Saturday, August 3, 2013

Peace and economics

Our organization is distributing this in union circles and beyond in preparation for the AFL-CIO's National Convention in September:

Sisters and Brothers, Fellow Workers;

Uniting People (UP) is a new national organization for Peace, Full Employment, Universal Health Care and Protection of the Environment. We appreciate the invitation extended by the AFL-CIO to all people and organizations to comment on its White Paper, “Prosperity Economics, Building An Economy For All” by Jacob S. Hacker and Nate Loewentheil, intended to create discussion about the direction of organized labor and the kind of country we all want to live in where peace, social and economic justice for working people prevail.

Democracy--- as well as social, economic and environmental justice--- require no less than a full and broad discussion of these important concerns and issues.

We agree with the concept of “prosperity economics” by “building an economy that works for everyone.” There are several very basic facts left out of this “White Paper” and it is very hazy, vague and nebulous as to what our concrete and specific goals and objectives are to be and what kind of movement and struggle it will take for the working class--- organized and unorganized together--- to create a prosperity economics for us all.

The “White Paper” does not clearly articulate our main enemy: Wall Street. The “White Paper” doesn't reflect the fact that we, as working people, are engaged in a social, political and economic struggle for power with the intent to replace Wall Street's dominance over every aspect of our lives--- in our schools, at work and in our communities.

Let's state right up front workers create all wealth but workers have had no say in how this wealth is distributed and used. This needs to change. Democracy requires no less.

Let's also put it right out there before the American people that militarism and wars are squandering the wealth of our Nation to such a large extent we don't have the resources to solve our many domestic problems. These dirty imperialist wars are killing our jobs and our standard of living just like they kill people.

Militarism and wars are a major contributing factor to the world-wide collapsing capitalist economy. No nation can continue to endlessly use the wealth of its nation to prepare for wars and to fight wars. This is sheer insanity.

Wall Street's greedy drive for profits results in wars which exacerbates our problems.

Detroit goes broke; the rest of our cities are sure to follow as Wall Street wallows in profits.

Working people go without adequate health care; insurance and pharmaceutical companies get fabulously wealthy. Shorter workweeks/longer vacations with no cut in pay create jobs and would keep us healthier, too.

Our public institutions like public education fall apart, crumble and collapse just like our roads, highways and bridges because we are constantly feeding a war machine intended to fight never-ending wars waged to protect Wall Street's assets and profits.

Prosperity for all begins with the recognition peace is required to achieve full employment.

Full employment is about the government seeing to it that jobs are created for all at real living wages. It is about putting people to work by creating massive universal social programs like Medicare for All, not job destroying legislation like Obama-care as detrimental to our health and jobs as wars without providing real health care reform while pushing the price of health care up instead of its stated intent to push prices down.

Eliminating militarism and wars eliminates the largest carbon footprint contributing to global warming and climate change as the Military Industrial Complex wastes our precious resources in a huge, monstrous complex that ruins our environment--- power generation, mining, manufacturing, the resources like oil and gas required to fight wars. Preparation for war, and war itself, creates a mammoth sized carbon footprint destroying our living environment while creating massive joblessness and poverty and ill health for our people as our air, water and land gets polluted.

The Wall Street selected politicians talk about “jobs, jobs, jobs” when their hidden agenda is really “profits, profits, profits” and “war, war, and more war.”

The time has come to make politicians legislatively responsible for full employment and peace because prosperity economics requires: peace and full employment--- a healthy people and a healthy environment.

Therefore, we propose that a central goal of the American labor and working class movement needs to be the building of an economy for all that is inseparably linked to peace and full employment which must include:

A Minimum Wage tied to all cost of living factors indexed to inflation. Jobs or a living income for all.

Medicare for All. Protect, defend and expand Social Security programs.

Legislation prohibiting lockouts and scabbing. Repeal of “At-Will Employment” legislation--- the primary obstacle to worker empowerment and union organizing.

Price controls are needed for food, gas, home heating fuels and electricity.

A healthy economy means a healthy living environment and a healthy planet. We need a quality of life index.

The two-party system is a trap for working people. We must free ourselves from the Democrats and Republicans. A working class based people's party is required if we are going to have a prosperity economics that works for all of us. We can learn a thing or two about health care and politics from our Canadian Brothers and Sisters.

We are now at a crossroads.

We will have an economy that serves Wall Street or we will have an economy that works for the rest of us--- we can't have both just like we can't have both war and full employment.

