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. 907 — January 9 - 23, 2012

Editorial:
Why Wait until November?

Jan 9, 2012

Prepare ourselves. Between now and next November, the election is going to dominate the news. It already is.

The unions are already telling us that our future is in jeopardy if Obama isn’t re-elected. Black leaders like Jesse Jackson chime right in – as do leaders of various immigrant groups and women’s rights organizations.

Their strongest argument comes from the Republicans themselves – who today are contesting with each other to see who can spout the most reactionary garbage.

Rick Santorum, for example, says a woman who is raped should be forced to bear the child of the man who raped her. And every last one of those vile Republicans jumps on the bandwagon, morally condemning abortion and, thus, the women forced to choose it.

They line up, one after the other, to call for a wider war in the Middle East. Everyone but Ron Paul, and he is denounced by all the other Republicans when he says what is obvious, that the U.S. blockade around Iran is an act of war.

Ron Paul, in turn, says we should get rid of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The others hide their intentions behind code words. They offer us private savings accounts instead of Social Security, private medical insurance instead of Medicare. And they’d slash Medicaid even more than Obama already has.

Michelle Bachman said, “deport every ‘illegal’ immigrant” – even little children. The others hint they might make exceptions for some children, but they rush to back the various anti-immigrant laws passed by the states.

Every one of the Republicans attacks unions. Not for the reasons most workers today criticize the leaders of the unions, which is that they don’t lead a fight against wage cuts and job cuts. No, the Republicans attack the unions simply because the unions exist, that is, because workers have the legal right to be organized.

Romney, who has expressed all these reactionary positions, just in a slightly less extreme way, may turn out to be the nominee. But the Republican primary campaign has already spewed poisonous garbage into the political atmosphere.

So, some workers, who today are fed up with Obama and the attacks he has spearheaded, may end up pinning their hopes on the Democrats again – simply because the Republicans are so bad.

And they are. But that’s a little like choosing to be executed by lethal injection instead of the electric chair – because the electric chair is so gruesome.

In either case you’re dead.

For four decades, under Republicans or Democrats, the standard of living of working people has been pushed down by the bosses’ incessant striving for more profit. The rich have become richer; the poor, much poorer; and nearly everyone else has sunk into poverty or is teetering on its edge. And the politicians have turned more money over to the wealthy by cutting public sector jobs, public services and social services.

Alternating between Democrat and Republican hasn’t stopped our nosedive. It’s simply diverted us from taking on the real problem: the continual push by all the bosses to cut jobs and to cut wages.

That’s what we have to fight against. Those are fights we can make. Now. We don’t have to wait for next November. We can start in the places where we work, especially in the biggest workplaces. A fight started in one workplace to defend our jobs and wages can spread to other workplaces, all up and down the line.

Facing the economic crisis, we have to defend ourselves. There is no time to waste. It’s a long time until November. We can make a lot happen before then. Fights that break out now can put whoever wins the election in a corner, making it impossible for him to impose greater sacrifice on us.

Pages 2-3

Living Lavishly Pretending to Aid the Poor

Jan 9, 2012

Last month, the City of Los Angeles paid 1.2 million dollars to Rudolf Montiel in severance, after it had fired him.

Montiel had been head of the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA), which is responsible for running public housing for about 60,000 of Los Angeles’ poorest people. In 2010, Montiel introduced a plan to begin to privatize some of the city’s public housing projects – turn them over to private developers and managers. Tenants of these projects protested the plan since it would mean big increases in rent, not to speak of put them in danger of losing their housing all together. To stop the protests, Montiel threatened to evict the protesters immediately.

Protestors revealed that Montiel’s compensation package was worth nearly $450,000 annually, including 10 weeks of vacation and a housing allowance. Montiel escalated the scandal by exposing how members of the housing board were reimbursed with public money for staying at extravagant hotels, eating at expensive restaurants, taking limousine rides and shopping for gifts.

The board retaliated by firing Montiel. It then paid him 1.2 million dollars in severance to shut him up. Of course, the money didn’t come out of their pockets, but the money supposedly earmarked for public housing.

They live quite well, don’t they – these vultures who masquerade as “public servants”!

So Minimum, It’s almost Zero

Jan 9, 2012

The minimum wage may have gone up from $1.40 an hour in 1967, to $7.25 an hour today – but minimum wage workers are worse off than they were 45 years ago. Due to inflation, today’s minimum wage buys 20% less than what the $1.40 could buy.

