The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

Issue no. 1087 — August 19 - September 2, 2019

GE, Corporate Fraud, and the Impending Economic Crisis

Aug 19, 2019

GE, a major company that makes everything from jet engines and power plants to high tech machinery and industrial equipment, complete with its own bank, could be on the verge of collapse under a mountain of bad debt. This is the conclusion of a 177-page report released by Harry Markopolos, a corporate whistle blower.

The report shows how GE management hid massive losses by taking on enormous debts, while draining tens of billions of dollars every year in order to further enrich its top shareholders and executives. According to Markopolos, GE is a much bigger fraud than Enron, a very large company whose collapse two decades ago was a part of a much bigger crisis.

Markopolos admitted that he is working with a group of speculators who are placing big bets against GE. The worse GE does, the more money Markopolos and his allies stand to make. But both the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced several months ago that they have been investigating GE for fraud, among other crimes.

If GE were an isolated case it wouldn’t be a huge problem. But companies throughout the economy have been taking on record amounts of debt in order to increase their payouts to the biggest stockholders and executives. So, any small fall in business, any small downturn in the economy could threaten a complete collapse of not just GE, but of much bigger companies.

None of these big companies operate in a vacuum. They are all connected to each other, to the whole financial system and the rest of the economy. Look at what happened during the last big financial crisis 10 years ago. The collapse of two bellwether banks, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, almost took down the entire economy.

A new day of reckoning could be fast approaching. Business is already beginning to contract in important parts of the economy, including in housing, manufacturing production and corporate investment. The ever more wild swings in the capitalists’ own speculative markets, such as in stocks and bonds, are all harbingers of a new panic, a new crisis. And since debt levels today are much higher than they were 10 years ago, a new crisis threatens to be much worse, much more destructive.

Over the last 10 years, the drive to increase their profits has led the capitalist class to continually attack the working class. Non-stop corporate cost cutting means no job is safe. New work is farmed out to low wage contractors, or else it is kept in-house for temps. Generations of workers have not experienced a regular, full-time job. And certainly no new jobs come with the same wages and benefits that better off parts of the workforce used to take for granted, like regular pensions and health care coverage. Low wages and a precarious existence have become the norm for increasing layers of the working class.

In other words, to assure their profits, companies go after the workforce with a vengeance. When the next crisis hits, it will be worse. The capitalists already prepare to compound this disaster by using demagogues to fan the flames of racism, prejudice and xenophobia, trying to foment a war to divide the workers.

We have no choice but to organize and fight back. We have no choice but to break down all the barriers which the capitalists use to divide, divert and weaken the working class.

But we cannot stop there. We will have to recognize what history has put in front of us: capitalism is an old, worn-out system that survives by feeding on the rest of society, cannibalizing everything that was built up and achieved.

The working class has every interest to take the power away from the capitalists. And we have the power to do it. We produce everything and make society run. We are in the perfect position to make it run not only for us, but for all of humanity.

Pages 2-3

Harford County, Maryland Schools:
No Pay to Play!

Aug 19, 2019

Public high schools in Harford County, Maryland, near Baltimore, charge thousands of students 100 dollars for playing a varsity or junior varsity sport or acting in the drama club. This fee hits working class families the hardest, and comes on top of all the other expenses public school parents face.

The district insists it needs the half a million dollars the fee collects – but the schools only lack money because the county gives big tax breaks to big businesses! The “enterprise zone” property tax credit alone slices more than a million dollars from county revenues, for the benefit of dozens of companies like Frito Lay.

This playbook has to go!

California District Admits It Segregates Schools

Aug 19, 2019

The California Attorney General got the Sausalito Marin City school district near San Francisco to admit that it has been segregating schools.

One of the district’s two schools, Willow Creek Academy, is in Sausalito, a wealthy, mostly white suburb of San Francisco. The other, Bayside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Academy, is in neighboring Marin City, which has a mostly working-class, and mostly Black and Latino population.

In 2012, the district gave Willow Creek to a charter school company to run, which meant that Willow Creek would receive extra money from the district. At the time, people in the community told the school board that this amounted to racial segregation, because parents in Sausalito would send their children to the better-funded charter school near their homes, leaving the neglected Bayside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School to Marin City’s mainly non-white and poorer community.

But the school board went ahead with the plan anyway.