We encourage the use of the proposed Full Employment Act of 1945 pushed by the CIO unions and authored by liberal Texas Congressman Wright Patman and the associated hearing testimonies to broaden this discussion:

We also call to your attention the excellent Op-Ed piece by Bob Herbert, “Losing Our Way,” his last piece in the New York Times (March 25, 2011), which declares:

"The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely."

We ask: What ever happened to William Winpisinger's "Rebuild America Act" and the “peace dividend?” The AFL-CIO should bring back to life its Committee on Conversion--- from military production to producing for human needs; swords into plowshares is what was advocated by the International Association of Machinist's former President, William Winpisinger. Where is this advocacy for peace and reordering our Nation's priorities now?

Thank you for allowing us to offer our critique of the AFL-CIO's “White Paper” and our alternative perspectives.

In solidarity and struggle. Uniting People (UP) for peace, full employment, universal health care and protection of the environment.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Market rally could trip over the bottom line

Market rally could trip over the bottom line

Apr 12, 8:10 AM (ET)


NEW YORK (AP) - It's the earnings, stupid. Optimism that the fortunes of financial companies like Citigroup were improving sparked a four-week rally beginning March 10 that drove the Standard & Poor's 500 index up 25 percent. But now investors will find out exactly how companies across all industries performed during the first three months of the year. Those quarterly results will determine whether the surge was the beginning of a bull market, or just a blip.

After all, the market's last promising rally was derailed not by jobs data or an emergency federal bailout but by forecasts from companies that make everything from computer chips to tin cans to movies.

The S&P 500 jumped 182 points, or 24 percent, to 934 between Nov. 20 and Jan. 6. The next day, technology bellwether Intel Corp. (INTC), aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. (AA) and media giant Time Warner Inc. all issu d grim earnings guidance. The S&P dropped 28 points, or 3 percent, that day and hasn't returned to its early January levels since.

The current rally also began with a company announcement. This time, beleaguered and bailed out Citigroup Inc. (C) (C) said March 10 it was profitable for the first two months of the year. The S&P 500 gained 43 points, or 6 percent, that day to 719. The index closed Thursday at 857, and markets were closed on Good Friday.

The S&P could rise more, and even turn positive for 2009, if earnings reports for the first quarter show a strengthening economy. Alcoa, the first big company to report their results each quarter, announced a loss of $497 million on Tuesday evening. But investors were pleased about the aluminum company's efforts to cut expenses by $2 billion a year, and the shares are up 14 percent since.

Wells Fargo & Co (WFC), meanwhile, said Thursday it expects record first-quarter earnings of $3 billion, about 50 percent more than the same period a year ago. The shares surged $4.72, or 32 percent, to $19.61 that day.

"We've got this incredible possibility that the market has turned a corner - that's it's not just a bear market rally or a head-fake," said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co. "Earnings are going to let us know whether the market has gotten ahead of itself, or is justified in its new valuation of stocks."

Here are six companies that will report earnings this week. Each, in its own way, provides a snapshot of the economy.

- General Electric Co. (GE) (GE)

- Why it's important: GE has a stake in almost every major sector of the economy. It builds turbines for power plants and high-tech medical machines. Jetliners use GE engines. When homeowners remodel, GE's stainless steel ovens and refrigerators anchor their kitchens. And many people still screw GE light bulbs into their living room lamps. GE is also a barometer of the health of the financial world through its lending arm GE Capital.

- When it will report: Friday, April 17.

- What the experts say: The consensus of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters is that GE will earn 21 cents per share in the first quarter on sales of $39 billion. That's down from profit of 43 cents per share on revenue of $42 billion a year ago.

- You'll know the economy is improving if: GE sells more of its giant energy-generating windmills. That could be a sign that the $787 billion stimulus plan passed by Congress earlier this year, which includes money for alternative energy, is starting to kick in.

- You'll know the economy is not improving if: GE Capital isn't making money. Test models developed by the Federal Reserve to help financial companies gauge their health show GE Capital will at best break even this year.

- The quote: "We are in a recession and, at times like these, it is difficult to predict how bad and for how long" GE's CEO Jeff Immelt said in a recent letter to shareholders.

Intel Corp.

- Why it's important: Intel is a barometer of spending on personal computers and servers. When computer makers buy more of Intel's chips, it indicates they believe demand from consumers and businesses is strong. Orders have cratered in recent months. Intel's profit has plunged to its lowest levels since 2001.

