McDonald’s Strike – Kavanaugh – Poverty in France – 13-20 September

The Kavanaugh affair continues. It looks like Christine Ford will testify next week that a teenage Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her when she was 15 and in high school. It’s obvious she’s telling the truth. Kavanaugh’s defenders’ arguments are a joke: ‘He didn’t do it and even if he did (and lied) it was just horseplay, occurred many years ago, oh and may have been mistaken identity’.

There is a saying that ‘when thieves argue the truth comes out’. The thieves in this case are the populist (Trumpite) and resistance (Obamian) wings of the ruling class. The truth coming out is that the elite schools and institutions that train someone like Kavanaugh are cesspools of drunken, misogynistic rape culture. The Yale student newspaper exposed the crude sexism of Kavanaugh’s fraternity and elite Catholic boarding school. There’s plenty more where Kavanaugh came from.

The popular mobilization against Kavanaugh is understandable but won’t make a dent against the sexism it has uncovered. Radical means are required – communism. Under communism private wealth will be abolished and private schools, secret societies, and fraternities dissolved.  And eventually there won’t be any more victims because young men will be trained to treat women as comrades and equals.

McDonald’s workers strike against sexism in ten different cities. A modest affair, one-day lunch hour walkout. They are protesting sexual harassment on the job. According to the British Guardian newspaper (18 Sep), one woman was groped by a manager and when she complained to HR they told her that there must already be a relationship between them that she should “take to the next level”. They accused her of behaving like “a little girl”.

This is the real face of sexism. Of course, we oppose public sexist attacks on any woman, even wealthy celebrities like Serena Williams. But it is women workers who bear the brunt of it. First, because they are cheap labor – this is what we call the material basis of sexism. And the wage system fosters harassment. The wage system requires bosses to enforce it and these bosses have the power to fire and deprive women workers of their livelihood. Often, they pick on single mothers, who are more vulnerable. The little bosses themselves aren’t paid much but the big bosses compensate them by letting them use their power to gain access to women. A perk of the job.

Communism will abolish the wage system, end the whole notion of cheap labor, and abolish bosses with personal power. No individual will have power over anyone’s livelihood. Decisions currently made by bosses will be made collectively and transparently.

In Frankfurt, Germany thousands marched against the government’s “inhumane’ refugee policy. Meanwhile the fascists have been busy, if in smaller numbers. A few hundred marched in Chemnitz flashing Hitler salutes (illegal in Germany) and shouting antisemitic slogans.

In France, Capitalism makes you hungry and sick, according to Inserm, the French government’s statistical unit. More than 20% of the population is food insecure (en precarité alimentaire). This in one of Europe’s leading food producers, that regularly piles up huge surpluses. In another report Inserm detailed the negative effects of unemployment on workers’ health. Including 10-15 thousand deaths per year!

Under communism everyone’s food will be supplied free, without condition. At the same time, everyone will have useful work to do. Communism will supply health care but more importantly it will provide health – food and work.

Meanwhile French president Macron, justifiably known as “president of the rich”, announced an anti-poverty plan worth 8 billion euros over 4 years (compared with 20 billion euros the rich will save after the abolition of the wealth tax).  This plan analyzes quite correctly the causes of poverty (inequalities of opportunities starting at birth, unemployment etc..) but of course it doesn’t name the real cause: capitalism, which needs and thrives on the misery of the working class and the poor.  For example, Macron cites the lack of education for poor kids but at the same time his government is cutting teachers’ positions.  This is the reason why his timid solution won’t even make a dent in the situation of the 14% of the French population living in poverty.

More sinisterly, his plan mainly involves forcing the unemployed to take any job, under any conditions.  This was perfectly illustrated when Macron was doing a public meet-and-greet and an unemployed gardener confronted him about unemployment. Macron’s suggestion: “cross the street”. Macron meant go to a restaurant or bar and get a job in the service industry. Easier said than done, and even if you do, you have no job security, limited hours and hunger wages.  The service industry (and building industry) are clamoring for the government to allow refugees to do these jobs.  It will be so much easier for them to impose their inhumane working conditions on the most vulnerable.  Plus, there are 6 million unemployed and nowhere near 6 million jobs in service!

The Texas Board of Education voted to purge Hillary Clinton (the first woman presidential candidate) and Helen Keller (the famous blind/deaf author and activist) from their textbooks.  For Clinton, pure partisan sexism. But no accident they threw out Keller.

Helen Keller was a socialist, when that meant something. She was a member of the Socialist Party when it was led by E. V. Debs. She was against WWI and supported Debs when he went to prison for anti-war speeches. She kept a red flag in her office and joined the radical IWW union.

After the Russian revolution a majority of the Socialist Party and many members of the IWW formed what would become the US Communist Party. Unfortunately, Keller did not join them. But she’s still an inspiration.

Hurricanes Florence (Carolinas) and Mangkhut (Phillipines) wreaked death and destruction. Same story: no preparation. Capitalism is too cheap to build structures that will stand up to predictable worst-case scenarios. They’d rather save the money and use it on clean-up, workers’ lives not showing up on their balance sheet. Under communism there will be no economic competition and we can devote the necessary resources to make sure everyone will at least have shelter from extreme weather.

China and US escalated their trade war with tariffs on hundreds of billions of goods. Bad news for workers in both countries, with higher prices and plant closures. This is caused by the intensifying crisis of over production – which in turn is intensifying inter-imperialist rivalries.

Under communism there will be no trade. Not even barter. Instead, workers (there won’t be any countries) will simply give goods to workers in other parts of the world. Based on need, with no expectation of a quid pro quo (something in return). As for overproduction – bring it on! If we find ourselves making too many buses, say, we’ll divert the resources to something else we need, say, trains. Or just take it easy for a while.

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