Category Archives: Housing

Why Socialism? Part One

Q: Why does the Trotskyist Independent Workers Party of Chicago call for a workers socialist revolution to overthrow the capitalist class and its capitalist system and to replace it with an egalitarian workers socialist republic?

A: At the root of all social ills and evils is the capitalist class and its anarchic economic system, which is designed to exploit the many (theworking class) for the benefit of the few (the capitalist class).

Poverty; war; homelessness; police brutality; racial and sexual discrimination; all of these are caused by the normal workings of the capitalist system, an economic and political system designed to facilitate the systematic exploitation of the world’s natural resources and the labor power of its’ human population.

Capitalist economies are designed to funnel the profits created by the exploitation of human beings and natural resources into the hands of a tiny minority of people who run the world’s economic and political systems for their own selfish ends.  Only about 170,000 people on planet Earth are the richest people, capable of spending $150 million on a single painting and still having more than enough money left over to live like kings and queens.  ALL of their wealth is derived from the exploitation and superexploitation of workers, who make up the vast majority of the world’s population.

The capitalist system is based firmly on the “nuclear family”: one male and one female (or, now, two female or two male) wage- and debt-slaves raise the next generation of wage- and debt-slaves for future exploitation by future generations of capitalists.  The wage-slave parents carry out their responsibilities of inculcating in the heads of their children respect for the capitalist system and its police and military forces, and a robust belief that “our country” is better than all the other countries and must be defended at all costs.  Hatred of various despised races and religions is handed down, generation after generation, all to the benefit of the capitalist class, which can thereby organize the workers into military units to go anywhere in the world to defend the domestic and foreign investments of the capitalist masters.  The work of feeding, clothing, sheltering and health care of the young wage-slaves is financed using the wages and debt incurred by the parents, which is another huge gift to the capitalist class, as it means that the wages paid out by capitalists on the one hand are almost entirely returned to the capitalists through the economic activity of the wage- and debt-slave parents.  In the modern era, the capitalists have found that it is a far more effective method of social control to “pay” workers by extending them credit, rather than by actually paying wages.  This keeps the wage slaves drowning in debt, which forces them to work harder and longer every year to keep their heads from going deeper under water than they already are.  The proof that this system works effectively at brainwashing the wage- and debt- slaves into defending their own exploitation can perhaps best be seen here in the United States, where the vast majority of the heavily indebted wage- and debt-slaves are convinced that they are enjoying a “freedom” not to be surpassed anywhere in the world.

To call countries like the United States “democracies” is the capitalist class’ idea of a good joke.  They have successfully conned millions of wage- and debt-slaves (collectively known as “the working class”) into believing that they actually have a role to play in deciding which gang of politicians hired by the capitalists will get to “run the country” over a set period of time.  In fact, in “bourgeois democracies” like the USA and Great Britain, the working class plays almost no role at all in making such decisions.  It is the tiny minority of the capitalist class who finance every major political campaign and who decide well in advance of any election which party politician will be hired to do the bidding of the capitalist class.  Any politician deemed to be insufficiently loyal to the capitalist class, insufficiently dedicated to the continued existence of the capitalist system, will find him or herself unable to raise the funds necessary to get their name on the ballot.

The current US presidential campaign is a perfect case in point:  Hillary Clinton has raised over $1,000,000,000.00 for her Presidential run already.  She did not get the vast majority of that money from the working class: she was given it by the richest 1% of US citizens – the capitalist class.  And that money comes with a lot of strings attached: Ms. Clinton has made binding promises to each and every major donor to her campaign that whatever it is that they want done under  Clinton presidency will get done whether it is politically popular among the workers or not.

In every capitalist country in the world the capitalist class wields its massive wealth to sabotage any attempt made by the workers to fight for their rights, even to the extent of creating phony “political activism” NGOs and other organizations that pretend to defend worker rights but which invariably actually are financed by and therefore beholden to the capitalist class.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, 360.org and the Tor Project – to name but a few – are all firmly in the pockets of the big capitalists.  They will never, ever do either of two things: 1) oppose the “right” of capitalists to exploit workers and to amass tremendous private fortunes and 2) during times of “class peace” they will NEVER form any political party in opposition to the political parties of the capitalist class or to oppose the fundamental class interests of the capitalists.