- When it will report: Tuesday, April 14.

- What the experts say: Analysts expect net income of 2 cents per share, down from 25 cents per share a year ago. They expect sales to fall nearly 30 percent to $6.96 billion.

- You'll know the economy is improving if: They excel in areas other than the Atom, a small chip for mini-laptops called "netbooks," smart phones and other gadgets. Atom chips are less expensive than the more powerful Intel processors found in full-size computers. Demand for the Atom has been brisk, suggesting people are buying cheaper machines than standard PCs.

- You'll know the economy is not improving if: The gross profit margin falls below Intel's forecast for the low 40 percent range. The figure measures the proportion of revenue left over after subtracting the cost of making Intel's chips and other products. Intel incurs expenses for running its factories at less than full capacity. A low number means Intel factories are even less full than expected and PC demand is humdrum.

- The quote: "If anything, even though things are down, I would think they're going to be one of the positive spots in the electronics industry," said Jim McGregor, chief technology strategist for market researcher In-Stat.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)

- Why it's important: J&J is the world's most diverse health care products company, making everything from contraceptives to baby formula to advanced drugs harvested from living cells. That broad base means it captures a large slice of consumer spending. People are normally reluctant to cut back on health care spending.

- When it will report: Tuesday, April 14

- What the experts say: Analysts expect earnings of $1.22 per share on more than $15.4 billion in revenue, down from $1.26 per share last year on sales of $16.19 billion.

- You'll know the economy is improving if: Sales of both prescription drugs and consumer goods rise. People worried about losing their job and health insurance cut back on doctor visits, elective surgery and prescription medicines. Investors should consider the demand for consumer goods, not just the revenue.

- You'll know the economy is not improving if: Sales of prescription drugs continue to fall. That indicates consumers are scrimping on expenses usually seen as crucial. In the fourth quarter, J&J observed consumers were becoming more frugal, and sales of items like contact lenses and diabetes test strips had fallen.

- The quote: "It's probably going to be a couple more quarters before you see it in their numbers, even if the economy's already turned," Gabelli & Co. analyst Jeff Jonas said.

Citigroup Inc.

- Why it's important: The nation's largest bank is involved in everything from residential mortgages to commercial real estate to credit cards. Any recovery in Citigroup would bode well for the broader financial industry, and the market knows it: Stocks began a four-week rally after CEO Vikram Pandit said last month that January and February were profitable.

- When it will report: Friday, April 17

- What the experts say: Analysts predict a sixth straight quarterly loss - this time, of 36 cents per share. In the first quarter last year, Citigroup lost $5.1 billion, or $1.02 a share.

- You'll know the economy is improving if: There is any sign of improvement in credit. It's a given that Citigroup will see more debtors fail to make their payments; the question is whether the rise in defaulting loans is starting to moderate.

- You'll know the economy is not improving if: Loan defaults are accelerating at a much faster pace than expected.

- The quote: "Historically, losing money is a bad thing. But now, if you're losing less money, it's a good thing," said Kris Niswander, associate director of financial institutions at SNL Financial. "We're looking for any glimmer of hope that can be found."

Sherwin-Williams Co.

- Why it's important: This paint and wall-covering company gets nearly half its sales from its remodeling and repainting business. Another 10 percent comes from new housing and new building construction. As the economy slowed down - and housing sales and renovations with it - Sherwin's business contracted sharply.

- When it will report: Thursday, April 16.

- What the experts say: Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect it to earn 21 cents per share on revenue of $1.62 billion. That's below last year's 64 cents per share on revenue of $1.78 billion.

- You'll know the economy is improving if: Sales of paint for new homes and remodelings rebound, even slightly. That means consumers are more willing to make discretionary purchases.

- You'll know the economy is not improving if: Sales in outside the U.S., which began sinking at the end of last year, fall more than anticipated. That means the economy could be depressed for longer than expected.

- Quote: "Since they're heavily tied to things like consumer spending and the repair and remodel market, they're still definitely going to be pretty pressured through 2009," said Morningstar analyst Anthony Dayrit.

CSX Corp. (CSX)

- Why it's important: The railroad company transports everything from cars and car parts to heating oil. When consumers feel pinched or homes are sitting empty, those things aren't moving.

- When it reports: Tuesday, April 14

- What the experts say: Analysts expect profit of 53 cents per share, excluding one-time charges. That's 34 percent lower than the year-ago quarter.

