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. 811 — December 3 - 17, 2007

State Financial Crisis—Created by the Politicians

Dec 3, 2007

What can you imagine when you hear all the uproar in state houses from California to Maryland? The states must be running out of money.

Don’t believe it!

It’s true the states have been starved for income–because they gave it away to big business. A study issued by the Multi-state Tax Commission concluded that the 50 states should have had 12.4 billion dollars more income in 2001. Well–they could have had it, if they hadn’t given businesses more tax breaks than they had in the 1980s.

The tax breaks passed between 1980 and 2000 are only a small part of what’s been lost. In the six years since, subsidies followed more tax breaks, followed more subsidies.... Big business made off like a bandit! 50 bandits!

50 state legislatures, hollering “financial crisis,” rushed to cut expenditures–not for business, but for the needs of the population.

California governor, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, just ordered 10% across the board cuts for the most essential departments in the state: education, transportation, health care. In other words, exactly those services that the population needs–services that should actually be given more money, given all the past cuts.

What’s true of California is true of states across the country this autumn. The Michigan legislature is still figuring out if they can get away with making more cuts, on top of the cuts they just made. The Democratic governor, the Republican-controlled state senate and the Democratic-controlled house are arguing over who gets the blame–while they all agree that cuts will be made.

In Maryland and Illinois, it’s even more absurd. Both states have Democratic governors and Democratic controlled legislatures–there the Democrats not only argue with the Republicans over who gets the blame. They argue with each other!

Blame? They all deserve it–Republican and Democrat alike! They all conspired to make the population pay so that big business gets a free ride.

Public schools are starved for money, forced to increase class size, and cut entire programs like arts, music, physical education and after-school programs.

Public health departments–the only barrier between widespread epidemics and the population–are starved for money.

Public hospitals and clinics close–even while big business destroys employer-paid health coverage, just as the states do for their own work force.

Bridges collapse, highways buckle and water supplies become ever more polluted. Public transportation, never very well developed, faces more cutbacks.

The very underpinnings of our lives are being jerked out from under us. And the politicians of both parties are the ones doing the jerking.

There’s a crisis alright–a crisis in this political system, which attacks the working population in order to give larger and larger gifts to the corporations and the wealthy class that owns them.

Service to the wealthy class is built into this political system. It can be changed only when the working class gathers its forces to demand that the needs of the whole population come first.

Working people create the wealth of this society, and we make up the vast majority of the population. This is what gives the working class the possibility to make society serve everyone.

Pages 2-3

Long-term Care for Profit—Sickening!

Dec 3, 2007

The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, just spent six billion dollars to buy HCR-Manor Care.

Manor Care has 550 long-term care and assisted living facilities, the most of any chain in the country. Older people, from those living independently to those needing round-the-clock care, live in these facilities.

The Manor Care deal with Carlyle is not the first of its kind. Many health-care facilities have become part of chains run for profit. In 2000, Warburg Pincus, a big financial firm, spent 65 million dollars to buy a nursing home chain. In 2006, the financial arm of General Electric spent 1.8 billion dollars to buy a nursing home chain from Formation Capital.

The elderly already are vulnerable to problems in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, such as mistakes in medicine and too few aides or nurses to care for them.

But a recent study of reports made to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows that care for the elderly gets worse when investment firms take over. In 12 categories tracked by the Center, nursing homes or long-term care facilities under private ownership did not perform as well as those under public ownership. For example, sometimes there were staff cuts, below legal requirements. The New York Times article said 60% of homes bought by private equity firms had cut the number of registered nurses working in these facilities.

Private companies often split apart the real estate property of these nursing homes from the management. In some cases, they spread the liability among as many as 15 different companies or subsidiaries. So whatever happens at the facilities, the firms cannot really be sued. Carlyle Group has already proposed such a plan for Manor Care.

Companies like Carlyle bring not the slightest experience to the job, except for great experience in making profit. To show what they are about, Carlyle’s offer to buy Manor Care will provide its chief executive with at least 115 million dollars when the deal is complete.

As for the elderly, they continue to pay thousands of dollars per month, providing Manor Care with profits of 167 million dollars in 2006.

In other words, when health care is provided for profit, anything up to and including death can happen to our elderly parents and grandparents.

Who Are the Carlyle Group?

Dec 3, 2007

Carlyle can remain mysterious, thanks to the reporting rules for private equity firms. What’s known is that it grew under the leadership of Frank Carlucci, a former deputy director of the CIA and Secretary of Defense under Reagan.

