The Spark

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

Issue no. 935 — March 18 - April 1, 2013

Editorial:
Stop the Bankers’ Rape of Detroit!

Mar 18, 2013

Newly appointed Detroit Emergency Financial Manager Kevyn Orr said he is not surprised at public resentment regarding his appointment. He quipped, “In my business, you’re sort of the undertaker who walks up to the front door.... I’m rarely welcomed.”

Really?! Maybe he thought he was being clever, but his remarks are an apt description of the murderous attack about to be carried out on the residents of Detroit. Under the guise of rescuing the city from a desperate situation, he is preparing to gut it further. He started out on Day One proposing to sell off city assets and decrease workers’ pensions.

The bankers and corporate bosses are celebrating his arrival; no worry that he is the “undertaker” at THEIR door. As for the population, he has been clear that “everything is on the table” – and the bankers are drooling at the feast set before them. The day after Michigan Governor Snyder appointed him, he promoted the “restructure” of the Detroit Water and Sewage Department, one of Detroit’s most valuable assets. He speaks of clever ways to “lease” and to “leverage,” the very schemes and tactics that got the city into its mess in the first place.

While the news highlights the small time politicians that took from the City of Detroit, they skip over the big offenders – the big corporations who took hand-out after hand-out from one mayor after another, including current Mayor Bing! The 15 billion in debt reaches back to the clearing of Poletown neighborhoods to give that portion of the city to GM. Billions of dollars have been given away in tax breaks and valuable property to corporations big and small. The regular revenue has been given as gifts to GM and others.

To cover expenses, city governments turned to the banks and were hustled into bond after bond. Wall Street bankers made more than 474 million dollars on just one slick deal with city government. Then there was the scandal of the 350 million dollars owed for derivatives the banks hooked the politicians on.

And now, Kevyn Orr says his first goal is to bring about “solvency” in 18 months; that is, to transfer every bit of wealth he can squeeze out of the city and its residents to make sure the banks get paid.

Politicians from all walks blame the indebtedness of the City of Detroit on the collapse of the auto industry and the flight of residents that reduced the Detroit population from 1.85 million to just around 700,000.

But when you “follow the money,” a different story becomes evident. The auto industry did not collapse, but Chrysler, GM and Ford drove the work force at lightning speed, letting them boot hundreds of thousands of workers into unemployment. And the smaller population? A choice made by the banks and big business to impoverish the population and then to run the home mortgage scheme of the century. Two hundred thousand is a conservative figure for those driven out or robbed by the mortgage scam.

Make no mistake. Detroit has been set up to be the model for the tear down of major industrial city and its gentrification into a few dozen square miles of playground for a “new” middle and upper class population. Dozens of other cities in Michigan and other states are already following suit – just a little bit behind. In New Orleans, the bankers and scam artists used the destruction of Katrina to do the same thing.

Why should we repay bankers who have swindled the city out of billions of dollars in OUR property, OUR assets and caused homelessness of hundreds of thousands of working families?

It’s a financial emergency for the working class. And the ones who should pay for it are the ones who created the emergency – the corporations, the banks and their politicians.

Pages 2-3

LA School Board Election:
Billionaires Partially Defeated

Mar 18, 2013

Los Angeles School Board member Steve Zimmer successfully defended his seat in the March 5 election. Zimmer faced, and defeated, an extremely well-funded campaign to unseat him. The so-called “Coalition for School Reform,” which supported candidates in three school board elections, got huge donations, including one million dollars from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and $250,000 each from fellow billionaires Rupert Murdoch, Eli Broad and A. Jerrold Perenchio. The organization headed by Michelle Rhee, former head of Washington D.C. schools who fired hundreds of experienced teachers there in 2010, also donated $250,000 to the “Coalition.”

Zimmer’s sin, in the eyes of the billionaires and their cronies, was to suggest that the L.A. school board stop issuing new charters until it develops a monitoring system for charter schools. These big bosses are against any oversight of charter schools, because they want public education funds to be there for their own, unhindered profit.

This election result alone doesn’t mean an end to more and more public schools being handed over to private companies. In the other two elections for school board seats, for example, one candidate backed by the “Coalition” got elected (against candidates endorsed by the L.A. teachers’ union with words, but not with money), and another is up for a runoff. And the billionaire “Reformers” will certainly continue to push for the privatization of public education.

What Zimmer’s win shows, however, is that these “Reformers” don’t have the support of parents and community, as they claim.

