The Spark

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

Issue no. 914 — April 16 - 30, 2012

Detroit May Be First, But You’re Next!

Apr 16, 2012

Detroit has been put in the deadly grip of a “consent agreement,” aimed at stripping the city bare.

For decades, city politicians have given away subsidies and tax breaks to the auto companies, one after another. And the city has gone deeper in debt to the big banks linked to these giants.

Chrysler had schemes going for decades, getting tax breaks that lasted for 14 years every time Chrysler “modernized” a very old plant. A skeleton work force kept them open – just long enough to wring every last penny out of each of those tax breaks.

Ford got big tax breaks when it built the Renaissance Center on the Detroit River. It benefitted from large city reconstruction in the area surrounding the RenCen so upscale shops could move in, making the RenCen more valuable.

Ford got more aid when it wanted to vacate the RenCen, in a four-way deal that had Ford sell the RenCen to GM for its new headquarters, while the state freed GM from the expense of its old headquarters, paid to update it, then moved state offices into GM’s building. The city got stuck not only with paying for lots of infrastructure improvements near both buildings, but with heavy tax breaks to GM and for the big-money real estate company that bought up GM’s old headquarters and parking garage.

GM got tax breaks for building a new plant in the city, while it paid nothing for leaving old plants vacant and decrepit, destroying the surrounding neighborhoods, and draining tax rolls.

Max Fisher – his billions came from GM – got a tax break for putting up luxury housing on the waterfront, and another tax break when his son-in-law got the city to clear out large sections of housing near an area Fisher and friends wanted to gentrify.

William Clay Ford, one of the Ford family, got the city to take title on land, clear it for him – and then give him tax breaks for the downtown stadium he wanted for his football team.

Pizza king Mike Illich got the same treatment for his new baseball stadium. And his scheme went so well, he’s asked the city to pay for a new hockey arena – replacing the one the city had built earlier.

Peter Karmanos ended up with a big spot of very expensive property, cleared by the city, which also dug up and changed the routing of downtown streets to accommodate Karmanos who wanted to put the headquarters for his Compuware company right on that very spot.

Oh, and that’s only the beginning of the story, the very tip-top of the iceberg that is sinking Detroit today – an iceberg of tax breaks that fed every major corporation in Michigan out of the public treasury, and construction that ripped out vibrant working class neighborhoods in the city.

Every one of these deals put the city’s finances in a tighter hammer lock. Every one meant either cuts in city services or new bonds floated with the big banks. Or both. And the banks made out like bandits on every one of the loans they floated for the city – most of them so twisted they could only have been invented by a criminal mind.

The city has been in a crisis for 40 years, because the country has been in an economic crisis for 40 years – and Detroit, just like other cities, has taken the brunt of it.

Every one of these deals, and many more, was carried out with the express purpose of putting money in someone’s pocket – someone already filthy rich – to prop up their profits during this long-lasting economic crisis.

Now, these villains say, Detroit is nearly bankrupt. The bill has to be paid. And – according to them – the population and city workers should pay it: eliminate parks, neighborhood centers, bus service, fire service, emergency services, lighting, water lines, sewer lines; get rid of city workers, cut their pay, eliminate medical care and pensions.

The politicians try to pretend this is only Detroit’s problem. No, it’s not. This is the problem of all the cities. Detroit’s may be a little worse, the consent agreement a little more draconian, but most other big cities are trailing right behind.

The population of Detroit didn’t create the problems. The capitalists did, searching for ever more ways to put their hands on a buck, just like the banks did. And they didn’t do it only to Detroit. They are doing it everywhere, throughout the country.

Detroit may be the first major city to go. But you’re next. No end in sight until the working class pulls its forces together and refuses to bow down in front of these attacks.

Pages 2-3

Help Is NOT on the Way!

Apr 16, 2012

In a speech on April 11, Janet Yellen, vice-chairwoman of the Federal Reserve Bank, stated her outlook “that the U.S. economy will continue to recover only gradually and that labor market slack will remain substantial for a number of years to come.”

This is from an official at the very top of the top financial body that is legally responsible for the economy.

