The Spark

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

Issue no. 1069 — November 12 - 26, 2018

Both Parties March to the Capitalists’ Beat

Nov 12, 2018

The two big parties, the Democrats and Republicans, traded seats in both houses of Congress in the November elections. The Democrats won enough seats in the U.S. House of Representatives to wrest control from the Republicans. Meanwhile, in the U.S. Senate the Republicans increased their majority by grabbing several seats from the Democrats.

Both parties pulled out the stops in order to try to get their voting bases out in a midterm election, which most working people don’t usually pay much attention to.

The Republicans, with Trump at their head, stoked reactionary and divisive rhetoric against black people, immigrants, women’s reproductive rights, unions, gay marriage, Jewish people and on and on.

In other words, the Republicans doubled down on what politicians call “wedge issues.” The Republicans tried to avoid discussing how much working peoples’ tax money they are giving away to big business and the wealthy through huge new tax breaks that they enacted last year. They also avoided discussing their plans to slash Social Security benefits, as well as Medicare and Medicaid health care benefits, in order to pay for these tax breaks.

How much better are the Democrats? Sure, the Democrats pretended to be more “inclusive.” They made a point of talking about how many of their candidates were women, black people, Latino, gay, Muslim – you name it.

But the Democrats doubled down on what politicians call “identity politics” in order to avoid addressing the huge social problems that all working people face in simple dollars and cents. For example, the Democrats could have campaigned to increase the miserably low federal minimum wage of $7.50 hour that 30 million workers depend on. Those low wage workers happen to be black, white, immigrant, Muslim, gay, women and men. They are part of the same class – the working class – and they have the same basic interests.

But the Democrats would rather discuss the “identity” of their candidates than raising the minimum wage, because the Democrats won’t even talk about anything that the capitalist class opposes.

The Democrats could have campaigned for massive cuts to military spending in order to pay for more funding for social programs, like education and health care, or for infrastructure spending, like roads, bridges, etc.

But the Democrats didn’t dare. Just last year the Democrats worked with the Republicans to push through massive military funding increases, hundreds of billions more than the Pentagon asked for! They did that to boost the profits of the military contractors, profits that are paid for by even more cuts to vital programs that workers, who are black, white, recent immigrants, Muslim, gay, women and men, all depend on.

Both parties carefully avoided promising working people anything substantial during the election campaign. Nice sounding promises could have gained votes. But the politicians didn’t even do that. That’s because both parties are preparing to try to impose more cuts, more sacrifices on the working class.

Both parties march to the beat set by the capitalist class.

Many more people voted this time compared to previous midterm elections. Nonetheless, most workers, especially amongst the poorest layers of the working class, did not vote. For many, this is due to demoralization and despair. But many others are just plain angry, and don’t buy all the lies.

They’re right. Voting is no protection.

Workers need answers. We need jobs that provide a decent standard of living. We need decent health care and education. And that’s just for starters.

Workers have only one way to get them. We have to organize and fight where we are: in the workplaces, on the streets, in the schools. We need to build our own political party, a working class party.

Pages 2-3

Stock Market:
Riding a Wild Bull

Nov 12, 2018

Last month, the stock market dropped like a rock. And that worried workers who had put some of their hard-earned savings in the market. Many watched online as their savings evaporated day after day.

Sure, there has been a small recovery since then. But for how long?

In fact, the stock market is a great big house of cards, built on record amounts of debt and all kinds of other corporate scams.

It’s just like a giant casino run by finance firms and banks, which seduces customers with the hope of making easy money. But in the end, the house always wins – by taking all our money – before the whole thing crumbles.

Superfund Super Mess

Nov 12, 2018

It has been 70 years since the Manhattan Project ended, in 1947, leaving behind radioactive waste and toxic gases from the building of the atom bomb. This year the EPA finally decided on a proposal to remove some of the radioactive waste left behind in Bridgeton, Missouri.

Many in the area, a suburb of St. Louis, didn’t know they were living near a superfund waste site. What they knew about was bad smells and a never-ending fire.

