The Ghost Ship artist collective is not to blame for the fire. Oakland’s housing crisis is

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Faces of the missing from the Oakland warehouse fire (L-R) Nex Iuguolo, Chelsea Faith, Ara Jo, Micah Danemayer

Everyone has been anxiously searching for answers about the cause of the horrifying fire that broke out on Friday, December 2, in an artist warehouse set to host the “Golden Donna 2016 Silk West Coast Tour.” As confirmed so far, the fire has claimed the lives of 30 people.

The death toll expected to reach as high as 40, according to authorities.

In between the need for locals to alert loved ones about their safety, health and well-being in light of what’s happened, there is a growing mainstream narrative that looks to pin the blame for this tragedy on the culture of the artists who inhabit the building.

Outlets such as CNN and DailyNews are making it a point to emphasize that residents were living in this warehouse illegally and making commercial use of it without a permit.

While mainstream media is intent on painting a portrait of irresponsible artists/ravers who should’ve never opted to reside inside the warehouse in the first place, no one is asking the larger question of why these artists are forced to work and make a living in these specific circumstances.

Related: 14 Ways Not To Act Like A Gentrifier (As Told By One)

Even some critics on social media have managed to find fault with the culture of tenants of this artist collective — which, in so many, they describe as pathological — blaming them for the incident:

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Nowhere in their narrow-minded criticisms is a consideration of the shrinking opportunities to legally secure residential and commercial property in the city of Oakland. Breaching this issue of the ongoing property crisis in Oakland would point the finger toward systemic forces that exceed the so-called excesses and personal flaws of individual behavior.

Oakland has been ravaged by this property crisis — including gentrification — for years now. Artist collectives have been among the hardest hit by this issue. For example, the tenants of the artist collective known as the LoBot, which set up shop in industrial buildings within the lower income community of the Lower Bottoms, had its lights cut off in July, after thirteen years in operation.

As East Bay Express documents it, “The underground artist studio and venue’s landlord had discontinued its lease, and the newly doubled monthly rent was too high.”

In a curious fashion, mainstream reporters have queried aloud in their coverage about why the tenants of these warehouses do not seek permits that would allow them to legally stay in these buildings and hire the necessary services that would get the interior structures up to code. Looking closely at the problem, the answer is pretty simple: they can’t afford it. And while the responsibility of staying up to code rested upon Ghost Ship’s owner  Derick Ion, the artists living and working in the space had little to no choice but to choose between stable housing and their own safety.

According to the SFGate, the LoBot is symptomatic of a bigger concern: Oakland rests among the 4 cities with the highest rental market in the entire country:

“One bedrooms increased 19 percent in the past year to $2,190,” writes SFGate “while two bedrooms increased 13.3 percent to reach $2,550.”

In its lamentation of the Oakland housing crisis, The Guardian portrays a similar dismal predicament that is citywide in scope, writing, “For many, the only way they can stay in Oakland is to sleep in their cars or on the streets.”

But, you won’t find economic considerations of this caliber in mainstream reports, for capitalism is far more comfortable and content with catering to the lie of atomistic individualism over deadly malfunctions in the infrastructure of the system and blaming the human disasters that are consequential to these systemic calamities on the psychological shortcomings of people viewed as willingly isolated from one another to their own detriment.

For anyone interested in helping with this tragedy, you can donate to this YouCare campaign.

http://wearyourvoicemag.com/more/social-justice/housing-crisis-not-ravers-blame-oakland-fire

Identity politics vs. populist economics?

It’s a false choice – liberals need to look in the mirror

Economic justice and civil rights are not separate; the issue isn’t “identity politics” but liberalism’s failures

Identity politics vs. populist economics? It's a false choice – liberals need to look in the mirror
(Credit: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Andrew Harnik/Reuters/Scott Audette)

For many Democrats, the fact that the Obama years have ended with one of the biggest party implosions in American history — and not the implosion of the Republican Party, as most had anticipated — remains a difficult reality to accept. Thanks to the Democratic Party’s historic collapse, Republicans will soon have complete control of all levels of government in the United States: All three branches of federal government, a large majority of state legislatures and an even larger majority of state governorships.