In other words, to those trapped in today’s “slack labor market,” to workers just scraping by, to the unemployed, to those hoping against hope that something better will open up soon, Janet Yellen says: “Don’t expect anything from us.”

Workers have never been able to rely on promises from authorities. But the authorities don’t usually admit it.

Workers have spent four years, struggling with the worst unemployment since the Great Depression, waiting for things to get better, waiting for someone to do something.

And all of the “someones” have been busy “doing something” – exclusively for the rich! That is why the labor market will remain “slack” – as long as the authorities are left to do what they want. As long as the wealthy interests are allowed to get what they want.

There is no answer for workers except to take up the fight for jobs, in a big way. The rich who are hoarding money must be made to give up enough so that workers can work and live.

The companies that are profitable can employ more workers – many more. Today, when they are allowed do what they want, they eliminate jobs. But tomorrow, facing a worker uprising, they can be forced to provide as many jobs as there are unemployed who need them.

If this means that instead of one worker working 60 hours, four will work 15, then so be it – and with full paychecks for all four!

Why not? The corporate world has stolen so much money, it can cover it. The corporate world depends on our labor. We can bring that power to bear for jobs – and decent wages.

Teachers Axed

Apr 16, 2012

About 40 teachers and 55 other employees were laid off suddenly in the Pontiac School District in Michigan. They were notified on Wednesday, April 11, and they were gone just two days later.

All of the teachers are at the elementary level, meaning kids from kindergarten through 6th grade will suddenly be shuffled around to different teachers, and stuffed into overcrowded classrooms – with two more months to go until the end of the school year. The emotional and intellectual disruption will be enormous.

District officials justify this move by pointing to the school district’s 24 million dollar deficit. But the deficit was created by the state, with help from those district officials. The state government has cut way, way back on its funding to cities and school districts, paying out only 10% of what it did just a couple decades ago. And it has never followed through on replacing all the school funding lost when it removed local property taxes from the equation fifteen years ago.

The poorer, more working class districts across the state are running out of money so the state can hand over millions to big business. It’s true for all the cuts today to public services, but it’s the most unconscionable when those who pay the cost are young children further deprived of education.

“After My Election I Have More Flexibility”
– Like 2009!

Apr 16, 2012

On March 26, President Obama thought his mike was turned off, and he said to the Russian president he was meeting, “After my election I have more flexibility.”

That was a truth every politician understands.

President Obama after his first election demonstrated how “flexible” he was. He turned himself into George W. Bush II! All his “hope and change,” all his worker-friendly campaign rhetoric of 2008, was forgotten in 2009. Remember Obama’s 2008 promise to support a raise in the minimum wage to $9.50? No, he didn’t. Remember his pledge to pass the Employee Free Choice Act? No, he didn’t. Remember his pledge to end the wars immediately? No, he didn’t. Remember “hope and change?” The hope disappeared and the change never came.

And it wasn’t only because of Republicans. In Obama’s first two years in office, the Democrats had a majority in both houses of Congress.

No, it is because Democrats are only Republicans in camouflage.

The wealthy elite, the biggest capitalists of the country, are rich enough to buy up all the politicians of both parties. They did it long ago. But they keep up the illusion that there is a difference. They need to make us think there is a “lesser evil” to vote for.

So the Republicans openly and deliberately proclaim their desire to drive society back to the days of robber barons, sweatshops, Jim Crow, and tenements. Meanwhile the Democrats camouflage themselves in friendly words – but in office, their fangs come out, and they drive society backwards as well.

There is not a dime’s worth of difference. Workers always lose this “lesser evil” game. The politicians are never “flexible” in our interests after they are elected.

Workers need nothing less than our own party under our own control.

Marion Syrek, 1923-2012

Apr 16, 2012

Marion Syrek, one of the founding members of Spark, died on April 1 in Oakland California. He was 89 years old. Before helping to found Spark in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he had been part of several other left groups, the Young People’s Socialist League and the Spartacist League.