- You'll know the economy is improving if: Shipping volume picks up. Volume tends to improve before the broader economy, as manufacturing lines start moving again. The lead time can be anywhere from a few months to a year.

- You'll know the economy isn't improving if: Shipments of core commodities such as lumber and automobiles, chemicals and agricultural products remain sluggish - that means demand is still frozen. The Association of American Railroads said total volume in the first week of the second quarter fell 19.1 percent from a year earlier, comparable with previous weeks this year.

- The quote: "We are modeling for CSX's volumes to turn positive in the fourth quarter, along with the general economy," Longbow Research analyst Lee Klaskow said.


Ashley Heher in Chicago, Jordan Robertson in San Francisco, Stephen Manning in Washington, Tom Murphy in Indianapolis and Samantha Bomkamp in New York contributed to this story.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Make way for the working class to have a say…

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This enormous economic mess we are now experiencing, along with the heavy debt the bankers and the politicians of both major political parties have saddled us with, can be summed up very simply: The capitalists have taken all the profits and left the working class with all the problems.

There are only two sources of wealth: Labor and Mother Nature.

Anyone with an ounce of common sense understands that if you allow labor to be continually exploited and Mother Nature to be repeatedly abused and raped there will be severe consequences.

We are now reaping the consequences for allowing this parasitical monster of state-monopoly capitalism to have spun its web of corruption in the form of a cannibalistic military-financial-industrial complex which now threatens to consume and destroy our families, our communities, our State and our Nation while wreaking havoc in other lands.


The time has come to put the needs of people before corporate profits.

There is only one alternative; for working people to come together to build a new society on the foundation created by the socialists of the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party.

We need to fight and struggle to re-establish the liberal, democratic and progressive socialist traditions for which Minnesota is known around the world.

We have complex problems before us… but, any country which can spend trillions of dollars on wars to steal the oil of other nations, and trillions of dollars bailing out corporations and bankers looking for using socialism to solve the problems of their own creation as they have sought to prop up their rotten capitalist system--- which they have touted to the world as being the best--- at our expense… This Nation can now come up with the resources to use socialism to solve the problems for the rest of us, too.

What is good for the goose is, in this case, is even better for the gander.

Let Barack Obama and John McCain volunteer to go off exploring the caves of Afghanistan and Pakistan looking for Osama Bin Laden; we have better things to do.

Our first priority is to end these dirty wars for oil and redeploy those funds--- as we bring home the troops--- to creating a world class socialized health care system which will create millions of new jobs; five messes the money-grubbing Wall Street coupon clippers and their bought and paid for politicians created, all solved at the same time by ending these dirty imperialist wars for oil and regional domination--- we get health care not warfare, and we begin to solve the problem of unemployment--- and when we put people to work in this way we begin to create a new--- functioning--- people oriented, cooperative, socialist economy where democracy will flourish because it will require the full participation and involvement of all people working together in order to succeed.

Second, without further delay, we need to establish the State Bank of Minnesota to accomplish for our State what the State Bank of North Dakota was set up, by workers and farmers, to do--- fund enterprises to keep people working.

Third, we need a minimum wage which is a real living wage arrived at by the calculations of the United States Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development--- based upon the real figures relating to the real cost of living and this minimum wage should be required by legislation to be updated quarterly right along with the release of all economic indicators to assure a quality life and decent standard of living for all working people and their families.

We have finally come to the point where even the parasitic bankers and the exploiting industrialists now concede that only socialism can bail them out of this horrible mess and solve their problems... capitalism has reached the end of the line and the only thing now to be had from the system is unending human misery.

At the point where society has to pay to clean up the corrupt mess these parasitic predatory lenders and financial institutions have created, this is the time to say:


What tax-payers finance, tax-payers must own.

If Warren Buffett and Goldman Sachs do not like these terms, these greedy pigs should make the trip to their off-shore banks in the Cayman Islands and make withdrawals from their accounts to pay to solve their own problems.

The time has come to roll up our sleeves, come together, and get to work quickly before this entire rotten system collapses---like the I35-W Bridge--- and crushes us all while leaving our children and grandchildren with the clean-up and the bills.

I firmly believe working people can run our country and our state better than any of the big-business politicians being funded by the corporate lobbyists.

Effectively using the tools of public ownership and nationalization combined with modern, scientific planning for the common good, we can put people to work in decent jobs at real living wages... we hear it all the time just before Election Day: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs... but we never see the jobs, and if we do, these jobs are poverty wage jobs no one can live on.