He was able to reach the top of the U.S. government for his partners, who have included former President G.H.W. Bush, former defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of State James Baker, and many other top officials who have worked for Carlyle.

It’s no wonder this firm gained so many military contracts, 14 billion dollars worth just in the years from 1998 to 2003.

Carlyle’s profits are unknown, since the government is unwilling to impose the same reporting rules on private equity firms as on public ones. After all, lucrative positions at Carlyle might be open for a new round of government officials. They wouldn’t want to hurt their job opportunities.

Number of Homeless Vets Growing

Dec 3, 2007

Fully one quarter of the homeless are veterans of America’s wars on other people. This is more than double their rate in the population.

Veterans from the war against Viet Nam and the 1990 Persian Gulf war have long been counted in the ranks of the homeless. But today they are being joined by soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.

All of them were pushed into the streets by the same factors. First of all, combat in any of these wars produced post traumatic stress disorder, which made vets’ reintegration into their families and work all the harder.

The present economy is making it even more difficult for returning veterans to secure decent jobs as well as have the means to pay for the skyrocketing cost of housing.

Injury and death are only part of the high price paid by that part of the working class which ended up in the army. The toll they are forced to pay afterwards–like this growing problem of homelessness–is a further indictment of a system that grinds up the sons and daughters of the working class in its wars, but spits them out when it has no more use for them.

Another Consequence of the Dirty U.S. Wars:
Veteran Suicides Up

Dec 3, 2007

According to a study reported by CBS News, 6,256 veterans from the U.S. army committed suicide in 2005. That means an average of 120 committed suicide every week.

This rate of suicide is twice that of the rest of the U.S. population. And the rate of suicide is even worse when looking at veterans in the age group from 20 to 24 years of age who had served in Afghanistan or in Iraq. For that age group, the rate of suicide was three to four times as bad as those the same age in the U.S. population.

This means that more vets killed themselves in this one year alone, 2005, than have been killed in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars from the beginning up until now.

The U.S. army uses the most modern technology possible to protect the lives of its soldiers. But protection is relative, since no technology can protect against the traumatic effects of what soldiers in an army of occupation are ordered to do. When the war is dirty, no one involved can avoid getting dirty.

The chairman of a Senate committee on veterans said before this study came out: “For too many veterans the return home is not the end of the conflict.... Action is needed.

Yes, action is needed! Stop this unjustifiable war immediately! Bring home these occupation troops who are destroying both the Iraqi people and themselves. Bring them home NOW!

Helping out the Drug Companies

Dec 3, 2007

A group of U.S. heart doctors have sounded the alarm because the findings from clinical trials on two new drugs are not being released by the drug companies.

The pharmaceutical industry had “promised” to make public more information on these new medications. But they are not doing it despite a scandal two years ago prompted by patient deaths in clinical trials.

These two new medications are being prescribed to 20% of all patients on cholesterol lowering medication. When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved these new drugs in 2002, the companies had only partial scientific evidence to show these drugs lowered so-called bad cholesterol (LDL) by 15 to 20%.

Current generic cholesterol lowering drugs–called statins–do more than that. Statins help calm down inflammation in arteries, preventing the build up of plaque that can cause artery blockages and lead to heart attacks.

And the statins are cheaper–available as generics costing a few pennies a day. The new drugs are 100 times more expensive.

Obviously the pharmaceutical companies involved had no interest in revealing evidence that questions the use of these new drugs. In any case, for more than two years, they sat on the results of a clinical trial. Even now, with doctors publicly criticizing them, they finally agreed to release only one quarter of the results–but not for four months.

How do they get away with it? Because the FDA lets them do it.

Pages 4-5

Workers, Retirees—The Struggle Must Continue!

Dec 3, 2007

Workers in the U.S. will find that the attacks against workers in France sound very familiar–like attempted wage cuts or cuts in pensions. What isn’t so familiar is the response: French public sector workers struck. We reprint an editorial from the November 22 issue of Lutte Ouvriere, journal of the French revolutionary group of the same name.

Negotiations began between the leadership of the railroad and subway unions and the government–although the government had already declared it won’t give up anything essential. In any case, the strike continues in many sectors. The train drivers and agents are refusing to work more years for a pension worth less and less. They are right. Making workers continue for 40 years to get a full pension while reducing how much they get is a grave attack on workers’ lives. Nothing justifies it! Whether this attack comes in the private sector or in the public sector, it is a step backward. The only fair measure is a return to 37 years for a pension at the full amount.

