeles police chief Charlie Beck and the civilian commission that oversees the L.A. Police Department found that the officers violated the LAPD's policy on using deadly force.

But, still these murderous eight officers were not charged.

This is nothing but giving a green light to the police to adopt a policy of shooting first and asking questions later. It’s a Wild West brutal show running amok in this modern city of 21st century!

Pages 4-5

Illinois Governor and Chicago Mayor Play Enemies
– for Show

Feb 1, 2016

Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner called out Democratic Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel: “He’s failed on public safety, and he’s failed on schools, he’s failed on jobs in the neighborhoods, he’s failed on taxes, he’s failed on reforms.” Rauner then threatened a state takeover of the Chicago Public Schools so they could declare bankruptcy and void union contracts.

Rahm Emanuel, who closed fifty schools and covered up the police killing of Laquan McDonald, used this attack to pose as the “protector” of the schools against the big bad Republicans. Emanuel “just” wants to cut teachers’ pay by 170 million dollars a year!

Emanuel blames Rauner and the Republicans for Chicago’s problems. Rauner blames Emanuel and the Democrats for the state’s problems. In reality, they use each other as cover to continue the very same policy: handing ever more money to the big corporations at the expense of schools and services.

And by the way – these two are fast friends. They have vacationed together and did millions of dollars of business together. With these pretend “attacks,” they continue to help each other out.

Chicago Board of Ed Demands Teacher Pay Cut

Feb 1, 2016

Chicago Public Schools wants to take 170 million dollars a year in concessions from teachers in a new contract. At the time of this writing, we don’t know the details, but it’s clear – this is a huge pay cut.

For months, CPS has been making threats, saying that without relief, they would shut down – first in November, then in December, then in January. They threatened massive teacher layoffs again and again. In fact, it was a propaganda campaign, aimed at softening up the teachers to make them accept cuts.

CPS claims it’s short of money. Of course – the small amount they have goes to the banks for loans no one in their right mind would make – unless they were really working for the banks, not the schools.

And the schools are underfunded even before that. Huge amounts of tax money that should go to the schools gets siphoned off into slush funds called TIFs, for Tax Increment Financing. The mayor can give this money to whoever he wants – usually, to developers.

The banks get paid, the developers get paid – the schools come last. That’s CPS policy.

Chicago teachers have no interest in taking concessions – that road leads to hell. Just like the road to hell, every time you give something up, you set yourself up to give up even more. These are teachers who have stood up before, with support from parents and students. Hopefully, they will do it again.

Banks Swindle Chicago Schools

Feb 1, 2016

Chicago Public Schools is trying to borrow another 875 million dollars from the banks.

Of this loan, 200 million dollars will go right back to the banks to make payments on old debts.

And because CPS is rated three levels below “junk bond” status, the Chicago schools are offering the ungodly interest rate of 7.75 percent – while your bank offers one tenth of one percent or less on your savings. And just who is it that rates the Chicago bonds? None other than the banks themselves, who will benefit from these outrageous rates.

But even that wasn’t enough – the banks wouldn’t loan CPS the money. They’re holding out for an even sweeter deal.

The banks are holding the education of Chicago’s children hostage. Their ungodly profits come first – which can only mean that Chicago’s children come last in their world.

Paralyzed by Snow and Political Choices

Feb 1, 2016

Area schools have been shut down for a week, fire trucks have gotten stuck on snow-covered streets while houses burn. Federal government offices were closed for three days. Metro was shut down totally for four days and is still running on limited service. Road capacity, severely reduced, caused huge traffic jams. We are told this is because of a historic snow storm. News flash: winter comes around every year and snow is not some new, strange element. Yet, every time it snows, the Baltimore and D.C. area lets this happen.

Yes, it was a lot of snow. But, the National Weather Service was predicting this storm with high confidence on Monday. So authorities had an unprecedented amount of time to prepare. Instead, they told us to prepare. Prepare to lose power, prepare to be stuck in our homes for days on end. In other words, the governors and mayors were admitting, in advance, that they were not choosing to dig us out for days.

They made a choice of where and how to spend taxpayer money and that choice had nothing to do with our lives and livelihoods. Could they have made different decisions? Yes. They could have. Is it possible to recover more quickly from a snow storm? Yes. But it would require society being organized on a totally different basis than it is right now.

Digging out from under the snow is not an individual problem. Clearing hundreds of miles of roads – this a social problem. It requires a social solution. Asking individuals to dig themselves out or prepare to be stuck in their homes for days on end is crazy. This country has lots of resource but they are used to defend and promote the profits of corporations. One major resource, the military and National Guard, is scattered around the globe defending the interests of big money.

