Posts Tagged ‘socialism’

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Do you like where you are financially in life currently? Are you happy with the exchange of power and wealth gap between the poor and the rich? What do you think is wrong with this country’s overall look at the way it handles its finances? I ask these questions because a person by the name of Karl Marx, the father of socialism and communism who was an economic theorist and philosopher. Marx theorized that capitalism would inevitably impoverish the globe, all the while dollars were a focus on too much profiting the money into their own back accounts. It seems that the social classes are at each others throat and economic crisis seems unavoidable. “Accumulation of wealth at one pole is at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole,” Marx wrote.

Some say he may be right. A study done in September by the Economic Policy Institute says that the median annual earnings of a full-time male worker in the US in 2011 was at $48,202 which was smaller than it was in 1973. Between 1983 and 2010 74% of the gains in wealth in the US went to the top richest 5%, on the other hand 60% suffered a decline, the EPI calculated. What would Marx say today? “Some variation of: ‘I told you so,’” says Richard Wolff, a Marxist economist at the New School in New York. “The income gap is producing a level of tension that I have not seen in my lifetime.” Tensions between the social classes are on the rise, the perceived split between the “99%” and the “1%” with us the regular every day working class being the “99%” and the “1%” being the top portion gets the crumbs after the rich are done with them. A Pew research Center Poll released in 2012 says two-thirds of the respondents believe the US suffers from “strong” or “very strong” conflict between the rich and the poor. This is a 19 point increase from 2009 making its ranking the no. 1 reason for division in society.

In countries like China, France and Holland, where capitalism is the law of the land. The land is now facing the backlash of the air bubble, vacuum that decades of greed and power have set. In those societies much like our own the poor and middle class are disheveled told “Pick yourself up by your bootstraps,” all the while watching the top percent shave away the “boot strap”. Some countries have had enough, in Holland planned to hike the income tax rate as high as 75%. The idea was shot down, but the determination to is to show they are on the side of the “common man”.  In China the social divide is more evident even though it is being marked as “workers paradise” by the US since it has cheap labor. 8 out of 10 workers believe that the “rich get richer while the poor get poorer”. “People from the outside see our lives as very bountiful, but the real life in the factory is very different,” says factory worker Peng Ming in the southern industrial enclave of Shenzhen.“The way the rich get money is through exploiting the workers,” says Guan Guohau, another Shenzhen factory employee. “Communism is what we are looking forward to.” Unless the government takes greater action to improve their welfare, they say, the laborers will become more and more willing to take action themselves. “Workers will organize more,” Peng predicts. “All the workers should be united.”

China is at a point of social unrest, even though that has been some attempt to help the conditions for the workers. Increase in wages, tougher labor laws for more protection, but workers say this is still not enough and government is on the side of big business, not the workers. China’s proletarian dictatorship is under scrutiny and the populace has become distrustful. Communists “openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions,” Marx wrote. “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.” Protesters, says Jacques Rancière, an expert on Marxism at the University of Paris, aren’t aiming to replace capitalism, as Marx had forecast, but merely to reform it. “We’re not seeing a protesting classes, call for an overthrow or destruction of socioeconomic systems in place,” he explains. “What class conflict produces today is called to fix systems so they become more viable and sustainable for the long run by redistributing the wealth created.”

According to an article in Rolling Stone there are five specific indications that show Marx was right about capitalism over 100 years ago. The first thing the article mentions is the Great Recession, in which Marx explains this is a by-product of greedy, relentless profit driven businesses. In the pursuit of this company’s mechanized their workplaces, producing more goods, but squeezing wages from workers so much purchasing the products they created seems unimaginable. Marx coined the phrase “fictitious capital” -this can be interpreted as stocks and credit default swaps. The housing market crash came from decades of the subprime borrowing scheme.

” A contriving and ever-calculating subservience to inhuman, sophisticated, unnatural and imaginary appetites.” Marx made this reference when he talked about the way capitalism focused on high value for essentially frivolous products. In the article Rolling Stone makes reference to the IPHONE 5, but really any product made in this technological age can be counted in as a product we never endingly look to upgrade or keep adding advancements to the original. It’s like our hunger for the next “newer” product mirrors our own unsatisfactory discontentment with keeping things the way they are. As human were never satisfied and we keep looking for the goal or marker to reach instead of finding appeasement with what we accomplished.

Globalization was also apart of Marx’s theories about overproduction leading to searches for new markets.

“The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe,” he wrote. “It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.” Marx wrote about this back in 1848 when the concept was hundred years away. He was right about what happened and why it happened. The never-ending pursuit of cheap labor and new markets along with an unrelenting demand for natural resources.