This is not a minimum wage – it’s a starvation wage!

We’re Freezing
– Too Bad, Says Baltimore’s Mayor!

Jan 9, 2012

Heartless!

Baltimore City Health Department decided that this year, the temperature has to be 13 degrees or colder to activate Code Blue for the homeless – when additional beds and services must be provided. This is 7 degrees colder than last year, when it was 20 degrees.

Why? City officials say it is to make Baltimore the same as other cities. And to prevent people from losing sensitivity to the plight of the homeless.

What? They want to freeze a few people to death so the rest of us will be more “sensitive”?

Who can believe this BS? We are in an economic crisis, which has caused the number of homeless people in Baltimore to shoot up from 3,400 people two years ago to 4,100 right now.

Thirteen degrees?

Even if it’s with the “wind chill factor,” this is nothing but a decision to let some people freeze to death.

The Washington, D.C. Sewers:
An Advertisement for Band-Aids

Jan 9, 2012

A small pizza-size hole opened up after a truck drove over a freshly paved street in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C. It seemed minor enough, but when city inspectors actually looked into the hole they discovered a huge problem. A massive 19th century brick sewer had eroded away, leaving a cavern beneath the street large enough to swallow a Metro bus.

D.C.’s sewers are old, like this one built in 1889. These should have been replaced decades ago as opposed to the repair-as-it-falls-to-pieces method currently in place.

Some D.C. residents actually thought that since our water and sewer bill had gone up 50% in the last four years the city had finally figured out that flushing toilets are superior to chamber pots and raw sewage in the streets.

They obviously gave way too much credit to the city.

Child Poverty in the “Golden State”

Jan 9, 2012

Of the six million poor Californians in 2010, 2.2 million were children, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s about one in four children, in one of the richest areas in the world, condemned to grow up in poverty.

What makes these statistics even more outrageous is that about half those poor children in California have at least one parent working full-time.

This is the inevitable consequence of decades of attacks on the working class – bosses cutting jobs and workers’ pay to increase their own profits, and government cutting back on public programs and services in order to hand out more money to the bosses.

Economic Stimulus ... for the Capitalist Class

Jan 9, 2012

In the middle of the Christmas holidays, Congress snuck through two measures that were advertised as part of a “jobs program” and “economic stimulus”. In reality, both measures are thinly disguised attacks against working people.

The first measure is a cut in the payroll tax to fund Social Security. This will be the second year that Congress has cut this tax. In the short term, it left more of what working people earn in their pay check. But the money they are keeping would have gone to fund Social Security. You can bet that in the future, the politicians will turn around and use that as the excuse to cut Social Security benefits for retirees. They already are. Right-wing publications, like Rupert Murdoch’s Weekly Standard which openly opposes Social Security, have applauded cuts in Social Security payroll taxes.

The second measure was presented as the continuation of extended unemployment for the long term unemployed. But the fine print in the law specifies that the final extended benefits program is available only in states where the unemployment rate has risen significantly over the past three years. Of course, unemployment started to skyrocket in big parts of the country more than three years ago. So, even though unemployment remains extremely high, this rule means that in 11 states, including Michigan, Ohio, Rhode Island and Oregon, the maximum unemployment benefits are being slashed by 20 weeks from 99 to 79 weeks, and less in Michigan, which just slashed its own payments by six weeks.

It was a New Year’s gift from Obama to the capitalist class. And, by the way, he hopes we will fall for his big lie, pretending it’s a gift to us!

Michigan:
Tax Changes Adding to Inequality

Jan 9, 2012

On January 1st, a lot of Governor Snyder’s state tax changes took effect. Retirees and poor people will be paying more in taxes.

In the meantime, most businesses will now not pay taxes and those few corporations that still do pay taxes will pay a lot less.

Governor Snyder claims this will “create jobs.” In reality, it will only “create” more rich people, more poor people, and more inequality.

* * * * * *

For the fiscal year that closed on September 30, 2011, the state ended up having a big budget surplus – so big, they still don’t have an accurate amount. Estimates say it could be anywhere from 500 million to almost a BILLION dollars.

That money came from cutting our jobs, reducing revenue sharing to cities, cutting school funding, and throwing kids off cash assistance.

Now legislators are trying to figure out ways to get this money to their rich friends!

