Posts tagged capitalism
Posts tagged capitalism
Peak capitalism is $1 billion spent on Mitt Romney to be elected president and him not really wanting to be president.
Italy to join Greece, Portugal and Spain in European mega strike
November 8, 2012
Italy will join Greece, Spain and Portugal in holding strikes against austerity on November 14 in an unprecedented show of co-ordinated action on the continent.
The decision to take a four hour strike was announced Monday night by Italy’s largest trade union confederation, CGIL, which stated:
‘For many years, the European trade union movement deplores austerity measures…They are dragging Europe down into economic stagnation and recession. This results in stunted growth and unemployment that continues to increase.’
‘Cuts in wages and social protection are attacks on the European social model and exacerbate inequality and social injustice.
‘The ‘errors of judgment’ of the International Monetary Fund have had an incalculable impact on the daily lives of workers and citizens. The whole basis of the policies of austerity has to be revisited. The IMF must apologize. And the Troika must revise its demands.”
‘Twenty five million Europeans are out of work. In some countries the youth unemployment rate exceeds 50%.
‘The sense of injustice is widespread and social discontent is growing.”
‘We need to change direction towards a European social pact. The European trade unions are calling for a change of course.”
The European Trade Union Confederation, which has called a day of action on November 14, has been campaigning for economic policies that stimulates quality employment, ‘solidarity’ between countries and social justice.
‘It is time to end tax evasion, tax havens and tax competition between countries. A financial transaction tax should help repair the damage of unregulated capitalism,’ the CGIL added.
The CGIL’s strike was also called in opposition to a fresh set if austerity measures and neo-liberal reforms recently unveiled by the government of unelected prime minister and former Goldman Sachs advisor Mario Monti.
Spain and Portugal are planning on holding a second wave of general strikes on November 14 while Greece, Malta and Cyprus are also planning strike action on the day.
Court: Texas can cut off Planned Parenthood funds
August 21, 2012
A federal appeals court ruled late Tuesday that Texas can cut off funding for Planned Parenthood clinics that provide health services to low-income women before a trial over a new law that bans state money from going to organizations tied to abortion providers.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans lifted a federal judge’s temporary injunction that called for the funding to continue pending an October trial on Planned Parenthood’s challenge to the law.
State officials sought to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood clinics that provide family planning and health services to poor women as part of the Texas Women’s Health Program after the state’s Republican-led Legislature passed a law banning funds to organizations linked to abortion providers. No state money goes to pay for abortions.
The appeal’s court decision means Texas is now free to enforce its ban on clinics affiliated with abortion providers. Planned Parenthood provides cancer screenings and other services — but not abortions — to about half of the 130,000 low-income Texas women enrolled in the program, which is designed to provide services to women who might not otherwise qualify for Medicaid.
The ruling is the latest in the ongoing fight over Texas’ efforts to halt funding to clinics affiliated with abortion providers. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has said that the new state rule violates federal law. Federal funds paid for 90 percent, or about $35 million, of the $40 million Women’s Health Program until the new rule went into effect. Federal officials are now phasing out support for the program.
Gov. Rick Perry has promised that Texas will make up for the loss of federal funds to keep the program going without Planned Parenthood’s involvement. State officials have said ending the program would result in more unplanned pregnancies that would cost the state much more than self-financing the program.
In a statement, Perry called Tuesday’s ruling “a win for Texas women, our rule of law and our state’s priority to protect life.”
“Texas will continue providing important health services for women through this program in spite of the Obama Administration’s disregard for our state law and unilateral decision to defund this program,” the governor said.
Perry’s office referred questions about continued funding for the Women’s Health Program to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which said it would move to begin enforcing the ban.
Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said the case “has never been about Planned Parenthood — it’s about the women who rely on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, birth control and well-woman exams.”
“It is shocking that politics would get in the way of women receiving access to basic health care,” Richards said in a statement.
The case began when Planned Parenthood sued, saying the new Texas law violated its rights to free speech. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott countered by arguing that lawmakers may decide which organizations receive state funds.
A federal judge in Austin ruled in May that the funding should continue pending the trial on Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit, saying there’s sufficient evidence the state’s law is unconstitutional.
But the three-judge appellate panel disagreed, unanimously finding that Planned Parenthood was unlikely to prevail in future arguments that its free-speech rights were violated.
Abbott cheered the decision Tuesday, noting that it “rightfully recognized that the taxpayer-funded Women’s Health Program is not required to subsidize organizations that advocate for elective abortion.”
“We are encouraged by today’s decision and will continue to defend the Women’s Health Program in court,” Abbot said in a statement.
The ruling comes as conservative groups across the nation try to pass and enforce laws to put Planned Parenthood out of business and make getting an abortion more difficult. Earlier this year the same court upheld a new Texas law requiring doctors to perform a sonogram and provide women with a detailed description of the fetus before carrying out an abortion.
