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. 905 — November 28 - December 12, 2011

Super Committee, Super Fraud

Nov 28, 2011

The “Super Committee” failed! The TV “news” programs wailed and the politicians threw invective at each other.

Fail? No, the “Super Committee” didn’t fail. It did exactly what it was supposed to do–and that was to make propaganda for the outrageous presumption that the population should pay for the mess that the bankers and other capitalists created.

What a fraud!

Certainly, both parties would have been content if the Super Committee had come up with a clever way to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid–to cut them, that is, without the population realizing what had been done.

But with elections coming up, neither Republicans nor Democrats were eager to take the blame for attacking programs so vital for such a large part of the population–and electorate!

And so both parties pulled back, attacked each other and looked toward the 2012 elections.

They had pushed through enormous cuts in public services, social programs and education already this year. In April, both parties agreed on 38-billion-dollars worth of cuts in these vital necessities, followed by a deal they cut in July for one-trillion-dollars worth of cuts, plus another 1.2-trillion-dollars worth of “automatic” cuts if the Super Committee couldn’t come up with a deal.

The “Super Committee” was little more than a carnival sideshow, a honky-tonk circus that blared out one refrain, over and over: “Sacrifice.”

The U.S. has a debt crisis–so the Super Committee’s story went–so “everyone” must sacrifice.

It’s true that the U.S. national debt has been jumping up, from month to month. The current annual budget deficit is running about 1.5 trillion dollars this year–compared to half a trillion before the recession hit. And the yearly deficits have led to an accumulated debt of 15 trillion dollars, roughly the same as the total GDP, the measure of all the goods and services produced in this country for the year.

Yeah, it’s true, that’s a big debt. But it’s not true that “everyone” should sacrifice–“everyone” did not cause the debt, nor benefit from it.

The banks benefitted from the debt–raking in trillions of dollars in the government bailout.

So did the military and the military contractors. For years, money spent on the military has been more than the total amount of the year’s budget deficit. And for what? To carry out wars in the interests of the oil companies. To carry out wars in the interests of the biggest banks in the world, the Wall Street banks. To award every major company in the country with boondoggle, cost-plus-assured-profit military contracts.

The wealthy have their dirty fingerprints all over the debt–with tax rates that have been brought down decade after decade, ever since 1963. Today, they pay a lower actual tax rate than do middle income taxpayers.

So, if there is a debt crisis, let those who caused it and benefitted from it pay to bring down the debt.

Let the banks give back some of those trillions in government money they squirreled away. Let the big military contractors cough it up. Squeeze some trillions out of the oil companies and the banks whose forays around the world drove the army into action.

And let the top politicians and the generals kick in their share, while they’re at it. They shift back and forth between government, military and big business, always with their hands out, every step of the way.

Don’t let a one of them dare come to the population, demanding payment.

“Super Committee”? No, it’s only another Super Fraud!

Pages 2-3

Make the Mayor Pay, Not the Workers

Nov 28, 2011

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing gave the city’s union workers one week to accept 1,000 layoffs, a 10% wage cut, a 30% employee contribution to health care premiums, pension cuts, a decrease in job classifications and reduced overtime. If they don’t, Bing says he’ll ask Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to appoint an emergency financial manager–who would have the power to break union contracts and impose cuts over the heads of the Detroit City Council. In other words, it’s an outright extortion threat.

As he has time after time, whether in response to the city’s failing bus service, the city’s lighting system, or its sewer system, Bing blames city workers for the city’s problems.

No, city workers are not to blame for the city’s budget crisis. Politician after politician caused it–Bing and earlier mayors or Snyder and previous governors handed piles of money over to big corporations in the form of huge tax breaks.

In 2006, a Detroit News analysis showed the city loses 63 million dollars in revenue every year due to corporate tax exemptions. That amount can only have grown in the meantime, as General Motors, Blue Cross, and Vanguard Health System have all been given new handouts. Just in the past two weeks, the city gave out tax breaks amounting to millions of dollars to Meijer and Detroit Renewable Power.

Now Bing is proposing to hand over the city’s bus service and the lighting system to private for-profit companies, which could cost the city more money.

Bing says the city has a budget shortfall of 45 million dollars for this fiscal year. If the city was losing 63 million dollars per year to corporate tax breaks in 2006, it must be 80 or 90 million dollars today. That would be enough to pay the deficit, hire more city workers and restore the city’s bus, sewer and lighting systems. Get the money from the corporations, not city workers!

