In Brief

Prison profiteers drive detention of immigrants

By Fred Goldstein, published April 22, 2015 The U.S. prison system is more and more becoming a profit center for big private corporations. The detention of undocumented immigrants fleeing persecution has become a special source of “profit from misery.” A new study from “Grassroots Leadership” documents how the largest private prison corporations in the country, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group, have spent millions of dollars lobbying the Department of Homeland Security...

Mass protests, boycott specter make anti-LGBTQ laws bad for business

By Fred Goldstein, April 6, 2015 It is rare when the capitalist class openly reveals its relationship to its political servants. But in the cases of the bigoted so-called “religious freedom” laws passed in Indiana and Arkansas, some of the biggest corporations in the U.S. panicked in the face of mass outrage and protests and pressured two right-wing Republican governors to shift course. Passage of the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” in Indiana was right-wing revenge for a string of court rulings...

Ferguson, Attica, Zimmerman and the capitalist state

By Fred Goldstein March 9, 2015

Several judicial rulings in recent weeks demonstrate the determination of the capitalist government to shield the front-line forces of the repressive, racist state — especially cops and prison guards — from individual punishment.

While city police departments and prisons can be investigated and sometimes penalized, the shooters and the beaters have virtual immunity from individual punishment for their crimes. The ruling class relies upon them and their willingness to directly inflict brutality upon the workers and the oppressed to enforce the racist, capitalist order.

IPCC: ‘Climate change endangers life on planet’

Big business: ‘Profits come first’

By Fred Goldstein, April 14, 2014

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued a dire report based on the findings of thousands of scientists and environmental experts. It shows that climate change has already left its mark “on all continents and across the oceans,” damaging food crops, spreading disease and melting glaciers.

Big business polluters like ExxonMobil shrug it all off. The Heartland Foundation, the chief corporate climate denier — backed by the Koch brothers, the Olin Foundation, Walmart and a host of other right-wingers — issued anti-science rebuttals to the IPCC report. The Republicans in Congress tried, unsuccessfully, to pass legislation restricting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from carrying on any research on climate change.

Marxism and long-term unemployment

By Fred Goldstein on April 5, 2014

A study published by Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute in January compiled figures on unemployment that have important significance for the working class and for a Marxist analysis of the present dead-end crisis of capitalism.

The figures in the study confirm that the bosses’ need for labor power at all skill levels and in all occupations drastically declined between 2007 and the year ending July 2013. This is further confirmation of Marx’s general law of capitalist accumulation discussed in our last column.

Shierholz was rightly trying to refute the widespread campaign by the publicists for the bosses about how unemployment is caused by a “skills mismatch” — workers not having the right skills or enough skills to get all those jobs out there that are going begging.

The study, “Is There Really a Shortage of Skilled Workers?” thoroughly refutes the “skills shortage” argument. (epi.org, Jan. 23)

Capitalist electoral politics and class struggle

By Fred Goldstein September 17, 2012

Adapted from a talk given at the Sept. 7 New York City meeting of Workers World Party.

At the moment of this writing, the Chicago Teachers Union has set a splendid example for the working class during this presidential electoral season. They have refused to be swept away by the electoral tide, in which both parties are financed by hundreds of millions of dollars of corporate money, and are on strike against the Chicago school administration to defend their own rights and the rights of the poor and oppressed communities of the city.

Whatever the politics of the union leadership, what makes this action so politically significant is that it flies in the face of the stampede to the polls. This is, after all, a city whose mayor, Rahm Emanuel, is Barack Obama’s former chief of staff. And this is a time when the president is engaged in a fierce electoral battle against the right-wing Romney-Ryan ticket.

The Chicago teachers represent a sector of the organized working class that has been under severe attack in recent years. In particular, they have experienced first hand the futility of relying on elections.