Facing this bleak reality, one would expect Democrats to quickly take a step back for some reflection, if only to figure out how to start winning elections again. As the country braces for a Trump presidency, it is absolutely critical that Democrats accurately assess what happened last month and learn the right lessons.

Unfortunately, many Democratic partisans have taken another approach; one that is all too familiar. As The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald reported last week:

Democrats have spent the last 10 days flailing around blaming everyone except for themselves, constructing a carousel of villains and scapegoats — from Julian AssangeVladimir PutinJames Comeythe electoral college“fake news,” and Facebook, to Susan SarandonJill SteinmillennialsBernie SandersClinton-critical journalists, and, most of all, insubordinate voters themselves — to blame them for failing to fulfill the responsibility that the Democratic Party, and it alone, bears: to elect Democratic candidates.

There is plenty of blame to go around, of course, and some of the scapegoats that Greenwald lists probably did have some impact, albeit minimal, on electing Trump. But when one looks at this year’s election objectively — not just at the Democratic Party’s failure to stop Trump, but at its failure to retake the Senate or make any gains at the state and local levels (Republicans now control 33 governorships and 32 state legislatures) — one has to be delusional not to recognize that the party itself is primarily responsible for this implosion.

Donald Trump — whom the majority of Americans view unfavorably and consider unqualified to be president — was a gift to the Democrats, and his nomination should have led to an easy electoral triumph. Instead, they nominated one of the most flawed candidates in history, and ran as an establishment party during a time when most Americans were practically begging for anti-establishment politics. As Trump’s loathsome chief strategist Steve Bannon recently put it: “Hillary Clinton was the perfect foil for Trump’s message. From her e-mail server, to her lavishly paid speeches to Wall Street bankers, to her FBI problems, she represented everything that middle-class Americans had had enough of.”

Trump’s victory was all the more depressing for progressives who had warned about the risk of nominating an establishment candidate with almost endless political baggage (in a season of angry populist politics, no less). During the Democratic primaries, these criticisms were either dismissed by establishment Democrats or critics were bitterly attacked for pointing them out. Recall back in February, for example, when Hillary Clinton implied that her progressive opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, was sexist for claiming that she represented the establishment: “Sen. Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman president, as exemplifying the establishment.”

Though Clinton did not explicitly call Sanders sexist, her campaign was eager to paint the senator and his supporters as misogynists who opposed Clinton solely because she was a woman. The “Bernie Bro” narrative — which portrayed Sanders supporters as a bunch of white sexist frat-boy types, harassing women and people of color online — was propagated by the Clinton campaign and sympathetic journalists. It was also discredited time and again, particularly by the fact that the Sanders-Clinton split was more of a generational divide than anything else — as evinced by Sanders’ 37-point advantage among millennial women (ages 18 to 29) across 27 states and his popularity among younger black and Hispanic voters.

The kind of self-serving identity politics that we saw from the Clinton camp during the Democratic primaries leads into what has been the most contentious debate among Democrats and progressives since the election: Whether the party has become too preoccupied with the politics of identity and political correctness, while straying too far from a class-based politics that addresses the structural inequities of capitalism. Not surprisingly, the debate has been full of deliberate misinterpretations.

Consider how various news outlets reported on comments made by Sanders on his book tour last week while discussing diversity in political leadership. “We need diversity, that goes without saying,” noted Sanders, who was responding to a question from a woman asking for tips on how to become the second Latina senator, after this year’s election of Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada. “But it is not good enough for someone to say, ‘I’m a woman, vote for me.’ That’s not good enough. What we need is a woman who has the guts to stand up to Wall Street, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, to the fossil fuel industries.”