Even this near-total control of the political and economic systems is not enough for the top capitalists, whose massive wealth alienates them more and more from the working classes of the world: they are not surprisingly terrified of the workers someday organizing themselves to topple the capitalist class from its increasingly precarious position atop the social pyramid.  This is why the capitalist class of the US, for example – in spite of decades of statistics showing a long-term decrease in violent crimes – has demanded that its hired politicians allocate more and more money to the military and police forces whose real role is not “to protect and serve” ALL classes of people, but, in the final analysis, to protect and serve the 1% of the wealthiest from the justified rage of the oppressed workers.

This is why, as more and more wealth has been squeezed out of the blood, bone and sinew of the working class and transferred to a smaller and smaller percentage of the capitalist class we have seen a concomitant increase in police and military brutality across the capitalist world.  The United States Government – wholly owned and under the direction of the US capitalist class – has even re-legalized torture and the right of the principal political representative of the capitalist class – the President of the United States – to order the extralegal assassination of US citizens who dare to oppose the class interests of the leaders of the US capitalist class.  Police brutality is not an aberration under the capitalist system, as the reformists dutifully and continually teach the workers; it is the norm and the necessary corollary of an economic and political system which ruthlessly exploits the many for the benefit of fewer and fewer.

Also in contradiction to what the reformists preach, environmental degradation and war are also symptoms of “normal” conditions of life under the throughly irrational capitalist system.  In their mad, global quest for more and more wealth, the capitalists must search in nation-states not their own for opportunities to enrich themselves, which brings them face-to-face with three sources of opposition: the raw materials they seek are in the possession and under the control of another nation’s capitalist class, and those raw materials are being worked by that nation’s workers.  The capitalist class of major imperialist countries first attempts to arrange a business deal with their competitor capitalists in that foreign nation-state under which the imperialist power gets the majority of the profits.  If the capitalist class of that minor nation-state proves to be unwilling to allow this to happen, then the imperialist power unleashes its secret police forces as well as its banking power to try to engineer a political change inside the target country that benefits the US capitalist class.  They will attempt to purchase politicians and capitalists; if that fails to work, the CIA will assassinate the obstreperous opponent of the US capitalist class.  If that fails, then they send in the Marines and overthrow the government under some phony pretext.

The military forces of a capitalist state do not defend the “national interests”, as the bourgeois press owned by the capitalist class would have us believe: they defend the foreign investments of the US capitalist class, making it “safe” for US capitalists to risk their stolen wealth by opening mines, oil fields and agricultural lands to their untrammelled exploitation.  If workers in these targeted countries rise up in revolt against the oppressive governments forced upon them and supported by US political and military intervention, the US capitalist class, through its secret police agencies and its military discover who the uppity slaves are among the workers and order their hirelings in that targeted country to arrest, torture and imprison those rebels – or they just have them murdered, or have the CIA/Navy Seals/Special Forces do it for them.

Lastly, the capitalist system is an ad-hoc system, under which, since every billionaire is free to invest his or her stolen wealth as he or she sees fit, no one is in control of the economy.  It lurches forward, propelled only by the blind lust for personal wealth of the capitalists.  Occasionally, opportunities arise to obtain superprofits in one or another economic sphere: it might be the spice trade in one era, oil production and distribution in another or even real estate.  Once it becomes clear to the smaller capitalists that the big capitalists have created a “bull market” in a certain economic area (let’s say real estate), hundreds of billions of dollars are rerouted from other spheres of exploitation and into the “booming” real estate sphere – and an economic crisis is precipitated.  As more and more investors seek to enrich themselves in this one area of the economic “boom”, prices begin to rise far beyond the intrinsic value of the property in demand, until the economic bubble bursts, causing extensive damage to the national or even the global economy.  Since no government in any capitalist state actually has anything like real “control” of the economy, the politicians and bankers find themselves unable to repair the damage they themselves created due to their unquenchable greed.  In the end it is the working class that is made to pay for the damage: social spending is cut and taxes are raised to plug up the financial holes created by the blowout of the speculative bubble.  And then the cycle begins anew.