On November 20, workers in the public sector–the post office and France Telecom and teachers–went on strike to demand an increase in their wages and to protest job cuts.

The price of necessities and rent keep going up. An increase in wages is a must for all wage workers. And it is completely scandalous that in a time of great unemployment, there are job cuts in public services, destroying indispensable services.

Hospital workers face a never-ending increase in their work load. They are already doing mandatory overtime that is almost never paid. The lack of positions at the post office translates into fewer deliveries, closed offices, reduced hours for the public, and interminable waits.

The only reason for these attacks is to save money on the backs of wage workers, retirees, and the unemployed. In this way the government can hand over more money, 15 billion euros, to their real electoral base–bosses, large and small.

The strike on November 20 was large, and the demonstration was massive.

The heads of the unions chose to divide the workers by arranging different dates for the strikes–November 14 for public sector workers and November 20 for train and bus workers from the RATP and utility workers from the gas and electric services. Isn’t it obvious that, in order to defend ourselves in the face of government attacks in the service of the bosses, we have to unify our forces?

The determination of the train drivers and agents already outwitted this maneuver. Their actions forced a coming together of all the strikers.

The government wanted to lessen the impact of the strike by negotiating enterprise by enterprise. The leaders of the main unions accepted this move although the government had made no concessions. But the strikers had no intention of giving up their fight just for half a loaf of bread. And the scornful demand by a government official that the strikers go back to work before any negotiations could begin simply reinforced the strikers’ determination. It also forced the leaders of the unions to continue the strike for longer than they wanted.

The government wants to divide the workers sector by sector, opposing one group to the next, in order to better squash all of them. It’s not in the workers’ interests to let them do it. Whether public or private, no worker can accept to work ever longer only to have a lower standard of living, starving to death in retirement while the rich grow ever richer.

The strike of November 20 needs a follow-up. We must make the government and the bosses step back, and stop their regressive policies. It’s vital if we don’t want to be pushed into poverty.

Who Is Taking Who Hostage?

Dec 3, 2007

After waiting a week to see what happened in the French transport strike, President Sarkozy finally spoke. Here is Lutte Ouvriere’s response to the French media’s propaganda against the strikers.

Since the beginning of the strike in public transport, the government ministers, bosses and their supporters have been singing the same refrain on television, radio and in newspapers: “The strikers are taking the riders hostage.”

No government ministers, bosses, or high functionaries are waiting on the cold platforms in the train stations, nor are they crowded like beasts into the cars of the subway. It’s obvious that they aren’t the ones who have no other way to get to work. Yet every day of the year, the workers suffer from the deficiencies in public transport, the overcrowding, the slowdowns, the lack of buses or trains or subways.

All during the year–not just during the days of the strike–workers are victims of the measures of the government. In post offices, where they exist and when they are open, there’s often a wait of an hour in line to get service. In the hospitals, sometimes the sick have to wait an entire day in the hallways on stretchers before getting care. Teachers and professors find themselves often with overcrowded classes, etc. And all because the state refuses to invest sufficient resources and enough personnel for public services. It really takes a lot of nerve for government officials to talk about the difficulties of riders during the strike when these same commuters are “taken hostage” every day of the year by the government’s refusal to pay for public services.

In fact, what’s really bothering the bosses, the government and the commentators who serve them is that the bosses won’t make money during the strike. That’s why, if the auto workers at Peugeot, Renault or Citroen were to stop work tomorrow, we’d be hearing that heavy equipment drivers were laid off or taxi drivers couldn’t get any fares. And we’d hear, if farm workers went on strike, that they were trying to starve the population. And if employees at supermarkets went on strike, they’d be accused of stopping us from shopping.

Workers make society run and produce all its riches, no matter what sector they are in. So a work stoppage will have consequences for the rest of society.

But whether we are workers or riders or consumers, we are first of all victims of capitalist exploitation. And against that exploitation there is only one recourse: the strike.

McDonald’s Strikers Win in Guadeloupe

Dec 3, 2007

The following article is translated from Combat Ouvrier (Workers Combat), the paper of the revolutionary workers organization of that name active on the island of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean.

Young workers, averaging 25 years in age, decided to go on strike beginning October 24 at several McDonald’s in Guadeloupe.