In Detroit in the early 1970s, he got a job at Chrysler’s Eldon Gear and Axle Plant and started a political bulletin there. He left Spark after about a decade and moved to California. But Marion remained close, an honorary member, steered people to us and gave us a hand from time to time, for example, during an election campaign we organized.

Marion was part of a generation that had awakened to Marxist politics in the 1950s, that is, during the McCarthy period and anti-communist witch hunts, difficult times to take the road of revolution and communism.

Marion was one of that brave and committed generation.

This is illustrated by a legal case that he brought against the state of California. In early 1956, when Marion applied for unemployment benefits after losing his job, he refused to apply for a civil service job because it required that he sign a “loyalty oath.” The state cut off his benefit and so Marion appealed the decision several times, even winning one of the appeals.

By 1960, the state Supreme Court agreed to hear his case. It drew so much attention, the case was handled personally by the top state prosecutor, Attorney General Stanley Mosk, along with two Assistant Attorneys General and two Deputy Attorneys General. Syrek had only his own attorney.

The Supreme Court judges found that: “It is undisputed that Syrek diligently sought work in his trade as multilith operator elsewhere than in government positions. He applied for work with 12 corporations; he registered with several employment agencies; he was studying certain skills connected with his occupation at a trade school.... He registered on January 22, 1956 with the Department of Employment but left blank the place where willing to apply for a civil service position.”

In his official statement, Syrek wrote, “I do not recognize the right of any employer to ask these questions, and I have never answered them in the past. Since I cannot be hired without answering these questions, I do not apply for Civil Service jobs....

At a hearing before the referee for the Department of Employment, Syrek was asked whether he thought the U.S. government should be “overthrown.”

He replied, “Now there are certain circumstances under which it is my belief that the government of the United States should be overthrown. Specifically, any time that the government turns into a dictatorship which can be done by legal means – there have been occasions in American history in the past when the government of the United States has been overthrown by force and violence.

You don’t mean the government of the United States, do you?” asked the official.

The government that was in existence in 1776,” replied Syrek.

I see,” said the referee.

And I think I certainly uphold that, and would recommend a similar course of action under similar circumstances in the future,” said Syrek.

Do I get your statement correctly then that in the event of a dictatorship in the United States, if one were established, or in the case of tyrannical rule, that you advocate the violent overthrow of the government?” asked the official.

Yes, sir, that is my opinion, and I advocate and I intend to advocate it in the future. As a result, I cannot sign the loyalty oath,” replied Syrek.

Not surprisingly in the middle of the exceedingly reactionary McCarthy period, Marion lost the appeal by a 4 to 1 vote. But he stood his ground, which was important during that time period, when authorities tried to browbeat militants to give up their ideas.

Among the many things he shared with a younger generation were two poems he wrote. The first, on Jack London, ended this way:

“No man has a right to scab

While he can find a piece of rope long enough to hang himself with,

Or a pool of water deep enough to drown himself in.”

And in the second poem, Marion wrote,

“In the real world

Nothing is guaranteed.

You can’t always win,

But you can always fight.”

Pages 4-5

Ghislaine Joachim-Arnaud’s Appeal in Martinique:
Racism Is the Ideology of the Masters!

Apr 16, 2012

The following article appeared in the paper of Combat Ouvrier (Workers Fight), the paper of comrades of the revolutionary workers organization of that name active in Martinique and Guadeloupe. These two islands in the Caribbean are overseas departments of France.

On March 29th, some three hundred people gathered outside the appeals court in Fort-de-France, the capital of Martinique. They demonstrated their support for our comrade Ghislaine Joachim-Arnaud. She was appealing against her conviction and a $4,000 fine.

The complaint was made after a television broadcast. Ghislaine Joachim-Arnaud wrote in the visitor’s book in the Creole language, spoken by the people of the island, “Matinik sé ta nou.” This phrase was part of a chant shouted by thousands of protesters during the 2009 general strike: “Martinique is ours, it isn’t theirs, a band of béké robbers, profiteers, who need to be kicked out.”

This appeal hearing was a new occasion to underline the political character, the class character, of this trial. There are two opposing camps, that of the workers and that of the big owners, especially the békés, who are the descendants of the old slave owning families.

