World economic crisis, workers fight back

World economic crisis, cartoon

Government figures released this week showed a rise in UK unemployment to 7.9 percent in recent months, as widespread public sector job losses and private sector stagnation took their toll: here.

Australian steel producer sacks 1,300 workers: here.

Egged on by ratings agencies, leading banks and their attendant economists, the Irish government is preparing another assault on the working class: here.

USA: Hundreds of foreign students walked out of a Hershey’s chocolate plant in Palmyra, Pennsylvania August 17, protesting against exploitative working conditions: here.

Raul Rodriguez, New America Media: “One in four California households with children reported food hardship, according to a new analysis of Gallup data released last Thursday by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)… The report analyzed data gathered as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project’s responses to the question: ‘Have there been times in the past 12 months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?'” Here.

Southern California members of the United Food and Commercial Workers union voted for the second time in five months to authorize strike action against the three largest regional supermarket chains, Ralphs, Albertsons and Vons: here.

Poverty. Just Say It. Kathy Mulady, Equal Voice Newspaper: “Some worry that the conversation about the ‘p’ word is more about the ‘nouveau poor’ than about the 37.3 million people who were living in poverty before the recession. Others say it is the crumbling middle class, changing demographics and raised consciousness of people living closer to the edge that have sparked the conversation. Talk about poverty is moving beyond the choir of social service organizations, churches and unions, and grabbing the attention of journalists – and even talk show hosts – who are using their platforms to give voice and visibility to the poor”: here.

The primary food bank serving eastern and central Kentucky reports a staggering level of hunger and emergency food requests: here.

Dying for a Glass of Clean Water in California’s San Joaquin Valley. David Bacon, New America Media: “Today Lanare is one of the many unincorporated communities in rural California that lack the most basic services, like drinking water, sewers, sidewalks and streetlights. According to Policy Link, a foundation promoting economic and social equity, ‘Throughout the United States, millions of people live outside of central cities on pockets of unincorporated land. Predominantly African-American and Latino, and frequently low-income, these communities … have been excluded from city borders'”: here.

3 thoughts on “World economic crisis, workers fight back


    Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) continued her busy week in the headlines, telling a forum of the unemployed in Inglewood, California her feelings about a certain right-wing movement.
    “The tea party can go to hell,” said Waters, as she urged her colleagues in Congress to focus more on creating jobs. “I’m not afraid of anybody. This is a tough game. You can’t be intimidated. You can’t be frightened.”

    Video at


  2. Courts: Divorces in England and Wales are being delayed by couples rowing over supermarket and airline loyalty points as the recession continues to bite, a leading family law firm said today.

    Husbands and wives are disputing ownership of Clubcard points and air miles in court as economic pressures mean they are increasingly regarded as joint marital assets, said Pannone.

    Partner Ed Kitchen said that arguments over how to split loyalty points are often “deal-breakers,” causing friction between couples who have succeeded in splitting cash, property and pensions without much difficulty.



    It’s come down to this: we have become the United States of food stamps.

    Food stamps are important to those in need. Studies have also shown that food stamps generate economic activity: because for every dollar spent, there are some estimates that two dollars to three dollars goes back into the economy. That’s not hard to believe when you see the ripple effect on grocery stores, truckers who transport food, and farmers, among others who benefit from food stamp purchases.

    But what is troubling is that food stamp usage is at an all-time high in America because of the weakened economy and because of the stagnation and lowering of wages. There have been a few articles lately that wages are sinking so low for many jobs in the US that our manual labor force is headed toward third-world compensation levels.

    This spiraling down of a living wage into a non-living wage has caused many people who work to need and qualify for food stamps. This is where government subsidies of corporations like Wal-Mart come in. Food stamps allow low-wage workers to literally survive, providing an indirect subsidy to low-wage employers.

    According to one expert, food stamps are:

    “increasingly work support,” said Ed Bolen, an analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

    And that’s only likely to get worse: So far in the recovery, jobs growth has been concentrated in lower-wage occupations, with minimal growth in middle-income wages as many higher-paid blue collar jobs have disappeared.

    And 6 percent of the 72.9 million Americans paid by the hour received wages at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour in 2010. That’s up from 4.9 percent in 2009, and 3 percent in 2002, according to government data.

    Bolen said just based on income, minimum wage single parents are almost always eligible for food stamps.

    As a result, food stamp utilization, according to Reuters, has reached a record level: “Altogether, there are now almost 46 million people in the United States on food stamps, roughly 15 percent of the population. That’s an increase of 74 percent since 2007, just before the financial crisis and a deep recession led to mass job losses.”

    A tragic irony of the new American economy is that you can be employed and still not earn enough to put food on the table for your family.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout


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