While the Trump administration proposes to cut the EPA staff that oversees Superfund clean-ups, it is almost 30 years since the waste dump was designated a superfund site. That means both Democratic and Republican administrations have left these sites to rot, to threaten residents nearby.

How many other superfund sites around the country are also waiting for experts and funding to clean them up? And if the radioactive waste is removed from Missouri, where is it going, where it is safe for people in other states?

The U.S. government created the mess. Following the planning and building of nuclear bombs, it sold the land to private companies, and now the responsibility belongs to nobody.

This capitalist system leaves health problems and cancer up to individuals to cope with.

Water Shutoffs Hitting Millions in the U.S.

Nov 12, 2018

An estimated 15 million Americans had the water to their homes shut off in 2016, according to the watchdog organization Food and Water Watch. Seventy-three of the largest water providers across the country had shut off 5 percent of their residential customers, on average. Food and Water Watch used this information to come up with their estimate for the country as a whole.

It’s not hard to see why so many people can’t afford to pay their water bills. In cities like Detroit and New Orleans, water bills typically run $1,000 a year, which for the poorest fifth of households amounts to 9 percent of their income, according to Food and Water Watch.

Getting reconnected after a shutoff only adds to the problem, since many utilities charge an additional fee to do so. It’s no wonder that 900 Detroit homes went without water for at least three months after their shutoffs, according to another survey by the Center for Michigan.

These shutoffs are a direct result of a decades long attack on the working class. The federal government has cut funding to water and sewer systems by 74 percent since 1977, at the same time that household income has dropped, when both are adjusted for inflation.

A researcher at Michigan State University recently predicted that 36 percent of American households will not be able to pay their water bills by 2022, if things are allowed to continue as they are.

That’s an accurate prediction in a society in which everything is for sale, including water, which is one of the most basic of human needs. To have what we need to survive – everything that everyone needs – will take a fight.

Bolsonaro Elected in Brazil:
A Result of the Crisis and the Failure of the Left in Power

Nov 12, 2018

The following article was translated from Lutte Ouvrière, the newspaper of the French revolutionary workers group of that name.

On October 22, with 55% of the vote, Jair Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil. After having vegetated for 28 years on the sidelines of the national assembly, this retired Captain has made part of the population believe that his election can lead to a solution to their most urgent problems.

Bolsonaro based a big part of his campaign on demagogy about security, calling for the liberalization of gun sales and for harsher repression against all sorts of criminals. Violence poisons the lives of all Brazilians, and especially people who live in the favelas, the poorest neighborhoods. But this violence is the product of an extremely unequal society, where the police and justice system are openly on the side of the rich, where 60,000 people die from violence every year.

At the same time that he adopted the pistol quick-draw as his signature move, Bolsonaro posed as a “good man,” defender of morality, of patriotism, of religion, of propriety, with the support of the omnipresent evangelical churches, as well as the agricultural and industrial lobbies. He played on all the most reactionary, heinous prejudices, against Indians, black people, feminists, and homosexuals.

Standing for the most anti-communist far-right positions, Bolsonaro promised to machine-gun the “rabble of the Workers Party” and to “clean” Brazilian society of any partisans of the Venezuelan regime of Chavez and Maduro. Social protections, or landless peasants illegally occupying unused lands of the big owners, or anything that appeared even close to being of the left, however moderate, Bolsonaro labeled as part of the “red spectre” of collectivism. To perfect his image as a strong man, he draped himself with all the “virtues” of the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil from 1964-1984, carrying out bloody repression.

Bolsonaro’s election does not mean that the majority of the population in this country of 210 million people has become misogynist, homophobic, and nostalgic for the dictatorship. The victory of this politician of the extreme right expresses a massive rejection of the whole political class, left and right, mixed up in the same hatred.

This rejection is in the first place targeted at the Workers Party (PT) of Lula. He came to power in 2003, promising an honest government that would operate in the interests of the poorer layers of the population. Profiting from a favorable economic context, he put in place social programs that somewhat ameliorated the situation of the poorest people, but without really changing Brazilian society, which remained one of the most unequal in Latin America.

