Sunday, December 31, 2017

California Budget Issues

The enactment of the GOP federal tax plan has major implications for our state. Beyond being a big giveaway to the wealthy, this tax bill paves the way for major federal cuts to vital services and supports that touch the lives of millions of Californians — in turn, putting significant new pressure on our state budget.
This means that California's 2018 budget season will be a crucial time, fraught with hard decisions and other challenges.
It has already been widely reported that Republican congressional leaders plan to seek deep spending cuts that will significantly reduce funding for health coverage (Medicaid and Medicare), food assistance, and support for people with disabilities, thereby making it much harder for families who already struggle to make ends meet. With these and other looming threats, it is critical that our state take a fact-based approach to pushing back against these proposed cuts, thinking collectively about innovative policy solutions, and working together to protect the policy advances California has made.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Problem With Fake News Is That 'People Want to Consume Information That Makes Them Feel Good, Because It Reaffirms Their Worldview' @alternet

The Problem With Fake News Is That 'People Want to Consume Information That Makes Them Feel Good, Because It Reaffirms Their Worldview' @alternet: Our relationship to information is entirely emotional. A year out from Donald Trump's astonishing and disturbing presidential win, it's become clear that the absolute sea of disinformation — much of which was Russia-funded and most of which was disseminated through the internet — was critical in helping push a know-nothing reality TV star–turned-wannabe-dictator into power. With the 2018 elections less than a year away, the pressing question now is: How we stop this from happening again?

Including fake news about immigrants and immigration.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Trump/GOP Tax Proposal is Class War

Trump’s Tax Proposal: Class Warfare 
 – Bill Barclay

The Trump/GOP “Unified Framework” tax plan has something for everyone – if by everyone you mean the wealthy, corporate and non-corporate businesses and the alt-right.  The plan embodies both the neoliberal class warfare that believes poor people have too much money and rich people have too little money and connects with the social conservative politics that the Trump and the GOP draws upon to mobilize its supporters. 
Class Warfare: I
Some of the class warfare politics of the Trump/GOP proposals are obvious; others less so.  The proposal provides a small tax cut for households in the bottom three quintiles, ranging from about 0.5 – 1.2% of after tax income in all cases well under the $1,182/family income boost claimed by Rep. Paul Ryan.  At the upper end of the income pyramid, the story is much different.  Over half of the total tax cuts for individuals will accrue to the top 1% of households, boosting their after tax incomes by 8.5%. Of course, life can be even better: the top 0.1% households would grab an average tax cut of almost $750,000, capturing over 30% of the total tax cuts for families and individuals.  
And Trump has not neglected people like himself.  He – and others in his income and wealth sphere – will gain in three ways from the changes in the individual income tax.  First, the elimination of the alternative minimum tax (AMT): in 2005, Trump paid $38.4 million on income over $150 million – but without the AMT he would have paid only $7.1 million. 

Republican Class Warfare: The Next Generation - The New York Times

Thursday, November 9, 2017


Background for our seminar  Nov.17,2017.

Dr. Duane E. Campbell,  April 19, 2017
In spite of the economic boon for the wealthy, working people in the U.S. have yet to receive a significant improvement in their standard of living for over 30 years.  At the same time, democratic forces are once again confronted with anti immigrant campaigns- this time fostered and promoted by a President of the U.S.
As socialists, we stand with and among the US working class in opposition to the rule of the transnational corporations and their exploitation of the economy and their despoliation of our lives, our society and our environment.
We are currently experiencing a major restructuring of the global economy directed by the transnational corporations to produce profits for their corporate owners.  The impoverishment of the vast majority of people in pursuit of profits for a small minority has pushed millions to migrant in search of food, jobs, and security.  Global capitalism produces global migration.  Along with wars NAFTA  and other “Free Trade” deals each produce a new waves of migration.
Socialists support the rights of working people to organize, to form unions, and to protect their rights and to advance their interests. Unions have always been an important part of how socialists seek to make our economic justice principles come alive.  Working people- gathered together and exploited in the capitalist workplace-are well positioned to fight their common exploitation.
Current immigration laws and practices, imposed upon us all by the corporations and their control of our government, often prevent working class unity by dividing workers against each other and  by creating categories of workers with few rights to organize and  thus to protect  their own interests.
The  neoliberal capitalist economic system now being created by the relentless merging of the world's  markets also  impoverishes the majority of U.S. workers.  The average U.S. worker has experienced a decline in their real wages since 1979.  Quality industrial jobs have moved to low wage, anti union areas in the U.S. and to Mexico, China, Singapore, Vietnam,  India and other nations. At present the U.S. has no significant controls on capital flight. Indeed, the US  government subsidizes some corporations to move jobs to Honduras, El Salvador,  and  the Caribbean.
The economic restructuring of Asia, Africa, and Latin America has pushed millions to migrate to the U.S. and Europe in search of a decent standard of living.  In the two decades leading up to 2008,  the U.S. experienced a major increase in immigration matching the immigration  influx to the US  of the period from 1890-1910.  The large scale immigration was largely from Asia and Latin America. It  has changed  the ethnic and cultural make up of the labor force and the working class in many states and urban areas.