Since they were hired, there had been no negotiations as required by law. The strikers had demanded negotiations starting last March. The strikers were confronting a management used to imposing its decisions against workers without consulting them. The bosses don’t care about working conditions and still less about the Labor Code.

So the strikers drew up a list of demands: First, they wanted the day of May 27, the date that slavery was abolished in Guadeloupe, to be a paid holiday. They wanted a 13th month of bonus pay at the end of the year. Finally, they wanted pay for their half hour breaks.

The Labor Code says that night work, with additional pay, begins at 9 PM. McDonald’s management was paying extra only beginning at 11 PM. The strikers demanded a 10% premium for night work and a premium of 25% and 4% of paid comp time for certain time slots. Finally, they demanded a 60 euro ($87) raise a month for all workers and complete respect for the union contract.

McDonald’s opened nine restaurants in Guadeloupe, with two more about to open. Despite this, the bosses say they don’t have money. McDonald’s is multinational, operating in 121 countries. In 2006, its sales were 21.6 billion euros and its profits were 14 billion euros. The dazzling profits of these fast food restaurants are due to the exploitation of young workers and the unemployed. Such workers are the part of the population most vulnerable in a period of economic crisis and growing unemployment. The demands of the strikers could easily be paid from the profits that the bosses are going to realize in Guadeloupe. But these wealthy exploiters refused any negotiations and didn’t hesitate to use intimidation to break the strike. They paid security guards to frighten the strikers and filed a legal complaint about the strike.

Nonetheless, after a week of strike, McDonald’s was forced to give in on October 31. The strikers won almost all their demands.

United Arab Emirates:
Construction Workers on Strike

Dec 3, 2007

In October, several thousand construction workers, mostly Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, went on strike and demonstrated in Dubai, blocking the main road of the industrial zone of Jabal Ali. They demanded a wage increase and the improvement of their housing and transportation conditions. Other strikes broke out, despite the announcement by United Arab Emirate authorities that demonstrators would be deported and banished for life.

Strikes and workers’ demonstrations may be prohibited in the Emirates, but the rulers were forced to answer the strikers’ demands. At Jabal Ali, the strikers not only escaped deportation, but went back to work after their bosses ceded to some of their demands. Forty thousand had struck Arabtec, which is in charge of the construction of the Burj Dubai skyscraper. The project will become the tallest building in the world, and the Emirate wants to make it a tourist showcase. The chief of police even threatened to prosecute businesses that don’t meet health and safety standards in their housing for foreign workers.

There are 700,000 building workers, mostly Asian, working in this country with a population of four million. These workers are employed in the construction of luxurious commercial centers, and hotels for billionaires on artificial islands, for wages of $109 to $163 a month.

The boom in Emirate construction undoubtedly whets local and international appetites for profit. But the exploitation of the building workers, in turn, has now begun to ignite strikes.

The Horrible Price of U.S. Domination in Pakistan

Dec 3, 2007

On November 21, the Pakistan Supreme Court announced that it had ratified the re-election of Pervez Musharraf to a new five-year term in October.

This ruling could hardly be taken seriously. Musharraf had faced no opposition at the polls, with all of his opponents either in prison, exile, or refusing to run out of fear for their lives. And the Supreme Court judges who rubber stamped the electoral farce had themselves been recently handpicked by Musharraf–after Musharraf had deposed the old members of the Supreme Court and then had them all arrested in his November 3 crackdown. That crackdown resulted in the arrest of 3,000 oppositionists, including lawyers and magistrates who contested his rule, as well as leaders of opposition parties and heads of trade unions.

From the beginning, the Bush administration went out of its way not to criticize–expressing only “disappointment.” Said Dana Perino, the White House press secretary, “The president doesn’t want to pre-emptively throw up his hands. He wants to help him get back on track.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department has tried to broker some kind of power sharing arrangement to buttress the Musharraf regime. The U.S. pushed Musharraf to share power with either Benazir Bhutto, a former prime minister, who was driven out of office under a cloud of rampant corruption, or Nawaz Sharif, another former prime minister with his own record of rampant corruption, whom Musharraf had deposed in a military coup in 1999. But, as the New York Times (November 18) made clear, if Musharraf is unable to restore some kind of stability to Pakistan, the Bush administration is considering “alternatives to General Musharraf, and is reaching out to generals who might replace him.

In other words, the U.S. government, the self-proclaimed champion of democracy worldwide, supports either a dictatorship run by Musharraf, or a dictatorship run by former corrupt officials.