What would it have meant if those resources had been enlisted in combating the snow, for example? Choices are made every day by government officials, choices that affect every aspect of our lives. Their choices are not made in favor of ordinary people.

Washington, D.C. Region:
A Preview of Things to Come

Feb 1, 2016

On the Wednesday evening before Snowzilla, a fast-moving clipper came through bringing an inch or less of snow. No big deal, right? Wrong. While authorities knew about this storm a couple days in advance, they chose to do nothing. They did not pre-treat the roads or have salt trucks in place – nothing. The snow arrived just in time for rush hour and promptly froze when it came in contact with the road surfaces.

Cars and trucks came to a spinning, crashing halt. Every incline in the roads became an insurmountable obstacle. Thousands were left stuck in their cars for hour after hour after hour as the evening rush hour merged into the morning rush hour. Many people were calling the decision makers stupid and short-sighted. But they made a conscious decision to not spend the money and hope for the best.

Of course, many also wondered, “if they can’t handle one inch of snow, what are they going to do with two feet of snow?!” Two days later, we found out: disaster!

Baltimore Population to Mayor:
Do Your Job!

Feb 1, 2016

Three days after the recent blizzard ended, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake threatened to start fining residents $50 who hadn’t cleared snow from the sidewalks in front of their houses.

Most people were outraged, since the city hadn’t cleared any snow from many residential streets and only partially from others, making it impossible for tens of thousands of people to use their cars, and making driving extremely slow and dangerous for those who had managed to get on the road. “When the mayor does her job, then we’ll do ours!” many people said.

The mayor do her job? For the welfare of the population? It’ll be a cold day in hell when that happens!

Detroit Teachers Shine a Spotlight on the Schools

Feb 1, 2016

On January 11, Detroit teachers stayed away from their schools to protest decades of neglect to Detroit schools and their students, magnified by the last seven years under state imposed “emergency financial managers.” The teachers protest closed 64 of the city’s 97 schools.

The current “emergency manager” immediately denounced teachers for causing 31,000 students to “miss a day of instruction and potentially placing more than a million dollars in per pupil funding in jeopardy.”

Plain, unadulterated bullshit – coming from the dictator who directs a system which has closed schools every day of the year, some for broken plumbing that flooded schools, some for roofs that caved in, some because of malfunctioning electrical systems that caused fires, some for heating systems that don’t work, etc., etc., etc.

He also told the teachers that their protest was counter-productive, that it would make politicians in the state capital mad!

Mad? Speak about mad – the teachers are mad, students are mad, parents are mad at these same state legislators who have been starving the schools of money!

The very next day after the teachers’ protest, Detroit’s mayor ordered the city’s Buildings and Inspections Department to begin inspecting Detroit schools – for the first time in decades.

In the first 11 schools, inspectors noted several hundred violations, including conditions that seriously jeopardized the health and safety of students, teachers and staff. Heaters and furnaces are broken, so are elevators, doors and windows. Toilets are non-functional. Electrical outlets are broken. One school had a roof open to the elements. Rodents, insects, mold, fire hazards – these 11 schools had them all.

The Detroit mayor declared: “we’re not going to allow our children, DPS employees, or the public to continue to be subjected to substandard conditions.”

Filthy hypocrite! For three years, he couldn’t see a thing!

Let’s be clear, he ordered inspections of those schools only because the teachers imposed themselves, creating disruption in the city.

And the teachers were smart enough not to stop just because a lying mayor made promises. On January 20, they forced the closing of even more schools, 88 of the 97.

The next day, the Emergency Manager sent a flunky to court asking for a restraining order against the teachers – and against Steve Conn, who no longer is their official president. (Conn had been removed by a palace coup behind closed doors, carried out by members of the teacher’s executive board, linked with the national AFT.)

The petition to the court didn’t go well for the bureaucrats – teachers were out in front of the court and inside protesting. For once, a judge refused to grant an injunction immediately.

Of course, nothing is settled. A bureaucrat in the Emergency Financial Manager’s office made that clear when she declared they don’t have the money to make repairs – on things like roofs!

But what’s happened so far shows that workers – in this case, teachers – do have the means to impose some of the changes they need. And they can find the leaders they respect – like Conn – rather than the ones the bureaucrats impose on them. It’s only a beginning, but it’s by taking things in their own hands that working people can begin not only to change conditions within this capitalist society, but eventually overthrow and replace the whole rotten society itself.

Pages 6-7

Goodyear:
A Scandalous Sentence

Feb 1, 2016

This article is translated from the January 15th, 2016 edition of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the paper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.