The PT acted as a loyal manager of the affairs of the Brazilian bourgeoisie. When Brazil was hit by the economic crisis in 2014, the PT made the working class and the poor pay for it. The 13 million unemployed and the return of inflation pushed many middle class people into the streets, fearing for their standard of living because their salaries, jobs and income were threatened. Corruption scandals in which the PT was implicated, following the example of the parties of the right, discredited it. Those who demonstrated by the millions in 2015 against the price of public transit, and in 2016 against the PT president Dilma Rousseff, expressed their discontent at the polls by voting for Bolsonaro.

After being around for thirty years, the PT has disappointed and demoralized its working class base, to the point that workers gave their votes to an open enemy of the workers. In the state of Sao Paulo, where the PT was created, its candidate, Haddad, got 16% in the first round and 32% in the second, against 53% and 68% for Bolsonaro. And in the city of Sao Bernardo – with more than 700,000 people, 300,000 of them wage workers with about 130,000 metal workers, site of the big auto plants, fief of the PT where Lula was an organizer and where he lived – Bolsonaro got 46% in the first round, 60% in the second, compared to 24% and 40% for Haddad.

Bolsonaro’s election is a political consequence of the economic crisis and its brutal aggravation. But it is also the result of the failures and treason of the left in power. Lula, the PT, as well as all the political forces which presented them as the only hope for the poor, bear a heavy responsibility for the extreme right taking power in Brazil.

The working class was capable in the past of carrying out important and determined struggles to defend its interests, even in the very difficult conditions of the military dictatorship. It continues to be the only force capable of offering a perspective to Brazil’s exploited.

FCA’s “Extraordinary” Dividends
– An Ordinary Capitalist Rip-off

Nov 12, 2018

Fiat Chrysler announced that in the 3 months from July to September – the third quarter – it made 640 million dollars. Over a year’s time, that would come to about 2.6 billion dollars in profit.

FCA also announced it will distribute 2.2 BILLION DOLLARS as an “extraordinary” dividend to stockholders.

In other words, it plans to hand out almost an entire year’s worth of profit as “extraordinary” dividends, not to mention what it hands out as regular dividends to the same stockholders!

What Fiat Chrysler is doing shows the corporations are little more than a way to transfer more and more wealth to the wealthy. Their profits come from exploitation of the workers’ labor and virtually all of it goes to the benefit of wealthy stockholders!

Pages 4-5

November 1918:
The End of a War Which Foretold Other Wars to Come

Nov 12, 2018

One hundred years ago, on November 11, 1918, fighting stopped on the Western Front. Soldiers stopped hearing the roar of cannons, and stopped fearing for their lives. The First World War which had begun in August 1914 had cost more than 10 million soldiers’ lives, turned whole populations into refugees, destroyed towns, villages, and farmland.

What was the reason for this butchery? There are still historians today who explain it as an irrational explosion of counterposed nationalisms, as if the war had not been prepared for a long time by the various states, driven by very precise economic interests and objectives.

A Prepared and Predictable War

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife by a young Serbian nationalist on June 28, 1914 was nothing but the trigger that set off the already loaded gun to start the world war. Austria sent an ultimatum to Serbia, once it had the assurance that Germany would back Austria up. The Russian government made contact with its allies, France and Britain. One month later, on August 4, the war started. It would last more than four years. In May 1915, after hesitating, Italy entered the war on the side of England, France, and Russia.

This war which would cut down not only the European populations, but also Americans and many people from the colonial countries, was at root caused by the rivalries among the big European imperialist powers, Britain, France, Germany, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This was the period before the U.S. had moved in to dominate the world, when the U.S. really controlled only its “backyard” of Latin America plus the islands of the Philippines. Britain and France between them had conquered and colonized almost the whole continent of Africa and most of Asia, not to speak of Canada and Australia. They had carved up “independent” countries like China into zones of control. The British and French denied German industries and banks access to these territories, in other words, to most of the world. In order to redivide these immense territories dominated by Britain and France, Germany had no recourse but the force of arms.