Denied adequate funding, the Bayside school has since suffered cuts in music, art and physical education, and has ended up without a qualified math teacher, a full-time counselor or a pre-kindergarten program.

Today the Attorney General may be bragging about how he stood up to racial injustice, but in fact, Sausalito with its two schools is a tiny drop in the bucket. Schools across the state – and country – are obviously segregated just as much as in this district. If the California Attorney General were serious about fighting racism in education, he would go after segregated school districts across the state, starting with the biggest cities like Los Angeles. But he would rather pose as an anti-racist than actually do anything about it.

Jeffrey Epstein:
The Real Conspiracy

Aug 19, 2019

Uber-rich pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s death in his jail cell certainly smells fishy. It was officially ruled a suicide. But given all the dirt he potentially had on powerful people, including President Trump and Bill Clinton, Epstein’s supposed suicide while prison guards were sleeping seems a bit too convenient.

We’ll probably never know for sure if there was a conspiracy to kill Epstein.

But we DO know for sure that Epstein was at the center of a conspiracy of powerful men to rape teenage girls.

According to witness statements and Manhattan prosecutors, Epstein lured dozens of teenage girls as young as 14 into performing sex acts with him and his guests at his mansions in New York City and Palm Beach, Florida. Once recruited, they were groomed to return again and again, to have sex with him and powerful people around him.

Police knew about this for years, yet Epstein was protected by his powerful connections. In 2008, he pleaded guilty to “prostitution” charges in Florida and spent only 13 months in a local jail – but he was allowed to leave jail for 12 hours every day for “work!”

Beyond Trump and Clinton, Epstein was also linked to a whole layer of rich Wall Street types and their politician cronies. Dozens of powerful people undoubtably knew about his crimes, and dozens more helped him avoid the consequences.

These powerful people are a slice of this country’s ruling class. Their participation in and protection of the systematic rape of young girls shows this capitalist ruling class exactly for what it is.

Hong Kong:
The Mobilization and the Interests of the Workers

Aug 19, 2019

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

The demonstrations in Hong Kong have brought together hundreds of thousands of people for two months, and on August 5, according to the press and the unions, a layer of workers supported the movement with a strike.

According to the unions, the strike was a success in this city where worker mobilizations are rare. Present in the demonstrations on Friday, August 2, government workers also stopped work on Monday. They were joined by workers from diverse sectors, including the transit system, the movie industry, and even the Disneyland theme park. The strike was also joined by airport workers.

Hong Kong is a financial center that Chinese and Western capital flows through, with immense inequality. It has a relatively large middle class, and it is essentially this social class that has been mobilized for months to oppose a law allowing Hong Kong residents to be extradited to China.

On June 15, during the growth of these demonstrations, the government partially gave in and suspended its plans for the new law. But the mobilization continues. The demonstrators have demanded the complete abandonment of this legal project and the removal of Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is a remnant of the immense British colonial empire. It is an island of wealth in a sea of poverty. The bourgeoisie, small and large, enjoys a level of freedom and privilege, the maintenance of which is the real objective of this arm wrestling with the Chinese authorities.

The day before the strike, Dennis Ng Wang-pun, President of the Chinese Manufacturers Association of Hong Kong, threatened people not to participate: “Do you think the government will kneel down? If I was the government, I would only get tougher.” Inevitably, if the workers bring their own weapons and their own perspectives to bear, they will have to contend not only with the Chinese authorities, but also with this Hong Kong bourgeoisie.

In mainland China, the Beijing authorities have tried to minimize the size of the Hong Kong mobilization since its beginning, and to more tightly censor social media. The authorities fear that this mobilization could spread to the millions of harshly exploited Chinese workers, beginning with those found just a few dozen miles from Hong Kong, in the province of Guangdong, one of the most industrialized in the country. Their mobilization could offer entirely different perspectives, not only in China, but also in Hong Kong itself.

Teachers Fear the Heat

Aug 19, 2019

The Baltimore Teachers Union has been collecting cooling fans – and money for fans – to be used in school classrooms and offices. About 50 schools – almost one-third of all the public schools in the city – still lack proper heating and cooling even after years of protests by students, parents and teachers. As the climate gets warmer and warmer, conditions in schools without cooling systems can be more and more life-threatening.

