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Starry Messenger

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Name: Decline to State
Gender: Female
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Home country: USA
Current location: Left Coast
Member since: Sat Apr 9, 2005, 08:01 PM
Number of posts: 32,339

About Me

Artist, high school teacher and "hard-liner" (yet to be defined).

Journal Archives

Older Women Struggle to Make Ends Meet


The report compares income, not including food stamps or help with utility bills, to very basic monthly expenses for housing, food, transportation and health care. For a single person, this Elder Economic Security Standard Index, developed by Wider Opportunities for Women, estimates an annual income of $19,000 to $28,000, depending on whether they own their homes outright, rent or pay a mortgage. For married couples, the necessary income to cover basic expenses ranges from $29,500 to $39,000.

More than half the nation’s elderly do not make enough. But women, who typically outlive men, are more vulnerable. Nearly half of white women, 61 percent of Asian women and three-quarters of black and Hispanic women have incomes that fall below the Elder Index levels. Men 65 or older report incomes that are almost 75 percent higher than women’s.

“Occupational segregation, pay inequity and care-giving responsibilities all contribute to women’s reduced earnings during their working-age years and diminished capacity for saving,” the report says.


“A staggering majority of older women in America can’t afford to cover their most basic expenses,” said Donna Addkison, the president of Wider Opportunities for Women. “This is the startling reality facing countless older women around the country and a harsh eye-opener for working women and families who are saving for retirement today.”

Posted by Starry Messenger | Thu Mar 29, 2012, 10:49 PM (17 replies)

Happy St. Patrick's Day to Socialist Progressives.


Ryan vividly sketches his struggles. Born in Ulster in the same year as Comrade Lenin, “Connolly was ‘dragged up’ like most proletarian boys. . . . Of his parents we know little beyond the fact that the father was a labourer. . . . In 1880 Connolly’s family became exiles and arrived in Edinburgh, where his father obtained work as a corporation dustman. James became a printer’s devil in the office of the local Evening News. He was then under legal age, but his employer for a year defeated the law . . .” Then the sack. “But he was lucky enough to find work soon afterwards in a bakery . . . later . . . two years in a mosaic tiling factory. . .” The company of his uncle, an old Fenian, kept vivid in his memory the glamour and agony of the national struggle. Mitchel, too, he read, and much Irish history. Brooding, intense, silent, outwardly cold and inwardly aflame, a spirit of adventure called him to new scenes. Leaving Edinburgh at eighteen, Connolly was in turn tramp, navvy and pedlar, spending a roving and eventful life in different parts of Britain. He was married in Perth at the age of twenty-one. “An accident to his father recalled him to Edinburgh. His parent was permanently disabled, and James Connolly took up his work as dustman in the cleansing department of the corporation. . . . But many tomes of ancient and modern history had he handled, the revolutionary phases of Irish history in particular . . . Marx, Engels . . . Association with British Socialists, Morris, Hyndman, Leslie . . . Then to Dublin in 1896 as Socialist agitator, and to start the Irish Socialist Republican Party and edit its organ The Workers’ Republic. Revolt against the Boer war . . . Anti-Jubilee Empire Demonstration . . . writing Labour in Irish History . . . . representative of the Irish S.P. at the International Socialist Congress in 1900 . . . In at the split of the S.D.F. in 1903, and the formation of the Socialist Labour Party in line with De Leon. Later in that year he departed for America. Back again in 1910. . . . The Organisation of the I.T.W.U. . . . The great industrial revolt of 1913. . . . The final martyrdom after Easter week, 1916.”

Here was no complacent trade union leader, but a working-class warrior with heart aflame. What could be the use of talking about the philosophy of gradualism to this man steeped in revolutionary lore and compelled to do battle at every step? Once the goal of social revolution becomes his consuming aim, and he has grasped the Marxist method of reading history, his evolution towards Leninism becomes a certainty as the years sweep us onward towards the great crisis of 1914. His divergence from the Kautskys lies in the revolutionary purpose. They had no revolutionary purpose, but turned Marxism into a fatalism which saw Socialism emerging through the gradual transformation of capitalism. What to them was a paralysing blow was to Connolly the great opportunity. Ryan’s account of the effect of the imperialist war on Connolly reads like Zinovieff’s account of its effect upon Lenin. “His whole being cried out against it, and where Lenin called for the transformation of the imperial war into the civil war of the classes, Connolly called the subject nation of Ireland to war upon the Empire.”

We shall continue in season and out of season to teach that “the far-flung battle line” of England is weakest at the point nearest its heart, that Ireland is in that position of tactical advantage that a defeat of England in India, Egypt, the Balkans or Flanders would not be so dangerous to the British Empire as conflict of armed forces in Ireland, that the time for Ireland’s battle is now, the place for Ireland’s battle is here.

James Connolly, Presente!
Posted by Starry Messenger | Sat Mar 17, 2012, 02:25 PM (9 replies)

March 14--Karl Marx Memorial Day

Died on this day in history, March 14 1883.

If we have chosen the position in life in which we can most of all work for mankind, no burdens can bow us down, because they are sacrifices for the benefit of all; then we shall experience no petty, limited, selfish joy, but our happiness will belong to millions, our deeds will live on quietly but perpetually at work, and over our ashes will be shed the hot tears of noble people.

