Sunday, April 6, 2008

USA 2008: The Great Depression

Friends, I don't know how much more clearly anyone can spell the problems out. All I can say is, "read on."

I wonder what Gus Hall would have had to say about all of this?

Again, I think Alan Maki is bang on in his questions and comments.


Sam Webb's degrees in bourgeois economics are not serving the needs of the working class or our Party... this article bears that out

Question: Why hasn’t there been in-depth, documented coverage of this in the People’s Weekly World and Political Affairs?

Question: Why has the Economics Commission of the CPUSA not responded to this with any solutions?

Comment: There is only one way to turn the economy and head off a massive depression. This will take a massive re-distribution of wealth; not only in the United States, but around the world.

Comment: There has not been one peep about this solution from Sam Webb, Scott Marshall, Judith LeBlanc or Jarvis Tyner and the National Committee of the CPUSA has not insisted on any explanations.

Question: Why? Why have we not had any Marxist class analysis of the economic problems working people, the country and the world are beginning to experience which we all know is only the beginning of what is going to be a massive economic problem?

Comment: Sam Webb has been relying on his own bourgeois economics citing his university degrees in economics. These degrees in bourgeois economics do not prepare Communist leaders to respond to capitalist economic crisis from a working class perspective.

The Communist Party Districts in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana--- the heartland of industrial production have REFUSED to so much as acknowledge what this bourgeois publication notes has been going on for quite some time.

The Communist Party convened regional conferences in New York, Chicago and on the West Coast and it was like no one even knew, or cared, about the economic crisis which was well underway.

There is a lot of talk about maintaining “flexible tactics and strategies” coming from the so-called revisionist “leaders” of the CPUSA. The National Committee of the CPUSA needs to demonstrate the courage to bring forward real working class leaders who will be able to adequately respond to the capitalist crisis which is well underway.

The first thing that needs to be done is we need the re-building and re-establishment of active and energetic Communist Party Clubs built up around a sound Marxist-Leninist educational program that will simultaneously work to mobilize the working class around a massive grassroots and rank and file effort to very substantially raise the minimum wage to a real living--- non-poverty--- minimum wage. This means uniting the working class to fight for linking the minimum wage directly to a legislative mandate instructing the United States Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to scientifically calculate what is required for a real living income based upon real facts defining the cost of living and any inflationary increases.

The current trade union leadership is not going to move on a program of this nature now, and it never will. We need to get our hands dirty and get ourselves immersed in the struggle using the issue of the minimum wage to create a massive transfer of wealth.

Using the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights as our guide to action we should be able to establish committees for its implementation all over the country. These committees will then become fertile grounds to recruit to the Party.

One-million dollar office renovations and You Tube videos don’t take the place of the kind of grassroots and rank and file initiatives required. If the Party can raise one-million dollars for office renovations there should be no reason why it can’t raise ten-million dollars for the class struggle.

Our publications, the PWW and PA, should focus on these kinds of initiatives and become the standard bearers demanding full implementation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Millennium Statement calling for the alleviation of, and an end, to poverty.

A major part of re-distributing wealth involves organizing around the public ownership of closing plants… it is immoral and false economics to allow perfectly good plant like the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, mines, mills and factories to close and be demolished… not only are we allowing important capital which itself is wealth to be destroyed, we are allowing the ruling class to destroy the means the working class needs to create more wealth. For a Communist Party to sit idly by as the means needed to create the wealth needed to extricate the working class from poverty borders on the criminal.

One expects the dumb donkeys of the Democratic Party to sit back and allow capital to dictate--- after all, the Democratic Party is a Party of capital; however, when you have a bunch of dumb clucks and egg-head professors holding up university degrees in bourgeois economics as justification for their holding high leadership positions in the Communist Party USA and they place a one-million dollar renovation of Party offices before the class struggle as the country is well into an economic crisis being severely exacerbated by wars and military spending, this is an entirely different matter. When we don’t see the Communist Party growing by leaps and bounds under these circumstances it only means one thing: the leadership of the Party has withdrawn from the class struggle.

It is not for bourgeois candidates that the Party should be going door to door and distributing leaflets at plant gates, and producing You Tube videos… it is for building resistance, to break free from, the strangle-hold capital has on the working class.

Something to think about around the dinner table.