Michigan Politicians Attack Unemployment Benefits

Jan 9, 2012

In the midst of continuing high levels of unemployment, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed unemployment legislation that drastically cuts the length of time workers can receive benefits, and makes it easier to cut people off benefits or even deny them benefits.

The new law reduces the number of weeks workers are eligible to receive unemployment from 26 to 20 weeks. This in a state that has seen its official unemployment rate remain above 10% since the end of 2008.

The new law also broadens the definitions of absenteeism, theft, and drug abuse as reasons for being denied benefits.

Those lucky enough to receive benefits can now lose them if they refuse work, even if it is outside their previous area of experience, so long as it pays just slightly more than they receive on unemployment. In other words, accept a pay cut of more than 35% or lose your unemployment check!

The law also includes stricter requirements for people to report where they went to look for work and to whom they spoke. With unemployment as high as it is, very few businesses even accept applications.

Michigan is not alone in attacking unemployment benefits. In the last year, two others, Missouri and South Carolina, also reduced their weeks of eligibility from 26 to 20. Florida reduced its to between 13 and 23, depending on the unemployment rate, and Arkansas reduced its to 25 weeks. Like Michigan, Florida and South Carolina are states with high unemployment and the others are not far behind.

It would seem crazy for the states to be cutting unemployment benefits when unemployment remains high. But the bosses are crazy like a fox. Unemployment is a tool they use to force workers to accept low wages and poor working conditions. The new laws help them do it.

Illinois:
Giant Gift to Traders, $2.50 for Us

Jan 9, 2012

The Illinois legislature, controlled by the Democrats, has passed an 85 million dollar a year tax break the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Board of Trade, the home of some of the biggest speculators in the world. In a typical corporate shakedown, it threatened to leave Illinois if it didn’t get the break.

To cover themselves, the legislators decided to give something to ordinary taxpayers. So each person in Illinois will get a tax exemption worth ... $2.50 per year!

Pages 4-5

Syria:
Observers or Not, the Dictator Continues His Repression

Jan 9, 2012

On December 26, some 60 observers from the Arab League were deployed in Syria to verify that the “protocol to end the crisis” established between a number of Arab countries and the dictatorial regime of Al-Assad, was being implemented. According to the agreement, the Syrian army is supposed to withdraw from the cities, peaceful demonstrations are to be authorized and the prisoners taken since the beginning of the crisis, March 15, 2011, are to be freed.

The Arab League wanted to find a way out of the crisis from within the Arab states. Evidently, if their intervention could calm the popular revolt against the Syrian regime that has been continuing for months, it would benefit all the leaders of the Arab states who are worried about their own positions.

The naming of Sudanese General Mustapha Al-Dabi as head of the delegation of observers did not bode well, however, given that he is the former chief of the military secret services implicated in the repression of the population in Darfour. And the result of the first eight days of the presence of the observers confirmed the impression.

First of all, except in his visit to the city of Homs, where the residents were savagely repressed, the Sudanese General stated that he observed nothing “very shocking.” Nothing worse than in Darfour, to summarize!

With observers or not, the security forces of the regime continue to massacre the demonstrators, killing another 150 people in one week, added to the some 5,000 victims of the repression since the beginning of the crisis. As for the 14,000 prisoners taken during this time, many of whom have been tortured, only 755 have been released.

The number of observers has climbed to 500. But no matter what their number, they do not protect the populations. The president of the Arab Parliament, representing the Arab League, has even admitted that the Syrian regime continues to massacre innocent civilians, underlining “an increase in the violence” including “more deaths, including of children, and all that in the presence of the observers.”

In any case, this tragi-comedy of the observers has not disarmed the anger of the population. The hundreds of thousands of people who responded to the calls to demonstrate on December 30 and 31 in Doma, and who faced the nail-bombs that the repressive forces launched to disperse them, is proof that the determination of the population to rid themselves of this dictator has not fallen.

France:
Airport Security Workers Strike

Jan 9, 2012

The following article is translated from the December 30th issue of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the paper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.

On December 26th, 250 airport security agents, in their eleventh day on strike, voted to continue the strike. By now, almost everyone has learned about the situation of these airport contract workers. They work seven days out of seven, even Sunday, for hardly more than the minimum monthly salary. They’re forced to work long stretches at a time, standing, without a cafeteria or a decent break room. Others work part time with only four hours work per day. Their revolt made itself heard, and that’s the success of their strike.