From this comment, the New York Times reported that Sanders had said “Democrats need to focus more on economic struggles and less on the grievances of minorities and women,” while the popular liberal website Talking Points Memo posted the misleading headline: “Sanders Urges Supporters: Ditch Identity Politics And Embrace The Working Class.” These reports are both founded on a false dichotomy pitting economic justice and civil rights against each other. This was also illustrated by a tweet from the Times shortly after the election:

Stephen Hawking: Automation and AI is going to decimate middle class jobs

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British scientist Prof. Stephen Hawking gives his ‘The Origin of the Universe’ lecture to a packed hall December 14, 2006 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Hawking suffers from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrigs disease), which has rendered him quadriplegic, and is able to speak only via a computerized voice synthesizer which is operated by batting his eyelids. David Silverman/Getty Images

Artificial intelligence and increasing automation is going to decimate middle class jobs, worsening inequality and risking significant political upheaval, Stephen Hawking has warned.

In a column in The Guardian, the world-famous physicist wrote that“the automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.”

He adds his voice to a growing chorus of experts concerned about the effects that technology will have on workforce in the coming years and decades. The fear is that while artificial intelligence will bring radical increases in efficiency in industry, for ordinary people this will translate into unemployment and uncertainty, as their human jobs are replaced by machines.

Technology has already gutted many traditional manufacturing and working class jobs — but now it may be poised to wreak similar havoc with the middle classes.

A report put out in February 2016 by Citibank in partnership with the University of Oxford predicted that 47% of US jobs are at risk of automation. In the UK, 35% are. In China, it’s a whopping 77% — while across the OECD it’s an average of 57%.

And three of the world’s 10 largest employers are now replacing their workers with robots.

Automation will, “in turn will accelerate the already widening economic inequality around the world,” Hawking wrote. “The internet and the platforms that it makes possible allow very small groups of individuals to make enormous profits while employing very few people. This is inevitable, it is progress, but it is also socially destructive.”

He frames this economic anxiety as a reason for the rise in right-wing, populist politics in the West: “We are living in a world of widening, not diminishing, financial inequality, in which many people can see not just their standard of living, but their ability to earn a living at all, disappearing. It is no wonder then that they are searching for a new deal, which Trump and Brexit might have appeared to represent.”

Combined with other issues — overpopulation, climate change, disease — we are, Hawking warns ominously, at “the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity.” Humanity must come together if we are to overcome these challenges, he says.

Stephen Hawking has previously expressed concerns about artificial intelligence for a different reason — that it might overtake and replace humans. “The development of artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” he said in late 2014. “It would take off on its own, and redesign itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”

 

 

http://www.businessinsider.com/stephen-hawking-ai-automation-middle-class-jobs-most-dangerous-moment-humanity-2016-12?r=UK&IR=T

City Attorney Spraying Anti-Trump Graffiti While Drinking Wine Is All We Have Left

For the liberal elites, it’s come to this. We’ve been reduced to this. We are all Duncan Lloyd, an assistant city solicitor in Philadelphia. Lloyd was busted by surveillance cameras videoing a buddy spraying “Fuck Trump” on the side of a newly opened Fresh Grocer. Lloyd is pictured below in his civil disobedience uniform.

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Yes. That’s a man, wearing an ascot, holding a glass of wine, who tagged an upscale supermarket.

This is our life now, hyper-educated coastal elites. We’re not going to stock up on guns and insta-waffles. We’re not going to hop in a Prius and ethanol-roll motorists we disagree with. We’re not going to burn an American flag, because we don’t own an American flag, because what kind of jingoistic prick can find space for a freaking flag in a one-bedroom apartment?

All we can do is turn up our noses, drown ourselves in an earthy vintage, and tastefully vandalize what establishments we pass. We are a broken, beaten people. It’s just like high school. We’ve got our books and our vastly superior reservoirs of knowledge and empathy, they’ve got a viselike grip on our underpants. “F**k Trump” isn’t a protest, it’s a prayer, only we’re too smart to really believe that there’s an invisible sky judge who is listening.