Tuberculosis in Los Angeles

Mar 18, 2013

In February, the Los Angeles Times reported that there is a tuberculosis outbreak in downtown Los Angeles. The public health workers are now searching for more than 4,500 people who may have been exposed to the disease.

This was not news for health officials. Since 2007, health workers have identified 80 tuberculosis cases and 11 people have died. But it appears that the Times just figured out that the rich are not immune to diseases that start among the poor!

As one downtown resident explained, conditions that ignited this outbreak were exposure, inadequate healthcare, mental illness and financial instability. In sum, the cause was poverty. But, the poor people, not the social conditions, were blamed for the outbreak.

One medical doctor said in a recent public meeting: “People say, ‘Those are just homeless people. They’re nasty, they don’t take care of themselves.’ But tuberculosis is not a homeless disease. The bacteria don’t discriminate. The host is any human in this room. Anyone can be at risk if they are in the presence of someone and they come in contact with a pathogen.”

The prevalent homelessness and an outbreak of a very contagious deadly disease are happening in a very wealthy modern city. All of the required resources – money, hospitals and health workers – are out there and available to resolve the poverty that brought about this epidemic. But, this capitalist society is run for the interests of the rich, so nothing is done until a crisis reaches epidemic proportions.

Health Care Giants Admit Rates Will Rise

Mar 18, 2013

Some of the biggest health care insurance companies admit they expect premiums to rise anywhere from 20 to 100 per cent on some plans in 2014.

Big surprise! Have we ever seen anyone predicting health insurance rates to fall? Despite the fact that health care inflation went down in the past year! These major insurance carriers are using the nationwide Affordable Care Act as an excuse to do what benefits them, even though it is clear that laws that extend health care treatment to all usually drive costs down.

These insurance giants will never do anything but drive prices higher. A government that truly represented the population would impose price controls and outlaw the practice of making profits off of others’ illness and misery.

Private Contractors Cost More, Not Less!

Mar 18, 2013

In all the hoopla about Detroit’s financial crisis, the media and the politicians are spreading the notion that privatizing city services will save the city money.

But the only study that actually compared the total costs of paying private contractors with the costs of paying government employees, found that, at the federal level, private contractors cost more, not less.

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) found the federal government paid twice as much for work done outside. It studied 35 occupational categories in 2011 and in 33 of those, federal government employees cost less. In another, government workers cost under $1,000 more per year. In only one category, groundskeeping, were government employees more expensive.

If it’s true for the federal government it’s also true for every state, local government and school district that has outsourced so many departments to private contractors in recent years. They tell us “private” means “cheaper.” – Not true!

THIS is a BIG part of where those government deficits are going: into the pockets of the owners of private companies, paid many times what it would cost governments to do the work themselves. It’s a huge boondoggle to corporate profit, using taxpayer money.

They want to balance their budgets? Get rid of the contractors and bring the work back in-house! Hire MORE workers directly! Don’t cut OUR jobs, or OUR wages, or OUR benefits and services!

Emergency Manager Ruins Pontiac

Mar 18, 2013

Supporters of Rick Snyder’s appointment of an Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) for Detroit actually dare to point to the city of Pontiac as a successful example where one was put in place.

Successful maybe – but only if success means overturning labor contracts, selling off the city’s assets and privatizing almost every city service the city of Pontiac once provided. Pontiac’s EFM eliminated all but 50 of the city’s 600 government jobs. He outsourced the city’s police force, fire department, garbage collection, animal control, vital records and street maintenance. He also privatized the parking meters.

That means Pontiac residents’ taxes will go elsewhere, including to profits for private companies. Imagine what that will mean for the quality of services the people of Pontiac will receive in the long run!

That’s just a glimpse of the kind of cuts Detroiters can expect – except on a much larger scale – if the new EFM has his way.

Orr Attacked Chrysler Workers

Mar 18, 2013

Kevyn Orr, the new Detroit Emergency Financial Manager, represented Chrysler in the 2009 “quick rinse” bankruptcy. That supposedly qualifies him to rescue Detroit.

Rescue for who? On whose backs?

Old Chrysler bondholders may have taken a “haircut,” but for them it was only numbers in a ledger. It was a one-time loss to be written off on taxes and made up later. No investor has been reported living in poverty as a result!

But Chrysler’s workers and retirees were immediately slammed with permanently lower living standards, guaranteed only to degrade further year by year.