Yes, the workers have made themselves respected and this week they saw management back down step by step. Government officials wanted to prevent the agents from marching in the terminals, and so they mobilized police, equipped like Robocops. Well, for ten days, the strikers met in the big hall of one of the terminals and 400 to 500 of them went through all the terminals, addressing the other workers and the passengers, and denouncing the presence of police at their work stations.

So the arrogant bosses of the security companies who didn’t want to discuss had to open national negotiations. They didn’t want to speak about money, and they also had to give in on this.

But the negotiations gave rise to a funny comedy! The first two sessions, where nothing resulted, were held at the big Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris, where the workers came in with a big delegation of strikers. This profoundly displeased the government’s Minister of Transportation, Mariani. So the bosses and the government mediator moved the negotiations 18 miles away to Gare du Nord in Paris, and limited it to union representatives. Nevertheless, striking unionists from the airport were present, keeping their fellow workers up to date and making their voices heard. This irritated one the bosses who said, “This isn’t a direct democracy here.” Yes, that’s right!

The bosses, while refusing any negotiations over the demand of a raise of 200 Euros a month ($260) and payment for strike days, ended up proposing on Christmas eve to double the individual performance bonus, up to a month’s pay – but with only 400 euros guaranteed, and the rest submitted to unpredictable and arbitrary criteria, just like before. Further, this bonus isn’t paid to those with less than one year of seniority – which is the case with many workers due to the high turnover. But at the very end, the bosses added an increase of 1.6 euros a day to the basic bonus, equivalent to a 370 euro ($480) increase a year. Finally, they said they’d keep 100% of the workers in case there’s a change in contractors, which hadn’t been the case before. But they had the effrontery to pose an ultimatum: if their proposal wasn’t accepted by noon the next day, Saturday, it would be withdrawn!

Despite that, the strike continued. On Saturday, more than 50% of the 4,000 workers were on strike, and on Sunday, 38% of the Paris airports were on strike, despite double time pay for the day. The strikers refused this proposal, deciding it wasn’t what they demanded.

But on December 26th, unions other than the CGT (General Confederation of Labor) signed the agreement, often against the advice of their elected union stewards at the big De Gaulle airport, and of the general assemblies. Many expressed their anger against the unions signing.

If the strikers weren’t able to obtain what they demanded, they nonetheless got an agreement which affects the 10,000 workers at all the security companies at the country’s airports. They made the bosses retreat. They are proud of their struggle and of being heard by all the country’s workers.

Turkey:
After the Bombing at the Iraqi Border:
Stop the Massacres!

Jan 9, 2012

The following article is from Sinif Mucadelesi (Class Struggle), published by Turkish comrades. It discusses the Turkish air force’s killing of 35 Kurdish villagers on the Iraqi border on December 28th.

Using aerial surveillance provided by a U.S. produced Heron drone, Turkey carried out a lightning military attack on the Iranian border. For 45 minutes, war planes dropped powerful bombs. As a result, 35 poor Kurdish villagers died. They had crossed the border over to Iraq to smuggle in oil to earn 50 Turkish lira, or $27. Most of them were under 20, and a number of them were of school age.

Now, Turkish politicians promise to find those responsible and prosecute them. Maybe they’ll find a soldier to accuse who ordered the air attack. But the politicians are the ones responsible....

When they got photos from the Heron drone showing a group of people on the border, the decision to bomb was made in the Turkish capital, Ankara, without alerting local authorities and without checking with the local police. The local authorities are thoroughly up to date about border smuggling and were aware when it was going on.

Now they say that there couldn’t be so many border smugglers. What does that mean? Given how much unemployment and poverty have increased, village income has been reduced to nothing. The number of those willing to risk their lives for 50 lira could only increase.

Maybe if there were fewer victims, as in the past, they would have been able to stifle the affair by saying that the smugglers were only PKK terrorists. This is how they recognize the rights of the Kurds!

This affair shows how ready the political leaders are to shed blood, how much savagery they can use to defend their order. This violence used today against the Kurds, tomorrow can be turned against workers anywhere in Turkey who struggle for their demands. In the past, in Turkey, the local and national police have often been turned against the workers. That can happen again.

As workers, our interest is to see the end of these military interventions and police and state actions. The Kurdish people must have their rights. It isn’t only a question of solidarity, but of the common interest of the Kurdish people and the whole working class of Turkey.