To Be Continued – IWPCHI

 

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Happy Hellidays, Gluttons! Mark Twain on the True History of the First Thanksgiving

BoschsevendeadlysinsThe Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things by Hieronymus Bosch (1485)

Gluttony is shown, upside down, at the top.  Hey, that looks like your house right now!

Happy Hellidays from the Independent Workers Party of Chicago!

We hope you are enjoying your annual Festival of Gluttony (gluttony IS a MORTAL SIN, YOU KNOW –  you nauseating fake-Christian arch-hypocrites)!

As you sit there yet again this Thanksgiving, shamelessly stuffing your face with way too much food while millions of your fellow wage and debt slave brothers and sisters in the U.S.A. and  nearly a billion of your sisters and brothers around the world suffer incredible want and privation through yet another miserable holiday season under the miserable capitalist system you all love so much – we hope (probably in vain) that you’ll take a moment during your family’s disgusting annual pig-out to remember the less fortunate among us – and we don’t mean by driving the homeless and those who try to help them out of your towns, you scumbags! – and to ponder the true, hideous origins of the monstrous tradition of the Thanksgiving festival itself.  And to help you digest that hideous heap of artery-clogging garbage you’ve been shoveling down your gullet, we bring you a worthy tribute to the Pilgrims of Plymouth, written by none other than Samuel Langhorne Clemens – Mark Twain.   We hope you enjoy it as much as you’ll enjoy your first massive coronary brought on by the decades of wanton excessive indulgence in processed foods and high-cholesterol snacks you so stupidly insist on feeding yourselves.  Bon Appetit!

IWPCHI

***************

PLYMOUTH ROCK AND THE PILGRIMS

ADDRESS AT THE FIRST ANNUAL DINNER, N. E. SOCIETY

PHILADELPHIA, DECEMBER 22, 1881

On calling upon Mr. Clemens to make response, President Rollins said:

“This sentiment has been assigned to one who was never exactly born in New England, nor, perhaps, were any of his ancestors. He is not technically, therefore, of New England descent. Under the painful circumstances in which he has found himself, however, he has done the best he could — he has had all his children born there, and has made of himself a New England ancestor. He is a self-made man. More than this, and better even, in cheerful, hopeful, helpful literature he is of New England ascent. To ascend there in anything that’s reasonable is difficult, for — confidentially, with the door shut — we all know that they are the brightest, ablest sons of that goodly land who never leave it, and it is among and above them that Mr. Twain has made his brilliant and permanent ascent — become a man of mark.”

I RISE to protest. I have kept still for years, but really I think there is no sufficient justification for this sort of thing. What do you want to celebrate those people for? — those ancestors of yours of 1620 — the Mayflower tribe, I mean. What do you want to celebrate them for? Your pardon: the gentleman at my left assures me that you are not celebrating the Pilgrims themselves, but the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock on the 22d of December. So you are celebrating their landing. Why, the other pretext was thin enough, but this is thinner than ever; the other was tissue, tinfoil, fish-bladder, but this is gold-leaf. Celebrating their landing! What was there remarkable about it, I would like to know? What can you be thinking of? Why, those Pilgrims had been at sea three or four months. It was the very middle of winter: it was as cold as death off Cape Cod there. Why shouldn’t they come ashore? If they hadn’t landed there would be some reason for celebrating the fact. It would have been a case of monumental leatherheadedness which the world would not willingly let die. If it had been you, gentlemen, you probably wouldn’t have landed, but you have no shadow of right to be celebrating, in your ancestors, gifts which they did not exercise, but only transmitted. Why, to be celebrating the mere landing of the Pilgrims — to be trying to make out that this most natural and simple and customary procedure was an extraordinary circumstance — a circumstance to be amazed at, and admired, aggrandized and glorified, at orgies like this for two hundred and sixty years — hang it, a horse would have known enough to land; a horse — Pardon again; the gentleman on my right assures me that it was not merely the landing of the Pilgrims that we are celebrating, but the Pilgrims themselves. So we have struck an inconsistency here: one says it was the landing, the other says it was the Pilgrims. It is an inconsistency characteristic of your intractable and disputatious tribe, for you never agree about anything but Boston. Well, then, what do you want to celebrate those Pilgrims for? They were a mighty hard lot — you know it. I grant you, without the slightest unwillingness, that they were a deal more gentle and merciful and just than were the people of Europe of that day; I grant you that they are better than their predecessors. But what of that? — that is nothing. People always progress. You are better than your fathers and grandfathers were (this is the first time I have ever aimed a measureless slander at the departed, for I consider such things improper). Yes, those among you who have not been in the penitentiary, if such there be, are better than your fathers and grandfathers were; but is that any sufficient reason for getting up annual dinners and celebrating you? No, by no means — by no means. Well, I repeat, those Pilgrims were a hard lot. They took good care of themselves, but they abolished everybody else’s ancestors. I am a border-ruffian from the State of Missouri. I am a Connecticut Yankee by adoption. In me, you have Missouri morals, Connecticut culture; this, gentlemen, is the combination which makes the perfect man. But where are my ancestors? Whom shall I celebrate? Where shall I find the raw material?