Republicans are all too happy to pounce on our weakness and despair:

“If the image of an upper-middle-class city attorney clad in a blazer and sipping wine while vandalizing an upscale grocery store with an anti-Trump message strikes you as perhaps the most bourgeois sight imaginable, that’s because it is,” said Joe DeFelice, chairman of the Philadelphia Republican Party.

I bet Joe DeFelice doesn’t know how to recognize or pronounce “ascot,” or suspects his supporters are too stupid to know what one is, so he chose to snark Lloyd’s blazer:

“Nothing can better represent the hysterical pearl-clutching of the ‘progressive’ elite in response to this earth-shattering election, when residents of Chestnut Hill and similar neighborhoods across the country discovered – gasp – that other people have a voice too.”

It’s not the discovery of their voice that has us clutching our pearls. It’s the waking nightmare of having to listen to it. We already gave these people the History Channel, and they turned it into 24 straight hours of men with visible ass-crack fishing, chopping, and fighting over trash left behind in a storage locker. WHAT WILL THEY DO WITH C-SPAN? I cannot abide live coverage of Tom Cotton buying guns and meat at Walmart.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney says Lloyd can keep his job he hasn’t made a final decision about Lloyd’s job. Unquestionably, that’s a double-standard. If a Trump supporter had written “Go Trump” on the side of a synagogue, or a library, or really anything of intellectual value, he’d be out on his ass.

But that’s because these Trump people are actually frightening. They ran on a campaign of white supremacy. When they vandalize your city, the action is but part of a larger campaign of hate crimes and intimidation.

When Duncan Lloyd vandalizes your city, it’s part of his larger campaign of finding a way to crawl out from under his covers in the morning. Look at him. LOOK AT HIM. He’s not out here trying to send the children of Trump supporters back to Mexico. He’s not trying to destroy the climate so Jesus can Rapture him to Graceland. He just wants to be able to look his cats in the eye without feeling ineffectual and ashamed. “I made a statement today, Odysseus and Penelope. I’m not going to let this be normalized.”

So, laugh at Duncan Lloyd. Laugh at all of us. Cackle away! But remember, it’s people like Lloyd who are at least trying to deal with reality. It’s all you Trump voters who will be looking the other way while he pulls your pants down and takes what coins you’ve scraped together. The con man is going to screw you guys the hardest.

One day, you’ll be asking to borrow Lloyd’s spray paint.

UPDATE (12/2/16: 12:00): The mayor’s office says that it has not decided on a course of action yet. Kenney’s office says: “We’re waiting to hear the full story, and we’re waiting to see if any charges are filed. The Mayor and Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante will make a decision on [Lloyd’s] employment based on that information.”

Kenney: Anti-Trump vandalism involving city attorney ‘dumb mistake’ [Philly.com]
Philly GOP to city: Fire ascot-clad wine-sipping ‘F–k Trump’ graffiti lawyer [Billy Penn]


Elie Mystal is an editor of Above the Law and the Legal Editor for More Perfect. He can be reached @ElieNYC on Twitter, or at elie@abovethelaw.com. He will resist.

Trump outlines right-wing program of extreme nationalism at Cincinnati rally

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By Joseph Kishore and Jerry White
2 December 2016

In a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio on Thursday night, US President-elect Donald Trump outlined the right-wing program of extreme “America First” nationalism of the incoming administration.

The Cincinnati speech was unlike any delivered by a president or president-elect in US history. It was a combination of blatant contradictions, exaggerations, wild hyperbole, empty demagogy and praise for himself as the man who would fix all the problems facing the country. It combined threats against political enemies with pledges to work with anyone and everyone to overcome gridlock and restore American jobs.

While couched in rhetoric about protecting the “American worker,” Trump’s policy proposals centered on massive tax cuts to corporations and deregulation, combined with increasing the size of the military, expanding police powers and sharply curtailing immigration. During the rally Trump also announced that his choice for secretary of defense is retired general James “Mad Dog” Mattis.

Trump’s remarks were clearly shaped and likely written by Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News who has ties to fascistic organizations. Bannon has called for the formation of a new “movement”—a term Trump repeated throughout his remarks—based on economic nationalism and opposition to “globalists.”