Marx, Letter to His Father (1837)

Posted by Starry Messenger | Wed Mar 14, 2012, 03:20 PM (0 replies)

You can't keep a good man down--Karl Marx in news stories lately

Grantham wonders if Marx was right after all

“Capitalism,” he writes, “threatens our existence.”

Already, capitalism is proving that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were at least partially correct. They “looked forward to globalization and the supranational company because they argued it would make capitalism even more powerful, overreaching, and eventually reckless,” Grantham writes.

Globalization “would ... offer the capitalists more rope to hang themselves with ... rope ... bought from briskly competing capitalists, eager till the end for a good deal.”


• It’s about profit, not people: “Capitalism in general has no sense of ethics or conscience. Whatever the Supreme Court may think, it is not a person.”

He concluded however that workers will never rise up because robots will eventually take over the workforce (!?). I guess the rest of us just disappear or something, lol. Good luck with that Grantham.


Foxconn Raises Pay: Karl Marx Explains Why

And it is at this point that we can turn to Marx for our explanation.

The Bearded One pointed out that employers will pay as little as they can to their labour. He also pointed out that this was limited by the availability of workers. If there was that large reserve army of the unemployed then capitalists could pay very little for labour. Anyone agitating for a greater share of the profits could simply be fired and replaced.

He also pointed out that when there is no such reserve army then employers will have to bid up wages to attract the labour they desire. Yes, capitalists are in competition with each other for access to the labour they require to make profits. So, as productivity rises, as the reserve army shrinks, then wages for workers will improve as capitalists attempt to hire the workforce they desire.

He notes that labour productivity rose by 10 per cent annually from 2000 to 2010, about the same level as wages increased.

Quite: as labour productivity has increased, as the hundreds of millions of unemployed and under-employed rural peasants have found urban jobs or just improved conditions in the country side so a labour shortage has developed and thus companies must bid up wages to get the workers they want.

I’m not quite a Marxist, in the sense that I don’t believe that everything is about economics. But I would certainly plump for an economic rather than political reason for these pay rises. It’s not the calls for everyone to be nicer that are raising wages, it’s that there’s no reserve army of the unemployed left and thus wages are being bid up for purely economic reasons.

If the author doesn't think "everything is about economics", I wonder why he is writing for Forbes...maybe he wandered in by accident? And he hasn't heard the good news about the robot armies.

Karl Marx is never going to provide therapy for bankers


We're all used to hearing that old dinner-party refrain about how, despite it being a great idea in theory, communism would be impossible to implement in practice. In his Radio 4 series last year the philosopher John Gray argued something similar, observing that, although Marx was right in predicting that capitalism would eventually undermine the middle-class lifestyle, thus descending ever more of us ("the 99%" into wage slavery, he was "wrong about communism".

This is typical of the liberal-conservative view of Marx. For reformers such as Roubini, Marx was right – just not completely right. His stark truth that "history is class struggle" is deemed sufficiently provocative to make us stare down into the abyss of a precarious future with no steady income and zero social security. But having stared, we should have the good sense to step back and retrace our path somewhere else, toward a more "responsible capitalism", or toward what David Cameron calls "capitalism with a conscience". Or even (in the words of Bill Gates, another capitalist "reformer" toward a more "creative capitalism". In any case, so the opinion goes, we should take Marx seriously, not by advocating proletarian revolution, but by heeding the doom-laden warnings of the Communist Manifesto in which, "all that is solid melts into air". In this sense Marx is like the Ghost of Christmas Future, conjuring up nightmarish visions of what society will become if we don't mend our ways.

This commonsense interpretation may sound morally convincing. However, it is at odds with everything Marx actually wrote.

In Marx's early writings in particular, communism is not capitalism's evil twin. Nor is it the utopian promise of a brighter tomorrow. "Communism", writes a young Marx in 1845 "is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things."


Actually an interesting article that got pitilessly red-baited in the comments.

Posted by Starry Messenger | Wed Mar 7, 2012, 03:36 PM (8 replies)

Albany charter cash cow: Big banks making a bundle on new construction as schools bear the cost


Wealthy investors and major banks have been making windfall profits by using a little-known federal tax break to finance new charter-school construction.

The program, the New Markets Tax Credit, is so lucrative that a lender who uses it can almost double his money in seven years.


Under the New Markets program, a bank or private equity firm that lends money to a nonprofit to build a charter school can receive a 39% federal tax credit over seven years.


By combining the various credits with the interest from the loan itself, a lender can almost double his investment over the seven-year period.

No wonder JPMorgan Chase announced this week it was creating a new $325 million pool to invest in charter schools and take advantage of the New Markets Tax Credit.

So glad all that bailout money is going to a good cause. While winkling away houses of their parents, banks will be getting into the school real estate biz, you know, for kids. If you can demonize teachers and bring in TFA as short-timers to erase organized pressure against these tactics, why, you've got yourself quite the little scheme going there.
Posted by Starry Messenger | Sun Mar 4, 2012, 06:03 PM (5 replies)
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