My first American ancestor, gentlemen, was an Indian — an early Indian. Your ancestors skinned him alive, and I am an orphan. Not one drop of my blood flows in that Indian’s veins today. I stand here, lone and forlorn, without an ancestor. They skinned him! I do not object to that, if they needed his fur; but alive, gentlemen — alive! They skinned him alive — and before company! That is what rankles. Think how he must have felt; for he was a sensitive person and easily embarrassed. If he had been a bird, it would have been all right, and no violence done to his feelings, because he would have been considered “dressed.” But he was not a bird, gentlemen, he was a man, and probably one of the most undressed men that ever was. I ask you to put yourselves in his place. I ask it as a favor; I ask it as a tardy act of justice; I ask it in the interest of fidelity to the traditions of your ancestors; I ask it that the world may contemplate, with vision unobstructed by disguising swallow-tails and white cravats, the spectacle which the true New England Society ought to present. Cease to come to these annual orgies in this hollow modern mockery — the surplusage of raiment. Come in character; come in the summer grace, come in the unadorned simplicity, come in the free and joyous costume which your sainted ancestors provided for mine.

Later ancestors of mine were the Quakers William Robinson, Marmaduke Stephenson, et al. Your tribe chased them out of the country for their religion’s sake; promised them death if they came back; for your ancestors had forsaken the homes they loved, and braved the perils of the sea, the implacable climate, and the savage wilderness, to acquire that highest and most precious of boons, freedom for every man on this broad continent to worship according to the dictates of his own conscience — and they were not going to allow a lot of pestiferous Quakers to interfere with it. Your ancestors broke forever the chains of political slavery, and gave the vote to every man in this wide land, excluding none! — none except those who did not belong to the orthodox church. Your ancestors — yes, they were a hard lot; but, nevertheless, they gave us religious liberty to worship as they required us to worship, and political liberty to vote as the church required; and so I the bereft one, I the forlorn one, am here to do my best to help you celebrate them right.

The Quaker woman Elizabeth Hooton was an ancestress of mine. Your people were pretty severe with her — you will confess that. But, poor thing! I believe they changed her opinions before she died, and took her into their fold; and so we have every reason to presume that when she died she went to the same place which your ancestors went to. It is a great pity, for she was a good woman.

Roger Williams was an ancestor of mine. I don’t really remember what your people did with him. But they banished him to Rhode Island, anyway. And then, I believe, recognizing that this was really carrying harshness to an unjustifiable extreme, they took pity on him and burned him(1). They were a hard lot!

All those Salem witches were ancestors of mine! Your people made it tropical for them. Yes they did; by pressure and the gallows they made such a clean deal with them that there hasn’t been a witch and hardly a halter in our family from that day to this, and that is one hundred and eighty-nine years.

The first slave brought into New England out of Africa by your progenitors was an ancestor of mine — for I am of a mixed breed, an infinitely shaded and exquisite Mongrel. I’m not one of your sham meerschaums that you can color in a week. No, my complexion is the patient art of eight generations. Well, in my own time, I had acquired a lot of my kin — by purchase, and swapping around, and one way and another — and was getting along very well. Then, with the inborn perversity of your lineage, you got up a war, and took them all away from me. And so, again am I bereft, again am I forlorn; no drop of my blood flows in the veins of any living being who is marketable.