The Reaction of the Workers’ Parties

Everyone could feel this war coming in advance, and it was one of the main preoccupations of the workers and the socialist parties. But after the declaration of war, the big majority of socialist workers’ parties in each country fell in line to serve their own respective states, in the name of defense of the fatherland.

This was treason to their own ideas and to the working class. Before the war, these parties had called on workers to prepare to stop the fighting by concerted action in all countries. Only a minority of socialists in the imperialist countries – most notably the Bolsheviks, one of two fractions of the Russian socialist party – refused to capitulate and remained steadfastly under the banner of internationalism. (In the U.S., socialist militants like Eugene Debs and hundreds of unnamed IWW militants continued to oppose the war – despite prison, lynchings and terror used against them.)

Lenin and the Bolsheviks argued for the working class to transform the imperialist war into a class war against the bourgeoisie that had caused the conflict, in order to overthrow it and put the workers in power. In 1917, this is exactly what happened. In Russia, the revolution brought to power the councils of workers, soldiers, and peasants: the soviets. The government that came out of the October revolution immediately announced its intention to negotiate peace, which was concluded on March 3, 1918. These events in Russia reverberated across all of Europe, where more and more people were turning against the war.

The Revolutionary Wave

After the United States – already the biggest financial and industrial power in the world – entered the war on the side of Britain and France, Germany’s defeat was only a matter of weeks. The continuation of the war, in particular the German offensives of July-August 1918, appeared to those in the trenches, the ports, and factories as a hopeless massacre, especially when the population was exhausted. Mutinies, strikes, and desertions multiplied during the month of August 1918. At the beginning of November, the sailors at the German port of Kiel refused to go into combat. The German revolution began. Austria, Germany, and their allies capitulated, one after another.

The armistice of November, 1918 did not end the fighting, however. Beginning at the end of 1917, another war had started. French troops based on the Balkan front and in Eastern Europe were turned against the Soviet Union and the revolutions that had begun in many countries in Europe, as well as against uprisings that had started in the Middle East.

The U.S. emerged from World War I as an increasingly dominant imperialist power throughout the world. The war resulted in a redivision of the world to satisfy the ambitions of British, French, and U.S. imperialisms. But its settlement laid the groundwork for the next war, that would start in just two decades.

What Memorial?

The two World Wars were not accidents, nor the consequences of dangerous policies, but the inevitable result of conflicts between rival imperialisms. The French socialist Jean Jaurès expressed this historical destiny clearly: “capitalism brings war like clouds bring the storm.” This is still true today, and will be true as long as this system remains.

The militarism developed within their populations by the imperialist states is not only aimed at giving the states the means to fight each other, but also to engage their populations to serve their goals of pillage throughout the world. The only way out for the populations engaged in an imperialist war by their state is to turn the war into a war to overthrow their own bourgeoisie.

The workers, the youth, must watch out for the patriotic declarations of their governments as for the plague, and battle against the xenophobic and nationalist politics that lay the groundwork for conflicts to come.

Eugene Debs on War

Nov 12, 2018

As World War I approached, Eugene Debs began to denounce the growing pro-war propaganda in this country. He tied that war, as he was always to do, to the class war going on inside the country. “I do not know of any foreign buccaneers that could come nearer skinning American workers to the bone than is now being done by the Rockefellers and their pirate pals. The workers have no country to fight for. It belongs to the capitalists and the plutocrats. Let them worry over its defense, and when they declare wars as they and they alone do, let them also go out and slaughter one another on the battlefield.”

In 1916, running for Congress from Terre Haute, Indiana, he was asked if he opposed all wars. Debs was not one to evade the political issue. He declared, “I am not a capitalist solider; I am a proletarian revolutionist.... I am opposed to every war but one; I am for that war with heart and soul and that is the world-wide war of social revolution. In that war I am prepared to fight in any way the ruling class may make necessary, even to the barricades.”

In the Canton, Ohio speech on June 16, 1918, for which he was finally arrested, he called on the working class audience to stand up for themselves with these words:

“They have always taught and trained you to believe it to be your patriotic duty to go to war and to have yourselves slaughtered at their command. But in all the history of the world you, the people, have never had a voice in declaring war, and strange as it certainly appears, no war by any nation in any age has ever been declared by the people.