New hires were declared “two-tier” workers. They are paid half pay, they receive minimal health benefits and no pension.

Active workers’ pay ceased to have any protection against inflation.

Retirees’ healthcare insurance fund dwindles further year by year, while retirees’ healthcare costs leap up and up.

The people who told Chrysler workers, “Don’t fight it, just take it,” gave them very bad advice! And now these same people are taking aim at the city of Detroit!

Pizza Boss Blocks Birth Control

Mar 18, 2013

The boss who controls your life at work now wants to control your night life at home!

The founder of Domino’s Pizza, Tom Monaghan, just got a judge to allow him to disobey federal law and NOT cover birth control for his several dozen employees at his new company, Domino’s Farms.

This judge had the audacity to agree that Monaghan doesn’t have to cover birth control because his “freedom to exercise religion” is protected under the First Amendment.

In other words, this judge says it’s perfectly legal for bosses to force their personal – in this case Catholic – religious views onto their workers.

Corporations own us at work. Now the most reactionary political forces of this society want corporations to own our personal lives, too!

Pages 4-5

A New Pope, Another Politician

Mar 18, 2013

The world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics have a new pope, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina. He is supposed to be a good pope because he lives “simply” and because “he speaks for the poor.”

It’s the business of “speaking for the poor” that supports the careers of legions of politicians worldwide, inside and outside the churches. But it’s different when it comes to actual deeds that attack poverty and its causes.

In the Catholic Church, some priests and nuns may work on behalf of the poor. But do any of these get promoted in the Church’s hierarchy? No. Whether it’s the “liberation theology” priests of South America, or others like the Catholic Worker movement in the U.S., the clergy on the side of the poor are far more likely to be disowned and suppressed than to rise.

The new pope himself has attacked liberation theology and all those clerics who have argued it. And through his actions, he has demonstrated he has no intention to upset the system. He is from Argentina, where the military dictatorship of 1976 to 1983 caused perhaps 30,000 opponents to be “disappeared” through kidnapping, torture, and murder. Courageous priests and nuns were among those who fought the dictatorship. However, Father Jorge Bergoglio, at that time the Jesuit Provincial Superior of Argentina, supported the regime.

The Superior in fact at one point removed two activist priests from their parishes, which set them up to be kidnapped and tortured by the regime. He also has been accused of helping a Catholic priest, Christian von Wernich, escape the country to avoid prosecution after the dictatorship ended. Von Wernich was later captured and convicted of complicity in seven homicides, 42 kidnappings and 32 instances of torture.

The hierarchy of the church – an extremely wealthy institution – has always served those with wealth. This new pope is no different – no matter how “simply” he may live.

No Supreme Savior, Not in Venezuela Nor Anywhere Else

Mar 18, 2013

The media were astonished at the enormous crowds that came out in Venezuela for Chavez’s funeral.

Chavez was one of the rare heads of state in an underdeveloped country who could say NO to the big powers, in particular the U.S., and to the representatives of the giant corporations that dominate the economy of these countries.

Moreover, he had a social policy which contrasted with that of most political leaders of Africa, Latin America and Asia. The other politicians pocket the crumbs allowed to them by the big corporations that pillage their countries, leaving nothing for their people. Chavez used a part of the oil money to create schools and health centers in workers’ neighborhoods.

Chavez knew how to oppose the U.S. multinational companies and to make deals that he wanted. But he didn’t go so far as to confiscate foreigners’ interests in Venezuelan oil. He was content to increase state control. But these actions were enough to make him hated by the U.S. rulers.

His courage in standing up to the main global power in the world made him popular at home.

Chavez’s popularity gives an idea, if only indirectly, of the hatred aroused in Latin American populations by imperialist domination, particularly that of the U.S.

These people have been exploited and oppressed for centuries, and their natural resources have been stolen. Slavery was imposed on them so that foreigners would profit from sugar cane and cotton. The memory of this pillage, oppression and exploitation survives, since it continues under other forms. The suffering of the victims of coup d’etats and dictators supported by the U.S. isn’t only written in the collective memory, it’s written on the skin of millions of men and women in bloody letters.

But Chavez didn’t really fight imperialism, for he didn’t fight the basis on which it’s established: capitalist property. The Venezuelan state took partial control of the oil industry, but it did not expropriate the wealthy classes. The rich continued to prosper and they still control the economy. And the “U.S. enemy” still continues to pillage the oil. It has been Venezuela’s top customer.

