Smashing Capitalism, Not Fancy Measures

In the “Broken Capitalism” series being published over at The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/01/broken-capitalism-economy-americans-fix?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other, Heather Boushey argues that the way academics measure economic growth is outdated and doesn’t show the full picture of the wealth gap between the 1% and the rest of us. Here’s her argument:

GDP used to be a good indicator of national income. If GDP rose 2%, most gained 2% across the board. But due to the current economic separation between the 1% and the 99%, simple GDP is no longer a valid measuring tool. Boushey gives us this example:

Take 2014. While aggregate national income grew by 2.3%, after taxes and government transfer programs such as supplemental nutrition assistance, incomes for those in the bottom 90% grew by less than the average – 1.5% – while those in the top 1% saw their income grow by twice the average – about 5%.

She then argues for a new disaggregate measure made up of national income and product accounts with data from surveys and administrative sources to clear the picture. This would not only produce more representative ratios between the rich and poor, but also between race, gender, and age

That’s a great idea, but it does not get to the question of what is to be done.

Boushey offers that better published numbers will make the masses more aware of the economic canyon between those of the top SES and the rest of us:

Better, fairer growth measures are a vital step towards better, fairer growth. A clearer picture of the disconnect between overall growth and worker welfare will force a deeper examination of what’s gone wrong with the capitalist engine

Boushey goes on to argue that these new measures will give more power to the people enabling unions to rise. But that is not what I take issue with here.

I am arguing that better tools for showing the income gap between rich and poor will not fuel the smashing of capitalism. The proletariat is not concerned with new academic information to show how poor they are. What they are concerned with is putting food on the table. This is why “Peace, Land, Bread” was so effective in 1917. Lenin and the Bolsheviks didn’t lay out Marx’s material dialectic to the masses as a way to spark them to action. Not in the slightest. They got down to the brass tacks of what ailed the Russian workers and peasants at the time: the end of participation in WWI, land redistribution, and food for their families.

I am not arguing against Boushey’s proposal of how to better measure the income gap among in American society. Her methods show who is making all the money (the 1%) while the vast majority (the 99%) receive so little. Great! I love it! But don’t fool your bourgeois self into thinking that fancy numbers will serve as a catalyst for real social change, Ms. Boushey. The masses could never understand this measurement with more than a 100 years of educational development and the destruction of media power.

A “clearer picture” of the math of inequality is definitely valuable among the academy. But to the masses, it means very little. They do not understand nor are concerned with such matters. They know they are working harder to make less as they fall further and further behind. This how you fix broken capitalism. Peace, land, bread, not disaggregate GDP measures.

10 Reasons We Need Medicare-For-All as a Human Right

An article from In These Times lists 10 stats showing why Medicare-for-All would provide and protect a human right. As you know, healthcare is currently going unaddressed under capitalism.

28,300,000 – People uninsured in the United States in the first quarter of 2018.

530,000 – Estimated number of families who file bankruptcy each year due to medical issues and bills

44% – Americans who didn’t go to a doctor when they were sick or injured because of cost, according

34% – Cancer patients who borrowed money from friends or family to pay for care in 2016

79% – Increased death rate for cancer patients who filed for bankruptcy in 2016

$75,375 – Cost of a heart bypass operation in 2016 in the U.S.

$15,742 – Cost of a heart bypass operation in 2016 in the Netherlands

$1,443 – U.S. per capita spending on pharmaceutical costs in 2016, the highest in the world

840% – Increase in spending for insulin from 2007 to 2017 on Medicare Part D (Medicare’s prescription drug plan)

$5,110,000,000,000 – Estimated 10-year cost savings of the single-payer healthcare system proposed in Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All Act

SMASH CAPITALISM NOW!

Cory Booker and The Danger of Reformism

Cory Booker is a US senator from New Jersey and a Democratic presidential candidate. On April 24, 2019, an op-ed piece penned by Sen. Booker was posted on The Guardian’s website as a part of their Broken Capitalism series. Booker’s piece is entitled, Workers are Creating Massive Wealth. Why are Corporations Hoarding it All?, followed by the subtitle, Our Economy Works Best When No One is Left on the Sidelines. Now let’s look inside.