Marx believed with that the market power was more centralized in large monopoly firms as businesses “eat up” each other. This might have struck his 19th-century readers as odd: As Richard Hofstadter writes, “Americans came to take it for granted that property would be widely diffused, that economic and political power would decentralized.”  Mom and Pop shops are taken over more and more by elephantine corporations like Wal-Mart and small banks have been taken over by the likes of J.P. Morgan. Start up are constantly being vacuumed into megacorps.

Last Marx believed that wages would be held down by a “reserve army of labor,” in which he explains by using classical economic techniques: Capitalists prefer to pay as little as possible for labor, which is easy when the worker pool is overflowing with available candidates. In this market, Marx predicted that when the recession hit says that high unemployment would keep wages stagnant and workers are less likely to challenge it in fear of losing their jobs. “Lately, the U.S. recovery has been displaying some Marxian traits. Corporate profits are on a tear, and rising productivity has allowed companies to grow without doing much to reduce the vast ranks of the unemployed.” It’s no surprise that the best time for equitable growth is during times of “full employment,” when unemployment is low and workers can threaten to take another job.

As Robert L. Heilbroner writes, “We turn to Marx, therefore, not because he is infallible, but because he is inescapable.” Today, in a world of both unheard-of wealth and abject poverty, where the richest 85 people have more wealth than the poorest 3 billion, the famous cry, “Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains,” has yet to lose its potency. To me Marx as pragmatic as he was prophetic in his messages. While his accuracy is not spot on the mark with all the woes of or economy. He probably didn’t get to see unions, importing, exporting of goods, the bailouts and the healthcare system setting the parcity away from undeniable collapse. We still look as Marx’s work and believe that the key into his style of cuneiform is realizing what he indicated to us over a century ago. Rome wasn’t built-in a day,but it can end in a much shorter time than one.

 

Magglio Ordonez

Former Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox outfielder Magglio Ordonez, shown in 2008, is now mayor of Sotillo, Venezuela. (Los Angeles Times)

 
 
By Chuck Schilken

1:17 p.m. CST, December 9, 2013

 

Magglio Ordonez has transformed from an All-Star outfielder in Major League Baseball to a mayor of a city in his native Venezuela in just a year’s time.

The former player for the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers was elected mayor of Sotillo, an eastern Venezuelan city with approximately 250,000 citizens, this weekend.

Ordonez is a member of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and a supporter of President Nicolas Maduro, who announced the six-time All Star’s election at a rally Sunday.

Maduro is known to turn to celebrity candidates to help bolster support in the midst of rising anger with his economic policies.

Ordonez is among a majority of pro-government candidates who won one of the 335 races nationwide.

After 15 seasons in the major leagues, Ordonez retired in 2012 with a career batting average of .309. He hit 294 home runs, the second most by a player born in Venezuela (Andres Galarraga has 399).

Original Post –http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/la-sp-sn-magglio-ordonez-20131209,0,7877052.story

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.Fifty years ago in Detroit Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to a crowd within the Cobo Arena on June 23 1963. This speech would set the tone for his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech later that year in August. He talked about the imbalance of education, job employment and housing opportunities for blacks as opposed to whites. His speech came two weeks after the assassination of Medgar Evers who was a field secretary for the NAACP. His death inspired part of King’s speech noting “But if physical death is the price some must pay to free their children and their white brothers from an eternal psychological death, then nothing can be more redemptive.”

As a believer and witness to some aspects of Martin Luther King’s Jr dream I have seen with my own eyes facets of his words become a norm among our cultural that was a radical change during his lifetime. My heart is saddened though because to blindly think that all of Dr. King’s “Dream” has come true is not real. My question to you is simple, but at the same time it is quite intricate. Do you believe Dr. Martin Luther King’s Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech has come to full permanence? If not what aspects of our culture needs to change in order to truly live the dream?

Interracial Adoption

One hot button issue that is up for debate is becoming an adoptive parent to baby or a child of a different race. Celebrities such as Madonna, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock among others have adopted children from other countries. One of Madonna’s adopted children came from Lilongwe, Malawi. The controversy surrounding this issue is that these children are not only from another country they are of a different race. This raises serious questions about race relations and for the children finding their own identity within the two worlds they are now a part of. In 2010 black children left the care system at the rate of 24% while white kids were at 43% according to the US Department of health and human services. So if black minority children are getting adopted in less numbers than whites should it matter who adopts them?

One aspect of the article I read on CNN in which the author Lola Jaye who also wrote a novel of a Nigerian girl who is adopted by a British pop star and has issues connecting to her roots back home. Her writings note the issue at the heart of the matter. The detachment the child may feel knowing they are different and also knowing they come from a country or household unlike they place of origin. Not talking about race and differences between the two cultures seems to do more damage than good. Taking the there is only one race the human race approach where some people pretend not to see color lines seems to have a adverse effect. The talk on race needs to be a continuous one with the child acknowledging and learning from differences instead of ignoring them.