A major theme was the need to “unify” the nation in opposition to Washington politicians who have subordinated “American interests” to foreign powers. “There is a lot of talk about how we are becoming a globalized world,” Trump said, “but the relationships people value in this country are local… There is no global anthem, no global currency, no certificate of global citizenship. We pledge allegiance to one flag, and that is the American flag.”

“From now on it is going to be America First,” Trump added. “We are going to put ourselves first… Our goal is to strengthen the bonds between citizens, to restore our sense of membership in a shared national community.”

As was the case during his campaign for president, Trump made a demagogic appeal to social anger over declining wages and social inequality. “Our government has failed to protect the interests of the American worker,” he said. “A shrinking workforce and flat wages are not going to be the new normal.”

There is a vast chasm between this empty populist rhetoric and the personnel that Trump has selected to populate his government. The speech followed a series of cabinet picks, including billionaire asset strippers, Wall Street bankers, and dedicated opponents of financial and corporate regulations, public education and Medicare and Medicaid, to lead the Treasury, Commerce, Education and Health and Human Services departments.

For all his talk of national “unity,” a Trump administration will be one of brutal class war. Trump’s “action plan” is centered on freeing corporations from any restraints on profit-making and exploitation. “Right now we punish companies for doing business in America,” he said. To bring back jobs, the new administration would “massively lower taxes, and make America the best place in the world to hire, to invest, to grow, to create and to expand.”

He added that he would “eliminate every single wasteful regulation that undermines the ability of our workers and our companies to compete with companies from foreign lands.”

Trump touted the deal with Carrier to continue production at its Indianapolis factory, which Carrier’s parent company, United Technologies Corp. (UTC), planned to shut by 2019 and shift production to Mexico. Carrier will retain only 800 of the 1,400 production workers at the plant, and the deal also sanctions the closure of the UTC factory in Huntington, Indiana, which will wipe out the jobs of another 700 workers.

In discussions late last month, Trump told UTC CEO Gregory Hayes that his plans to slash corporate taxes and gut labor, health and safety and environmental regulations would prove far more profitable for the company than the $65 million in annual savings it would gain from shifting production overseas. In exchange for the deal, Carrier was given another $7 million in state tax cuts and other subsidies. It is also likely that UTC, a major defense contractor, was promised even larger contracts under a Trump presidency.

Trump reiterated his proposal for major infrastructure projects, a plan that would be a boondoggle for corporations and essentially hand over public infrastructure to private companies. These measures, combined with greater restrictions on trade, would “usher in a new industrial revolution.”

Trump combined his program of tax cuts and deregulation with a call for sharp restrictions on immigration. “We will restore the sovereignty of the United States,” he said. “We will construct a great wall at the border” and “liberate our communities from the epidemic of gang violence and drugs pouring into our nation.”

Trump said little on foreign policy, except to criticize the $6 trillion spent on wars in the Middle East. He also said the US should “stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments” and instead focus on “rebuilding our country.” Under a Trump administration, he asserted, the US “will seek shared interests wherever possible and pursue a new era of peace, understanding and good will.”

In fact, Trump’s “America First” nationalism will be accompanied by a massive escalation of military violence. In his speech, Trump pledged a “national effort to build our badly depleted military” and called for a major campaign to “destroy ISIS.”

More significant is the selection of Mattis as secretary of defense. Mattis is a fanatic anti-Islamic militarist who played a significant role in the US invasion of Afghanistan and led the brutal 2004 assault on Falluja, Iraq. Speaking of his experiences in Afghanistan, Mattis said in 2005 that “it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.”

While leading US Central Command under Obama from 2010 to 2013, Mattis was critical of the White House for not waging war aggressively enough in the Middle East and for being too conciliatory toward Iran.

In an indication of the dominance of the military in a Trump administration, Mattis would be the first ranking general to be defense secretary since George Marshall in 1950–51. Federal law stipulates that generals must be retired for seven years before leading the Pentagon, but Mattis is expected to get a waiver from Congress. He has the support of Senate Republicans, including Senator John McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Mattis will work closely with Trump’s national security advisor, another retired general, Michael Flynn.