A Stroke of the Pen Cancels Bill of Rights

Jan 9, 2012

On December 31, 2011, the last day of the old year, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2012 – and cancelled, once again, the Bill of Rights for U.S. citizens.

The NDAA includes sections that authorize the indefinite detention and torture of U.S. citizens by the U.S. military! That is, a U.S. citizen can now be as easily “disappeared” as in any banana republic.

If detained by the military, a citizen is totally deprived of rights. No right to know the charges; no right to face the accuser; no right to trial at all, let alone a jury trial, let alone a speedy one; no right to legal counsel; no right to remain silent – absolutely no civil rights whatever. A person could be kept in prison for the rest of his life with no charges being filed at all.

Although Obama tried to shift the blame, these sections were specifically demanded by his Administration, as Senator Carl Levin told the Senate.

The NDAA takes up where Bush’s infamous Patriot Act left off. Now, not only can a citizen’s phone be watched and their library reading spied upon. If caught speaking to the “wrong people” or reading the “wrong things”, a citizen can be accused of a “belligerent” act and be “disappeared” into military custody – for as long as the military and its Commander-in-Chief desire.

We are told this law is anti-terrorist. If that were so, then the government would not need it! There is already a vast oversupply of laws perfectly usable against any conceivable form of terrorism. No, this law is calculated for use against the coming protests and rebellion in the population.

The government understands that the “Occupy” protests are merely a hint of the rebellion to come, as deep recession and unemployment continue, as social services and safety nets are more and more cut back, as desperation grows at the bottom and middle of society – while billions of needed dollars are hoarded by multi-billionaires at the top, and kept unproductive. In the service of those billionaires, the government now prepares the mechanisms to use against anyone who may fight for something better in life – something better that might require a bit of sacrifice from the billionaire class.

This is not the first time that the Bill of Rights has been cancelled for certain selected citizens. Bush’s Patriot Act itself cancelled the rights of privacy, association, and free speech, and led to harassment and persecutions of many who opposed the Iraq War. Members of the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee and of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization are still under threat of indictment by a federal grand jury in Chicago.

The McCarthy persecutions of the 1950s also threw aside citizens’ rights and caused many to be blacklisted, indicted and jailed for no other crime than using their rights of speech and association – and, not by coincidence, using those rights to organize unions, to fight for workers’ rights on the job.

The law signed by Obama also harks back further, to 1940, to the arrest, conviction, and imprisonment of 28 militants of the Socialist Workers Party – merely for saying in writing that they were against the new capitalist world war. Those jailed included the most important leaders of the Socialist Workers Party and the core Midwest leadership of the revitalized Teamsters Union. Those militants had led the 1934 Minneapolis Teamster strikes, and springing from there, directed a surge of Teamster organizing among drivers and warehousemen across the entire Midwest. Depriving citizens of their rights was handy when it came to taming a workers’ movement, too!

Obama didn’t only sign a Pentagon appropriation bill. He signed a threat against anyone who decides to fight against any of the capitalists’ plans.

Which only goes to prove how necessary it is to take up the fight against such unbridled, arrogant power.

Pages 6-7

Attack on Canadian Workers

Jan 9, 2012

On New Year’s Day, Caterpillar Co. locked out 485 Canadian workers at a locomotive assembly plant in London, Ontario. Their CAW contract ended, and now Caterpillar demands that all the workers drop down to two tier wages — $16.50, down from $35.00!

Cat points to its U.S. plants that have only half the labor cost of the Canada plant, due to previous UAW concessions! Cat is using cheap U.S. labor to threaten the Canadian workers.

Cat is riding high with record corporate profits. But that doesn’t satisfy its greed. This is nothing but international whipsawing — taking down first one, then the other, in the race to the bottom.

Teachers, Students, Parents Put Rahm Emanuel on Notice

Jan 9, 2012

Rahm Emanuel and his hand-picked school board ran into trouble after announcing they would close or “turnaround” 21 public schools, and open 12 new charter schools – some put in buildings that had housed public schools.

Several of the targeted schools have fought back. Teachers at Piccolo and Casals elementary schools canvassed their neighborhoods, discussing with neighbors and parents. Teachers at Casals drew up a fact sheet refuting the Board’s reasons for closing the school. Together, teachers, students and parents of the two schools organized an after-school protest.