After speeches by the other side’s lawyers, claiming that the use of the word béké was “a provocation to discrimination, hatred and violence,” Joachim-Arnaud declared the following concerning the suit brought by one of the biggest owners of agricultural plantations, super markets and other businesses – a descendant of the old slave-owners:

“Mister Hayot has attempted to reverse roles by accusing me of inciting racial hatred. His accusations are worthless, like his wish to pass himself off as a victim! We have always known that the only victims of the arrogance, oppression and racism of big landowners, big bosses and planters in béké circles are the workers, the majority of the population, coming out of a history that no one can change. This history perpetuated the relations of master to slave in the relation of boss to worker which we live under today....

“It isn’t me who has to demonstrate my non-racism.... Nor should anyone in the working population, who fights to live, to be treated better by the bosses, have to do it.”

The representative of the General Confederation of Labor of France then confirmed the hostility of the entire union movement, everywhere and always, to any manifestation of racism. Militants from the General Confederation of Labor of Martinique reaffirmed that the meaning of béké in the Creole language was long since enlarged to designate bosses, whatever their color, and, in fact, the political administration itself. These speakers emphasized that no one, except the bosses, saw her remarks as an appeal to hatred.

Another militant of Combat Ouvrier in Guadeloupe made a statement to the court: he gave some examples of the shameless exploitation of workers and the scorn of the béké bosses on the banana plantations. Applause resounded in the court room. Others involved in the 2009 strike showed their support for Joachim-Arnaud.

The court won’t decide until May 3rd. But for all the participants at the trial and rally, the condemnation of exploitation was very effective and went against those who wanted the justice system to defend the bosses.

Leaving the court room, the sounds of the Creole song “Martinique isn’t yours” were heard everywhere. They also sang the revolutionary workers song The Internationale.

The Police Attack Demonstration of Unemployed Graduates

Apr 16, 2012

On April 7th, in the middle of Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, thousands of university graduates who couldn’t find a job demonstrated.

The young people came from all regions of Tunisia in response to the call of the Union of Unemployed University Graduates. They rallied before the headquarters of the General Union of Tunisian Workers, then continued down the city’s main boulevard, where demonstrations are banned. Their slogans were, “Down with the government!” and “Work, freedom, dignity!” These slogans were used a year ago, during the Tunisian uprising that led to the dictator Ben Ali leaving the country before he could be overthrown.

The police shot tear gas at demonstrators and hit the young people. At least twenty were wounded and had to be taken for treatment. One organizer denounced police brutality, comparing it to police actions under the old dictator. Instead, these young people had “come to demonstrate peacefully for jobs, freedom and dignity, for nothing has changed since the revolution.”

The rate of unemployment is officially 19% in the country, but almost 25% among university graduates. The demonstrators demanded jobs, as well as unemployment compensation equal to the Tunisian minimum wage, around $200 a month. But the government, led by the Islamist party Ennhada, apparently has contempt for the needs of the population to live decently. In Tunisia, the true “revolution,” the social revolution, still remains to be made.

Shut Him Up!

Apr 16, 2012

In an interview with Time magazine, Ozzie Guillen, the manager of the Florida Marlins baseball team, said, “I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that son of a bitch is still here.”

This off-hand comment set off a firestorm in Miami-Dade, which is controlled by the reactionary Cuban exile Mafia and is where the Marlins play. The city commission chair released a statement calling on the team owners to fire Guillen. Mayor Carlos Giminez urged the Marlins to take “decisive steps to bring this community back together.” And 100 demonstrators picketed Marlins Park toting signs like “NO APOLOGIES FIRE HIM NOW.”

Finally, Guillen was given a five game suspension and had to go through a long, humiliating press conference. “I'm here on my knees to apologize,” Guillen told the packed room. And for what?

Telling the truth. After all, Castro has defied the mighty U.S. efforts to oust or kill him since the 1950s! The U.S. has sponsored an invasion (Bay of Pigs), carried out crackpot schemes to assassinate him (poison, hidden explosives), and imposed straightforward economic blackmail and embargoes.