Richards said the decision left Planned Parenthood “evaluating every possible option to protect women’s health in Texas.”
Unacceptable. Free abortions on demand & without apology!
Schools for sale: City hands school district over to charter operator
August 10, 2012
“Back-to-school” sales seem to start earlier every year. These days, more than binders and backpacks are on offer. Now, public schools themselves are for sale.
In July, Muskegon Heights, Mich., became the first American city to hand its entire school district over to a charter-school operator.
More than 1.6 million American kids attend charter schools, which emerged in the early 1990s. Whatever their original intent, charters are fundamentally restructuring the school system by placing it in private—often for-profit—hands. They’re making teachers and staff work harder and longer for less pay, usually without union benefits or protection.
In May, Philadelphia’s schools announced a plan to close 64 schools and outsource 25 more to so-called “achievement networks” run by charter operators. The goal: that 40 percent of Philadelphia’s children attend charters by 2017. Detroit’s plans are similar.
Restructuring may seem the best option. Urban school districts have long struggled to serve their students. And many of us know firsthand—as former students, teachers, administrators, or parents—that many of America’s public schools require radical change.
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Charter proponents claim that their schools are less bureaucratic and more efficient, and thus save taxpayer money. Yet evidence is mounting to show that the opposite is true.
When Philadelphia first announced its restructuring plans, the budget earmarked for charters stood at $38 million. By July, that figure was “rounded up” to an astonishing $139 million. Since when is a $100 million cost overrun a sign of cost-effectiveness?
Moreover, charter proponents argue that competition and choice pressure all schools to perform better. This assumes that schools operate on even playing fields. However, Detroit officials followed their restructuring plans by imposing a contract on teachersthat caps class sizes at more than 40 students starting in kindergarten and at a staggering 61 for sixth grade through high school. No school can possibly “compete” under such conditions.
Finally, consider Muskegon Heights. The city hired charter operator Mosaica Education, a for-profit company premised on earning more from contracts to run schools than it pays out in expenses. In fact, Mosaica expects to earn as much as $11 million in itsMuskegon Heights deal.
That’s roughly the same amount as the current budget deficit that officials gave as the reason to hire this outfit in the first place. Apparently, officials weren’t troubled by Mosaica’s record elsewhere in Michigan—its six other charter schools performed on average at the 13th percentile, according to the state’s annual ranking in 2011.
That none of these developments has made national headlines is mind-boggling. Perhaps this has something to do with the institutional racism that led to the Supreme Court’s crucial Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954.
Muskegon Heights is a highly segregated African American community adjacent to the predominantly white Muskegon. In Muskegon Heights, median household income stood at just over $26,600 in 2010, with over 30 percent of residents living below the poverty line.
It’s primarily in minority-majority communities like this where schools are being sold off to the highest bidder, regardless of those bidders’ track records.
The same story has played out in Chicago for almost a decade. The city has closed dozens of neighborhood schools and considered replacing them with charters.
What’s different in Chicago, though, is that the Chicago Teachers Union is leading the fight against this agenda. After several years of building strong alliances with parent and community groups, the union is challenging Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s attack on public schools. In July, Emanuel blinked and agreed to reinstate 477 laid-off art, music, PE and foreign language teachers.
The union is demonstrating that teachers and students share common interests. Together with their parent and community allies, Chicago’s teachers and their unions are proving that they can put public schools back in the public’s hands and win the funding required for the world-class education that all our children deserve.
This article is written by Sarah Knopp & Jeff Bale, editors of “Education & Capitalism: Struggles for Learning & Liberation,” our second book club pick. Now that our Kickstarter project is finished, we’ll be back on track with our book club!
We hope you can join us in reading it & learning more about the fight for an effective & fair education system in the US.
This film from Spain is about the 2000 Cochabamba protests in Bolivia. You should check it out if you haven’t seen it or not familiar with the Cochabamba Water War (another nickname for the 2000 protests).
According to The Ecologist in 2000, the World Bank declared it would not “renew” a 25 million USD loan to Bolivia unless it privatized its water services. According to Jim Shultz, executive director of the Democracy Center in Cochabamba, the World Bank believed that “poor governments are often too plagued by local corruption and too ill equipped to run public water systems efficiently. …[and that the use of private corporations] opens the door to needed investment and skilled management,”
In a 1999 Public Expenditure Review, the World Bank stated that “no subsidies should be given to ameliorate the increase in water tariffs in Cochabamba”.The New Yorker reported on the World Bank’s motives, “Most of the poorest neighborhoods were not hooked up to the network, so state subsidies to the water utility went mainly to industries and middle-class neighborhoods; the poor paid far more for water of dubious purity from trucks and handcarts. In the World Bank’s view, it was a city that was crying out for water privatization.”
It’s an amazing case of poor people uniting and rising above greedy capitalists and neoliberals, you should read more.