Friday, June 28, 2024

A doddering old president and bulldog former president debate the nation's future while Democrats worry about their party's future

The whole world was watching—literally—as U.S. President Joe Biden stumbled and mumbled his way through a 90-minute debate with former president Donald Trump last night. For much of his presidency, Biden has been protected by a coterie of loyalists--and their media sycophants--who’ve insisted he is in full control of his faculties and his job as the most powerful man in the world.


Don’t believe your lying eyes, they told the world. Last night the world saw who was lying.


Democrats today (and Washington’s Deep State) are in either shell shock or panic mode as they look down through the remaining months before the election and wonder if their man can ever restore Americans’ confidence that he can lead them another four years. If he’s as doddering today as he appeared to be at the CNN debate last night, how will he be when he’s 86 years old and still in charge of the world’s largest nuclear arsenal?


Speculation is already circling among Democrats as to who would or could replace Biden as the head of the Democratic ticket. Vice President Kamala Harris? She’s even more unpopular than Biden. And if the party wants someone else, it cannot tell Kamala there’s a glass ceiling after all! Still, all the speculation is a waste of time. The presidency has been Joe Biden’s lifelong dream, and he’s not going to simply slip off into the night now that it is in his grip. Joe Biden’s ego may be the one remaining strength of his mental capacities.


For his part, Donald Trump probably bristled at the debate rules that prevented him from roughshodding Biden like he did Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and fellow Republicans during the 2016 presidential race. Yet, ironically, those rules actually helped him, keeping him on target, making him even look, dare I say, almost normal in his relative restraint. Of course, a plethora of lies poured from his mouth, but he at least held back from taking full mocking advantage of Biden’s disintegration.


Biden’s handlers over the past week obviously pumped him full of statistics. He seemed programmed as he recited them even if some of them were patently false. Biden told lies, too, lies that CNN commentators totally ignored. Russia, for example, has shown absolutely no inclination to take over all of Ukraine, much less Poland and other Eastern European countries, as Biden claimed again and again.


Biden was best when he pointed to Trump’s utter allegiance to the nation’s top 1 percent—the tax cuts to the wealthy, the suppression of organized labor and worker rights, the judges and justices he appointed to reward the rich and punish everyone else. However, viewers were watching Biden’s facial and body movements, listening to the raspy, uncertain voice, not really listening to the words.


The Democratic National Committee has become an extremely insular organization ever since Bill and Hillary Clinton excised the party’s soul and replaced it with unprincipled (and largely unsuccessful) formulas and algorithms to raise lots of money (Wall Street) and hopefully win elections. Just as the DNC worked to undermine Bernie Sanders’ candidacy eight years ago, it made sure this campaign that Biden was unchallenged in the primaries.


They got their man. Now what are they doing to do with him?


And how is the nation going to fare over the next four years? That’s the real concern that emerged from last night’s debate.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

A pro-union worker school in North Carolina attracts 200, and 27,000 teachers and school workers get a union in Fairfax County, Virginia, while a judge, cops, and even some union leaders push against student anti-genocide protests

(Ella May Wiggins, a martyr of the Southern labor movement who was murdered during textile mill protests in North Carolina in 1929)

Some 200 pro-labor activists and workers attend a Southern Worker School in Charlotte, North Carolina, and a majority of voters of a 27,000-member teacher core in Fairfax County, Virginia, vote to join a union. Meanwhile, police and the courts crack down on protesters across the country, and Ford and Stellantis violate the spirit of recent union agreements by laying off hundreds of workers.


In this latest Labor South round-up, the lines are clearly being drawn between the American people and the political-financial forces that continue to try to dominate their lives.


A push to get workers into key industries across the South so they can organize and push pro-union ideas


An historic gathering of some 200 pro-union rank-and-filers took place in Charlotte, North Carolina, May 17 through 19, the largest worker school ever organized by the Southern Workers Assembly. A key topic of discussion was the SWA recently launched program to recruit pro-labor workers to enter key industries in the Southern economy.


The worker school “felt like a new beginning of the labor movement to me,” International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1414, Savannah, Georgia, Vice President Jamie Muhammad told the SWA, “a room filled with people organizing to achieve justice in the workplace, from all walks of life.”


Delegates came from across the South representing a wide array of unions, including locals with the United Campus Workers, United Auto Workers, Union of Southern Service Workers, National Nurses United, Carolina Amazonians United for Solidarity & Empowerment, and the National Domestic Workers Alliance.


Inspired by the recent union victory by the UAW at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the Daimler Truck Company agreement in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia providing workers a 25 percent raise, and earlier UAW victories at General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis, the worker school participants acknowledged the tough labor battleground the South has always been. Clear indication of this was the UAW’s recent failure in a union election at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Alabama.


“The Southern auto industry will not be organized one election at a time, nor will the hospital industry or logistics or any industry,” SWA Coordinating Committee member Ed Bruno told participants. “The UAW founding in the 1930s was based on sit-down strikes that were multi-corporation, multi-location efforts to organize the entire auto industry. That’s the way the modern labor movement was formed. And that’s the way the South will be organized.”


Teachers and school workers overwhelmingly vote union in densely populated Fairfax County, Virginia, a historic vote largely ignored by mainstream media


A stunning union victory for the 27,000 teachers and school staff took place this week in Fairfax County, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. The vote by teachers was 97 percent to unionize, while the vote by support staff was 81 percent pro-union.


“I think people are realizing that they are not respected and want to be able to have the American dream,” Fairfax Education Association President Leslie Houston told the labor report Payday, one of the few news organizations to cover the election.


 Claiming the victory is Virginia Education Unions, a coalition of locals with the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association. Fairfax County is the fifth richest county in the nation, but also one where many public employees struggle to afford a living and are forced to have second jobs.


A shift toward the Democratic Party in Virginia in recent years allowed the 2020 passage of a law giving municipalities the right to allow collective bargaining agreements for public employees, something heretofore outlawed. This week’s union victory marked the culmination of a 47-year campaign for pro-union forces in Fairfax County’s schools.


Unions join student protesters opposing Israel’s genocidal attacks on Gaza’s Palestinian citizens, and the courts and the police and some union bosses don’t like it


At the above-mentioned Southern Workers Assembly Worker School in Charlotte, participants expressed solidarity with university students across the country who are protesting the United States’ complicity in the ongoing genocide in Gaza being waged by the Israeli military. They also condemned the anti-First Amendment crackdown on those protests by university leaders and local police.


A particular bone of contention has been at the University of California, where a strike by United Auto Workers academic workers recently broadened to include as many as 30,000 of the 48,000 UAW members in California’s institutes of higher learning.


The expansion of the strike led Orange County Superior Court Judge Randall J. Sherman to issue a strike-breaking order forcing workers to return to work at least until June 27 when final exams are taking place. The UAW leadership told workers to obey the judge’s order.


A violent attack by Zionist extremists on protesters prompted the strike on May 20.  Police did little to nothing to protect protesters from the extremists.


“The strikebreaking intervention by the courts … demonstrates that the defense of democratic rights will be not be protected by any government agency but only through a movement of the working class,” writes Dan Conway of the World Socialist Web Site. “The fight for this requires a struggle against the UAW bureaucracy.”


The WSWS contends the UAW bureaucracy has tried to contain the strike from the very beginning, something in line with UAW President Shawn Fain’s leadership and endorsement of President Joe Biden in his re-election campaign despite Biden’s pro-Zionist policies. Even victories Fain has claimed for the UAW, such as at Ford and Stellantis, are marred given the layoffs and mass firings, many or most of them supplemental or temporary employees, at those companies, the WSWS has argued.