According to officials, the school system is facing a 3-billion-dollar backlog in school upgrades, repairs, and new construction. It is only halfway through a 5-year-plan that is supposed to provide functioning heating, cooling and roofs that don’t leak to about two dozen schools.

City and state politicians have blathered about the disastrous condition of Baltimore schools for years. But for many decades, the schools have been underfunded in order to provide more money for lucrative, high-profit, sometimes no-bid, contracts – and for tax breaks and other subsidies to rich developers, corporations and banks.

The teachers are right to call attention to the deplorable state of many Baltimore schools. It’s a disgusting system when teachers have to use extraordinary measures to keep their students alive!

Paid to Hear Trump

Aug 19, 2019

About 5,000 workers at an unfinished Royal Dutch Shell plant in Pennsylvania went to hear Trump talk on August 13th. Turns out, the construction contractors paid them to be there.

If they didn’t go, they either had to take one of their paid days off – or go without pay – and lose overtime pay for the last day of the week.

A supervisor for one of the contractors wrote to workers banning yelling, protesting, or “anything viewed as resistance” to Trump, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

To listen to Trump? Workers should get quadruple time and a half for that!

Pages 4-5

Gary Walkowicz Speech:
El Paso and Dayton – The Right Wing Shows its Hand

Aug 19, 2019

The following is the first speech given during the political part of the 39th Annual SPARK Summer Festival held in Detroit in August. The two speeches were the political focus of the Festival. In addition, there was a range of other things for people to do.

Workers and their families from throughout the Detroit Metro area, as well as friends of SPARK from other cities where SPARK exists, enjoyed BBQ chicken, Polish sausage and all the fixings of a full picnic meal; over a hundred people danced the afternoon away at the big pavilion.

People could come in and just eat and relax and listen to music at the Blues and Jazz tent; they could sign up and play in a bid whist tournament or try their hand at a game of chess.

Anyone who wanted to know about the stressors that cause high blood pressure, and what could be done, found answers in the Science Hall of Discovery.

People brought their kids and grandkids - and great grandkids! – and everything from “slime” to sack races kept the kids’ attention in the organized children’s area. Or people tried out their artistic skills at the Everyone is an Artist area. Those who wanted to be more active played horseshoes, volleyball, and pick-up basketball. For those who wanted “food for thought,” the Literature tent offered a large selection of books at reasonable prices as well as the SPARK newspaper and journal, and workplace newsletters.

And, finally, as an antidote to the stress of everyday life in this society, towards the end of the Festival, people could laugh and sing along with the SPARK Sunday Night Live comedy troupe, followed by the children’s dance contest.

Something for everyone was to be found at this 39th Annual SPARK Festival. And the contributions and attendance of more than 300 workers from Blue Cross, the State of Michigan, Chrysler, Ford, and many other workplaces made it a really enjoyable and harmonious working class event!

Gary Walkowicz Speech:

Last weekend, massacres were committed in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. 22 people were murdered in El Paso by a white supremacist who drove from Dallas to El Paso, planning to kill Hispanic people and anyone who got in the way. Just before he began his massacre, the murderer posted a statement of white supremacist and anti-immigrant hatred.

In Dayton, it’s not as clear. Maybe it was racist killings; the murderer was white and six of the nine people he killed were black. But most of the victims were also women, including the killer’s sister, and the killer had earlier planned to carry out violence against women.

This violence did not come out of the brain of two sick individuals. As individuals, they may have been sick. But the violence has been prepared for and even called for by right-wing forces in this country. All of these attitudes – anti-immigrant, racist against black people, misogynist against women – are being pushed by the extreme right wing today. And it’s these attitudes that have fueled the violence.

This country has a long history of violence organized by the right wing. Black people have long faced the brunt of violence in this country. But they are not the only ones. When working people, black or white, tried to do something, including working class militants and poor farmers, they often faced violence from the right-wing.

Black people pushed back the right-wing – that is, the KKK – during the years of the civil rights movement, during the rebellions in the cities and with armed self-defense by parts of the black population. Working class militants during periods of union organizing or during big strikes had to defend themselves from right-wing violence. So did farmers during the populist period, and sharecroppers, black and white, during the 1930s. And during these periods when people organized to defend themselves, the violence receded, the right-wing hid itself.