Despite social measures, the country remains underdeveloped. Redistributing a part of the oil income doesn’t get rid of inequalities, unemployment and misery. The country’s economy continues under imperialist domination.

There is no way out for the poor countries except by getting rid of imperialism. And it can’t be done by one man acting as a savior, for it’s not a question of replacing one man by another. It’s a question of transforming the basis of society, of eliminating capitalist property and making sure there are no longer privileges and privileged people.

Venezuela:
Hugo Chavez’s Policy:
Social Measures but Not Socialism

Mar 18, 2013

Chavez appeared in Venezuela’s political life in 1992 after a failed coup d’etat. This was his way of responding to the 1989 massacre of working people who had protested insufferable price increases by the social democratic government. After this coup attempt, Chavez was imprisoned.

In Venezuela, for decades, political life meant alternating between the two parties in power, the right and the social democrats. In the 1990s, the degradation of the political system opened a way for Chavez’s movement. When he came out of prison, he launched a “Bolivarian movement” to take part in elections. By evoking Simon Bolivar, the 19th century leader of Venezuelan independence from Spain, he appealed to the nationalist sentiment of the working classes and sought to rally all those who hoped for change. The discredit of the traditional parties did the rest, and in 1999, Chavez was elected president at the head of a movement still finding its direction.

For fourteen years, the regime established many social programs, which did contribute to reducing inequalities. It was all the more remarkable that Venezuela acted the opposite of what was common throughout the rest of the world – where wages and benefits continually were cut to preserve and enlarge big business profits and the wealth of the privileged class. Even in rich countries, less and less money is devoted to public services, and social programs and social protections are reduced.

Certainly the existence of a sizeable income from oil permitted the Chavez regime to use part of that income to finance his social programs. That’s what the politicians and commentators reproach him for. For these critics, the profits of the multinationals and the local ruling class are more important than social expenditures. In their eyes, Chavez is guilty of rewarding a base of supporters. These same critics have nothing to say when the same is done to benefit the rich!

Those who hated Chavez the most had to admit he got results. In the conservative French newspaper Le Monde, one article said, “The Bolivarian revolution privileged the social to the detriment of the economy.”

At the same time, the newspaper showed how much improvement there had been in the lives of Venezuelans. Between 1998 and 2011, the Gross Domestic Product per person went from $3,889 to $10,731. At the same time, the level of poverty decreased from 49% to 27.4%. An index showing equality versus inequality showed a favorable improvement. And infant mortality was reduced from 20.3 to 12.9 per thousand births.

The Chavez regime also improved education. During his years in power, UNESCO added Venezuela to its list of states without illiteracy.

In 2008, the regime was responsible for raising food consumption by 16.5%, thanks to a program that furnishes basic foods to the population – despite sometimes chaotic distribution.

The health sector benefitted right from the beginning of Chavez’s presidency thanks to aid and know-how of Cuban doctors. Even rich bourgeois people in Latin America, although anti-Castro, prefer to go to Cuba for medical care. Thanks to this aid, the Chavez regime was able to open numerous neighborhood clinics. But the clinics have also lacked medical supplies, and some have now closed. Chavez himself publicly admitted the difficulties. In the same way, with respect to housing, the regime admitted that it only constructed 350,000 units of public housing while the country needs three million.

The opposition continued to denounce Chavez as nothing but a dictator. They ignore the fact that during 14 years in power he organized election after election and even a referendum, which would have driven him out of power if he had lost.

With his power stabilized, Chavez declared himself the partisan of “21st century socialism” and added “socialist” to his party name. But, in practice, while the state took control of the oil industry, it didn’t take away any industry from the possessing classes. Chavez had rather sought, and found, a compromise with them, including with some of those who tried to overthrow him in 2002, like Cisneros, a big owner of the media.

Even if Chavez was able to better the living conditions of the very poor, due to the luck of having big oil supplies and higher world prices, that didn’t prevent the richest Venezuelans and the multinationals from increasing the share they take of the national income.

Finally, these parasites are the ones who truly benefitted from Venezuela’s wealth.

War Very Profitable

Mar 18, 2013

Just one hundred military contractors sold more than 410 billion dollars of military services and armaments worldwide in 2011. HALF of those sales came from just 10 companies, seven from the United States.

