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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,622

Journal Archives

Professor Richard Wolff: How Capitalism and Racism Support Each Other


How Capitalism and Racism Support Each Other

Wednesday, 27 April 2016 00:00
By Richard D. Wolff, Truthout | Op-Ed


"Racism" is so often applied to US prison statistics and policing; to data on differences in employment, housing, wealth and income distributions, college enrollments, film awards, and so much more; and to hardening hostilities toward immigration. At the same time, racism is so often condemned -- at least in mainstream media, dominant political circles and most intellectual and academic institutions. Racism's persistence where the capitalist economic system prevails raises the question of the connection between capitalism and racism.

[font size="4"]Racism persists in no small part because its benefits to capitalism outweigh its costs.[/font]


Many societies are structured and operate to subordinate one or more portions of their population -- politically, culturally, economically or in combinations of these ways -- while privileging others. Among the successive generations born into societies with such subordinations, some will challenge and seek to change their condition. Force can try to maintain subordination, but it is costly, dangerous and often unsuccessful. The preferred method has rather been (a) to develop an idea that justifies the subordination and (b) to install that idea as deeply as possible into the thinking of both the subordinated and the privileged.

One such idea is "race," the notion that sets of inherent (often deemed "natural" qualities differentiate groups of people from one another in fundamental ways. This idea of race can then be used to explain the subordination of some and the privileges of others as effects of their racial differences. The concept of race thus accomplishes a reversal: Instead of being a produced idea, an ex-post justification of structures of social subordination, race morphs instead into some pre-existing "reality" that caused or enabled the subordination.

We know how and why racism worked often to support slavery around the world and especially in the early United States. Masters endorsed and promoted ideas that justified slaves as subordinated because they were an inferior race. Racist ideology also sometimes supported feudalism by dividing lords and serfs into different races. Indeed, some early capitalist systems likewise racially distinguished employers from employees. ........................(more)

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/35804-how-capitalism-and-racism-support-each-other




This is why Apple iPhone sales are tanking in China


(MarketWatch) It was early morning eight months ago when Tim Cook shot an email to TV personality Jim Cramer telling him the company was doing fine in China. The global markets roiled amid broader macroeconomic concerns, yet Apple’s shares quickly recovered on Cook’s optimism.

Two quarters later, things are far from rosy.

Sales in the Greater China region plunged 26% in its fiscal second quarter, marking the biggest percentage decline of any of Apple’s geographic regions. Total sales fell for the first time since 2003, while the iPhone suffered its first-ever quarterly decline.

“Whereas China accounted for half or more of the company’s revenue growth for several quarters, it’s now accounting for half its year-on-year shrinkage,” said Jan Dawson, founder of tech consulting company Jackdaw Research. .............(more)

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-is-performing-terribly-in-china-but-its-not-because-of-the-economy-2016-04-27




DC: Metrobus drivers caught speeding, running red lights and ignoring stop signs


(WaPo) Metrobus operators racked up nearly 2,300 traffic-camera tickets in the past six years, including 339 last year, according to records obtained through a public-information request. And although the annual number of citations has generally decreased since 2010, records show an uptick in 2015 — particularly in speeding violations.

Traffic cameras across the Washington region recorded Metrobus drivers speeding 120 times last year, more than double the 57 times in 2014, according to Metro records.

In a region where automated traffic cameras issue hundreds of thousands of tickets to motorists and generate millions of dollars in revenue, it’s not surprising that vehicles transporting commuters get caught up in the mix. But in interviews, residents, community leaders and government officials say the bad behaviors of those at the forefront of the nation’s sixth-largest bus system are most disturbing and signal yet another of Metro’s safety shortcomings.

“Bus drivers should know not to run red lights and not to speed. It’s simple,” said D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), who chairs the council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment. “They are driving big vehicles. They are carrying passengers. It is very, very dangerous.”

Other troubling statistics: Stop-sign violations skyrocketed from six in 2014 to 83 last year, coinciding with stepped-up automated enforcement in the District for vehicles rolling through stop signs near school zones. Red-light cameras led to 133 tickets to Metrobus drivers last year, down from 155 in 2014. ..............(more)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/metrobus-drivers-caught-speeding-running-red-lights-and-ignoring-stop-signs/2016/04/26/fb67b6a8-089d-11e6-bdcb-0133da18418d_story.html





Canary in the US Housing Market: Canadian Snowbirds Cash Out


Canary in the US Housing Market: Canadian Snowbirds Cash Out
by Wolf Richter • April 28, 2016


[font color="blue"]And sales crash.[/font]

Naples, Florida, a wealthy beach town on the Gulf of Mexico, known for its golf courses and high-end shopping, and a favorite hangout for Canadian snowbirds trying to escape their cold winters, has a problem:

Pending home sales in the first quarter plunged 23% from a year ago, according to the Naples Area Board of Realtors. Closed sales plunged 19%. Overall inventory soared 33%. In the two mid-price ranges from $300,000 to $1 million, inventory soared about 42%!

But sellers haven’t gotten the memo yet: even as sales crash and as unsold inventories pile up, the median closing price rose 8%.