Since 2001, the Bush administration has used Pakistan as a kind of rear base in its war against neighboring Afghanistan, with the U.S. funneling more than 10 billion dollars in military aid to Pakistan, as well as flooding the country with U.S. military and intelligence officials.

The Musharraf regime has been weakened by its close tie with the U.S., since U.S. wars in the region are understood by everyone as naked efforts to impose greater U.S. domination over the entire region.

The Musharraf regime has also been weakened by economic and social conditions that are in a state of deep decline and decay. Pakistan has an enormous military, and it spends a greater per person share of the country’s income on the military than does any other country in the world. The Pakistan military is equipped not only with advanced U.S. fighter jets, but 50 to 100 nuclear bombs!

On the other hand, almost nothing is spent on education and health care. The Education Ministry recently acknowledged that as many as 70,000 schools in Pakistan have neither water nor electricity. For millions of children, there are no schools at all, which is why the illiteracy rate has skyrocketed over the last years.

The widespread discontent with the Musharraf regime has reinforced religious fundamentalist groups, out of which have sprung jihadist armed groups. These groups operate both in the remote mountain regions, where there have been big clashes with the Pakistan military, and in the cities, where there have been a number of massive suicide bombings and armed clashes with the Pakistan military.

The response of the U.S. to this development is, on the one hand, to reinforce the Pakistani military, and, on the other, to establish relations with some of the leaders of the armed jihadist groups, paying them, as it has been doing with Sunni and Shiite militias in Iraq.

The 146 million people of Pakistan are being ground up by this situation–one created by a U.S. bent on using Pakistan to control the Middle East.

Pages 6-7

Child Labor in India

Dec 3, 2007

Gap, the American clothing company, outsources its production to factories in poorer countries. Ten% of its suppliers are in India. Who are these Indian laborers making Gap blouses? Children ten years old, who report beatings, injuries and long working hours in horrible conditions for miserable wages. Even worse, some of the children aren’t paid at all. They work simply to pay back the debt their parents owe to the factory owner.

Gap couldn’t deny the story, reported in an October edition of the British paper The Observer. But it claims the charges are no longer true, that it was just one bad business arrangement. The bosses of Gap pretend to condemn child labor and insist their sub-contractors stop employing it.

Yeah sure!

This year, fearing a fall in profits, Gap told its stock holders it would find savings. It laid off 2200 workers from its stores in the U.S., Europe and Japan. And we can be sure that Gap put pressure on their Indian sub-contractors to find cost savings. The Indian bosses also want to hold onto their profits. So they exploit children instead of adults. Even though child labor under the age of 14 years is prohibited, officials estimate there are 55 million child laborers in India under 14.

Gap and many other Western multinationals understand perfectly well what is going on. That’s why they send their production to India–to profit from the low wages there, that is, from child labor.

Workers Signed a Blank Check

Dec 3, 2007

In a recent speech to a Reuters auto industry conference, Ron Gettelfinger, president of the auto workers union, let the cat out of the bag. He said that UAW negotiators are still deciding exactly which jobs will be paid at $14 an hour.

When auto workers voted on the recent contracts, how many understood they were signing a blank check, pre-approving decisions yet to be made?

Gettelfinger also said in his speech that once the low-wage jobs are decided, buy outs are coming. “I’m sure it will come up at all three [auto companies].”

Workers are sure about this. This lousy 2007 contract–with its low wages for new hires–gives the companies a big incentive to push workers out the door. Buy outs will be “scare outs” and “drive outs.”

Gettelfinger also said the union probably won’t re-open contracts before 2011: “I think this contract will live out its life. There have been a lot of major changes made in this agreement.”

“Major changes”? You bet–enough to make workers decide to reopen the contract themselves!

Page 8

Needed—A “Ron Paul Revolution?” No, a Workers’ Party

Dec 3, 2007

There’s one candidate in the current presidential race getting a lot of unusual attention. Many Democrats and Republicans find Ron Paul to be a lone voice in the wilderness. His supporters refer to his campaign as the “Ron Paul Revolution.”

His stance against U.S. interventions abroad and attacks on civil liberties at home attracts many people dissatisfied with the war in Iraq, including many workers.

Paul was elected to the House of Representatives as a Republican from Texas. He has also run as a Libertarian–he was the presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party in 1988–and takes a number of stances at odds with the Republican Party.