“And here let me emphasize the fact – and it cannot be repeated too often – that the working class who fight all the battles, the working class who make the supreme sacrifices, the working class who freely shed their blood and furnish the corpses, have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that invariably does both. They alone declare war and they alone make peace.

“You need at this time especially to know that you are fit for something better than slavery and cannon fodder. You need to know that you were not created to work and produce and impoverish yourself to enrich an idle exploiter. You need to know that you have a mind to improve, a soul to develop, and a manhood to sustain.

“You need to know that it is your duty to rise above the animal plane of existence. You need to know that it is for you to know something about literature and science and art. You need to know that you are verging on the edge of a great new world. You need to get in touch with your comrades and fellow workers and to become conscious of your interests, your powers and your possibilities as a class. You need to know that you belong to the great majority of mankind.

“You need to know that as long as you are ignorant, as long as you are indifferent, as long as you are apathetic, unorganized and content, you will remain exactly where you are. You will be exploited, you will be degraded, and you will have to beg for a job. You will get just enough for your slavish toil to keep you in working order, and you will be looked down upon with scorn and contempt by the very parasites that live and luxuriate out of your sweat and unpaid labor....”

On September 14, 1918, to the judge who sentenced him to federal prison for giving that speech, Eugene V. Debs declared: “...while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.... In the struggle, the unceasing struggle between the toilers and producers and their exploiters, I have tried to serve those among whom I was born, with whom I expect to share my lot until the end of my days.... I am thinking this morning of the men in the mills and the factories; I am thinking of the women who, for a paltry wage, are compelled to work out their lives; of the little children who, in this system, are robbed of their childhood.... I never more clearly comprehended than now the great struggle between the powers of greed on the one hand and upon the other the rising hosts of freedom. I can see the dawn of a better day for humanity. The people are awakening. In due course of time they will come into their own.

“I have no disposition to deny anything that is true.... I admit being opposed to the present form of government. I admit being opposed to the present social system. I am doing what little I can, and have been for many years, to bring about a change that shall do away with the rule over the great body of people by a relatively small class and establish in this country an industrial and social democracy.

“It may be that the much-despised Bolsheviks may fail at last, but let me say to you that they have written a chapter of glorious history. It will stand to their eternal credit.

“Years ago, I declared that there was only one war in which I would enlist and that was the war of the workers of the world against the exploiters of the world. I declared moreover that the working class has no interest in the wars declared and waged by the ruling classes of the various countries upon one another for conquest and spoils. That is my position today.”

Pages 6-7

Election Day Is One Day Every Two Years – Our Struggle Needs to Be Every Day!

Nov 12, 2018

The following is the editorial from the workplace newsletters of November 5, 2018, written and printed just before the election.

Even before we see the results of this year’s election, one thing is crystal clear. This election has not addressed our basic problem: our families’ standard of living continues to get worse.

Yes, Trump bragged that unemployment officially went down – it did under Obama, too. But in neither case, did we get the jobs we need. The jobs workers lost in 2007-09 were replaced by lower-wage jobs, by temporary jobs, by part-time jobs. Jobs with few or even no benefits. And many people are still without a job – more than nine years after this so-called “recovery” started.

How dare anyone call this a “recovery” – when the working class hasn’t recovered?

The average income in the country may have inched up a notch. But that’s only because a very tiny group of wealthy people at the top increased their income so enormously that the overall average income went up. But averages are nothing but a con game, tricked out to hide this fact: the wages of most people are going down. And compared to inflation, our wages are lower than they were in the 1970s.

In other words, each new generation of workers is living less well than did their parents – even while the very wealthy class has become four, even five times wealthier than ever before.

What kind of society would allow such an evil thing to happen?

This is what should have been discussed in the election campaign. But neither Democrat nor Republican talked about it. They BOTH serve the wealthy class that benefits from the way things run.

But we have to look at what is happening, discuss why capitalism runs the way it does, why corporations push to drive down wages and cut jobs, why profit takes precedence over human life.

