Housing for the common citizens is a chronic problem in capitalist economy. This is a widely discussed and researched issue. Yet the economy fails. In one sense, it is not the economy’s failure. Rather it is one of the characters of the economy.
The following reports from the U.S. tell about the housing reality. This is a face of the economy with huge resources.
A Hailey, Idaho datelined report by The New York Times (“A Town’s Housing Crisis Exposes a ‘House of Cards’”, July 31, 2022) said:
‘Near the private jets that shuttle billionaires to their opulent Sun Valley getaways, Ana Ramon Bartolome and her family have spent this summer living in the only place available to them: behind a blue tarp in a sweltering two-car garage.
Following the overthrow of Socialism in the beginning of the 1990s, the bourgeois governments in the former Soviet Republics of the Baltic region (namely Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania) engaged in long-term anti-communist, anti-soviet campaigns. The activity of Communist Parties was prohibited, communist symbols were banned and socialist-era monuments were destroyed.
In a recent episode of this anti-communist hysteria, Latvian authorities decided to proceed to the the dismantling of a 1985 memorial dedicated to the Red Army. As a pretext for this shameful act the Latvian government used the Russian invasion in Ukraine! The first question that comes to our mind is: What does the ongoing war in Ukraine have to do with the Soviet Red Army? What kind of relation does capitalist Russia have with the Soviet Union?
Ahead of October’s election, with leftist Lula leading the polls, fears are rising of a Bolsonaro coup – meaning it’s the entirety of Brazil’s democracy at stake.
After four years of a right-wing Bolsonaro government, Brazilians will vote for a new president on 2 October 2022. Former president Lula—currently high in the polls—is confronting an increasingly delirious incumbent, who appears to have threatened violent unconstitutional action should he lose.
Bolsonaro’s victory came two years after the impeachment of Workers’ Party president Dilma Rousseff in 2016, the first woman to be president. The Workers’ Party (aka Partido dos Trabalhadores, or PT) had held office since 2003.
The period 2010-2016 was dominated by the ‘credit crunch’ crisis that sent the world into turmoil, with a generalised economic contraction, huge indebtedness in the advanced economies, and a considerable reduction in the consumption of raw materials. Brazil was badly hit. By 2015 GDP had declined by three percent, inflation was high (10 percent), and public debt went through the roof to 63 percent of GDP, making it tough for the government to maintain its poverty-eradication social policies.
During the development of the business forum Border Agreement held in Cúcuta this Thursday, the Colombian ambassador, Armando Benedetti, ratified his government’s decision to return monomers to the Venezuelan government led by Nicolás Maduro Moros and confirmed the collaboration of the head of the Superintendence of Companies, Billy Escobar, to close the registration episode of new directive.
“The Superintendence of Companies, in the company of our superintendent, Billy Escobar, have managed to lift the intervention of Monómeros,” said Benedetti.
“The world must know that there is no legal security in London nor in the Bank of England, because at any moment, any country can have its international reserves stolen. There is no respect for the law!” Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro made this damning statement in a televised address on August 3 following the decision by a British high court to reject the Venezuelan state access to its gold reserves worth $1.8 billion in the Bank of England.
Since 2019, Venezuela has had over $7 billion in foreign assets seized by banks in North America and Europe. Many, including the Bank of England, have used the excuse that since their governments recognize (or recognized) the self-proclaimed, former member of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, as the legal representative of the country, they cannot hand over the money to an entity controlled by Maduro’s government.
This seemingly coordinated international action coupled with the increased sanctions on Venezuela’s financial transactions and oil production, deepened the economic crisis in the country that was already suffering under heavy unilateral coercive measures from the United States and its allies since 2014.
Starbucks barista was Aneil Tripathi’s first job, at 17. Now 19 and a shift supervisor, he helped organize a union in his store in Anderson, South Carolina. He and his co-workers, whom Starbucks calls “partners,” have been on strike twice this summer—an experience Tripathi calls emotional and fun.