But the last thing the rich exiles at the top of the heap in Miami want anyone to do is tell the truth. So, under the guise of defending “basic human rights,” they tell Guillen he can’t say what he thinks!

French Presidential Campaign:
Nathalie Arthaud for Lutte Ouvrière

Apr 16, 2012

The comrades of Lutte Ouvrière, a revolutionary communist workers organization in France, are presenting a candidate, Nathalie Arthaud, in the French presidential election due to take place on April 22. Given the control that money has over elections, Lutte Ouvrière knows their candidate won’t win or even do very well. But their goal is to give a voice to all those workers who would otherwise not have anyone to speak for them in this election, and to present a program for the struggles the working class will carry out in the future.

We reprint part of a television address from the three and a half minutes Nathalie Arthaud was given on national TV in France.

I address myself to working women and men, as Arlette Laguiller did in the past, when she represented Lutte Ouvrière in previous presidential elections.

I address myself to all the exploited, workers, employees and technicians, who make the entire economy run, but in return receive only a pitiful wage, while the rich parasites, the big stock owners and speculators amass fortunes, while bringing nothing to the community.

I address myself to all those whose activity is useful to society, hospital personnel and those in education, researchers, but also small peasants, storekeepers and artisans, who exploit no one but themselves.

They talk to us about “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” but in a society where everything is bought and sold, to be really free, you have to be rich. What is equality and justice, when some have to spend their lives at work to survive, while those with capital pocket billions from exploiting us? What is the place for fraternity in this capitalist system, where the only thing that counts is profitability and gain?

Unemployment exploded during the past five years and casual jobs, that are temporary and poorly paid, have multiplied. Yet stock owners’ dividends have been preserved and are guaranteed. It’s even better for the stockholders of the CAC 40 (the 40 biggest companies), whose dividends are up 31%. While wages stagnate and purchasing power falls sharply, the compensation of the big bosses has increased by 34%.

The capitalist class takes advantage of its absolute power over the economy to make working people pay for the crisis, in order to safeguard its own income and profits.

The bosses use unemployment like a weapon against the workers, exercising a permanent blackmail to make them accept wage freezes, flexibility, the lack of job security and speedup. The first battle must be against unemployment and layoffs.

The workers don’t need to agree to pay for the failures of an economy from which they have never profited.

In this campaign, I want to say to the workers, that although each of us individually is disarmed in front of the power of money, collectively we can react and change our situation.

Lutte Ouvrière explained the interest of voting for her in the following way:

Voting for Nathalie Arthaud is a way to show we don’t believe in bogus electoral programs and in promises that are never kept. We know that if the workers want to get anything, they must struggle. And their struggle has to be powerful enough to change the relation of forces between workers and the capitalist class and its government.

By voting for Nathalie Arthaud, we declare that we’re for a program of struggle, whose execution doesn’t depend on who is installed in the Élysée [the presidential mansion], but on the collective, conscious actions of the entire working class.

Voting for Nathalie Arthaud shows that we are in agreement with the program, which she has promoted throughout the campaign:

  • Prohibit layoffs. Divide the work among everyone without pay cuts and create a sufficient number of useful jobs in public services.
  • A general increase in wages, pensions and benefits, and their automatic increase with each increase in prices.
  • Impose control by workers, consumers and the population on all companies, forcing the bosses to reveal their accounting, to show how much of their profits goes to the stock owners and to speculation; force the bosses to reveal their layoff plans in advance, giving workers and the population affected by them time to react.

Remembering Domitila:
Working Class Militant in Bolivia

Apr 16, 2012

Domitila Barrios de Chungara, a militant in Bolivia, died at age 75. She grew up in a miner’s village. The tin miners of Bolivia lived in dire poverty under extremely harsh conditions. They waged constant struggles against the government-run mines.

Domitila became involved in the Housewives Committee of the mining town of Siglo XX. The housewives committee began when the miners were locked up due to their struggle. The wives got together to protest. Many men said that women shouldn’t get involved in such things, they belonged at home with the children and in the kitchen. Some miners beat their wives for taking part. But the women continued, in support of the miners’ struggles, over problems in the store, over the condition of kids in the schools and over the care in hospitals. Their persistence won the respect of the miners, so the women won their place in the struggle.