But right-wing violence is once again raising its dirty head because the forces that could throw it back have been quiet for decades.

But this violence is also being encouraged today – promoted, aided and abetted by the current occupant of the White House, Donald Trump.

During his years as an underhanded real estate speculator, Trump used every corrupt and shady means he could find to make a buck. During his campaign for president, Trump tried to appeal to white workers and rural whites, demonizing immigrants, denigrating black people in his quest for votes. Today Trump’s racism is front and center in the White House, and he has the weight of the federal government behind him.

Every time he tweets about a political opponent, Trump does so in the most vile language. When he attacked four new congresswomen, Trump said they should “go back to where they came from” – in other words, saying that because they came from different countries or different cultures they shouldn’t be here. Black people can recognize those same words because racists used them for years, saying if you don’t like it here, go back to Africa.

Trump’s words encourage nativist ideas in the population. At his recent campaign rally in North Carolina, he led the chant of the crowd, yelling “send them back.”

Trump rants against immigrants from Mexico and Central America, calling them “invaders and rapists.” It’s an idea that comes straight out of the history of this country, as though the only real Americans are so-called “white” Christians. The same attack was made against every immigrant group that came here after the ones who came from England: Scandinavian, German, Chinese, Irish, Italian, Eastern European and Jewish people – especially against Jewish people. Every immigrant group that came here was considered an “invader” when they first got here.

But Trump does more than spew racist ideas, he is inciting violence. At another campaign rally, Trump attacked immigrant workers and asked his crowd what to do about them. When someone in the crowd shouted “shoot them,” Trump just stood there, smirking. He’d got the answer he wanted.

If you read the written words of the El Paso killer, you see many of the same words and the same language of Trump himself. Trump and the killer use words like “invasion,” saying that immigrants are “invading” this country.

If I remember right, you could say that every single one of us, except the Native Americans, “invaded” this country, willingly or unwillingly. Because we all came here after someone else was here.

By his words of hate, Donald Trump is clearly implicated in this right-wing violence we are seeing. Make no mistake about it, Donald Trump has the blood of murder victims in El Paso and Charleston, South Carolina, and other racist killings, on his hands.

In a just and humane and rational society, Donald Trump would be in jail today.

But he’s not in jail. Why not? What does it say about this capitalist society that the head of its government spews racist views? There may come a time when the wealthy class of people who really run this society decide that Trump has become too much of a liability for them because he provokes people to do something. They may decide that he should be impeached, or they may make sure that he does not get re-elected. But for right now, they let him go on because Trump is serving them well.

Isn’t it obvious? The wealthy people who run this unjust and inhumane society are OK with what Trump does because Trump’s racism, his anti-immigrant words, his language demeaning women divides the working class.

The wealthy class, the capitalist class, they make their profits off the labor of working people. If they can work us harder and pay us less, they can take more for themselves. They want more immigrants, but they want to keep immigrants “illegal” so they have no choice but to work for less money.

On the other hand, immigration can be a flashpoint; immigrants can be blamed for everything wrong in capitalist society.

The bosses benefit when we are divided and don’t fight back. When we are fighting each other, we can’t fight them.

The bosses have always tried to pit white workers against black workers, since the time of slavery. But they also push to pit native-born workers against immigrant workers. They’ve done it before; they’re doing it today.

It is all meant to convince workers to direct our anger over low wages and lack of jobs against other workers who come here looking for work, instead of against the bosses who are responsible for the low wages and lack of jobs that we all face.

It is this kind of campaign to divide us along the lines of skin color or divide us according to where we were born that fuels the violence we’ve seen – and will fuel more tomorrow.

Make no mistake, the bullets fired against Mexican people in El Paso – and women in Dayton and black churchgoers in South Carolina, and Jewish people in synagogues in Poway and Pittsburgh are bullets fired against all of us, no matter who you are, no matter where you live. Those bullets were fired against a part of our class, the working class. That means we were all its targets.

How do we defend ourselves?

The Democrats tell us to wait, to pin our hopes in the next election to vote Trump out.

But the working class has never been able to defend itself through elections; we have a different way to defend ourselves against racist and right-wing violence.

If the racism and the anti-immigrant hate is escalating today, it’s not just coming from Trump. There is an organized right-wing that gets billions of dollars in funding from wealthy people around the world. The billionaires behind Fox News are pushing the same vile message as Trump. In fact, sometimes it seems as if Trump is taking his cues from what Fox News says.