Two years after the fact, the correctional tribunal of Amiens has sentenced eight former Goodyear workers from the city to twenty-four months in prison, including nine months without the possibility of parole. They were on trial for having held the production supervisor and the human resources director in the factory for thirty hours on January 6-7 of 2014. On the 6th, the two executives had held a meeting to announce the upcoming closure of the tire factory and the loss of a livelihood for the company's 1,143 workers – and therefore also for the many other workers who depended on the plant's operations.

Today, the majority of the Goodyear workers have not found jobs again. But this violence is something that the government and the justice system refuse to condemn.

What they do judge to be criminal is to have held overnight on the premises of the factory those managers who made the cynical announcement that the workers would be thrown out into the street after having kept them going for years with promises. The workers who were sentenced to prison said that: “Those responsible for the loss of thousands of jobs have not been put on trial.”

What's more is that the two executives had long since declined to press charges, and the Goodyear bosses themselves withdrew their complaint as part of the agreement they signed with the unions to end the conflict. It is the public prosecutor – and behind him the government – who has decided to keep pushing the case in search of harsh sentences. The prosecutor of Amiens had set out his arguments, pretending not to “tolerate, under the rule of law, even in a difficult social context,” that the workers “take justice into their own hands.”

Two years ago, at the time of these events, the leader of the local CGT union Mickael Wamen denounced, “the array of government powers at the disposal of Goodyear.” The riot police cracked down on the demonstrations at the same time that the politicians made false promises to keep the workers from taking action. Arnaud Montebourg had made a promise in the factory's parking lot to “ban layoffs caused by the stock market” before the presidential elections, but after he became Minister of Industrial Renewal, he urged both the workers making a fight and their CGT union to “water down their wine,” and back down. The local Socialist Party politicians, journalists, and other union leaders had denounced the local section of the CGT for years, placing the responsibility for the layoffs on its shoulders because of how “inflexible” it had been.

In reality, it is the years of struggle by these 1,143 workers that the government hopes to punish heavily with this trial – an energetic and unrelenting struggle on the part of almost the entire workforce. Since 2007, the bosses had tried in vain to impose a reorganization of production and layoffs. A series of eruptions of anger and sporadic strikes that encompassed nearly all of the workers had forced the bosses to cautiously back off each time. After the announcement of the plant closure, the workers' actions increased. Their will not to lower their heads in the face of layoffs made an impression on workers in the region and beyond. This is what the bosses, using the government as a front, want to make eight Goodyear workers pay for.

Who Is Stealing Miners’ Jobs?

Feb 1, 2016

President Obama just announced an end to leasing federal lands to coal operators.

The coal industry immediately said Obama was trying to kill the coal industry and destroy employment.

In fact, it is the coal bosses who have destroyed employment in the industry and have been doing so for 60 years. The largest decline in mining employment came in 1982, with a 25% drop.

Current employment figures are disputed, with mine owners and the mine workers’ union giving different numbers. But they agree there are fewer miners than ever before – only about one sixth of the workers in 1947. But in 2008, coal production was the highest it had ever been, almost double what it had been in 1947, its previous high.

In other words, just like in steel and auto, the bosses have a policy of decreasing employment while increasing production. In steel and auto they blamed foreign manufacturers; in coal they blame government policies. But either way, they choose to lay off while pushing for ever more production.

Movie Review:
Star Wars:
The Force Awakens

Feb 1, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the epic space opera’s seventh installment, is now the biggest-grossing film in the U.S. … ever.

The film parallels the original Star Wars movie in many ways, including a droid with a secret message to deliver, a desert planet, a young hero without parents. There is another Jedi master that trains a Jedi knight who then turns to the Darkside of the “Force.” There is a rebellion against the First Order (the Empire re-born), a Starkiller base to destroy (a bigger, more powerful Death Star). Oh, yeah, then there is the ever-present who is whose daddy question. And this is just the short list.

However, there are some notable differences. No damsel in distress, no princess to rescue. At its core, The Force Awakens is a movie about a young woman who gains new friends, a big new cause, and discovers that she has special powers and a potentially greater destiny. Daisy Ridley’s Rey is at the center of the action and the central character in the new Star Wars trilogy. Her world goes from being a scavenger, living on her own trying to survive, to being part of the resistance and on her way to becoming a Jedi knight. She is no hero’s latest love interest, she is the hero. Star Wars upended its own franchise taking a page from movies like the Hunger Games, making the central hero a female.

It’s not called Star Wars for nothing – the Star Wars universe is in perpetual war. In wars some soldiers defect. They don’t always agree with what they are being asked to do. Some frag their commanding officers. The First Order, like the Empire before, is a totalitarian regime. That a soldier does not want to participate in mowing down the population of a village is not so surprising.