“Sub-Prime” Used Car Loans

Nov 28, 2011

The so-called “Buy-Here-Pay-Here” (BHPH) car sales have been increasing steadily in the U.S., with 2.4 million cars sold in 2010, up from 1.5 million cars in 2006.

The BHPH dealers sell used cars, typically for prices way above the cars’ Kelley Blue Book values. They issue the loans themselves–and charge astronomical interest rates, as high as 30, even 40%. When buyers default, the dealers aggressively repossess the cars and resell them–sometimes for an even higher price.

In short, these used car sharks prey on people who are trapped–workers who need a car to get to work, but “don’t qualify” for bank loans.

For sure, these used car dealers are bloodsuckers. But there are bigger bloodsuckers behind them. Private equity companies, drooling over the high profit rates of BHPH dealerships, are buying up BHPH chains right and left, and so are payday lending chains.

And the big banks and insurance companies have been gobbling up used car contracts. In the last two years alone, “institutional investors” have bought more than 15 billion dollars worth of “sub-prime auto securities,” that is, thousands of BHPH car contracts bundled up and sold as bonds.

Such a big demand from big buyers leads BHPH dealers to be even more aggressive in selling, repossessing and reselling used cars–at the expense of the people they lure in to buy the clunkers.

This is a carbon copy of what happened with sub-prime home loans. Driven by Wall Street, mortgage lenders aggressively pushed overpriced and even fraudulent loans on home buyers, leading to more and more defaults and foreclosures. When the housing bubble finally burst and investors got stuck with “securities” that contained thousands of defaulting mortgages, the government bailed out big investors–that is, big banks–but not homeowners.

The same crooks are now using bailout billions to inflate another bubble, this time in the used car market. It’s another scheme by the biggest banks to shake down workers for the last penny in our pockets.

Rocket Docket in Michigan = Railroading the Poor

Nov 28, 2011

Messing with children at Christmas in a way even Scrooge might find upsetting, Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) Director Maura Corrigan demanded that 929 families all report at 8am the Monday after the Thanksgiving Holiday for appeals hearings.

These 929 are part of the 12,000 families thrown off assistance on November 1st. The pitiful grants they lost were used by the poorest of the poor to pay for rent and so on.

Michigan has set up so-called “Rocket Dockets” to “hear” these appeals.

Clients will be herded into rooms where hearings will be held via teleconference before administrative law judges, apparently all 929 families rushed through in one day. These judges have the power to act as economic executioners, yet they don’t have to show up!

Outraged at the railroading of poor families, DHS workers and welfare rights activists quickly organized a demonstration to denounce the loss of cash assistance for families as being the direct result of tax breaks for corporations.

For those who run this society, silence equals support. That’s why every expression of opposition counts.

Health Care Held Hostage to Profit

Nov 28, 2011

If you live anywhere in the world except in the United States, you can buy a generic Lipitor for 10 cents per day. Not in the U.S.

Lipitor, the leading cholesterol-lowering drug, costs $4.00 per day here. That’s $1,460 per year, unless health insurance covers it. Some plans cover part of it and each plan has different co-pays and premiums.

Why are U.S. health care costs by far the highest in the world? Look at the for-profit pharmaceutical industry, and you see one of the causes!

Rahm Emanuel, Slasher

Nov 28, 2011

Rahm Emanuel’s budget, which just passed the Chicago City Council, seriously cuts services necessary to working people. Among the most heinous of these cuts is the closing of six of the city’s 12 mental health clinics, alongside the privatization of the only seven medical clinics still run by the city.

Some patients would be routed to privatized clinics, but there will be fees and restrictions, because these clinics seek to make a profit. The city clinics have always operated on a “no one turned away” basis–regardless of ability to pay.

At a recent demonstration outside of City Hall, several current patients testified. They told the audience that they are currently able to function somewhat normally in society, but only because they receive regular care. That is, consistent attention, by the same doctors and nurses, to their medications and therapy. Cutting the clinics will pull the rug out from under them.

Everyone knows what the consequences of these cuts will be: more homelessness, more violence. Patients unable to receive services will self-medicate, go without, or turn to alcohol or drugs. Some will end up in already overflowing emergency rooms not suited for their care. There will be more incidents of police shooting the mentally disturbed, and the opposite–recall that a mentally disturbed woman shot a police officer on a bus late at night two years back.