Interracial couples

One encouraging statistic is that interracial marriages among heterosexual couples have seen a jump of 28% from 2000 nearly 5.4 million couples. Also an 18% increase among unmarried heterosexual couples (1.2 million), and also 21% jump for same sex couples. Dan Lichter a sociologist at Cornell University emphasizes  “Race is still a category that separates us and divide us,” but “ this might be evidence that some historical boundaries that separate us are breaking down” Lichter says. The internet has been a key channeling factor in connecting more and more people and couples that may have never have met before. To add to the stats according to the US census biracial and minority babies being born outnumber white babies for the first time.

Education

Another positive sign that Dr. King’s Dream is gaining momentum is that the education gap between black kids and white kids is narrowing. One of the authors of an article on “The Regal Magazine” Ferguson points out that his research shows that the parents of white kids and black kids read to them pretty much the same amount of time from first grade to fifth grade. After fifth grade the percentage jumps to 70% of white parents reading daily as opposed to 40% of black parents reading to their kids. The educational gap now is more about economics than race. Low income families as opposed to high income families are now showing increasing gaps in education. Only 9% of second generation individuals in a low-income household had completed college reported in 2007. Now that the educational gap is shifting more towards a social class issue than of race fixing our economic shortcomings maybe a key factor in fixing our country and fulfilling Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream.

Racism still alive –

Even though the US is making strides to the utopian like society that Dr. King envisioned in his speech, We still have those who oppose the progress and more so those who have not properly identified racial tendencies that have been ingrained in the fabric of their history. To touch on the subject Paula Deen who earlier last week was exposed in a deposition for some racially insensitive words including using the N-word. More so than that, nothing has exposed the open wound of racism in this country and even the refusal to see it the case of a 17 year old boy in the state of Florida who was shot and killed last year.

Treyvon Martin’s death by the hands of George Zimmerman started a campaign of support not only in the black community, but those who have lost a child to gun violence. A law in the state in Florida that gave Zimmerman exemption from being arrested is one of self defense. The law itself came into question in such cases as this one. Sean Bell, Emmett Till, Rodney King and now Treyvon Martin are all cases where an injustice was not prohibited by the law and have also called for public outrage. What is fascinating about this case is the subliminal perception played out by the media on the two individuals in this case. For Martin’s perception he is portrayed as a normal 17 old kid who went to school, hung out with friends and kept up with what was going on with his social media content. While another point of view showed Martin as a menace in high school who often suspended, smoked marijuana wore a “hoody” which became the centerpiece of the argument. Even Geraldo Rivera, who explains that the hoody itself made Treyvon a thug who would’ve killed Zimmerman certainly if he hadn’t acted heroically.

Ending Capitalism-

One theory that touches on the heart of the matter of racism is economics and social class and the separation of the classes. Many believe capitalism is the reason racism is an able-bodied force that continues to subject minorities to sub standard living and quality of life. The idea of capitalism gained momentum in this country during the slave trade. The slave traders and merchant capitalists made money using African men and women plantation workers, maids, servants, nannies and other fields of service. In Africa the mining of diamonds and America the mining of gold and silver has made many traders fortunes that started the early industries of capitalism and more important this revolutionized the world.

The enforcement of slavery was for cheap labor so it was primarily economic benefits more than social prejudice against an ethnic group. So if capitalism is keeping racism and inequality alive what then can be done to handle racism? Some believe socialism is the answer. Think about it there are no social classes. Everyone enjoys the same quality of life and access to the individual development. It may not be what you think is the right answer for this country. I just want the information to be out in the public eye. If this is not the answer what would you suggest?

 

My Last Words –

As a young child growing up in America I definitely identified myself with my African- American brothers and sisters, but as any kid when you’re young you can play on the playground with any race and have fun. You didn’t worry about inequality or employment differences between the races. It’s funny how when you get older through the years and you form more and more opinions about the world around you, you simultaneously isolate yourself into groups whether it’s based on race, gender, nationality, political alliance or any disunions from each other. I look on my facebook page and have friended people I haven’t talked to in years, but I remember even wanting to be like them because they were the popular one or the cool one. Yes some of them were white and some were of other races, honestly to me though it was more of how I saw myself as shy kind wanting to be more outspoken than wanting to switch my race.

What was pointed out to me sadly though is that in order to truly be a post-racial society we have to an honest conversation about it and make a stalwart effort to change our society from the top down. From the TV shows we watch, to the radio, to the neighborhoods we live, the foods we eat and even the way we speak to one another is essential to real change. It hurts my heart enough to cry, because I have biracial family members who I love dearly and know that I have friends who look past color lines and have accepted me into their friend circle without me assimilating to fit in. I love this country and I hope to see all aspects of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream come true.