These old ideas may be challenged by the new characters, Rey and Finn, but in the end, we all just wanna know who Rey’s father is.

Page 8

In What Crazy System Does 62 Equal 3.6 Billion?

Feb 1, 2016

Just 62 individuals had the same wealth as 3.6 billion people in 2015 – the bottom half of humanity, according to Oxfam, an international organization against poverty. So, a very tiny minority – much, much less than one percent of the world’s population – has very extreme wealth.

These filthy rich people did not get rich by working extremely harder than other people. These people got rich by controlling social and economic power. For example, governments reduce taxes on rich people’s earnings and provide schemes for the rich to escape from paying taxes. Today, tax-safe havens, such as Cayman Islands, the Vatican and Ireland, enable the richest individuals to hide 7.6 trillion dollars, according to Oxfam.

Above all, such extreme wealth politically and legally empowers the rich to steal away the wealth created by working people. As a result, the great majority of people lose their income and benefits, and some their homes. Huge numbers of people are driven into poverty and their numbers are increasing every year. This happens because businesses cut working people’s income, increase prices and pay reduced taxes because of business tax breaks.

This is the face of capitalism staring at us. In this system, the rich rule. And income and wealth created by working people are sucked up, not trickled down.

Our world is not short of wealth and technology, nor above all of people. The size of the global economy has more than doubled over the past 30 years. In 2014, its value reached nearly 78 trillion.

That wealth belongs to all the working people who produced it – it needs to be claimed back from those who stole it.

Bernie Sanders:
A Democrat Defending Big Business

Feb 1, 2016

Bernie Sanders pretends he’s an “independent.” To prove it, he doesn’t register as a Democrat.

But in his 25 years in the House and Senate, he voted with the Democrats 98% of the time. Sanders poses as an opponent of U.S. wars, but he voted to fund every one of the many wars fought for U.S. corporations over these decades. In the last two years, he voted for the budget resolution supported by Republican and Democratic leaders, budgets that imposed big cuts on public services, social programs and education. And in 1996, he voted for Clinton’s “Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act”, which criminalized large numbers of the unemployed, particularly young black men.

The danger for working people is that Sanders will misuse the trust they put in him. He will pull their energy into a long primary campaign, only to pull them back into support for the Democratic Party and its nominee. In fact, he has already said he will support the Democratic Party nominee this time. He’s done that directly or indirectly ever since 1984.

Again, the workers need their own party – not a spiffed up version of a party that knows only how to serve the big corporations, banks and wealthy class that own them.

Trump’s Old Tricks to Capture Workers’ Support

Feb 1, 2016

“There is deep economic anxiety among our members and the people we’re trying to organize that I believe Donald Trump’s message is tapping into,” said Mary Kay Henry, the president of the SEIU (Service Employees International Union). She, like other top union officials, say they are concerned that Trump is gaining support from some rank-and-file members.

Certainly, Trump is a danger. By attacking Mexican and Muslim immigrants, as well as by demeaning women, he is dredging up and reinforcing longstanding prejudices and racist attitudes in some sections of the working class.

But Trump’s appeal to workers goes beyond open bigotry and misogyny. Trump appears to oppose the policies of politicians and government officials, blaming these policies for the loss of jobs in this country. He blames trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, for allowing and encouraging workers’ jobs to be shipped overseas. Trump also appears to take on a few big companies. He has denounced Ford and Nabisco by name for closing plants and laying off workers – supposedly because they are shipping “American” jobs to China and Mexico.

In reality, Trump repeats the same big lies that others have told for a long time – especially the officials who head the big unions in this country.

No, “foreign competition” is not what’s taking U.S. jobs. No, low wage workers in other countries are not taking U.S. workers’ jobs.

Instead, “our good old American” bosses right here at home have been taking workers’ jobs. They are driving workers to work longer and harder. They are squeezing ever more production out of a smaller and smaller workforce. And the bosses are turning ever more of the remaining jobs into temporary and part-time jobs that pay practically nothing.

All that talk from Trump about foreign competition simply covers over the class war here at home. Working people’s jobs and living standards are being plundered by the capitalist class in their mad drive to increase profit and their wealth ever more.

So, what alternative do the union officials offer workers who oppose Trump? Simply to vote for the Democrats one more time, the very same Democrats with their record of imposing attacks on working people in partnership with the Republicans. This plays into Trump’s hands, allowing him to claim he is new and different.

There is nothing new about Trump. He plays to the racism of too many white workers. And the worker who votes for Trump only harms himself and reinforces divisions inside the working class itself. The working class needs its own party – not another multi-billionaire who tries to resurrect one of the bosses’ two decrepit parties.