Those seven companies – United Technologies, L-3 Communications, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing and Lockheed Martin – had arms sales in that one year ranging from 12 billion to 36 billion dollars. Lockheed topped the list with 36 billion in arms sales, including aircraft, missiles and radar.

War has always been profitable for a few who supply the materials – for those who never have to fight the wars. Capitalism as a system does very well out of death and destruction.

Pages 6-7

Where Has All the Money Gone?

Mar 18, 2013

Recently the business press reported that 83 of the largest corporations in the U.S. found places to park almost one and a half trillion dollars outside this country. Yes, a trillion and a half dollars – that’s more money than all the student loans owed in the country plus half of everyone’s personal debt.

In this way, the corporations avoid U.S. taxes. The practice is so widespread that just three of those corporations – Microsoft, Apple and Google – are holding more than 130 billion dollars in other countries.

These companies love to claim they made the profits overseas. Overseas or in the U.S., it’s all the same to capitalism. The world is their oyster, to move investments, profits, currencies, goods, factories wherever they can make the most profit, and find ways to cheat every country out of the very low taxes they are supposed to pay.

In every country, they will lay off workers, push speed-up, pretend they must cut wages and benefits, and cry that taxes are too high.

At tax time, it’s useful to identify the biggest liars and cheats in the U.S.

LG Takes the Money, Delivers No Jobs

Mar 18, 2013

LG Chem of Holland, Michigan, promised to create 440 jobs at its battery plant, if the U.S. Dept. of Energy would pay for half of its start-up costs – 150 million dollars.

LG took the money but after two years didn’t create the 440 jobs, didn’t produce a battery that could be sold, and laid off workers instead of hiring.

So the U.S. should get its money back, right? No. The Department of Energy says that according to the terms of the deal, it has “no leverage” to get back a dime.

This is how the government covers itself when it gives away money to corporations. Simply write it in the contract – “repayment not required, regardless of how many phony promises you made.”

Wouldn’t we like to get a house or a car loan on those terms!

France:
Peugeot Strike in its Ninth Week

Mar 18, 2013

The following is from the March 15th issue of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the paper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.

The strike is still going on at the PSA (Peugeot) factory in Aulnay-sous-Bois. On March 13th, it began its ninth week. The Peugeot family continues to play for time, although work stoppages have cost them 20,000 cars. Management fears giving in to the strikers, since that would encourage their combativeness.

The government, as always, shows how it is allied with the bosses. On March 6th, the strikers went to question the labor minister, demanding the mediator that French President Hollande had promised – and which is an elementary right under labor law.

The labor minister’s office flatly stated that it was out of the question. The minister said he didn’t want to bother PSA’s management.

A mediator won’t support the demands of the striking workers. But naming one would force PSA to say publicly that it refuses to negotiate. Some strikers renamed the labor minister the “Peugeot Minister.”

Strikers Invite Themselves into the Holy of Holies

On March 8th, the striking workers besieged the headquarters of UIMM, the industrial association of metal working companies. The head of UIMM is the trusted agent of the Peugeot family. The workers let him know the strike is very much alive. The strikers appreciated the luxury of the UIMM offices and the thickness of the restroom carpet. In a hall where bosses usually decide on which layoffs and sacrifices they want to impose, the strikers held their general assembly.

Even when the police came to kick them out, they left proudly, frustrating the police and security details that continually follow the strikers around.

No Penalty Succeeds in Breaking the Strike

The strike goes on, in support of those who have been more directly attacked. Two of them are fighting their firing – confronting Peugeot at a labor board hearing.

At the beginning of the week, management fired three militants. One of them is accused of “sound aggression” because of a drum he played in the factory. Another was fired for throwing eggs.

Management’s attacks against the strikers are more and more pathetic. It proves how just the fight is.

The Struggle, School of the Working Class

For over eight weeks, the striking workers have shown organization and determination that reinforces not only them but all workers. By showing that they can take their fate into their own hands, by deciding on their struggle, and not accepting the bosses’ blackmail, they continue to show the way forward for others. An indispensable consciousness has been increasing among workers: consciousness of true adversaries and false friends, consciousness of the support on which they can truly count (tens of thousands of workers who continue to give money to the strike fund) and those who prove to be shaky.

For all the lessons learned, the strike has been enormously beneficial. But above all, it continues to show that the workers can refuse to let themselves be tossed out with nothing. They can make themselves respected, win the support of an important fraction of the working class and disturb the bosses and the politicians when they are attacking the working class.