In a vein similar to some earlier Republicans–“isolationists ” like Robert Taft–he has frequently voted against spending on foreign wars, and speaks against the “American Empire” and the U.S. military interference in the affairs of other countries. He opposed the first Persian Gulf war, the war in Kosovo, and the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which he referred to as a “declaration of virtual war.” He was the only 2008 Republican candidate to have voted against the resolution allowing Bush to go to war against Iraq.

Paul also speaks in defense of civil liberties. He was one of the few in Congress who voted against the PATRIOT Act and he denounced the prison at Guantanamo.

But his defense of civil liberties only goes so far. For example, while he defended Don Imus’s right to make racist remarks as a “freedom of speech” issue, he did not give that same right to members of the women’s basketball team at Rutgers when they publicly denounced Imus for his racist and sexist stance.

And his opposition to the wars never extended to opposing U.S. domination of other countries by other means, economic ones–which is what lies behind the U.S. wars.

Paul also says the current tax system is wrong and opposes the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy as inflationary, describing inflation as an additional tax on the middle class. In fact, this stance has a tremendous appeal to many ordinary people outraged by paying high taxes to a government which provides few services, and burdened by ever-increasing prices.

Ron Paul is a populist. But in much the same way as William Jennings Bryan at the end of the 1800s, he puts the blame for economic problems on the capitalists’ move away from the “gold standard.”

He does not address the increasing exploitation of the working class–attacks on wages, the lack of affordable health care, or money for retirement. He opposes Medicare–not because it’s inadequate but because, he says, government shouldn’t interfere with privately run medicine. Using this same anti-government argument, he opposes most regulation on business. And he voted to continue government subsidies to Big Oil–this kind of government “interference” is fine with him!

While Paul speaks against high taxes, he mainly opposes progressive taxes like the graduated income tax, capital gains taxes and estate taxes that hit the wealthy a bit more heavily than other taxes do. He voted to extend tax breaks to business. In other words, he wants to go in the direction this government is already going–to rely more and more on regressive taxes–the ones that hit working and poor people the hardest.

Paul harkens back to some mythical time–the “good old days”–when America was supposedly free and the wealthy and the big corporations didn’t control the government. Those days never existed. Not in the time of Bryan, who denounced “the cross of gold,” not in the 1930s, not in the 1950s, not today.

And while Paul pretends to be for individual rights, he apparently does not mean full rights for women, since he is vehemently anti-abortion. He would refuse to give women the right to make that choice themselves–another kind of government “interference” he agrees with!

Paul also supported the recent anti-immigrant bills in Congress, that is, he panders to the reactionary attitude which encourages native born workers to blame immigrant workers for their problems–instead of blaming the bosses who would divide in order to exploit everyone.

In other words, he is also a populist in the mold of George Wallace of Alabama, who spoke about the oppression facing poor white Southerners, but then called on them to blame black people, poor like themselves, for their problems.

Paul may be outside the usual mold of presidential candidates. But he is in the mold of the earlier populists who led people right back into support of the capitalists who exploit them.

Workers need their own party, with their own leaders, a party that goes beyond purely electoral means and leads a real fight of the workers to defend their own interests.

Clinton vs. Obama—A Race to Serve Big Business

Dec 3, 2007

The big news on the Democrats’ side of things is the race in the polls between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Behind that scene is the race for campaign money.

Through the third quarter of this year, Clinton and Obama had each received over 75 million dollars in contributions. Whatever both claim in terms of getting lots of little donations, both are funded by Big Business.

It is no surprise then that both stand for positions that benefit only Big Business. In one way or another the financial groups that tore up the mortgage markets are looking to put their hands on the Social Security trust fund. Both Clinton and Obama let it be known that they think “something needs to be done about Social Security.” And that something clearly means handing part of it over to Wall Street.

Both want to tap into the sentiment against the war in Iraq, but neither proposes anything like getting out immediately. Both say the U.S. has interests it has to defend in the Middle East. Those interests are OIL!

It’s usually the case that the Republicans get more money from Big Business. If there’s a shift this time it is simply because Big Business knows the Republican Party is so discredited that the Democrats, whether Clinton, Obama, or someone else, can do a better job of fooling people.

No matter which of these candidates wins, no matter whether Republican or Democrat, the next administration will continue to tap government coffers to give it to business, while cutting government services to working people.

That is–until working people get themselves into position to make their voices heard.

The workers’ power is in the streets, not in the voting booth.

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