I intend to run for Governor of Minnesota in 2010.

I invite all working people who think that it is possible to create something better than the mess we are now in, to come together and work from where socialist Governors Floyd B. Olson and Elmer A. Benson left off in trying to create a just and decent society where people live and work in harmony with Mother Nature, to join with me, in establishing the Minnesota Party to give the bankers, the mining, forestry and power generating industries along with the industrialists and big-agribusiness a real run for their money.

Let’s run these parasites that have been living off of our labor and destroying Mother Nature right out of our state. We can get along just fine--- even better--- without them.

Alan L. Maki

Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council


Candidate for Governor of Minnesota

Former member: Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party State Central Committee

The crisis of the working class family debt

There is broad consensus among labor unions and progressive organizations, economists and politicians that we need a bottom-up solution to the economic crisis. That is, the priority should be fixing Main Street, not Wall Street. The main proposals include:

1) A moratorium on home foreclosures, and giving bankruptcy courts the power to renegotiate mortgages.

2) Extend unemployment benefits and increase funding for food stamps, heating assistance, and other survival programs.

3) Aid to state and local governments so they can avoid layoffs and reductions in vital services.

4) Rebuilding the infrastructure of America: clean energy, roads, bridges, water systems, schools, and housing, providing good-paying jobs.

Bailing out Wall Street without fixing Main Street is like fixing the cracks in the wall while your foundation is crumbling. The measures listed above, as well as more basic changes, are necessary. But with more than 100,000 families losing their homes each month, I would like to focus on one critical part of the foundation -- stopping foreclosures and keeping families in their homes.

The root of the crisis is that working families have been squeezed from all sides, especially since the recession of 2001. Household income has been falling behind the increasing cost of necessities. The squeeze has been aggravated by the decline of medical coverage and retirement plans, shifting these costs, along with soaring costs for education, food and energy, onto over-strained family budgets.

Many have dealt with this strain by going into debt. They were pushed deeper by the mortgage brokers, real estate agents, appraisers, and credit card vendors, who piled on fees, charges, and hidden interest rates, often based on wildly inflated housing prices. Even when this debt was not the result of outright fraud and conspiracy by the financial and real estate industries, it was in violation of any reasonable banking standards. Financial institutions, staffed by MBAs, PhDs and other highly-trained experts, made loans that no first-year economics student should have approved.

The immediate cause of the financial crisis on Wall Street is this mountain of debt smothering people on Main Street. In simplified form, here is what happens.

● Hard-pressed families fall behind on their mortgage and credit card payments.

● When homeowners can't make payments, the banks foreclose, but the home frequently stands empty and the bank is unable to recover much of the outstanding loan.

● The bank, with less money coming in, has trouble paying other banks and investors that it borrowed money from.

● Those other banks and investors have trouble paying banks and investors they borrowed from.

● Banks, investors, and ordinary businesses are afraid to lend money to other banks, investors and ordinary businesses.

Families owe more on their mortgages and their credit cards than they can ever pay back. And their effort to save their homes and meet creditors' demands is undermining their families, their neighborhoods and the local economy, as family members work multiple jobs and cut back on health care, local purchases, local taxes, utilities, and home maintenance.

The bailout package just approved by Congress doesn't address this problem at all. Homeowners and consumers still have the same debt, still face the same monthly payments. The only change is that the U.S. government has become a collection agent for the banks and investors.

The solution is to reduce the amount that working people owe. Reduce homeowners' and consumers' debt to the level it would be at if reasonable lending standards had been applied in the first place. Conservative practice is that families should pay no more than 25 percent of their income for housing. So a people's bailout plan would mandate that mortgages be reduced so that monthly payments will be 25 percent of household income. But in no case should the debt be for more than the real value of the house, as determined by historical price levels adjusted for inflation. Credit card debt, second mortgages, and home improvement loans, college loans, and medical debt could also be adjusted by similar calculations, to a maximum of 10 percent of household income.

This would not cost the government a penny -- it would force banks and investors to recognize the losses resulting from their own bad judgment and fraudulent practices. Millions of people would still be in their homes, and neighborhoods and local tax bases would be stabilized. And the financial system would be more stable because the banks could now be confident of receiving a steady stream of payments, even though these payments would be less than what they originally expected.