So, again, what do we do?

Many people living in Detroit and elsewhere are faced with defending ourselves against the daily violence that we see in impoverished cities. In some neighborhoods, people have been able to defend themselves because they figured out how to come together with their neighbors.

To defend ourselves against right-wing violence, we have to find the ways to do the same thing, but on a much bigger scale; we have to do it on the scale of the whole working class. Sam is going to talk more about this.

I want to come back to something I said at the beginning. In the 1950s and ‘60s, black workers said “No More.” They stood up to the racists and backed them down. They backed down the bosses and their racist politicians, who were the Trumps of that time. The fights made in the streets by black workers carried over into the factories, and many white workers joined them in strikes against the bosses in the plants. We must remember this history.

A fight started by one group of workers can bring down scum like Trump. It can go against the bankers and corporate bosses who stand behind the politicians. Finally, it can spread to bring down their system that produces racism and exploitation. Because it certainly is their system that needs to be gotten rid of.

Pages 6-7

Sam Johnson Speech:
We Can Stop this Violence

Aug 19, 2019

Sam’s speech was the conclusion of the political program at the SPARK Summer Festival, coming after Gary Walkowicz, whose speech appears on the previous pages.

Well, what the brother was talking about, I’ve been through some of that, I know what it will take to stop it. Working people have to come together to stop it.

We have to understand where the problems come from. They come from that capitalist class that wants to keep raising their profits, put their profits before our lives. And it’s getting worse.

Well, how did we get what we have today? No one gave it to us. Workers really fought against the companies. That’s how we got what we’ve got, jobs, pensions, medical care. It’s how we got schools for our kids.

Now today, the capitalist class is taking that all back, pensions, jobs, schools. They’re taking back so much, our grandchildren have less than we do. And the children of our grandchildren will have even less.

They’re getting rid of teachers, so classes get bigger. Teachers need 20 kids in a class, but today they’ve got 35 to 40 students. That’s a problem for the children. Schools are getting worse because all our tax money is going to the capitalist class instead of to schools.

So if we know problems come from what the capitalist class is doing, we’ll know what we have to do – stop waiting for the politicians that run this government to help us. That’s their politicians, the capitalist class’s politicians. The president runs it for what the capitalists need, to push their profits up.

Why are we going to keep putting up with it? Most times, workers today say there’s nothing we can do. But there is something we can do: we are the majority of the population. We are the ones who make this whole country run, but we make it run for what the capitalists want. We can see that it ain’t right, and we’ve got the forces to stop it. But we’ve got to bring our forces together.

Myself, I came up in the auto plants in the ‘70s. We were able to bring different groups together, black, white, Yugoslav, Albanian, Arab, Polish. That division they created among us, we could get past that. When we did, we didn’t stop everything, but we backed the bosses up.

We have to stand up and bring our forces together. The police, troops, all that, they’re part of the working class. When we fight, we can bring them together with us. We can bring those forces they use to protect them, we can bring them with us.

We can stop those right-wing maniacs from shooting at us. I know what happened with the KKK. They were in Alabama when I grew up. My family had a problem with them. My auntie had a juke box, people came over to listen to it, have a drink. The KKK told her to get rid of it. She said, it’s not going to happen. They told her, when we come back that better be out of there. When they came back, my family was organized – family and friends around the family. They were organized in a two-block area around my auntie’s house, waiting on the KKK to come back. My family was there with their rifles and their shotguns. But the KKK had got the message what was waiting for them. Unh-un, no, they didn’t come.

I’ve known about those fights. I know it will take a fight again.

In California, I was there in ‘65 in the rebellion. Two years later, I came here; I was here only two months, and Detroit blew up. I was living right there, in the area where it started; we were living right there, my nephews are still living there. I saw what people did, how the cops backed off.

That’s what we have to understand about those people shooting at us. We’ve got the forces to stop that. They’re not going to want to come close to us, when we’re organized.

But now, some people are just sitting back waiting for some politician, some Democrat to do something about this violence. Get rid of Trump, they say. Yes, get rid of Trump, but then what? They say put a Democrat in office. But what’s going to happen? The Democrats are going to have the same old policy they had before. And we’re going to have the same problems we have now and worse.