Page 8

Iraq:
Ten Years After the U.S. Invasion

Mar 18, 2013

U.S. public officials and the news media have barely mentioned the fact that this is the tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. They still try to pretend that the official U.S. pull-out in December 2011 put an end to the war.

Nothing is further from the truth.

The War for Oil Profits

The U.S. military presence in Iraq remains massive. The U.S. Embassy is the biggest in the world. This embassy controls over 36,000 private contractors, or mercenaries, as well as a steadily beefed up number of agents from the CIA and other intelligence agencies, who work closely with elite Iraqi units, specially trained by U.S. forces.

These forces are first of all guarding the big international oil companies now operating in Iraq. These companies’ profits from Iraqi oil increased tremendously after the U.S. war and occupation, a war that was very much “for oil.” Over the last few years, these companies have ramped up oil production in their frenzied quest for more profits. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), Iraqi oil production reached output of 3 million barrels per day, its highest output since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Iraq now has surpassed Iran as OPEC’s second largest producer for the first time since the 1980s. The IEA also found that Iraq’s natural gas reserves offer huge potential for these companies.

To safeguard the flow of these profits, the U.S. has helped boost the Iraqi dictatorship of Nouri al-Maliki, along with the million-man security force, the army and secret police and their secret prisons and torture chambers. But given how the U.S. played the different ethnic and religious groups off against each other to gain domination over Iraq, the country remains very much torn apart by rival gangs, tribal chiefs and religious leaders. These rivalries operate both inside and outside the government.

Torn by Violence

The conflict between the three main communities – Shia, Sunni and Kurd – is deepening to a point just short of civil war. What’s more, the war in Syria next door is feeding into Iraq’s sectarian divisions. The opposition Syrian rebels are largely Sunni, while Bashar al-Assad’s regime is dominated by Alawites, a branch of Shia Islam. At the beginning of March, 42 Syrian soldiers loyal to Assad who had fled into Iraq were ambushed and killed, along with 11 Iraqi policemen, by Sunni gunmen.

Thus, Iraq is one of the most violent places on earth, in terms of bombings, assassinations and kidnappings. This violence is not just political. All the years of war and deprivation have steadily eroded civil society. The slightest misunderstanding or altercation can escalate into a tribal or gangland fight.

Vast Impoverishment

Iraq remains in ruins. More than 60 billion dollars in U.S. reconstruction funds were spent in Iraq, as were tens of billions more from the oil revenues. But little or nothing has been rebuilt – except for fortress-like police stations and military installations. The rest of the reconstruction money disappeared into the pockets of big international companies and their Iraqi lackeys. The streets of Basra, the center of the Iraqi oil industry, and Baghdad, the capital, are still flooded by raw sewage. Goats pick at garbage strewn in streets and vacant lots.

The country continues to lack the basics: drinkable water, electricity, sanitary provisions, health care, education.

Most of the population remains mired in abject poverty. Officially, one-half of the workforce remains either unemployed or underemployed. Even those with a job often obtain it by bribery. According to Iraq’s Ministry of Migration and Displacement, there are still over one million internally displaced people in Iraq, a product of the massive sectarian violence from the 2006-07 period, with another 100,000 still in Syria and Jordan. Most of them live on almost nothing, with no support from the government or international agencies.

In other words, the U.S. war and occupation have turned Iraq into a typical oil state, similar in some ways to Nigeria, with vast amounts of wealth coming out of the ground siphoned off by big international companies, surrounded by corruption, impoverishment and war.

Yes, officials in the U.S. have every reason to avoid mentioning the tenth anniversary of its deadly quest.

Workers Pay War Cost

Mar 18, 2013

The Iraqi population are not the only ones to pay a price for the U.S. war against it. They are certainly the ones to pay the heaviest price by far; but the working class here has paid a price as well.

Almost 4,600 families have lost loved ones to the war, and over 100,000 more soldiers have returned with physical disabilities. Another 3,200 have brain injuries, and hundreds of thousands more continue to suffer from PTSD and other psychological wounds. These led 8,000 vets to kill themselves in 2012 alone.

And these casualties continue to mount, year after year.

In addition, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have cost the U.S. government over 12 trillion dollars over the past 12 years – a debt then used to justify further cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other essential social services.

This is the human cost of a war fought to control Iraq’s oil. Young working class men and women are thrown into this meat grinder to protect those corporate interests.

It’s about damn time to end this slaughter!

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