The proposals to revive the economy, listed at the beginning of this article, should still be adopted. The economic stimulus package that was blocked in the Senate by a Republican filibuster a few weeks ago included some of those provisions. And major reform and regulation of the financial industry is necessary; there are some excellent proposals to take over failing banks, regulate the financial industry, and tax financial transactions and exorbitant compensation to control speculation and help pay for the program. But until we clear up the massive, unfair, and often illegal debt that has been fastened on working families, it will act as an anchor dragging down the economy, and Main Street will be haunted by insecurity and misery.

Democratic leaders in Congress had a number of proposals that would have reduced the amount families owe on their mortgages. They were blocked by the Republicans, who don't support any meaningful relief for homeowners.

During the vice presidential debate, Senator Biden expressed support for bankruptcy reform to reduce the amount owed by homeowners, and said that he thought that McCain opposed it. Governor Palin said that Biden was wrong, implying that McCain also supports the measure, and said that McCain is on the side of the people against “the greed and corruption on Wall Street.”

There is a simple test to see if Palin's claim has any substance. Will McCain show leadership and bipartisanship by proposing that Senators Obama and Biden join him in pushing to pass this bankruptcy legislation immediately? The proposal was killed in the Senate last April after encountering “stiff opposition from many Republicans as well as the banking and mortgage loan industries,” according to the New York Times. (April 4, 2008) But with McCain's backing, there should be no problem getting this legislation through Congress now.

Art Perlo ( is chair of the Communist Party’s (CPUSA) Economic Commission.

Detroit labor legend reflects on possibly electing first Black president

Dave Moore

DETROIT, Mich. — These days, as millions nationwide work to elect the first African American president, 96-year-old Dave Moore, longtime labor and community leader, wonders if it’s all just a dream.

“I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but I’ve been Black all my life, and sometimes I don’t know if I’m dreaming,” Moore told the World. He said he was “blown away” at how many white votes Barack Obama won during the primaries and the impressive display of thousands of white voters at Obama rallies across the country.

“When I wake up the next day after the election and Obama wins, then I will know that this country has begun to take a turn for the better,” said Moore.

Born April 6, 1912, as a teenager Moore left what he calls the “slave state of South Carolina” with his family and moved to Detroit. New to the big city, he says he had never seen so many people before hustling and bustling about.

Moore recalls joining a community water polo team as a youth on the city’s East Side, at a time when “colored” and “white” signs were common. His team made it to the finals and traveled across town to a park in a predominantly white area to face an all-white team. Although the park required segregated seating, Moore said the players ignored the rule and sat where they wanted because the mayor of Detroit had declared the city’s public areas open to all. “And we won the city championship,” Moore said proudly.

Moore remembers the Great Depression of the 1930s when people had little food and ate rotten vegetables and fruits to get by. “And we didn’t have heat in the winter so we would use wood from the porch out front to stay warm,” he said. People at that time lived through “hardships, suffering, pain and agony while the fat cats gobbled up all the money.” His parents lost $500 when banks closed. That was a lot of money back then, said Moore. “All of us were suffering like hell.”

Moore became active with the Unemployed Councils, which mobilized people to fight against mass hunger and home evictions. Those experiences taught Moore the importance of unity among Black, white and Latino workers. People came together and rallied for their basic rights against rich employers who left millions out in the cold.

Moore’s most memorable and proudest moment came in 1941 when he was instrumental in organizing workers into the United Auto Workers union at the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Mich. At the time Ford was the third largest industrial giant in the world and 75 percent of the workforce there had been laid off with no public relief. People were dying from cold and hunger.

In 1932 Moore helped lead a hunger march where five union members fell victim to machine guns fired by thugs hired by anti-union Henry Ford. It was the multiracial unity among the workers that overcame the divisions that Ford tried to provoke. That struggle eventually opened the door to the organization of the nation’s auto industry and the founding of the UAW.

Moore was eventually elected to leadership positions at UAW Local 600, the powerful Ford local. Like many others, however, Moore fell victim to McCarthyism and was dismissed from his elected position in 1951. But as McCarthyism waned, he was reinstated in 1963 and was assigned as a national UAW representative. Moore was a founding member of the National Negro Labor Council and served as a legislative assistant to legendary Rep. George Crockett. Later Detroit Mayor Coleman Young appointed Moore the city’s senior citizens director.

Reflecting on the history he has lived and battled through, Moore said the Black community has been hit the hardest with the current economic crisis. “We got a lot of people unemployed today,” he said, adding that many of his neighbors have been laid off from the once booming auto industry. Moore believes the economic meltdown is going to propel Obama to become the first Black president, but “it’s not going to be easy for him.”