Domitila engaged in many struggles. She was thrown in jail and tortured, and lost a child. But her involvement only became deeper.

As a result of an interview Domitila had given to a film maker, she was invited to the U.N.’s 1975 Year of the Woman Conference in Mexico City. She shocked the bourgeois feminists there by saying that in a society divided into classes, the division between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat extends to women. Between a professor and a domestic worker, a magnate’s wife and a miner’s wife, between those who have everything and those who have nothing, there is a deep class gulf. “For us, the first task doesn’t consist in fighting against our companions, but with them changing the system in which we live for another, where men and women have the right to life, work and organization.” As a result of this contact with 5,000 women from around the world, she affirmed that “the interests of the bourgeoisie have absolutely nothing to do with our interests.”

Domitila’s life is explained in her book Let Me Speak, which is still available in print. It is the powerful story of the condition of Bolivian miners and their families, harsh class struggle, and the revolutionary awareness of militants like Domitila.

Pages 6-7

Long Line for Jobs

Apr 16, 2012

More than 7,000 people applied for jobs at the new Wegmans supermarket and restaurant in Columbia, Maryland. There are 650 new jobs, almost all part time and a hard commute from either Baltimore or Washington, D.C.

That endless stream of job applications exposes how many people need work in Maryland, despite the official state unemployment rate of near 7% in February 2012.

Don’t tell us the economy is “improving” when 7,000 people compete for 650 part-time jobs.

Record Price for L.A. Dodgers:
Guess Who Gets Stuck With the Bill?

Apr 16, 2012

The Los Angeles Dodgers were sold for more than two billion dollars, twice the previous record sales price for a sports team.

The Dodgers had been driven into bankruptcy by their previous owner, Frank McCourt. Over four years, he and his wife were paid 108 million dollars by the Dodgers, but didn't pay a dime in federal, state and local taxes. The McCourts bought four mansions, a 12-million-dollar swimming pool, a private jet, a $10,000 per month hairstylist, etc.

It was business as usual. As L.A. Times columnist, Michael Hiltzik, remarked, “The history of baseball ownership is a brimming cauldron of con men, hacks, racists, cheapskates and bankrupts.”

Enter the new owners, Guggenheim Sports Management, which is run mainly by the Guggenheims, old money that today makes billions managing big investment funds and insurance companies that rip off the economy. Magic Johnson, the former basketball star, and a couple of Hollywood tycoons are also part of the owner group. Owning the Dodgers will put them in an excellent position to repeat what the McCourts did. And they intend to “develop” the Chavez Ravine area around the stadium, allowing them to raid the city treasury through big tax breaks and subsidies.

Want to Lower Your Taxes?
Become a Huge Corporation!

Apr 16, 2012

A new study shows that 280 of the most profitable U.S. corporations received nearly 223 billion dollars in tax breaks in the past three years. Seventy-eight of them paid NO taxes in at least one of those three years. And thirty companies actually had a NEGATIVE tax rate in the last three years – the government paid THEM money, instead of the other way around!

One company, Pepco, had a tax rate of negative 57.6%. In other words, the government paid Pepco an additional 57.6% of its profit, ON TOP OF its profit.

Meanwhile, workers are losing their homes and struggling to make ends meet. And even unemployed workers are paying income tax – on their unemployment benefits!

Think of how many people could be put to work with all that money the government is handing to the rich!

Page 8

Pontiac, Michigan:
Teacher Fired for Supporting Trayvon

Apr 16, 2012

Brooke Harris, a young 8th grade teacher in the Pontiac Academy for Excellence charter school, was fired in March for helping her students organize a fundraiser for Trayvon Martin’s parents.

Harris has taught at the school for three years, and has won the “teacher of the year” award twice.

Harris says that after her 8th grade journalism students were talking about the Trayvon Martin case last month, she used it as a teachable moment and had them write editorials on the case. “And they were deeply affected. They made it very personal, so much so that they wanted to do more. They wanted to do the fundraiser,” Harris said.