Rahm Emanuel knows perfectly well what will happen, and he cuts anyway. His constituency is not the poor and disabled–but the bankers who call the city’s budget their own!

Hank Skinner:
Another Innocent Man Facing Execution

Nov 28, 2011

On November 9th, the execution of Hank Skinner was stopped for the second time. The Supreme Court decided to take up his lawyers’ appeal after a Texas court once again rejected his request for the DNA test which could prove his innocence. But given the Supreme Court’s violently reactionary record, this stay of execution may be only temporary.

Henry Skinner was convicted in 1995 for the triple murder of his companion and her two children, following a rushed trial of two hours. He denies he committed the murders.

For the last ten years, he has been supported by the “Innocence Project,” run by a journalism professor who investigated the case with his students. According to this investigation, there was “no confession, no witnesses, no motive, and no prior acts of violence by Skinner introduced at trial.” Nor were there tests comparing his DNA to that found on the victims.

The Texas system of “justice” has done everything to avoid questioning this verdict, as if it wanted to hide Skinner’s innocence.

But it’s not only Texas. Remember, only two months ago, Georgia executed, with the tacit approval of the Supreme Court, Troy Davis, a man who by all accounts was completely innocent.

The U.S. presents a barbaric face to the world.

Even in the case of a man who commits a crime, even a horrible one, nothing justifies a government when it imitates him, killing him in turn.

The death penalty is nothing but state-ordered murder, so-called vengeance, which has nothing to do with justice. The death penalty may eliminate a man who has been convicted–but it does nothing about the horribly exploitative and unequal system which is at the root of crime. It simply covers it up.

Pages 4-5

Wealth Grab by a Few = Unending Economic Crisis

Nov 28, 2011

The following is based on parts of a report given to the Spark Public Meeting in Detroit in November.

There obviously has been widespread popular support for the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. Even the polls say it–and they always skew the reaction of ordinary people. But those polls only confirm what we hear in Detroit workplaces. People are angry, and happy that someone is expressing that anger.

No wonder. Look at what has happened over the last few decades: the gap between the wealthy and everyone else has grown rapidly, even as the economy barely limps along.

In 2007, the wealthiest 1% raked in almost 24% of the total income produced in this country. The last time those on top took in such a disproportionate share was 1928–just before the last great crash, the one which produced the Great Depression, fascism and World War II.

This is not just an interesting coincidence. Both times, the wealthiest people rapidly increased their share of the national income, at the expense of most of the population. And both times, this helped strangle the economy.

But annual income is only a small part of the story. The wealth that has been accumulated over decades in the hands of a few is what really weighs on society. Today, the wealthiest 1% own 43% of the nation’s accumulated financial wealth. Worse–the wealthiest 20% own 93% of the nation’s wealth. What is left of the nation’s wealth–only 7%–is divided up among the remaining 80% of the population.

But it gets worse still. The ones who really COUNT are found, more or less, among the 400 richest families. In 2008, these 400 families owned 1.57 TRILLION dollars. Just by themselves, they could pay off a big share of the debt the government has accumulated over the years. And they ought to, since their class has been the beneficiary of trillions of dollars in gifts from the government.

They are the very top of the capitalist class. Their wealth, which has been accumulated from decades and decades of exploitation of all those who do the work, allows them to determine the fate of the whole population. They don’t control our fate consciously, nor in a kind of conspiracy, but as the result of what their position in the economy drives them to do–and what it drives them to do is to accumulate still more. If not, they fall by the wayside, as Lehman Brothers did in early 2008–or are gobbled up, as Bear Stearns was a few months later, or Chrysler was several times.

This capitalist drive to accumulate has created not only rapidly increasing inequality, but an economic crisis that has gotten worse by the decade, and more recently by the year.

From One Crisis to the Next

For the last 40 years, the capitalist economy has been stumbling from one financial crisis to the next. And the capitalists–in order to protect themselves from the mess they created–have drastically increased the exploitation of the working class; that is, they have taken a bigger and bigger share of the wealth that labor produces.

If, over those decades, our income had increased in proportion to growing productivity, we would be earning twice as much today as we actually are: $1200 a week, for example, instead of $600. But not only have we not gotten any of the benefit of this increased productivity, we have given up some of what we once had. Today, we are earning less than we were in 1974, when inflation is taken into account. And we are getting a smaller and smaller share of the value of what we produce.

