Category Archives: Capitalism

How the “free market” in toilet tissue tricked you

Sometimes you have to cringe when a Capitalism fan praises the wonder of the “free market.”

For example, “free market competition lowers prices…”

Sounds great, but visit a store and compare the price of batteries from various companies – each one is within a penny of the other.

Listen to the CEO of a major airline who explains: “we no longer compete on price because that’s bad for profits for the entire industry.”

Or, be amazed when the generic drug you are prescribed is made by the same manufacturer as the brand name version and the price of both is nearly identical.

Ah…the “free” market. Some politicians salute this as the cure for rising middle class healthcare costs. Is medical services shopping fun as you put your heart attack on pause to consult with various institutions and learn they have no set price, just schedules of charges that all fall within a close range? Continue reading →

There’s little love in Paris this Springtime, as French President uses executive power to crush labor rights

Best of times for very rich; worst for the working class!

France’s President Francois Hollande has learned many lessons on how to offer false promises from America’s President Barack Obama, who campaigned in 2008 with the following plans:

  • convince the working class you stand for better wages and stronger unions
  • say you will reduce  job competition by ending reckless import of foreign labor
  • suggest you will renegotiate current income-lowering trade deals that send factories overseas
  • pledge to cut outsourcing jobs to new trade “partners”
  • offer to increase social benefits for the middle class
  • bring taxes for the very rich back up to fair, historic levels

The day he took office, Obama began breaking promises:

  • The “goal” of passing card check for unions was forgotten.
  • The number of Visas was increased and illegal aliens were not stopped at the border.
  • He began negotiating for even more trade deals, didn’t touch NAFTA, and instead praised it.
  • A loss every month in total manufacturing jobs in America was ignored by the White House
  • Instead of increasing aid for workers, he formed a commission to cut Social Security benefits
  • When Bush tax cuts expired, Obama agreed to lowest tax rates for very rich since FDR.

Continue reading →

Hillary flubs socialist/democrat question – here’s answer from former card-carrying member of SWP

democracy-not-capitalism

Capitalism is not the same thing as democracy

“It is not a question of substituting one ruling clique for another, but of changing the very methods of administering the economy and guiding the culture of the country. Bureaucratic autocracy must give place to Soviet democracy. A restoration of the right of criticism, and a genuine freedom of elections, are necessary conditions for the further development of the country. This assumes a revival of freedom of Soviet parties, beginning with the party of Bolsheviks, and a resurrection of the trade unions. The bringing of democracy into industry means a radical revision of plans in the interests of the toilers. Free discussion of economic problems will decrease the overhead expense of bureaucratic mistakes and zigzags. Expensive playthings—palaces of the Soviets, new theaters, show-off subways—will be crowded out in favor of workers’ dwellings. ‘Bourgeois norms of distribution’ will be confined within the limits of strict necessity, and, in step with the growth of social wealth, will give way to socialist equality. Ranks will be immediately abolished. The tinsel of decorations will go into the melting pot. The youth will receive the opportunity to breathe freely, criticize, make mistakes, and grow up. Science and art will be freed of their chains. And, finally, foreign policy will return to the traditions of revolutionary internationalism.”

— Leon Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed, 1936

In late October 1960 I watched John F. Kennedy in a motorcade at Kensington and Allegheny avenues (K&A) in Ward 3 of Northeast Philadelphia, waving to a huge crowd of Irish residents, overwhelmed to tears in some eyes, but nearly all overjoyed with the chance he would be the President. I was just 19 and though not old enough to vote (the age was 21 then), that excitement of a political revolution and government change was intense.

Kennedy TripAfter the parade passed and the crowd left, I looked for something to do. My home was just a few blocks away and the “corner” boasted two large movie theaters, a Horn and Hardart, two “five and dimes”, and it was Monday afternoon, just after 4, too early for dinner, too late for lunch.

I spotted a pair of card tables with signs and pamphlets, but more important, an attractive girl to ply away some time. That began months of involvement with her and the Trotsky-inspired Socialist Workers Party, a  group dedicated to changing our economic system to restrict capitalism and enhance worker control of the means of production. I learned much of the support of the group was from young, wealthy suburban youth, and many of the leaders spoke with a Russian grumble.

The party was under attack and membership at Girard avenue and Broad street headquarters was only a few dozen, but you did get membership cards – flimsy and mimeographed. We were recruited for marches in front of the White House, picketing Continue reading →

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