 At the same time in both Europe and the U.S., among others, we see an intensification of narrow economic nationalism and the blaming of immigrants for the economic troubles of capitalism.
U.S. economic policy (called neoliberal capitalism)  promotes the movement of capital and goods across borders to increase profits while at the same time  it increases barriers to worker mobility .  Since 2004 there has been a militarization of the US- Mexican border, a proposal to build a wall, and the significant increase in in arrests and internal enforcement threatening immigrant labor. The result is a situation in which workers on both sides of this border and around the world have been disempowered and impoverished.
 In the current climate the economic forces of global corporate capitalism (neoliberal capitalism) are unrestrained.  Corporations encourage the movement of capital, and thus jobs, to low wage areas. When workers attempt to exercise their power against these conditions via  forming unions and organizing to withhold labor, their efforts are easily undermined by repression and  the ever-looming threat of factories moving overseas.  Labor unions and even local governments lose their power to hold capital accountable and all workers are forced to accept ever worsening wages and working conditions.
 Current border enforcement makes exploitation possible by dividing the global working class into competing sectors and thus inhibiting the possibility of  building a united working class movement.

As socialists, as internationalists, we know that rather than building walls and more  prisons, what would really help workers to raise wages and improve living  conditions is much stricter enforcement of worker protection and anti-discrimination laws including the right to form democratic unions.  
Contrary to the Trump Administration narrative, immigrants create new jobs in the US by, buying homes, spending their income and paying taxes.  A legal flow of immigrants based upon workforce demand will strengthen the U.S. economy by keeping productivity high and countering the negative impacts of the aging U.S. populations.

Threats by employers who use immigration status to keep workers from organizing unions or protesting illegal conditions should be a crime.  When there's no punishment for violating labor rights, workers have no rights.  We should prohibit immigration enforcement during labor disputes or against workers who complain about illegal conditions.

The problem with our economy is not immigration; the problem is our broken immigration laws that allow business to exploit workers who lack legal status, driving down wages for all workers.  If every immigrant were allowed to participate in our system, pay their dues, and become a citizen, we could block the corporation’s exploitation and eliminate the two-tiered workforce while building a united labor movement that raises wages and living standards for all workers.

In the end, we need an immigration policy that brings people together  instead of pitting workers against each other.  We need  an immigration policy that benefits migrants, their home communities, and working people here in the U.S.  And  we need a national policy that limits U.S. military and economic interventions in other parts of the world.

As socialists we support reforms that would grant immediate permanent resident status to all current undocumented workers and their children and that would establish an expeditious and non punitive route to citizenship for these workers and their families.

As socialists, we struggle for a system that produces security, not insecurity.  We need a commitment to equality and equal status for all.  We need to make it easier for workers to organize and protect themselves through unions. All workers must have full labor rights, including the right to organize, the right to protest unjust labor conditions, the right to change employers, and the right to form unions of their choice.   We will work with immigrant rights organizations to promote family reunification, to halt deportations, to demilitarize our borders, and to help all of our children- regardless of legal status- to realize the dream of attaining a university education.

The Immigrants’ Rights Committee of DSA is working to defend the rights of all workers and working families in the U.S.  Their current project is to support the work of Cosecha in promoting a Day Without Immigrants ( Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes) for May 1, 2017.  We request your support in locations around the country.  You can contact our committee at

A working paper of the Immigrants’ Rights Committee of DSA. Suggestions are welcome. Please send them to