That makes it harder for us to buy. And when we can’t buy, the capitalist market shrinks. The companies can’t sell their goods and services–which cuts into the profits the corporations realize, and the bonuses the CEOs grab and the dividends shareholders get.

Yes, the capitalists themselves, and probably even most of that top 20%, can consume more. But there is a limit to how much they can consume. How many mansions can one family inhabit, how many vehicles can they drive, how many furs, jewelry, and latest style clothes can they wear?

The capitalists need a wider market than just themselves and a few other wealthy people. But the very thing the capitalists do to protect themselves–that is, reduce the standard of living of the working class–quickly comes back to haunt the capitalists themselves. They destroy their own markets.

Blowing Credit Bubbles...

For a whole period, the capitalist class tried to get out of this dilemma by artificially building up demand for goods and services, pushing credit on the population. Mortgages went from 25 years, with one quarter down; to 30 years with 10% down; to 40 years, with practically nothing down. Car notes stretched out so far that when people went to trade in their car, they owed more than what the car was worth. People bought used cars, using their credit cards, with their 25% loan-shark interest rate. Credit-card debt piled up as people maxed out one card, then a second card, and then a third. Growing credit-card debt made many people potential victims for the sub-prime-refinance-your-mortgage scam–“use your house as an ATM machine to pay off your credit cards.”

With states cutting funding to public universities, tuition jumped–and the banks jumped right in to push student loans. Student loans, which are one of the very few debts you cannot dump in a bankruptcy, mushroomed. The banks know they have you hooked for life.

It was an orgy of debt, presided over by the biggest banks in the country, which were pushing one debt after another, bundling them into various securities, selling them to unsuspecting pension funds and middle-class people seeking to save something for their retirement.

It worked for a while, this orgy of debt, keeping the economy limping along. But credit brings its own problems. People are spending more than they have; the banks are recording as current income what they don’t have but pretend they will get in the future.

Financial wheeling and dealing opened the door for a vast amount of speculation. Financial companies gobbled up houses, intending to flip them, selling them a few months later, making a quick profit as prices continued to shoot up.

The Governments Bail Out the Banks

The bubble in house prices burst in 2006. Mortgages began to go into default. Many of the financial instruments based on mortgages became worthless, and the banks knew it. A number of financial companies faced bankruptcy.

By 2008, the collapse of the housing bubble had killed off two big Wall Street banks, and other banks were waiting to see who was next. They practically refused to loan money–not only to people, not only to productive corporations; they refused to loan money to each other. The financial system froze up.

But free-running credit is the life-blood of the capitalist economy. Governments stepped in, buying up the bad debt, handing over trillions of dollars to the big banks and, what was even more important, making many trillions more “available” to the banks. Neil Barofsky, who was appointed by Bush to audit the TARP–the first big bailout of the banks–says that the U.S. government today is on the hook for 23 trillion dollars it has either given, loaned or used to insure the banks’ bad debts.

What the U.S. government did, other governments did also.

But where did governments get the money they gave to the banks? They didn’t have it. So they borrowed it–and from the very banks to which they were handing the money.

Think about this: the banks ended up with the money. The governments, who had given the money to the banks, ended up with the debts. And they had to pay interest on top of all that.

The Banks Squeeze the Governments

Over the past year, the loans governments took out have been coming due. Governments need to roll over those loans or refinance them.

What an opportunity for the banks: it lets them increase the interest rates they charge on money loaned out to governments, especially when rumors begin to fly that one or another government won’t be able to meet its debt payments.

This debt that the governments ran up bailing out the banks is the underlying cause of the so-called Euro crisis in Europe, and of the so-called budget deficit crisis in the U.S.

Eliminate from government budgets what the banks say is owed to them–money which the banks got from the governments and benefitted from already–and there would be no Euro crisis.

Eliminate from the U.S. budget the enormous amounts drained over the last decades in service of the wealthy, and there would be no U.S. debt crisis. The Bush/Obama tax cuts cost 3.3 trillion dollars over 12 years. The two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will take four trillion dollars. The Pentagon’s budget for the next 10 years (not counting any wars) runs to 7.8 trillion. And the Wall Street bailout–well, no one really knows, but remember what Bush’s man Barofsky estimated: 23 trillion dollars.

Just shut off these spigots, and the current 15-trillion-dollar government debt could disappear.

