By Joseph Perry
CHICAGO—"A revolution of profoundest import is taking place in America. Everyyear our economy produces more and more goods and services with fewer and fewer men. Hard, unskilled work -- the kind nobody else wanted, that madeus so welcome in America, the kind of work that we "niggers" have alwaysdone -- is fast disappearing. Even in the South—in Mississippi for example—95 per cent and more of the cotton is picked by machine.And in the North asI write this, more than 30 per cent of Black teenage youth is unemployed . . . What will a racist society do to a subject population for which it no longerhas any use?"These are the words of actor Ossie Davisin his1970 Preface to the book, We Charge Genocide.
Gas operated cotton picking machines introduced in the South as early as 1947 replaced labor, while northern cities like Chicago were building large scale factories in need of thousands of workers. As a result, the Black population in the Cabrini area rose from 20% in 1940 to 79% by 1950. When industry grew here, so did public housing. And industry benefited from this relationship because no matter how low they paid public housing residents, only 30% of it was charged for rent. Public housing tenants could be paid less and still survive, while employers pocketed the difference in millions of dollars of higher profits. No one in those days suggested, "public housing doesn't work."
By the 1970's the introduction of electronics in production contributed to mass layoffs and plant closings. For example the area just south of Cabrini gained the nickname 'Ghost Town' because of the blocks and blocks of empty buildings that once were occupied by businesses. It's no accident that this was followed by the Reagan Administration's cutting of funding to public housing by 78% in 1981 from $32 billion a year to $7 billion. Apartments emptied out and homelessness increased. When the homeless got arrested for taking over the vacant units they asked, "Why should we freeze to death when there's all this warm housing?" The news media ran only negative stories about Cabrini Green. Laws were passed applying only to people in public housing that look like old Jim Crow Laws out of the pre Civil Rights era. Oppressive leases were introduced with dozens of ways to throw you on the street, while most people never got to see those parts of the lease. Finally, more public housing money was diverted to private corporations.
What else can they do to those of us that they no longer have any use for? The condo associations that have sprung up in the gentrified parts of what was Cabrini Green have adopted rules that apply to CHA families, without sharing with us what those rules are. In condo board meetings they openly declare that they want all of us out. They lobby local politicians and the mayor to demolish the last part of Cabrini that is left and remove poor families still there.
The question now is, with robotics and computers replacing human labor to the extent that even college graduates cannot find work, what's to stop this system from doing to you what they're doing to us?
From the Editors
The People’s Tribune congratulates the Green Party on the occasion of their successful Annual National Meeting and Presidential Nominating Convention. The Convention, which nominated Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala for President and Vice President, presented the American people a clear, simple and much needed program to confront the growing poverty and the looming threat of war and fascism.
Our country, indeed, the world, is slipping into crisis. The rapid deterioration of the ecology, the resultant global warming, accompanied by drought, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and wildfires, threatens civilization.
The irreversible economic revolution is driving wage labor off the world market. The consequent decline in wages, the growth of unemployment and world poverty heralds the coming social revolution.
To meet this crisis, the corporations are tightening their control of all aspects of our social and political life. The ugly features of police state fascism are clear for all to see. The drive by the United States to control the world’s energy resources threatens the existence of developing nations and is creating the conditions for a major war.
In this spirit the Peoples Tribune supports the efforts and program of the Green Party. It is time for all people of good will to begin the process of uniting to confront these dangerous conditions.
By Mary Anne Morrow Barbour
In the Golden Child, the old man states, ” Those magnificent Americans. So much power and so little understanding of what to do with it.” Most of us are very well aware of what is wrong in America today and we have many ideas of how to restore America. So, how do we unite our powers to effect change?
The United States Armed Forces consists of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Our military is one of the largest in numbers of personnel. As of 2011, the US spends about $550 billion annually to fund our forces and an approximate $160 billion to fund Overseas Contingency Operations.
When you put them together, the United States comprises roughly 43% of the world’s military expenditures and the largest number of servicemen. Our Country’s Armed Forces, as a whole, possess large quantities of advanced and powerful equipment, but most importantly the highest number of competent personnel to use this equipment.
On November 21, 2011, the president signed the Vow to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 into law (P.L. 112–56). This law, among other things, creates new tax credit incentives. These incentives range from $2,400 to $9,600 or up to 40% of the Veteran’s wages. However, it is the businesses that will receive the tax credits, not our Veterans!
It should be our Veterans that receive these tax credits. Bring all of our servicemen home and provide them with incentives to stay in the US Armed Forces and/or tax credits for obtaining employment. Many of them may have to relocate in order to find civilian employment.
There are countless, efficient means to bring all our servicemen home from around the World and put them to work in America. With literally thousand Military Occupational Specialties, why should any of the more than 260,000 thousand of our Veterans be without jobs?
The engineering brigades can work on our faulty infrastructure problems. Our MASH Units (Mobil Army Support Hospital) can serve in times of national disasters as well as providing healthcare, including comprehensive health care to all Americans. These are just two of the many occupations that our Veterans could provide in Our Country.
Once upon a time most people did the right thing simply because it was the right thing to do. In the Bible in Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians: “The entire law is summed up in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself. If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (Galatians 5:14 & 15)
This is precisely what is happening in America today. Corporations and businesses are the ones who are receiving tax credits (for employing Veterans), rather than our deserving Veterans. Once again the dragons of the 1% raise their ugly heads for further monetary gain. I’ll leave you with this; how do the 99% of us use our “Magnificent Power” to fight for our Veterans and for all Americans?
Nearly 30% of young male veterans and 36% of young female veterans were jobless in 2011. Photo/Holly Newman