Booker supplies a few anecdotes throughout the piece that are tragic and show the crushing effects of capitalism, like this one story of a woman named Carol Ruiz:

Every day Carol Ruiz wakes up at 3.30am and goes to an airline catering service at Newark airport, where she helps prepare the food carts that flight attendants push up and down the aisle…. At the end of her 40-hour week she takes home $345. The average airline CEO makes that amount in about 20 minutes.

 Last year, while Carol was undergoing treatment for cancer, her kids and husband went without health insurance so the family could afford her medical bills…

He then follows most of the stories with statements like these:

Workers are increasingly stuck in an “I win, you lose” economy, a zero-sum game in which those in power relentlessly pull out the rungs of the ladder behind them, ensuring that opportunity is limited solely to those who already have it.

Booker than goes over other aspects of the cruel capitalist system and how it hurts the working class in the form of corporations using intermediary contracted workers which keeps wages down, stock buy-backs by companies using Trump tax cut-gained funds to enrich stock owners, and the unfairness of non-compete agreements between employees and employers at low-wage jobs.

So here is Mr. Booker’s sort-of solutions:

There’s no silver bullet, but we can start by making it easier to join a union, giving workers the ability to fight corporate power with power of their own. Second, we must reinvigorate our tepid antitrust agencies, which have long-served corporate interests at the expense of workers. We should also restrict anticompetitive practices like non-compete agreements and “no-poach” clauses and maintain strong rules that hold parent companies more accountable for outsourced employees. And we should crack down on the proliferation of corporate stock buy-backs, or, at the very least ensure that if a corporation buys back stock to increase shareholder value, workers are cut in on the action.

Great, right?

What Booker and other liberals are guilty of is in taking half-measures and falling into the trap of reformism. They want to change society, as they call it, and spew enough fake promises to the masses in order to get enough votes to take office. They want to usurp any momentum by the people.

They want to maintain the current capitalist system while offering crumbs to the workers that often don’t end up even falling from the table. There are enough GOP members and right leaning Dems to halt any of these reforms before they are out of committee. These goals are merely “pony promises” in today’s system.

What we need is true, far leftist change. We need to smash capitalism and found a new system not based on greed and inequality. The point is to make real change, not reform. A radical left remake is the true answer to address these economic and social injustices.

5 New STL Images!

Five new pics for propaganda. Sorry for my late post!

https://photos.app.goo.gl/TUomKrYbsYCMEWC59

NYT: Many Top Corps Paying 0% Taxes Driving Some to Far Left Organization

We want what the people want:

Mr. Robertson, the carpet cleaner, has his own idea: nationalizing the companies. “I think forcing them to pay higher alone is inefficient,” he said, “and taxation alone is inefficient.”

www.nytimes.com/2019/04/29/us/politics/democrats-taxes-2020.html

5 New STL Images!

It’s Friday, more images. Share!

https://photos.app.goo.gl/TUomKrYbsYCMEWC59

5 New STL Propaganda Images!

It’s Friday, which means five new propaganda images
from STL over at Google Photos.

Use these graphics to instigate action and spread the message of a far left future.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/TUomKrYbsYCMEWC59

What Will Spark Real Change?

We know that great, revolutionary social movements are sparked by extreme discontent surrounding a variety of maladies. Yet many also often surround a single, large disaster that pushes the people over the edge.

The Russian Revolution was tipped off by the exceeding losses that the Russians were suffering on the eastern front during the first World War. The French Revolution was inflamed by the high prices of bread in Paris due to monarchy mismanagement (This was even somewhat due to the investment Louis 16th made into our cause in the American War for Independence.

What am I getting at? The question I am proposing is if there are any calamities in the foreseeable future that may push capitalist countries over the edge?

Sure, we have growing inequality which has exploded ever since 1975 (the end of the post WWII period) that is only going to get worse and worse according to Thomas Piketty’s work Capital in the 21st Century (this link is to a free.pdf copy of the book; It’s a must read if you are concerned with issues of economic inequality). But will that be enough or does one single event have to occur to move the people toward real change?