The unions and the Democratic Party have praised Trump, echoing his economic nationalism and echoing the lie that the billionaire real estate mogul, who will head up the most right-wing government in history, is a champion of the working class.

US Senator Joe Donnelly (Democrat-Indiana) said he hoped to work with Trump to “build on momentum created by your agreement with United Technologies” and adopt a federal “outsourcing” proposal that would “deny and claw back certain tax benefits to companies that move jobs offshore.” Directing his comment at Trump, he added, “I strongly encourage you to make it clear that efforts to ship jobs offshore to chase cheap wages will be addressed head on by the Trump Administration. I stand ready to assist in any way possible.”

WSWS

Deal to “save” Indiana Carrier plant will cut 1,100 jobs

By Jerry White
1 December 2016

President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence will appear Thursday at the Carrier heating furnace factory in Indianapolis, Indiana to announce a deal to retain jobs at the facility, which was scheduled to begin downsizing next year and completely close by 2019.

Last February, workers erupted in anger when managers informed them at a plant meeting that the factory would be closed and production moved to Monterrey, Mexico, threatening 1,300 jobs at the plant and another 700 at a facility in Huntington, near Fort Wayne, Indiana. The action was being taken “strictly for business reasons,” the company spokesman said.

Carrier plant in Indianapolis

Posturing as a defender of workers and seeking to divert anger over job losses in an anti-Mexican direction, then-presidential candidate Trump told the company that, if elected, he would impose a 35 percent tariff on any products Carrier shipped back to the US.

In a Twitter post Tuesday night, Carrier officials wrote, “We are pleased to have reached a deal with President-elect Trump & VP-elect Pence to keep close to 1,000 jobs in Indy.” According to a report in Fortune magazine, up to 1,300 jobs will still be transferred to Mexico, including those of at least 300 workers in the fan coil division in Indianapolis. All 700 workers in Huntington will lose their jobs when the plant closes.

Jeff, a Carrier worker, told the WSWS, “I hope it is only 300 jobs they are taking, but I’m thinking it will be 400 lost in Indy.”

Workers expressed concerns about additional pay cuts, but hoped that the company would have difficulty reopening the four-year labor agreement it signed with the United Steelworkers union in April. “The last two contracts we’ve given up plenty of concessions—even creating a three-tier wage scale. They weren’t moving because they were losing money, they were leaving for pure greed,” Jeff added.

While Trump supporters and local Democrats, including US Senator Joe Donnelly, have hailed the deal as proof that the president-elect will stand up to companies to defend “American jobs,” the deal is a boondoggle for Carrier and its parent company, United Technologies Corporation (UTC).

On Thanksgiving, Trump met with UTC’s chief executive Gregory Hayes and told him the federal tax changes and deregulation the incoming administration was committed to enacting would save UTC more than the $65 million per year it would get by shifting production to Mexico, where workers are paid $6 an hour in wages and benefits.

It is also likely that Trump promised that UTC—a major defense contractor—would receive more lucrative military contracts during his presidency. UTC’s Pratt & Whitney division makes engines for the F-35 jet fighter and received a $1.03 billion government order last April.

In this, Trump would be following the advice of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who penned an open letter to the president-elect last week calling on Trump “to make it clear to the CEO of United Technologies that if his firm wants to receive another defense contract from the taxpayers of this country, it must not move these plants to Mexico.”

The combination of federal and state tax cuts, increased military contracts and corporate deregulation evidently convinced the UTC boss that keeping some operations in Indiana was the “patriotic” thing to do.

In a statement released Wednesday, Carrier said, “Today’s announcement is possible because the incoming Trump-Pence administration has emphasized to us its commitment to support the business community and create an improved, more competitive US business climate.” The statement went on to say that the deal “in no way diminishes our belief that the forces of globalization will continue to require solutions for the long-term competitiveness of the US and of American workers moving forward.”