Governments Squeeze the Population

Instead, governments around the globe are demanding that the population pay. In Ireland, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece, they call it an austerity policy. Here they call it “reducing the debt.” In the underdeveloped counties, it’s called “structural adjustment.” But whatever it’s called, the pain is imposed on the same classes: those who work to produce the goods and services needed by the whole society.

In the U.S., this year alone, more than one trillion dollars have been cut from federally funded public services, social programs and education. And 1.2 trillion more are to be “automatically” cut if Congress can’t agree on clever ways to cut Social Security and Medicare–without seeming to do it!

It’s absurd, even for the capitalists themselves, since these cuts by governments can only reduce the ability of the working masses to buy anything; that is, they reduce the capitalists’ own market still further.

Nonetheless, the U.S. and European governments impose these cuts on their own population, and above all on the poor masses in the underdeveloped countries–where “austerity” literally means starvation.

These austerity policies are not just the result of bad policy, or stupid politicians–these are choices the banks and other capitalists impose on the governments, and through them on the laboring population, as the only way the capitalists see to protect themselves right now. They’ll worry about tomorrow tomorrow, or even the day after.

Needed: A Fight against Capitalism Itself

One hundred and fifty-four years ago, Frederick Douglass, in a speech dealing with the fights the slaves were making against the slaveholding class, had this to say: “Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

He could well be speaking to the working class today. There will be no let-up in this drive of the capitalists to protect themselves at our expense, so long as working people don’t gird themselves for a fight to take on the capitalists.

Concretely, all of us who work for our living must begin to fight over the most basic needs for human existence today: that is, the possibility for all of us–every single one–to have a job, and the possibility for us all to have an income that supports a life appropriate to the level of technology that exists today.

It’s happened before that people have fought for those things–the working class in the 30s, the black population in the 60s. Those fights were able to push the capitalists back. But what they didn’t do was get rid of the underlying mechanisms of capitalism, which sprang right back to life when the movement receded.

We have every reason to believe there will be new struggles. The Occupy protests are important, not because they have mobilized the working class–they haven’t; and not because they offer a direction–they don’t. But they are a harbinger of people’s wish to say NO MORE. And many of the young people attracted to that movement could play a role in the fight for jobs and a decent standard of living.

It would be such a deadly mistake to go through another long fight, only to give up its rewards at the end. What finally will count is whether enough people exist who understand that capitalism and its mechanisms are really in the center of this vicious assault on most of the world’s population, and that capitalism and its basic mechanisms are the targets against which we have to aim.

Pages 6-7

Cross That Bridge?

Nov 28, 2011

Three out of four drivers in the U.S. cross a deficient bridge every day, according to a new report out in October. In Pittsburgh, three of every ten bridges are deficient. In Detroit and Cleveland, one of every nine bridges is deficient; Chicago, one of every 11 bridges.

Altogether 70,000 “structurally deficient” bridges need serious work. The Federal Highway Administration estimates the country needs to spend 70 billion dollars. Yet the federal government provides only five billion dollars per year for bridge work. One of every three bridges is older than 50 years, even though most American bridges were designed to last only 50 years.

Just four years ago, we saw the consequences of this neglect in the terrible bridge collapse in Minneapolis. Thirteen people died and 145 were injured.

“There are more deficient bridges in our metropolitan areas than there are McDonald’s restaurants in the entire country,” said the director of Transportation for America.

Work that needs doing, that could employ millions, is set aside as if the country cannot afford it. The bridges that collapse and the lack of jobs are what we can’t afford.

Spring Hill Disaster

Nov 28, 2011

When GM held a press conference to publicize its Spring Hill Assembly Plant reopening, a Tennessee legislator pointed out that GM was making a “scaled-back announcement from what we originally had been told.”

Families of laid off workers view promised jobs as a cruel joke. About 2000 Spring Hill workers lost their jobs in November 2009 when the Saturn brand was eliminated. Workers who took relocation money to accept jobs at other GM plants in places like Michigan and Kansas are NOW being told they are not eligible to come back to their home plant. GM wants to hire only tier two employees at Spring Hill, earning half wages.

The wife of one worker, who is stuck at an out-of-state plant and wanting to return to Tennessee, stated: “Just within the last month, GM Spring Hill let 60 more people go. My husband worked there 20 years. We thought we would retire down here.... I hate the words General Motors.”