Parents at Christopher House Elementary circulated a petition protesting the decisions to open a UNO charter school on their school’s campus. More than 1000 community members signed it including almost all the parents. UNO is a charter school network run by a friend of Rahm Emanuel.

The night before the December Board meeting, the teachers union organized a rally of five hundred outside the board, including teachers from the targeted schools, students, parents, and other activists, including from Occupy Chicago. About forty stayed overnight to be in line for the board meeting the next day.

At the Board meeting itself, the audience decided it had had enough of the Board’s lies. A parent got up to speak during CEO Brizard’s presentation, backed up by members of the audience. When security escorted the parent out, others intervened, until the School Board retreated into its private chambers. The teachers union continued the public meeting, with parents and staff presenting their problems in the room without the Board.

A week later, there were rallies at eight of the schools targeted for closure.

People need to go on fighting to keep their schools. Closing schools and opening charters benefits no one, but some real estate interests – displacing poor children out of neighborhoods where condos are to be sold to upper class people. But this policy has not meant educational improvement for the students.

If the past ten years in Chicago Public Schools have shown anything, it is the failure of the policy being pushed by Emanuel and Arne Duncan, former chief of Chicago Schools and now Obama’s Education Secretary.

Page 8

The U.S. War on Iraq Is NOT Over!

Jan 9, 2012

With TV cameras rolling, the last U.S. troops marched out of Iraq. The war is over, all U.S. forces withdrawn – supposedly.

No, the war is NOT over. First of all, there are still two large bases, with 4,000 U.S. troops – only now, they are called “employees” of the State Department. An “Office of Security Cooperation” has been set up, with civilian and military personnel attached as “trainers” and “advisers” to the Iraqi army. There are at least 40,000 private military contractors in Iraq – mercenaries, bought and paid for by the U.S. government. The massive U.S. embassy in the Green Zone is being expanded, with 16,000 people attached to it. Two new U.S. “outposts” were recently put in place in northern Iraq. U.S. troops are garrisoned in Kuwait. The U.S. Fifth Fleet is stationed in the Persian Gulf, complete with aircraft carriers. The same U.S. air bases, from which combat missions were flown last year, continue to operate in U.S. client states around the region. And the sectarian militias – including the Shiite militias which were transformed into the Iraqi army – remain armed and an ever-present danger to the population. Their arms and money come from the U.S.

No, this war is NOT over. The U.S. has just shifted the military means it uses to control Iraq’s oil.

That was the essential reason for this war: oil. Not weapons of mass destruction. There weren’t any. Not Iraqi nuclear facilities preparing nuclear weapons. There weren’t any. Not Iraqi involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. There was no Iraqi involvement. Not bringing democracy to Iraq – the U.S. brought only civil war, which still continues.

Oil was behind this war. Just as it’s behind the continuing occupation of Iraq today by other means.

Before the war, Iraq controlled and ran its own oil fields. Today, Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP and ENI run the only important facilities producing oil. And two American companies, Halliburton and Baker Hughes, service those oil fields.

To hand over the profits from Iraq’s oil to big multinational companies – that was why the U.S. invaded Iraq. It’s why U.S. imperialism continues the occupation of Iraq by other means.

Bush lied. Obama lied.

This war, no matter how it continues, will live on in the scars and memories of people for generations, just as did the U.S. war on Viet Nam.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have already been killed. Hundreds of thousands more Iraqis wear the scars and permanent disabilities of injuries suffered. Millions of Iraqis, driven from their homes, still live in other countries or are displaced in their own country. Services required by the population, destroyed by U.S. bombing, still barely function. Electricity is sporadic; clean water, a fiction. The impact of this war will not soon be over for the Iraqi people.

Nor will it be over for the 7,000 American families who lost a loved one – killed in the war or lost to suicide afterwards. It won’t be over for the more than 600,000 U.S. soldiers returning with disabilities. The war is an ever present companion to the hundreds of thousands coming back with PTSD and other psychological wounds endured in a war fought mostly against civilians.

These are the costs of a U.S. war of aggression directed against other people.

The same multinational companies and financial interests, which exploit us here, engage us to carry out wars of exploitation against other people. And the same government helps them carry out both wars.

Today, many of us are outraged at the way these class forces and their government drive down our standard of living, destroy public services, eliminate social services and tear up the public school system.

We should be outraged. They are carrying out a war against us here. But the war here is only part of the war they carry out around the globe.

We should be outraged at both kinds of war – and decided to stand up against both.

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