A few ideas I have is maybe a skyrocketing of fuel prices due to some foolish military action in the Middle East that everyone perceives as folly. Or perhaps a constitutional crisis, such as a U.S. President refusing to leave office after a lost election, or after his/her two terms are up. Perhaps, as Piketty also predicts, there will be a cycle of recession/depression after recession/depression occurring now that the golden years of 1913 to 1975 are over. But that one would be more of a gradual change unless one economic downturn would reach the level of the one of Weimar Germany.

Anyhow, I am not sure.

I invite the readers of this piece to offer up, first, if you think my theory is valid, and then if there is any form of disastrous phenomenon you see as a catalyst for real, radical change in the future? I look forward to your comments.

Radical Change is What We Need: Statement 2/2

A far-left system is the best form of government for the working class to live under. So what we need to do is smash the current, so-called Democratic system we have now that is controlled by the 1%. What to replace it with?

Put a transition government in power: A group or party to move us through the steps of building a new, just society. We must support responsible leaders to take us through the ideological battle with those who will want to keep the old capitalist system in place, namely, the rich and powerful.

But during this time, we may sacrifice some of our freedoms for a short amount of time during the conflict between the rich the workers. Freedom of the press, free speech, freedom to demonstrate maybe stopped for a certain amount of time because we need to crackdown on these current so-called rights because they are controlled by the rich and their dominant ideas which wish to maintain the current, corrupt system. For example, freedom to demonstrate, like a general strike, which means everyone in every occupation goes on strike, will be fought against by the rich by replacing striking workers with scabs, i.e., people who will take the striking workers’ jobs. And believe me, demonstrations will be met with violence from the authorities.

Yet, we must watch the transition leadership very closely.

The USSR tried this idea out, with calling the transition government the “vanguard party” and it led to history’s greatest monster, Josef Stalin, coming into power. Stalin came to power under the force of the newly suppressed rights and became a dictator who committed such crimes that are too many to list here.

So, take this warning seriously. The government of and for the people can be high-jacked if we do not make leaders accountable.

What the people of the working class need to do is smash the current corrupt system controlled by the rich and powerful and replace it with responsible leaders who can lead us through the war of ideas, and probably against violent suppression. And this will mean a crackdown on some of our most cherished freedoms, but they will be returned in time once the rich and powerful have their control over us destroyed. Yet we must keep our eyes on this transition party because a rising leader or group could use the loss of these freedoms to create a dictatorship.

This is what we need.

Radical Change is What We Need: Statement 1/2

As I have stated in the subtitle and the About section of this website, Sparking The Left comes from a radical leftist point of view. And I do not use the term “radical” as a negative designation but as a realistic description of our current situation for the current system needs radical change.

The forms that make up a radical or far left system of government here at STL are socialism, communism, anarchism, and all their subsets.

Do not close this tab after reading that!

I know what people think of when hearing of far-left systems: Stalin, gulags, purges, mass starvation. But those are the result of authoritarianism rather than of a radical leftist government. A true form of socialism, much less communism or anarchism, has not been practiced in history. And what a true form of a radical leftist system is about is putting power in the hands of the workers.

Workers should own the companies they work for because they are the ones who are doing the labor. Right now, major stock holders on Wall Street own and control our factories and corporations but do nothing but sit and collect profits while we get crumbs. They don’t unload trucks, sort freight, work a cash register, fill orders, or what-have-you, for often at more than 40 hours a week. The fruits of our labor have been torn away from the rightful owners; that is us, the workers.

If a far-left system were to be won, the new government would take power over, or socialize, the factories and corporations in the name of the people. And when the time is reached, they will be democratized for and by the workers. But I know what you are thinking right now. You’re saying, “How can a corrupt system like ours ever turn over the power to the workers?” The answer is we smash the current approach; the so-called democratic system. It must go.

Now which form of a far-left government we construct in its place is up for debate, and, in all honesty, I’m not sure which exactly one should be. But what I do know is right now socialism is the best form of government possible. In general, I believe the best practice for creating our new society is that we must take the best ideas from socialism, communism, anarchism, and, yes, our current capitalist-state to create a new, truly democratic government. And we must leave behind the Gulags, purges, and mass starvation.

In conclusion, the view of this blog comes from the radical leftist point of view. I take the best ideas of the four forms of government outlined above to build a fairer system for the working class. And although it sounds extreme, our current so-called democratic system must be smashed.