The charter school has a uniform dress code, but regularly schedules “dress-down” fundraisers. Harris’s students wanted to organize a fundraiser where students would pay one dollar to be allowed to wear a hoodie on a “dress-down” day. The money would go to Martin’s parents.

Harris received approval from her principal, but had it rescinded by the school’s superintendent, Jacqueline Cassell. After students approached Cassell directly, Harris was suspended. After Harris asked for an explanation, she was fired for “insubordination.”

This is a charter school, so teachers are not unionized and can be fired for any reason.

It seems that in this charter school, helping your students to take a stand on social issues – even on something so basic as racist violence – is enough to get you fired!

Mississippi Attack on Abortion Rights

Apr 16, 2012

The majority of the Mississippi state legislature is trying, yet again, to end a woman’s right to abortion in the state.

In 2011, the lawmakers sent a constitutional amendment to a referendum vote. The measure declared a fetus to be a “person,” meaning that abortion would become an act of murder. State voters defeated the referendum, 58% to 42% this past November.

So the lawmakers came back to the drawing board and passed another law in February about doctors in abortion clinics.

The state of Mississippi has only one clinic left that performs abortions. The few doctors doing this medical procedure are already licensed as obstetricians and gynecologists. But the Mississippi legislature now has decreed that doctors must have admitting privileges to a local hospital. That “privilege” means the doctor is allowed to send patients to a local hospital. Only one of the three doctors currently performing abortions at the clinic has local admitting privileges.

The reason these doctors cannot gain admitting privileges at local hospitals is that many Mississippi hospitals – attacking the right to abortion – have denied them.

The governor of Mississippi has already declared, despite the referendum recently voted down by 58% of Mississippi voters, that women should NOT have the right to an abortion.

Not only does he want Mississippi to deny democratic rights but also human rights to its population. A good old-fashioned good-old-boy dictatorship!

Authorities Punish Rape Victim

Apr 16, 2012

Sacramento County prosecutors have locked up a 17-year-old against her wishes for ... being a rape victim!

And two superior court judges have upheld the detention, three times.

The prosecutors claim that they want to make sure the teenager appears at the trial of the 37-year-old Frank Rackley Sr., who is accused of abducting and raping her last July. Otherwise, they say, the case against Rackley would be dismissed – as happened last February.

It shouldn’t have been then. In fact, there was enough evidence to build a strong case against Rackley without the victim having to appear personally in court. Rackley has a history of raping women, and his DNA was found on the victim. The 17-year-old victim has already been traumatized. Not only did Rackley rape and beat her, he is an open racist with a swastika tattooed on his chest. She certainly didn’t want to relive it and has good reason to fear retaliation.

What reasonable human being would put her in a youth prison? Why not a hotel – like Mafia witnesses are put into? Why not a place where she could be protected? The treatment of her is horrible, but nothing new. This is what a male-dominated “justice” system has done for centuries: blame and punish women for being attacked by men. The system itself encourages violence against women.

Racist Violence in Tulsa
– Not from the Shooters Alone

Apr 16, 2012

Two white men in Tulsa, Oklahoma went on a shooting rampage, killing three black people and wounding two others.

The media tried to excuse the shootings, speculating that one of the men, Jacob England, who is part Native American, was angry about his father being shot to death by a black man two years ago.

These men shot five people, all walking in completely different neighborhoods, people whom they didn’t know. They were looking to kill black people. Any black person would do.

It was racist revenge pure and simple. And it was fed in part by the enormous campaign carried by Fox News and other right-wing news media to defend the shooting of Trayvon Martin as somehow justifiable. They repeated the lie that Martin attacked his killer, George Zimmerman. They declared Zimmerman justified in killing the young man. They made Martin out to be dangerous.

That campaign finds resonance in the minds of people already deformed and unbalanced by the racism of this society.

Assassinating Trayvon Martin’s character, the right-wing media prepared the ground for other racist assassinations. Those in Tulsa won’t be the last.