In other words, more wage and benefit cuts, layoffs and speedup are coming.

The extent of any wage and benefit concessions included in the deal is not yet known. A spokesman for United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1999-07, which had already signed a plant-closing and employee severance agreement, told the WSWS that the union was not involved in the negotiations with the president-elect. Union officials will reportedly meet with Trump and Pence Thursday morning before the two men visit the plant.

The USW, however, has already agreed to a series of wage and benefit concessions. Under the current four-year contract signed last April, new-hires under “Appendix B” receive $14.50 to $19.47 per hour, depending on their job classifications, compared to $19.50 to $26.75 for workers hired before 2011. It is likely that Carrier will give severance packages to more senior, higher-paid workers so they can replace them with Appendix B workers.

While several Carrier workers posting on their Facebook page expressed relief over the announcement, many were suspicious of the deal.

One worker said, “Folks are praising him for keeping their jobs. To me, no one is safe until they explain what jobs are secure! I don’t trust Carrier. When the contract is up, will they just lock the gates on the employees?”

She added, “The middle class gets stuck paying higher taxes, the employees will pay a price for these jobs to stay. Don’t get me wrong. I am very happy for those that keep their jobs. But I have trust issues thinking this is going to run smooth and not have wage cuts.”

The deal reportedly includes nearly a million dollars a year in state tax cuts for Carrier. As governor of Indiana, Pence showered hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate tax cuts and other subsidies on General Motors, Carrier and other firms. These giveaways have been paid for through savage budget cuts in public education and other services, and attacks on teachers and other public sector workers.

Pence has also used the lowering of manufacturing wages and benefits, facilitated by the USW, the United Auto Workers and other unions, to lure companies to the state, where the average factory worker makes $24,000 a year, four percent lower than the national average.

Indianapolis has been devastated by wave after wave of factory closings, including the 2010 shuttering of a General Motors stamping plant as a result of Obama’s restructuring of GM, and the closing of truck manufacturer Navistar’s foundry last year. Bearing manufacturer Rexnord recently announced it would close its plant in the city next year, wiping out another 300 jobs.

Navistar foundry that closed in 2015

Trump exploited the deep discontent in so-called “Rust Belt” states like Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania to win the presidential election. Many workers, including those who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, backed Trump because Clinton and the Democrats expressed nothing but contempt for workers whose lives have been ravaged by deindustrialization, wage cuts and increased health care and pension costs.

The decades-long promotion of economic nationalism by the unions, echoed by Bernie Sanders during the election campaign, left workers susceptible to Trump’s anti-Mexican and anti-Chinese propaganda.

Workers will soon come to realize that the billionaire real estate mogul has no answer to the social crisis. On the contrary, he is assembling a cabinet of billionaires, including his designated commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversaw the destruction of the jobs, wages and pensions of hundreds of thousands coal miners, steel workers and auto parts workers.

“Trump’s bringing in opponents of Medicare and there are a lot of workers here who rely on that,” a General Motors worker at a nearby Indiana plant said. Referring to the Carrier deal, he added, “Corporations never bestowed anything out of the goodness of their hearts. A lot of workers who voted for Trump are going to get hurt. The key thing that got Trump elected was the economy. Workers were angry about the foreclosed houses, the factories bulldozed down.

“Years ago I would come out of an election and think, ‘Now it’s time to unify and work for the good of the country no matter what your party.’ Now, I look at this whole election process as the two parties of the ruling class working for the same thing—like Obama said, an ‘intramural scrimmage’ on the same team. I think we peons are going to wake up to this.”

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/12/01/carr-d01.html

Cornel West: Unlike Bernie Sanders, I’m Not Convinced the Democratic Party Can Be Reformed

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DECEMBER 01, 2016

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GUESTS
Cornel West

Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He’s written numerous books, most recently “The Radical King: Martin Luther King, Jr.” His other books include “Black Prophetic Fire.”