If we understand all that, then we understand that when we come together, we can stop all the problems we’re having today. We’ve got the power and the forces that can do that. We can do that. We can take back everything they’re taking from us. That’s what I know, we have the power to do that.

I’ve been around quite a while; I’ve just had my 80th birthday. I may have slowed down somewhat, but I’m still ready to deal with it. I may have slowed down, but in my mind, I know what it takes. That’s why I talk to young people. Once they get it, if they talk to other young people they can deal with it. They’re faster than me. And I know they’ll fight. They fight all the time now, in neighborhoods just about all over the country. But they don’t know what to fight for. They’re fighting each other, killing each other, putting up gangs to fight each other. But those gangs can come together. We’ve got to come together. We can stop all this. But we’ve got to come together. That’s what it will take. To deal with the real problems. Once we do that. We can stop it from happening again.

We’ve got the forces to protect ourselves, to stop the violence from happening. Once we get the bigger picture, we’ll know what we can do. We don’t need to worry about what’s going to happen. The ones causing the problems for us, they’re going to worry about what’s going to happen to them. But we’ve got to stand up and fight. That’s what we have to do, we definitely have to fight.

That’s what I want the younger people to understand what’s happening.

I’ve slowed down. I can still move around a little, but the younger people, they can move faster than me. Once they get the bigger picture, they can spread it. And that’s what it’s going to take, the next generation, two or three generations after me. Coming together. Let’s do it.

Are you tired of it and don’t want all this violence? Don’t want it to happen? If you understand why it’s happening, let’s do it. Let’s get together. Let’s do it NOW!

ICE Raids in Mississippi

Aug 19, 2019

On August 7th ICE rounded up almost 700 workers from food processing plants in Mississippi. ICE claimed these workers didn’t have documentation.

The targets were hard-working mothers and fathers. Their children were left behind, crying and scared. In minutes, ICE destroyed families and livelihoods. And then it uses this vicious attack to “send a message” to other immigrants that they could be next.

ICE workplace raids are not new. They are not just because of Trump. They have gone on for decades, under both Democrat and Republican administrations.

These latest raids targeted factories where immigrant workers have organized unions, fought back against discrimination or challenged unsafe and unsanitary working conditions.

The raids targeted chicken processing plants operated by Koch Foods, one of the largest poultry producers in the United States. Last year Koch Foods paid out 3.75 million dollars to settle an Equal Employment Opportunities Commission class-action suit charging the company with sexual harassment, race discrimination and retaliation against Latino workers at one of its Mississippi plants that were raided.

This is also not new. Immigrant rights advocates have noted before that workers are targeted for raids after their facilities get investigated for worker abuse.

In June of 2018, ICE raided a unionized Fresh Mark meatpacking plant in Salem, Ohio – arresting 140 workers. A week before the raid on Fresh Mark’s Salem plant, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined Fresh Mark $211,194 for three separate incidents in which proper guards for dangerous machinery were not in place. OSHA found that the lack of safety guards resulted in the death of an undocumented worker.

Suspicion was also raised that workers complaining about working conditions in plants led to a raid at Southeastern Provision in Morristown, Tennessee. The raid came after federal authorities had been tipped off by a local bank that the owner of the plant may have been paying undocumented workers under the table.

By using the pretext of lack of documentation, the government, working for big business, hopes to stop ALL workers from organizing, from fighting back.

These raids were carried out four days after 22 people were murdered in El Paso, Texas, gunned down by a homegrown white nationalist terrorist who wanted to kill Mexicans.

These ICE raids were a terrorist attack too – a terrorist act carried out by the U.S. government against a section of the working class.

Page 8

Riches of the Arctic

Aug 19, 2019

In the past, the Arctic was seen as a useless slab of ice. But now, as the Arctic ice retreats due to the increasing average atmospheric temperature of the earth, many countries want to exploit the Arctic sea and land, since the Arctic is becoming more accessible with each passing day.

Many countries are salivating over the potential resources and commercial possibilities that the Arctic can offer. Five countries that border the Arctic Ocean, the United States, Russia, Canada, Norway, and Denmark (through Greenland), are claiming rights to large, overlapping sections of the Arctic seafloor. More than two million square kilometers of the Arctic ocean floor are being carved up, squeezing out the other countries.

