Every year around Labor Day, Tom Berry asks me to speak at his weekly free speech forum, “College of Complexes.” This year, I said I would explain the world crisis and put forward the remedy. After I told him that, I had about two weeks to ask people what I should say.
From everybody I
asked, and with a few factoids from the Dallas newspaper, this is what I told
them on the evening of August 24:
A global crisis exists. It is economic, democratic, environmental, and a threat to world peace. The entire long video is at https://youtu.be/LSyxzN5-OW8, but I cut it into smaller pieces.
A short video of this part is at https://youtu.be/YNA90eP1eIc
The national Debt
tops $22T for first time in history. This year’s projected budget deficit
approaches $1T and will exceed $1T in 2020. “Some analysts note that between
the deficit soaring and interest rates low, neither Congress nor the Fed would
be able to do that much in a recession. ‘Both sides are out of bullets,’ said
Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank.”
Growth rates are
falling internationally. Some countries, including Germany, already near
rampant. CEOs rake in 940% more than 40 years ago, while average workers earn
12% more. A September 2017 study by the Federal Reserve reported that
the top 1% owned 38.5% of the country’ s wealth in 2016. “At the
global level, wealth is highly concentrated: the top 10% owns more than 70% of
the total wealth in China, Europe, and the United States combined; the bottom
50% owns less than 2%; and the middle 40% owns less than 30%,” Alice
Walton has $46B. The CEO of American Airlines makes $6000/hour.
workers worsens as the gig economy grows. The gulf between CEO pay and median
worker pay has widened. Publicly traded companies are increasingly plowing cash
into stock buybacks and shareholder dividends. … U.S. corporations in the
S&P 500 spent a record $806 billion on stock buybacks in 2018.
A recession is
pending. One of the most significant developments in this week’s turmoil was
the emergence of an inverted yield curve in bond markets. This refers to a
situation in which the return on long term government debt falls below that on
shorter term bonds. This phenomenon is regarded as one of the most accurate
indicators of recession as investors seek a “safe haven” in longer term bonds,
pushing up their price and lowering their yield. The price of gold is rising as
investors seek safe havens.
A short video is at https://youtu.be/xGcaPOknI5A
Discord is rising in the G-7 meeting. Trump has been at odds with traditional allies on climate, Iran, and trade. Volatility is occurring as Trump largely dismisses international alliances and cooperation in favor of his America First policies, creating a vacuum in global leadership. https://youtu.be/xGcaPOknI5A A short video is at Discord is rising in the G-7 meeting. Trump has been at odds with traditional allies on climate, Iran, and trade. Volatility is occurring as Trump largely dismisses international alliances and cooperation in favor of his America First policies, creating a vacuum in global leadership.
“The whole idea
of world order is something that these other countries think a lot about, are
quite preoccupied with. And they’re worried about how to sustain it without
American leadership for world order,” said Jon Alterman, a global security
expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonpartisan
Washington-based think tank.
especially with the Chinese getting more powerful and the Russians in decline,
the G-7 should be the guys that really get [along], and they just don’t,” said
Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, a global risk-assessment firm in
New York. “It’s a very dysfunctional group. They can’t agree on climate, trade,
technology — these advanced economies should have common cause, and it’s not
just because of Trump that they don’t. A lot of these countries are
Other “me first”
governments include Brazil, Italy, Great Britain, and Austria.
Saudia Arabia is
destroying Yemen. The U.S. is still occupying Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria,
Pakistan and India are at each other’s throats. There are very real threats of
war over who will dominate the newly-unfrozen territories inside the Arctic
Circle. That is the reason Trump wants to buy Greenland. It’s not a joke.
president Jimmy Carter said that the world is at a “turning point in history”
and governments must choose policies of peace and human rights over war and human
Short video at https://youtu.be/YNA90eP1eIc
Big money is unleashed on our elections. Gerrymandering now has the legal seal of approval. Almost constant schemes to remove voting rights. Almost constant schemes for voter suppression.
Chomsky has argued the Republican Party is the most “dangerous
organisation in human history” and the world has never seen an organisation
more profoundly committed to destroying planet earth.
Union busting is
a common activity for this government.
Short video at https://youtu.be/xWp9FTgLX30
Michael Moore says Donald Trump just began the ‘extinction of human life on Earth’
rainforest, “lungs of the Earth” is burning.
The Dallas paper
on 8/23 ran a letter from Ed Soph of Denton:
Ice melt portends disaster
3.7 degree Fahrenheit warming will produce $551 trillion in damages.
(Total worldwide wealth today is $280 trillion.) If we continue our current
ice-melting mining, transport and combustion of fossil fuels the planet will
warm over 4 degrees. Flood damage will increase 160% to 240% with 2.7
degrees of warming; 3.6 degrees will guarantee that flooding deaths will be 50%
higher than today.
…This will be the
end of the planet, of a secure and safe and civilized life for our children,
grandchildren and beyond. The future death, destruction, suffering and
unthinkable global chaos ensured by our current suicidal fossil fuel economy
massively outweigh the temporary inconveniences of a timely transition to a
life-affirming, renewable energy future.”
history, there were three periods of relative quiet:
27 BC – 180 AD
1815 – 1914
1945 – present?
The final one had
the distinction of holding off the end of the world. But that period is ending.
Who’s to blame?
Mr Donald Trump?
A few bad apples?
A long time ago,
it was theorized that crisis is the result of sunspots. You often hear that our
downfall is the result of moral decay or low church attendance. Mostly, lately,
one hears that it’s all Mr Trump’s fault. But the source of our crisis is none
of those things or people.
The crisis is the
direct consequence of the greed of the people who have the most. They have done
this since civilization began and they would do it to the end of civilization
because they cannot act otherwise.
The peace crisis
comes because the wealthy control incredible military powers, but only in their
own nation. To gain advantage, they ultimately have to use that military power
against weaker powers. They always have and they always would because they
cannot act otherwise.
crisis is the direct result of wealthy people, acting within their own military
units, to accrue more riches at the expense of life on the planet.
A short video is at https://youtu.be/9MgLUjFA1XE
The remedy is democracy. Instead of being ruled by a wealthy few, we must make it possible to rule ourselves. The wealthy few are not going to allow that willingly. They have to be overcome. The people being oppressed by this system must organize and rise up against the ones doing the oppressing.
This is not a
call to arms. You couldn’t possibly overcome the military might of this
nation’s wealthy. There are only two ways that ordinary people can overcome
their rulers and only one of them has the potential to work.
It is also not a
call to somehow vanquish the opposition. Some think that Trump supporters are
not capable of learning and should somehow be written off. But you cannot
afford to write anybody off. What are you going to do? Kill them?
Push the envelope
on voting as far as it will go, however, “Never be fooled,” said Lucy Parsons,
“Into believing that the wealthy are going to allow you to vote them out of
power.” Elections are tremendously important, but not for the fundamental kind
of change we need.
A general strike,
on the other hand, can work. In fact, it just worked in Puerto Rico last month.
To a lesser extent, it worked in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arizona for
teachers last year. The only real strength that working people have is to
collectively stop working.
It’s a wonderful
word, “Organize.” Also “Solidarity.”
But those are
abstractions. I told you I would tell you what you could do, in material, not
abstract terms. Here it is:
In your interactions
with people and organizations, try to move them leftward toward greater
understanding and upward toward more activity.
Right now in America, the AFL-CIO is as progressive, as single of purpose, and as powerful as any organization in the nation. Join us.
I’m on KNON radio’s “Workers Beat” program at 9AM central Time every Saturday. If you are curious as to what I really think, check out my personal web site