Alan L. Maki

USA 2008: The Great Depression

Food stamps are the symbol of poverty in the US. In the era
of the credit crunch, a record 28 million Americans are now
relying on them to survive - a sure sign the world's richest
country faces economic crisis

By David Usborne in New York

April 1, 2008, The Independent/UK

We knew things were bad on Wall Street, but on Main Street it
may be worse. Startling official statistics show that as a
new economic recession stalks the United States, a record
number of Americans will shortly be depending on food stamps
just to feed themselves and their families.

Dismal projections by the Congressional Budget Office in
Washington suggest that in the fiscal year starting in
October, 28 million people in the US will be using government
food stamps to buy essential groceries, the highest level
since the food assistance programme was introduced in the

The increase - from 26.5 million in 2007 - is due partly to
recent efforts to increase public awareness of the programme
and also a switch from paper coupons to electronic debit
cards. But above all it is the pressures being exerted on
ordinary Americans by an economy that is suddenly beset by
troubles. Housing foreclosures, accelerating jobs losses and
fast-rising prices all add to the squeeze.

Emblematic of the downturn until now has been the parades of
houses seized in foreclosure all across the country, and
myriad families separated from their homes. But now the
crisis is starting to hit the country in its gut. Getting
food on the table is a challenge many Americans are finding
harder to meet. As a barometer of the country's economic
health, food stamp usage may not be perfect, but can
certainly tell a story.

Michigan has been in its own mini-recession for years as its
collapsing industrial base, particularly in the car industry,
has cast more and more out of work. Now, one in eight
residents of the state is on food stamps, double the level in
2000. "We have seen a dramatic increase in recent years, but
we have also seen it climbing more in recent months," Maureen
Sorbet, a spokeswoman for Michigan's programme, said. "It's
been increasing steadily. Without the programme, some
families and kids would be going without."

But the trend is not restricted to the rust-belt regions.
Forty states are reporting increases in applications for the
stamps, actually electronic cards that are filled
automatically once a month by the government and are swiped
by shoppers at the till, in the 12 months from December 2006.
At least six states, including Florida, Arizona and Maryland,
have had a 10 per cent increase in the past year.

In Rhode Island, the segment of the population on food stamps
has risen by 18 per cent in two years. The food programme
started 40 years ago when hunger was still a daily fact of
life for many Americans. The recent switch from paper coupons
to the plastic card system has helped remove some of the
stigma associated with the food stamp programme. The card can
be swiped as easily as a bank debit card. To qualify for the
cards, Americans do not have to be exactly on the breadline.
The programme is available to people whose earnings are just
above the official poverty line. For Hubert Liepnieks, the
card is a lifeline he could never afford to lose. Just out of
prison, he sleeps in overnight shelters in Manhattan and uses
the card at a Morgan Williams supermarket on East 23rd
Street. Yesterday, he and his fiancée, Christine Schultz, who
is in a wheelchair, shared one banana and a cup of coffee
bought with the 82 cents left on it.

"They should be refilling it in the next three or four days,"
Liepnieks says. At times, he admits, he and friends bargain
with owners of the smaller grocery shops to trade the value
of their cards for cash, although it is illegal. "It can be
done. I get $7 back on $10."

Richard Enright, the manager at this Morgan Williams, says
the numbers of customers on food stamps has been steady but
he expects that to rise soon. "In this location, it's still
mostly old people and people who have retired from city jobs
on stamps," he says. Food stamp money was designed to
supplement what people could buy rather than covering all the
costs of a family's groceries. But the problem now, Mr
Enright says, is that soaring prices are squeezing the value
of the benefits.

"Last St Patrick's Day, we were selling Irish soda bread for
$1.99. This year it was $2.99. Prices are just spiralling up,
because of the cost of gas trucking the food into the city
and because of commodity prices. People complain, but I tell
them it's not my fault everything is more expensive."

The US Department of Agriculture says the cost of feeding a
low-income family of four has risen 6 per cent in 12 months.
"The amount of food stamps per household hasn't gone up with
the food costs," says Dayna Ballantyne, who runs a food bank
in Des Moines, Iowa. "Our clients are finding they aren't
able to purchase food like they used to."

And the next monthly job numbers, to be released this Friday,
are likely to show 50,000 more jobs were lost nationwide in
March, and the unemployment rate is up to perhaps 5 per cent.


Alan L. Maki
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell phone: 651-587-5541

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