In the wake of Donald Trump’s election victory over Hillary Clinton, some progressives are now pushing a shake up of the Democratic Party’s leadership in efforts to reform the party. But Dr. Cornel West says he doubts the Democratic Party can be reformed. During the Democratic primary, West endorsed Bernie Sanders. Sanders later picked him to serve on the Democratic platform committee. After Hillary Clinton won the nomination, West made headlines when he endorsed Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. For more we speak with West about the Democratic Party and what organizing looks like in the wake of the election.


TRANSCRIPT
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: So, a lot of questions, and I encourage people to watch the full hour at democracynow.org. You were a big supporter of Bernie Sanders. You served on the Democratic Platform Committee on behalf of Bernie Sanders. Do you think he’s right to re— work on reforming the Democrats rather than focus on building a new party? He is leading a movement called our revolution. He has said we have to work with Donald in different ways. He says to the people who supported him. Elizabeth Warren, in the last day, has said she is not so clear she’s going to be working with Donald Trump. I mean, very interesting when Barack Obama came in, Mitch McConnell made it clear they won’t work with Obama at all. But, what are your thoughts on all of this, the inside/outside strategy?

CORNEL WEST: Well, I think there’s going to be a lot of different responses. I have a deep love and respect for brother Bernie Sanders. I always will. I don’t always agree with him. I’m not convinced that the Democratic Party can be reformed. I think it still has a kind of allegiance to a neoliberal orientation. It still has allegiance to Wall Street, the very victory of Nancy Pelosi is a sign that neoliberalism is still hegemonic in the party. I hope that Keith Ellison is able to present a challenge to it. But, my hunch is —

AMY GOODMAN: — as head of — if he makes it is head of the Democratic National Committee.

CORNEL WEST: If he’s head of the DNC. But my hunch is the Democratic Party has simply run out of gas. I mean, this is a party that couldn’t even publicly oppose TPPwhen we debated that in the Platform Committee. And that’s just one small example. Couldn’t stop — couldn’t vote to stop Fracking, and so on. So, it’s still so tied to big money.

AMY GOODMAN: Even though Hillary Clinton had changed her position, because of the pressure of Bernie Sanders on TPP?

CORNEL WEST: Exactly, and tight there in the debates, they got the word from the White House, we didn’t want to embarrass the president. Embarrass the president? What about the poor and working people who are dealing with the suffering? Is that less important than embarrassing the president? And they were very clear about that. And I pushed and pushed and pushed. Here’s somebody — they can’t even talk about the Israeli occupation honestly. The president uses a language in 2009, they can’t use it in the platform. Why? Because they tied to the lobby, they tied to APEC. So that, when you have those kinds of restraints on you, these albatrosses around your neck, how are you going to be a party for the people? How you going to be a party for working people, poor people. How you going to be a party for those brothers and sisters in Yemen who are dealing with U.S.-supported troops and bombs killing them, mediated with Saudi Arabian government? How you going to deal with the Palestinians, deal with the Israeli occupation? How you going to deal with Africans, the expansion of afrikom, and so forth? There has to be some integrity and moral consistency. And unfortunately, the Democratic Party just strikes me as not being able to meet that challenge. But, I’ll work with brother Bernie Sanders and others both out of love and because I know in his heart he’s got a certain deep commitment to working people. But now, even as an independent socialist, he’s behaving as a New Deal liberal.

AMY GOODMAN: What does that mean?

CORNEL WEST: That means that he is a — well, a Democratic Socialist is a radical who’s critical of the system. A New Deal liberal works within the system and doesn’t want to bring massive critique for structural change. And I can understand it because he’s inside. But those of us who are outside and free, we’re going to tell the truth. We’re going to be honest. We will have certain kind of moral and spiritual integrity. And no matter how marginal that makes us, we’re not, in any way, going to become well-adjusted to this injustice out here.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break and come back to what’s happened in North Carolina, and then you’re headed to North Dakota. So, we’ll talk about that. Dr. Cornel West, Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He endorsed Bernie Sanders, and was served on the Democratic Platform Committee. This is Democracy Now! We’ll be back in a minute.

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