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Home page > 20- ENGLISH - MATERIAL AND REVOLUTION > It is their crisis, not ours !

It is their crisis, not ours !

Sunday 7 December 2008, by Robert Paris

Rising Unemployment:

Why Not Share The Work

With No Cut In Pay!

Unemployment is now officially over nine percent in California and expected to go higher. Jobs have been cut in construction, manufacturing, transportation, retail, the high tech and service sectors and city and state and federal governments.

In addition, there has been an increase in the numbers of workers who have had their hours cut or who are forced to work part-time because they can’t find a fulltime job. And many have just given up looking for jobs that don’t seem to exist.

These job cuts have already meant cutbacks in services. And now they are talking about even bigger cuts - fewer busses and BART trains, less postal service, poorer health care and fewer educational opportunities. So the cutbacks hit us twice — in the pocket book and again in getting our day-to-day needs met.

This economic mess is the consequence of a system that is based on guaranteeing the highest profits for a few. When times are good, the bosses and bankers keep most of the profits. But when times are bad, they expect the workers to do all the sacrificing for them.

But what sense does this make for us? There are people ready to work. There are factories ready to produce and people who need the goods. There are teachers ready to teach, and students ready to learn. There are workers ready to work in hospitals and other agencies to provide needed healthcare and other services and people who need those services.

Why couldn’t we all work but work shorter hours? Share the work. We could all enjoy our lives a lot more and spend more time doing what we would like to do. And why should we take a cut in pay? Let those who made out like bandits in good times pay the price for their greed today.

It is clear that those who control this society can’t provide for the needs of the majority. The time for a real change is long overdue.

The article "It is their crisis, not ours !"

Workers in debt

The unemployed thrown out like trash

The rich get richer an the rest of us get poorer

Their system isn’t working - What could ours look like ?

To contact the autors

Bail Outs: Robbing Workers of a Future

October 14, 2008

Last week, the 850 billion dollar bail out of the scandalous Wall Street banks didn’t seem to work fast enough for them. Their initial plan was for a newly created group (known as TARP – Troubled Asset Relief Program) of economic big shots to sort through thousands of financial accounts in order to miraculously locate and buy off so-called bad mortgages from banks.

TARP is headed by treasury secretary, Henry Paulson, who worked for Goldman Sachs for over 15 years. He made an average of eleven million dollars every year, on top of his approximately 630 million dollars worth of Goldman Sachs stock. Another head of TARP is Reuben Jeffrey who was with Paulson at Goldman Sachs for the same amount of time, making tens of millions of dollars. These are some of the men who are largely responsible for helping to create this mess. Putting these men in charge of this crisis is like asking arsonists to put out a fire they started.

A new plan has been agreed upon to hand over 250 billion dollars to banks even faster. This plan will use U.S. tax payer money to buy stock in banks in order to provide them with immediately available cash. But this new agreement promised that the U.S. Treasury would not have any votes in the banks, nor would it enforce any kind of restrictions on the salaries of the top executives of these banks. This means that banks will have access to hundreds of billions of U.S. tax dollars, without any restrictions on how that money will be used.

Over 1.7 Trillion Dollars in Hand Outs

So far the U.S. treasury has handed out (or plans to hand out) more than 1.6 trillion dollars to banks. Over 700 billion dollars covers the recent bail out passed by Congress. And since December 2007, the Federal Reserve has handed out over 600 billion additional dollars to banks and corporations in emergency loans. 300 billion dollars was handed over to Fannie and Freddie Mac to back up some of their debts. And over 120 billion dollars has gone to AIG, Bear Sterns, and Indy Mac banks.

No Relief For Workers

In spite of unimaginable amounts of tax payer money being handed out, ordinary working people have seen no relief, only hardship. In September, over 159,000 workers lost their jobs, more than double the rate of job losses in the last few months. Over 9.6 million workers currently have no job, and 760,000 of them have been laid off in 2008. So many workers have lost their jobs that most states say they will run out of unemployment funds within one year. What are workers supposed to do then?

And for those workers who actually have jobs, in the past 15 months, retirement accounts nationwide lost a total of over two trillion dollars. The vast majority of workers no longer have any guaranteed retirement plan. Instead, they have plans which are tied to the stock market, so when it goes down, workers’ retirement goes down as well. The average worker lost over twenty percent of their savings in the last 15 months. Most workers, close to retirement age, have less than one hundred thousand dollars. If they had one hundred thousand dollars originally, they now have less than eighty thousand.

Bail Outs Attack Our Future

Workers are the ones who need relief, not the banks, most of which helped create this crisis. But on top of receiving no relief, workers have been promised further attacks. All of these bail outs have been paid for with U.S. tax dollars. But every dollar given to the banks is one dollar less spent on much needed social services. That means on top of all the hundreds of billions spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, on top of all the hundreds of billions given to the super rich in tax cuts, another $1.7 trillion will go to banks and corporations.

What will happen to our retirement, our health care, our children’s education? They are saying to us that our futures are not as important as their pocket books. They are robbing us of our future.

If you want to fight for a better world, contact us at

Their Bail Out – Nothing But Robbery

October 7, 2008

Last Friday, the majority of Congress passed the outrageous 850 billion-dollar bail out of Wall Street, the wealthiest financial institutions in the world. Democrats and Republicans voted to pass the bill, including Senators Barack Obama, John McCain and Joe Biden.