During the Depression of the 1930s, President Roosevelt had the people behind him, said Moore. “And that is what Obama needs to do — have the people behind him. I believe the key to Obama’s campaign lies with the working people.”

“I think Obama has the best program, but no matter what happens the fat cats of Wall Street and tycoons of big industry are the ones who control the finances of this country,” he said. “They don’t want to see a movement for unity of all people coming together.”

“It’s a long, long road that working and poor people have to travel but we have to remember this is a capitalist country and the fat cats on Wall Street will do whatever they can to keep it that way. Take a look at this country’s history — big business has always called the shots. I hope Obama goes all the way when he says he’s for change.”

When it comes to fighting for unions, multiracial unity, civil rights and peace, Moore has seen it all, he said — he knows what it means to struggle for a working people’s agenda in victory and defeat. Today, he sees great hope for the future.

“I’d like to see unity of all people one day where racism in this country is behind us,” he said. “I’d like to see a world where people don’t have to worry about starvation or unemployment. Where youngsters can get an education and become contributors to the betterment of society. Where our country’s government truly plays a role to help educate our children in a world based on peace, understanding and brotherhood regardless of race, creed, religion or color.”

Moore is looking forward to seeing a step in that direction with the election of Obama on Nov. 4

CAW's Ken Lewenza: A throwback?

By Michael Hammond, Record staff

I thought it would be a shame not to post this photo of Canadian Auto Workers president Ken Lewenza from Thursday's labour rally in front of Kitchener-Conestoga MP Harold Albrecht's office in Kitchener. The photo was taken by Record photographer Mathew McCarthy. I was struck by how easily Lewenza went from calm to passionately loud in half a second (I was right beside a speaker, so maybe it just seemed loud to me). Lewenza then proceeded to deliver a 12-minute speech completely off the cuff. Whether you agree with his politics or not, anyone that has heard this guy speak would be hard pressed to argue that he isn't an effective voice for a certain point of view. It kind of struck me today that he is a speaker along the lines of the labour leaders of decades gone by. He is passionate and not afraid to go on the attack. He really strikes me as a throwback to the firebrand union leaders of decades past.

In the photo, you can see a few kids beside him, one trying his best to shield Lewenza from the rain. Lewenza, ever the shrewd leader, insisted the kids accompany him on the stage, which was the back of a pickup truck. The reason? He said he fears for their generation because the manufacturing industry is disappearing at an alarming rate. The banner behind him says "Manufacturing Matters." Having seen his predecessor Buzz Hargrove speak a number of times, it's not difficult to see why the CAW chose Lewenza as their new president. This guy is intense.


Canadians Have Rejected Harper's Vision, says CAW President

October 15, 2008, 1:41 PM EST


CAW President Ken Lewenza congratulated the majority of Canadian voters who did not support Stephen Harper's uninspiring right-wing vision for the country and held him to a minority government.

"Despite shamelessly manipulating all the powers of incumbency, including pre-election spending announcements and breaking his own law on fixed election dates, Stephen Harper failed to achieve the majority mandate he and his party were looking for," said Lewenza.

"A large majority of Canadians oppose his vision for this country," Lewenza added. "This election has proven that Canadians do not endorse his vision, which means Stephen Harper and his Conservatives will have to work with the opposition parties, focusing on issues that matter most to Canadians."

Lewenza also congratulated CAW members Malcolm Allen who won for the NDP in Welland, Luc Desnoyers who won the seat for the Bloc Quebecois in Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, just north of Montreal and NDP MP Peter Stoffer who won in the Sackville-Eastern Shore riding in Nova Scotia. Lewenza also thanked former NDP MP Peggy Nash for her two and a half years of service and progressive voice in the House of Commons, especially most recently as the industry critic for the NDP.

Lewenza noted that Harper ran an incredibly negative campaign which failed to inspire Canadians, remarking that voter turn-out was at an all-time low.

The CAW campaigned hard to prevent a Harper majority in this election, with rallies, protests, newspaper ads and mass leaflet distribution. The union urged Canadians to vote for the candidates with the best chance of defeating a Conservative. This strategy resulted in CAW support for specified candidates from all four of the opposition parties - including NDP candidates, some Liberals, Green Party leader Elizabeth May, and Bloc Québécois candidates in Québec.