Since the Starbucks Workers United campaign launched last fall, workers have won union authorization elections at 220 stores, and struck at least 60. The company has retaliated harshly—closing some stores, firing dozens of union leaders, claiming interference by the National Labor Relations Board, and calling for a moratorium on mail-in elections.
Starbucks also barred union stores from receiving long-awaited benefits to be implemented August 1, provoking several strikes.
Jonah Furman from Labor Notes spoke with Tripathi about the joys of the picket line, Starbucks’ retaliation, and how a store manager got so rattled by a collective action that she accused the workers of kidnapping her. This text has been condensed and edited for clarity. –Editors
We had our vote count May 31. I remember everything because I was so excited. I was expecting maybe two or three no votes, but we were the first unanimous store in the South.
It was fine for a week. We were proud. We were wearing our Starbucks Workers United shirts; we put up a sign saying “Welcome to your unionized I-85 Starbucks.”
Our store manager said. “You can’t wear those shirts, it’s against Starbucks dress code.” I said, “That’s illegal. Under the National Labor Relations Act we’re allowed to wear union apparel.” She says, “I’m just telling you what I was told. The next person to wear one will be written up.”
So we stopped wearing them for a while; we were unsure of the write-up process. I said, “What do you think of a direct action?” We went on strike June 10.
True to its name, the Wall Street Journal never fails to lay bare its corporate sympathies. In a recent feature headlined “The Place With the Most Lithium is Blowing the Electric-Car Revolution” (8/10/22), the Journal warps anti-neoliberal and Indigenous resistance to ecological destruction and resource plundering into pesky obstacles to green capitalist innovation.
The world of trade is having interesting developments.
An AP report from Seoul said:
South Korea landed a 3 trillion won ($2.25 billion) contract with a Russian state-run nuclear energy company to provide components and construct a turbine building for Egypt’s first nuclear power plant, officials said Thursday.
The South Koreans hailed the deal as a triumph for their nuclear power industry, although it made for awkward optics as their American allies push an economic pressure campaign to isolate Russia over its war on Ukraine.
South Korean officials said the U.S. was consulted in advance about the deal and that the technologies being supplied by Seoul for the project would not clash with international sanctions against Russia.
As record-breaking high temperatures and historic droughts afflict millions of people around the world, a study published Thursday warned that by the end of the century, dangerous heat driven by the worsening climate emergency will hit much of the Earth at least three times more often than today.
The study—conducted by climate researchers at Harvard University and the University of Washington and published in the journal Nature Climate Change—shows how changes in the heat index driven by human carbon dioxide emissions will dramatically increase exposure to “dangerous” and “extremely dangerous” temperatures. The heat index is a measure of how hot it really feels, based on temperature and relative humidity.
The U.S. National Weather Service defines heat index temperatures over 103°F as “dangerous” and over 124°F as “extremely dangerous.”
Support and solidarity has been pouring in for workers of the Malamatina Winery in Thessaloniki, Greece, who have been protesting against the dismissal of several of their compatriots and demanding a collective agreement from the employer. On Wednesday, August 24, cadres from the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE) and the Federation of Greek Women (OGE), among others, visited the protesting workers at Thessaloniki and expressed their support. Lefteris Nikolaou-Alavanos, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), also expressed his solidarity with the workers. Nikolaou-Alavanos has submitted a written petition to the European Commission seeking intervention to prevent the implementation of anti-worker policies in Greece and EU-dictated labor reforms. The All Workers Militant Front of Greece (PAME) had earlier also expressed solidarity with the workers at Malamatina.
The workers of the Malamatina Winery plant in Thessaloniki have been waging a militant strike for the last four weeks, demanding that the employer sign a collective labor agreement and reinstate 15 employees who were dismissed by the management. According to reports, the management has tried to intimidate the protesting workers with repression and court action, as well as with the arrest of their leaders.