The Congress passed the bill even as hundreds of thousands of voters wrote letters and emails, and made phone calls and sent faxes expressing their outrage against the bail out. So many people sent emails against the bail out last week that the server for the computer system of Congress almost shut down. Congress had to reject tens of thousands of emails just to keep the server functioning.

Where’s Our Bail Out?

This bail out hands over more than 850 billion dollars to the very same banks and corporations which caused this mess to begin with. This bill does absolutely nothing for working people. The bill does nothing for the millions of people who have lost their homes. It does nothing for workers who have seen their retirement plans lose thousands of dollars overnight. It does nothing for the millions of workers who have lost their jobs. This bail out is nothing but an attack on working people all across the country.

We could have used that money to improve workers’ lives during these extremely hard times. Working people should be the ones being bailed out, not the banks. There should be a bail out to put people back in their homes and help them keep the ones they still live in. There should be a bail out to provide people with jobs and health care and retirement plans. There should be a bail out that wipes away workers’ debt and makes the cost of living affordable.

Where’s the bail out to send our children to college? Where’s the bail out to help rebuild our neighborhoods? Where’s the bail out to bring our children home from war? Where’s the bail out to fix our roads and our bridges and our water supplies? Where’s the bail out to provide people with free public transportation? Where’s our bail out – the one that meets our needs?

Their System is Based on Theft

Of course, the government passed this bill. This is the same government that has approved hundreds of billions of dollars to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is the same government that provides hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to banks and corporations. It’s the same government which refuses to provide working people with health insurance. It’s the same government which refuses to tax the oil companies when they have been making record profits.

This government doesn’t serve the interests of working people. This is not our government. It is their government, the government of the banks and the corporations. This is a system designed to benefit them, not us.

Under their system, workers are stolen from every single day. It is our labor that provides the wealth of this society. They make their wealth off of us. Every hour we work, we are generating wealth for them – way more wealth than they ever pay us. They try to squeeze as much work out of us as they can. If they think they can get five workers to do the job of ten, they will try, and they’ll throw millions of people onto the streets in the process. They cut our wages, cut our health benefits, charge us more for goods – and then they force us to work even more. They have no limits to how much they will try to steal from us.

This bail out is not for workers. It will bring no relief to ordinary people. It is not a bail out at all. It should be called what it actually is. Just like their system, this bail out is nothing more than another robbery of the working class as a whole.

Their Economic Crisis – But We’re Paying For It July 21, 2008

By their own measurements, the economy run by the corporations and for the corporations is in crisis. Their unchecked greed has got them into serious trouble.

Oil and food prices are out of control. Corporations are trying to make an extra buck by laying thousands of workers off. And some of their biggest banks have begun to run out of money.

Last week, the bank IndyMac had to be seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). On paper, IndyMac handed out over $200 billion dollars in loans, while it only had about $13 billion dollars in actual deposits. Once word got out that IndyMac did not have enough money to cover its loans, people began to withdraw their money, fearing they may not have access to it.

At IndyMac banks, people were waiting in lines for several hours so they could withdraw their money. The FDIC guaranteed people all their money up to $100,000. But when they went to cash their checks at other banks, some banks would not accept IndyMac checks, and people could not get their money.

This financial crisis is not just hitting one bank. Analysts estimate that about 150 more banks are in the same situation. But the FDIC only had $53 billion to cover bank failures. And they have already had to spend $36 billion on IndyMac. They don’t have enough money to cover 150 more banks. Where will people’s money be then?

At the same time, the two biggest mortgage lenders, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – the big banks that insure the smaller banks – all but collapsed last week. Similar to IndyMac, these banks promised to back up more money than they actually had – only this time they were short 14 trillion dollars.

A major part of this crisis is nothing more than sheer greed. In the last few years, banks lent out trillions of dollars to potential home buyers, knowing they couldn’t ever pay back the loans. This pushed the prices of houses way up, and meant that the amount of money needed for a loan to pay for the house would go up too.

Through various scams, they made the loans look good on paper and convinced larger banks to buy up these loans. This meant that the money from these new loans would eventually go to these larger banks. In reality, they were able to create trillions of dollars for themselves, out of nothing –for the most part, this money didn’t actually exist.

Eventually, these scams backfired, and thousands of new buyers couldn’t afford their house payments and their homes were foreclosed upon. They never had enough money to begin with. But these bigger banks were still owed their money, even if these amounts were purposefully jacked up.

One of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s roles was to guarantee to these big banks that their loans would be paid back. But now even they can’t guarantee that.

The U.S. government stepped in last week and promised to back up Fannie and Freddie’s loans. But where is this money supposed to come from? The U.S. government already owes trillions of dollars. This means that more money will be taken from our tax dollars, and more social services will be squeezed. This is at a time when people are struggling just to get by.

Working people and the poor have already paid more than enough. We’ve paid in losing our homes and our jobs. We’ve paid in sacrificing our health. We’ve paid in the poor conditions of our schools. We’ve paid our entire lives.

The banks are the ones who created these scams. And just like the oil companies, the airlines, the agri-businesses and every other major corporation – they’re the ones who have been ripping us off. Their profits should not be our problems. Their greed is not our greed. Their priorities have nothing in common with ours. They should pay for this, not us.

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