Instead, Trump looked for scapegoats. He denounced the caravan of migrants to divert attention from the cause of our problems.

Who are those migrants? They are working people, just like us, trying to escape the poverty imposed on their countries by big U.S. agricultural companies. They are trying to escape the violence carried out by dictatorial regimes armed by the U.S. government. They are trying to escape the violence of drug lords and human smugglers whose gangs impose despotic rule on the banana and vegetable plantations owned by U.S. businesses.

What kind of vile substitute for a human being would pretend that such impoverished people are an invading army? What monster would propose to shoot them down like dogs?

The Democrats may pretend to be shocked by Trump’s language. They certainly hope that enough people are turned off by his inhumanity that the vote will go Democratic. But they haven’t taken up the basic problem: capitalism’s drive for profit is destroying jobs and wages in the U.S. – and in the countries the migrants come from.

There will be no answer to our problems until we recognize the cause of our problems, and seek to bring our own class together.

The only time working people really improved their situation is when they struggled, when they came out in the streets, massively.

Capitalists raised wages only when enough workers fought to make them do it – or when the companies feared a workers’ revolt.

Capitalists decreased the hours of work – without cutting workers’ wages – only when the struggles of working people forced the issue.

But it’s not enough to struggle – we have to take on the whole capitalist system itself. Otherwise, profit reasserts itself at our expense.

This is the reality we face, elections or no elections. To change this reality depends on us, only on us, the working people of every country.

Sparrows Point, Maryland:
“Redevelopment” Subsidy?

Nov 12, 2018

Baltimore County officials announced they will propose giving 87 million dollars of public subsidies to Tradepoint Atlantic for infrastructure improvements at Sparrows Point. Tradepoint bought all the mills and land in 2014 after RG Steel – the last owner of the mills – went bankrupt in 2012.

Tradepoint sold some of the steel-making equipment at “The Point” to other companies, tore down and sold the rest for scrap, and has been gradually leasing out the five square miles of land where Bethlehem Steel’s giant mill stood for over 100 years. They call this “redevelopment.”

Already FedEx, Amazon, Under Armour, Pasha Automotive auto-importing and other smaller companies have operations there, with much of the land yet to be leased out.

After Bethlehem Steel declared bankruptcy in 2001, every time the Sparrows Point mills were sold to new owners starting from Bethlehem (U.S.-owned) to International Steel Group/ ISG (U.S.), to Severstal (Russian-owned), then Arcelor-Mittal (Indian-owned), RG Steel (U.S.), and finally Tradepoint Atlantic itself, hundreds of millions of dollars were made. At the same time thousands of workers were laid off, stripped of all or part of their pensions and all of their company-subsidized health insurance, while the wages and benefits of the remaining active workers were reduced.

Years ago, the short-lived ISG was disbanded. All its mills, like Sparrows Point, were sold off to other companies or closed. Its founder and owner, Wilbur Ross, moved on to other things, including currently serving as President Trump’s Secretary of Commerce.

Arcelor-Mittal is now the biggest steel company in the world with operations in 60 countries.

So plenty of steel is still being made in this country – actually more than ever before – just not at “The Point” and other mills around the country that were shuttered.

Tradepoint now wants the tax-payers of Baltimore County, including thousands of retired Bethlehem steelworkers still living in the area on reduced pensions and health care, and tens of thousands of their children and grand-children, to subsidize the profits made off “The Point”. The politicians and the bosses of Tradepoint claim that this is the way to bring prosperity back to workers in the area.

This is just the continuation of wealthy bosses and bankers of the world enriching themselves at the expense of the working class.

Thousands of workers in the Baltimore area and elsewhere certainly need jobs – decent-paying jobs with good benefits. All the companies moving operations onto Sparrows Point can afford to provide such jobs, as well as Tradepoint Atlantic itself.

But no company will do this for the workers out of the “goodness of their hearts.” They seek only to make more money from workers’ labor. It still depends on what people do.

Page 8

California Elections:
A Barrage of Tax Increases

Nov 12, 2018

Nearly a dozen cities in Los Angeles County placed sales tax increases on the November 7 ballot. And city officials were joined by several local school boards, who put their own bond measures and property parcel taxes on the ballot.