These five Arctic seaside countries are expanding military bases and seaports, exploring new shipping lanes for commercial transportation or tourism, and above all, going after the Arctic's vast resources. It is predicted that the Arctic could hold 30 percent of the world’s natural gas and 13 percent of its oil. The Arctic also potentially holds large quantities of minerals including iron ore, copper, nickel, zinc phosphates and diamonds. China and Japan want access to the arctic shipping lanes to shorten the distance of the commercial transportation of their products.

Businesses and their rich owners in these countries will be the only beneficiaries. These already rich people are not concerned why the Arctic ice melts, what the global consequences of increasing temperatures are, or why the staggering number of wildfires are currently ravaging the Arctic. These rich people are only concerned with their riches. Their narrow mindset dictates: if ice melts, we can eat the cake under the ice, and forget the rest – and the future.

Unprecedented Arctic Wildfires

Aug 19, 2019

Environmental satellites are tracking a high number of wildfires covering very large areas of Siberia, Canada and Alaska near or above the Arctic Circle. Over 100 wildfires have been tracked already this summer. Remote forests covering 6.7 million acres of land across six Siberian and eastern regions are currently burning. Such a scale of wildfires is unprecedented in earth's history.

Because of global warming, the earth's average temperature is increasing. The last months saw the warmest June and July on record. But average temperatures in the Arctic have been increasing at a much faster rate than the global average. Warmer conditions dry the earth's surface, creating tinder-box conditions, which fuel fires once they have been ignited.

These wildfires create smoke, blocking sunlight from reaching to the earth's surface over very large areas. Carbon particles (soot) emitted from the flames fall back to the snow and ice-covered ground, decreasing its reflectivity. This increases the absorption of solar radiation, accelerating snow and ice melting and further raising ground temperatures when the smoke is cleared out.

These wildfires also drastically increase emissions of carbon dioxide from the earth's surface at levels that can be reached by industrial activities of a mid-sized country like Belgium in a year. All these well-known and well-studied physical and chemical mechanisms create nasty feedback loops that could further exacerbate climate change, working against our survival.

The wildfires not only harmfully affect the ground and weather. They also release harmful pollutants and toxic gases into the atmosphere.

The exacerbation of these wildfires to catastrophic levels is a result of global warming. And global warming is linked with our current social system, the capitalism that exploits the workers and the earth's resources to increase profits for its rich rulers. We must move beyond this social system!

Big Money Funds Racism

Aug 19, 2019

“She’s the world’s richest baby,” said news stories back when banking heiress Cordelia Scaife May was born in 1928.

Described as unhappy during her lifetime, her personal fortune was said to be at least half a billion dollars. Her family’s wealth came from ownership of Mellon Bank, Chevron Oil, Alcoa Aluminum and major shares of General Motors, U.S. Steel, and H.J. Heinz.

The “philanthropist” Cordelia Scaife May used that wealth to fund far-right propaganda during her lifetime, and she funds it to this day – even after her death in 2005.

Wanting her rancid ideas to outlive her, she bequeathed a chunk of her fortune to the Colcom Foundation. This “charity” funds over a dozen “think tanks” and organizations, promoting white nationalist and anti-immigrant ideas.

Her handwritten notes, uncovered by a New York Times investigation, reveal her putrid core beliefs. She wrote that black people are less intelligent, that Latino immigrants are criminals and that white Americans were being displaced. In a horrifying manner, she described medical achievements that lowered infant mortality as “useless.” Her money funded the translation into English of a racist French novel that attacks immigrants. This novel’s “white replacement” ideas have been linked to the manifestos of the Christchurch and El Paso terrorist shooters.

The “philanthropic” activities of a woman whose family fortune would have been impossible without the labor of immigrants and the banking money made off of the North Atlantic slave trade, provides a window into the ideas of her class – the capitalist class. The intentional way the wealthy spread lies to divide the working class is exposed here.

The world that we live in — this capitalist world — is ruled by a tiny group of oligarch families. This is their world. Karl Marx explained that in every epoch, the wealthy class ruling society is the source of the intellectual ideas that reign in that society. This one example points to the truth that the fight to end racism, the fight for justice for working people, the fight for a better world, will require power be taken away from this lying, bloodthirsty class.

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