That’s how housing busts start out. Buyers lose interest at these prices and evaporate, while sellers go into denial. As prices still rise, volume collapses. When sellers begin accepting the new reality, or when they’re forced to sell, then prices are getting slashed until enough buyers materialize. ...................(more)

http://wolfstreet.com/2016/04/28/canary-in-the-us-housing-market-canadian-snowbirds-cash-out/





We Need to Consciously Spark, Amplify and Harness Mass Protest


We Need to Consciously Spark, Amplify and Harness Mass Protest

Thursday, 28 April 2016 10:13
By Mark Engler and Paul Engler, Nation Books | Book Excerpt



[font size="1"]A protester holds a sign at the Democracy Spring demonstration in Washington, DC, on April 13, 2016. According to the Mark and Paul Engler, momentum­-driven organizing uses the tools of civil resistance to consciously spark, amplify and harness mass protest. (Photo: Stephen Melkisethian)[/font]


The following excerpt is the conclusion to This Is An Uprising:

By 1963, the Dorchester retreat center near Savannah, Georgia, had emerged as a buzzing hub of activity for the civil rights movement in the American South. The site where Project C was hatched was also the home of a thriving social movement ecology.

With the help of veteran organizers at the Highlander Folk School, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference had renovated the facilities at a former missionary school located just a few miles off Georgia's Atlantic coast. Starting in 1961, the SCLC used the Dorchester center, nestled in a campus lined with moss-covered oaks, for a regular series of "citizenship schools" run by Dorothy Cotton and Septima Clark. When these educators brought in adult students from communities throughout the South for weeklong trainings, their method was rooted in the person-to-person leadership development of structure-based organizing. After a week of intensive courses, local activists were prepared to go home to run trainings in democratic rights and resistance techniques in their own towns and cities. The trainees, including such storied leaders as Fannie Lou Hamer, helped to create an infrastructure for a slow-and-steady building toward racial justice.

These elements of long-term community organizing blended with a prefigurative vision of what America could become. Civil rights activists brought people together across boundaries of race, class, age, and educational attainment. And in doing this, they modeled the relationships of an integrated society in their own movement. They bound people together in a spirit of awakening and determination, and they reinforced their community through the sharing of freedom songs. One of the Dorchester trainees, Bernice Johnson Reagon, would later go on to be a central force in preserving the movement's music, through her group Sweet Honey in the Rock.

Finally, Dorchester was a place where strategies of engineered revolt were drafted and refined. In September 1963, King's inner circle returned to the retreat center to reflect once again on the state of their movement. Having experienced a remarkable victory in Birmingham four months before, they watched protests erupt throughout the South over the summer, revolts that were inspired by the success of Project C. At the September retreat, Wyatt Walker made a presentation that he called "How to Crack a Hard Core City." It represented a codification of the lessons that SCLC had learned in its experiments in nonviolent escalation, and it outlined key elements needed for a successful campaign. ...............(more)

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/35829-we-need-to-consciously-spark-amplify-and-harness-mass-protest




Professor Richard Wolff: How Capitalism and Racism Support Each Other


How Capitalism and Racism Support Each Other

Wednesday, 27 April 2016 00:00
By Richard D. Wolff, Truthout | Op-Ed


"Racism" is so often applied to US prison statistics and policing; to data on differences in employment, housing, wealth and income distributions, college enrollments, film awards, and so much more; and to hardening hostilities toward immigration. At the same time, racism is so often condemned -- at least in mainstream media, dominant political circles and most intellectual and academic institutions. Racism's persistence where the capitalist economic system prevails raises the question of the connection between capitalism and racism.

[font size="4"]Racism persists in no small part because its benefits to capitalism outweigh its costs.[/font]


Many societies are structured and operate to subordinate one or more portions of their population -- politically, culturally, economically or in combinations of these ways -- while privileging others. Among the successive generations born into societies with such subordinations, some will challenge and seek to change their condition. Force can try to maintain subordination, but it is costly, dangerous and often unsuccessful. The preferred method has rather been (a) to develop an idea that justifies the subordination and (b) to install that idea as deeply as possible into the thinking of both the subordinated and the privileged.

One such idea is "race," the notion that sets of inherent (often deemed "natural" qualities differentiate groups of people from one another in fundamental ways. This idea of race can then be used to explain the subordination of some and the privileges of others as effects of their racial differences. The concept of race thus accomplishes a reversal: Instead of being a produced idea, an ex-post justification of structures of social subordination, race morphs instead into some pre-existing "reality" that caused or enabled the subordination.

We know how and why racism worked often to support slavery around the world and especially in the early United States. Masters endorsed and promoted ideas that justified slaves as subordinated because they were an inferior race. Racist ideology also sometimes supported feudalism by dividing lords and serfs into different races. Indeed, some early capitalist systems likewise racially distinguished employers from employees. ........................(more)

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/35804-how-capitalism-and-racism-support-each-other




Noam Chomsky: Bernie Sanders Not a Radical, He Has Mass Support for Positions on Healthcare & Taxes





Robert McChesney and John Nichols: Jobless Economy, Citizenless Democracy





Sanders Constituency Will Shape U.S. Politics for the Next Decade



Published on Apr 20, 2016

Bhaskar Sunkara, editor of Jacobin magazine, says the goal of Sanders’ campaign is about laying forth a set of policies and ideals to build a new set of politics



Neoliberalism Is Destroying Our Lives and Many of Us Don’t Even Know What It Is


http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/neoliberalism_is_destroying_our_lives--and_many_of_us_20160427


via truthdig:


“The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name,” writes George Monbiot. “Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?”

Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007-8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness, the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump. But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has—or had—a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?

So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.


Continue reading.





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