Since Los Angeles County also put a parcel tax on the ballot to clean up and recycle stormwater, voters in some cities were faced with three tax increases on the same ballot. And these tax increases come on top of similar increases in recent years – the sales tax increases, for example, will bring the sales tax to 10% or more in the cities in question.

It’s the usual extortion by officials, who give voters the “choice” of paying more taxes or not having essential city services.

Officials say they don’t have a choice because the state has reduced its funding – despite an 8.8-billion-dollar surplus in the last state budget signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in May. Brown said he would keep 7.6 billion dollars, or 86 percent, of the surplus in reserve for a “rainy day”! But city and school district leaders play the same kind of game themselves. Ongoing negotiations between the Los Angeles School District and the L.A. teachers’ union, for example, revealed that the district is sitting on 1.9 billion dollars in cash reserves, while telling teachers it does not have enough money for reducing class size and giving teachers adequate raises.

The “rainy day” these state, city and school officials talk about is the day when they will hand those cash reserves to big corporations in overpriced contracts, subsidies and tax cuts. And it’s working-class people who pay for these handouts, in higher taxes and cuts in the services they depend on.

Big K Fighting to Keep Profits Big

Nov 12, 2018

Kaiser joined three other hospitals in the Bay Area to fight two local ballot measures, which wanted to put a 15-percent cap on hospital profits. As of October 20, Kaiser and the other three hospitals had spent close to 5 million dollars toward defeating the measures.

Kaiser may be registered as a “non-profit” company, but Kaiser bosses fight for bigger profits as hard as any other boss.

Working Class Party Results

Nov 12, 2018

The results for Working Class Party in Michigan have now all been reported. They are as follows, by order of district:

Kathy Goodwin (5th Congressional District) – 12,645 votes or 4.57%;

Andrea Kirby (9th Congressional District) – 6,862 votes or 2.25%;

Gary Walkowicz (12th Congressional District) – 6,691 votes or 2.29%;

Sam Johnson (13th Congressional District) – 21,978 votes or 11.35%;

Philip Kolody (14th Congressional District) – 4,702 votes or 1.80%;

Hali McEachern (3rd State Senate District) – 2,089 votes or 2.93%;

Larry Betts (5th State Senate District) – 3,879 votes or 4.35%;

Thomas Repasky (18th State Senate District) – 2,954 votes or 2.34%;

Louis Palus (29th State Senate District) – 1,313 votes or 1.20%.

For State Board of Education, which is a state-wide vote:

Mary Anne Hering – 125,171 votes or 1.74%, and

Logan R. Smith – 90,670 votes or 1.26%.

The Working Class Party issued the following statement, which was posted Wednesday morning, November 7, on

“Our results may be small when compared to the results of the two major parties, but they show, once again, that Working Class Party was able to find a response in part of the working class.

“With little money and only voluntary labor, we were able not only to maintain our electorate, but to expand on it into more districts than two years ago. In 2016, we had candidates in only two congressional districts, this time we had five; and we had four state senate candidates in 2018 for the first time. With candidates in Flint and Grand Rapids, as well as the northern suburbs of Detroit, we were able to expand geographically as well.

“In 2016, Mary Anne Hering was the only Working Class Party candidate for State Board of Education. This year our two candidates came in first and third out of the seven candidates from minor parties on the ballot. Once again, the results guarantee that Working Class Party will be able to appear on the 2020 ballot, as the result of our votes for the State Board of Education.

“When we said that the working class isn't represented in the elections, that we need our own party, we found a sizable number who agreed with us, including many who nonetheless said they had no choice but to vote for one of the major parties – for “practical” reasons. But despite a vicious campaign marked by Trump's attempt to dredge up every prejudice, and by the Democrats' attempt to appear as the party of “change,” there continue to be people who understand that working people will have no future until the working class organizes politically to fight for itself. For those people who agree that the working class must have its own party, and that it will have to fight to get it, Working Class Party on the ballot gave them a way to express what they think.”

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