Deepening economic crisis

Safeguard jobs and incomes for Canadians in response to the deepening economic crisis

The Central Executive of the Communist Party of Canada released the following statement this morning in response to the deepening economic crisis:

September 30, 2008

Stephen Harper’s claim that the Canadian economy is on “a solid footing” looks utterly foolish after the staggering fall in stock prices on Monday, Sept. 29. In reality, Canada is on the brink of a “Dirty Thirties” depression, thanks largely to the neo-conservative policies pushed by Harper, Bush, and other advocates of ‘unfettered capitalism.’

The Communist Party of Canada warns that instead of more self-congratulating Tory speeches, the country needs emergency measures to protect working people from the pending economic disaster spreading from our largest trading partner, the United States.

Consider some harsh facts. Exports of goods and services, consumer spending, residential housing construction, and investments in plant and equipment are all declining. The loss of almost 400,000 manufacturing jobs in recent years has left working people struggling to stay afloat, compelled to take low-wage, part-time service sector employment to pay the bills. No wonder that Canadian households now carry $1.25 in debt for every dollar of disposable income.

Meanwhile, corporate profits shot up another 8.3% in the second quarter of this year. Most of this profiteering is the result of higher energy prices – in other words, corporate gouging for gas and for home heating fuel. This feeds the spiral of declining disposable incomes for working families.

The emerging crisis has been worsened by deregulation, privatization, brutal cuts to the social safety net, and huge tax breaks for the rich and the corporations. In Canada and other capitalist countries, the needs of the people have been ruthlessly sacrificed as right-wing governments help big business rack up ever larger profits. By removing any meaningful restrictions on the predatory business practices of big capital, these policies sucked untold billions from the pockets of working people and into the bank accounts of the rich.

Now the chickens have come home to roost, and the list of victims of this economic binge grows longer every week: Bear Stearns, “Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae”, Lehman Brothers, the American International Group, Merrill Lynch, Wachovia. Losses are mounting into the trillions of dollars, and the “bailout” just voted down in Washington would put the burden squarely on the backs of working people, guaranteeing an even deeper crisis in the very near future. Now there are ominous warnings that “a hurricane of bad credit card debt will start crashing ashore in the United States.” In other words, the worst is yet to come.

Politicians who claim that Canada is ‘insulated’ from this catastrophe are lying. And those who want to shovel more truckloads of taxpayers’ dollars into the coffers of the corporations are simply pushing the same policies which helped generate this crisis in the first place.

The capitalist economic debacle presents grave dangers, but also an opportunity to debate fundamental changes in Canadian society. This is a time to say “NO” to corporate greed, and “YES” to Canadian sovereignty and independence, “YES” to the needs of the Canadian people.

The Communist Party of Canada calls for an immediate action plan to protect the Canadian economy and Canadian jobs, pensions, social programs and living standards.

This action plan must include:

Canada’s immediate withdrawal from NAFTA, a halt to the “Security and Prosperity Partnership” (SPP) negotiations, and the adoption of a much more diversified, multilateral trade policy based on mutual benefit;

the nationalization of the energy industry to guarantee domestic supply and to provide the material basis for the economic rebuilding of Canadian industry and the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs;

protections for Canadian working people through the immediate introduction of plant closure legislation to stop the exodus of manufacturing jobs, legislation to protect workers’ wages and pensions, and the expansion of EI to cover all workers for the full duration of unemployment;

an immediate increase in the minimum wage to $15/hr. to help raise all wage levels and stimulate domestic consumption;

sweeping progressive tax reform based on ability to pay, and the revocation of all corporate tax breaks, hand-outs, write-offs and deferrals at every level – measures that will shift the tax burden from working people onto the corporations and the wealthy;

emergency measures to protect and extend our public healthcare, education and other social programs, including the establishment of a universal system of quality public child care;

a massive public investment program to construct affordable social housing, to rebuild Canada’s decaying infrastructure, in environmental protection and conservation, and in job creation programs for youth;

and Canada’s immediate withdrawal from the disastrous war of occupation in Afghanistan, and a 50% cut in military spending.

Defeating the Harper Tories and blocking the right on October 14 is the first essential step to ensure that it is the big corporations, and not working people, who will bear the costs of this crisis.

Canada needs a new government and new policies that put people’s needs before corporate greed. By electing MPs, including Communists, who are committed to the kind of policies outlined here, Canadians can dramatically alter the balance of forces inside Parliament, and improve the terrain of battle for the extra-parliamentary struggles resuming October 15th.