Page 8

U.S. Goes after Asian Oil

Nov 28, 2011

For the first time since the end of the Vietnam War, the United States is increasing its military presence in Southeast Asia.

Against the backdrop of propaganda about China’s “expansion” plans, it was the U.S. that expanded–into Asia. President Obama announced long-term plans to deploy 2,500 troops in northern Australia. Last fall, he sent an aircraft carrier group to the Yellow Sea, just off the coast of China, for joint maneuvers with South Korea.

The U.S. ruling class is once again flexing its muscle halfway around the world–toward China and toward oil that China has a claim on.

The South China Sea, surrounded by China, the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia, has vast reserves of oil and natural gas beneath it–as much as 115 billion barrels, potentially. China, with its growing industry, has an especially great need for the oil there. China is also probably the only neighboring country that could have the means to explore there, and its coastline along the South China Sea gives it internationally recognized claims on those reserves.

One country that has NO recognized claim in the South China Sea is the United States. Of course, that has never stopped the U.S. before. And it’s not stopping it now.

The U.S. is solidifying alliances with countries that potentially could have claims to the oil in the sea. This is the meaning of the so-called free-trade alliance that Obama has discussed with the leaders of Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

These alliances and other trade agreements are the “open door” through which the U.S. and its oil companies could pass.

No, it is not China that is aggressive. It’s the U.S.–the main and most powerful imperialist power in the world, the country that has carried out more wars than any other and controls resources around the globe.

After the Violent Repression of Demonstrations

Nov 28, 2011

After trying to violently repress demonstrations in Cairo, Alexandria and other Egyptian cities, the generals running Egypt have been trying to calm the seething anger.

On November 22nd, Marshal Tantawi, head of the ruling “Supreme Council,” issued numerous announcements, trying to appease the demonstrators–and behind them, the population.

Since Mubarak was forced to give up power nine months ago, the population has barely seen a change. Power is still in the hands of the army’s general staff, headed by Tantawi–the old head of Mubarak’s personal body guard and his Minister of Defense. The “democratic transition” promised in February in reality left the army in power, just as it had been for several decades.

In Egypt, the army is a power that defends its own interests, with investments in industry and state services. But above all, in this country where a great part of the population lives in deep misery, where imperialism and a grasping bourgeoisie pillage riches, the army protects the interests of “investors” who want to continue pocketing the profits produced by tens of millions of workers and poor peasants.

In order for all these profiteers to exercise power, they need a dictatorship whose army guarantees the stability that the bourgeoisie demands.

Last February, by cutting Mubarak loose on the advice of their imperialist friends, the army chiefs were able to avoid being too connected to the hated regime, and even succeeded in appearing as the guarantor of the rights of the population. But this mask has progressively been torn apart by the persistence and worsening of misery, by the crying injustices, by the poverty of millions of people in the cities and countryside–and by the violence carried out by the army itself.

Discontent is breaking out now, directly targeting the army. Still, it’s hard to know the extent and the real force of the opposition, or how much the working masses recognize themselves in the demonstrations occurring in Tahrir square.

It is certain that the general staff has not been able to set up a new power which would allow it to overcome all the discontent. But it is equally clear that the popular opposition hasn’t succeeded in giving itself objectives other than that of “Tantawi get out!”–which seems to be unanimous, as was the case before with “Mubarak get out.”

Now, facing the army in power–this state apparatus which seeks to maintain the prerogatives of the owning classes–the workers, the peasants and all the poor masses of Egypt can impose their vital demands only by establishing a power which truly represents the oppressed: which allows them to exercise true control over the wealth of the country and over the entire economy.

Perhaps through the current struggles, in the working class in particular, this perspective can open up.

Protesters Target Big Banks

Nov 28, 2011

“Occupy” protesters in California, joined by college students organizing against endless tuition increases, have targeted Bank of America and Wells Fargo, demanding that these banks pay back the billions of bailout dollars they got from the government.

BofA and Wells Fargo also got money from the IRS. Last year, Bank of America got a 666-million-dollar tax refund, with a profit of more than 10 billion dollars. Wells Fargo, in 2009 and 2010, was “taxed” by the IRS at a rate of “minus” 6.8%–while showing a profit of 37 billion dollars.

This continuous handout is one of the reasons the government is cutting programs and services.

So the protesters are right. The banks should pay for the deficits their bailout created!

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