O my friends, hear me and reform! I seek your good, not mine. You have heard the speeches. Disband these New England societies — nurseries of a system of steadily augmenting laudation and hosannaing, which, if persisted in uncurbed, may some day in the remote future beguile you into prevaricating and bragging. Oh, stop, stop, while you are still temperate in your appreciation of your ancestors! Hear me, I beseech you; get up an auction and sell Plymouth Rock! The Pilgrims were a simple and ignorant race. They never had seen any good rocks before, or at least any that were not watched, and so they were excusable for hopping ashore in frantic delight and clapping an iron fence around this one. But you, gentlemen, are educated; you are enlightened; you know that in the rich land of your nativity, opulent New England, overflowing with rocks, this one isn’t worth, at the outside, more than thirty-five cents. Therefore, sell it, before it is injured by exposure, or at least throw it open to the patent-medicine advertisements, and let it earn its taxes.

Yes, hear your true friend — your only true friend — list to his voice. Disband these societies, hotbeds of vice, of moral decay — perpetuators of ancestral superstition. Here on this board I see water, I see milk, I see the wild and deadly lemonade. These are but steps upon the downward path. Next we shall see tea, then chocolate, then coffee — hotel coffee. A few more years — all too few, I fear — mark my words, we shall have cider! Gentlemen, pause ere it be too late. You are on the broad road which leads to dissipation, physical ruin, moral decay, gory crime and the gallows! I beseech you, I implore you, in the name of your anxious friends, in the name of your suffering families, in the name of your impending widows and orphans, stop ere it be too late. Disband these New England societies, renounce these soul-blistering saturnalia, cease from varnishing the rusty reputations of your long-vanished ancestors — the super-high-moral old iron-clads of Cape Cod, the pious buccaneers of Plymouth Rock — go home, and try to learn to behave!

However, chaff and nonsense aside, I think I honor and appreciate your Pilgrim stock as much as you do yourselves, perhaps; and I endorse and adopt a sentiment uttered by a grandfather of mine once — a man of sturdy opinions, of sincere make of mind, and not given to flattery. He said: “People may talk as they like about that Pilgrim stock, but, after all’s said and done, it would be pretty hard to improve on those people; and, as for me, I don’t mind coming out flatfooted and saying there ain’t any way to improve on them — except having them born in Missouri!”
[Source: Harper & Brothers, “Mark Twain’s Speeches”, 1910]

Notes:

(1) Actually, Roger Williams died of old age in the early months of 1683.

A Note to Our Readers

Due to the absolute lack of financial support for this blog and this project to build a workers party to fight for the rights of working-class people in the United States, we have decided to re-enter the workforce full-time ourselves in order to survive.  With 19 hours to go on our second fruitless (!) 45-day campaign to raise $50,000 to finance this project as a bona fide political party of the working class, we have received exactly nothing from you, our alleged supporters.  And so, we have already been forced to start working just part-time for you.  This is why you may have noticed the sudden drop-off in the number of articles written on this blog the past 2 weeks.  Instead of working for you, our working class brothers and sisters, we had to start working to make some scumbag capitalists richer than they already are.

We’re not averse to work: but we’d much rather be doing THIS WORK – for you – full-time, keeping an eye on the news important to workers from all over the globe and providing timely revolutionary analysis of current events to you, for whom this website is dedicated.  However, it has become painfully obvious to us that either this blog is of little importance in the eyes of you, the working people reading it, or you are simply not interested in the goal of establishing a major political party of the working class, by the working class and for the working class at this time.  Whatever the reason, we’ve got to eat and we’ve got to have a roof over our heads, and if the working class won’t help us to do that by paying us to work for you full-time, then we must start working part-time for you.  Ain’t no way around it.  You get half-assed work done if that’s all you’re willing to pay for.

Money invested in the fight to emancipate the working class from capitalist wage slavery is congealed consciousness of those who give it.  The refusal of workers to consider financing their own political parties is a form of congealed consciousness, too: the congealed, ossified consciousness of a beaten-down, pessimistic, downtrodden wage-slave who refuses to finance his or her own emancipation, believing that “it doesn’t matter what we do, the capital;ists will always win”.  It is the philosophy of losers, of slaves who refuse to fight and make excuses for why they can’t fight instead of finding reasons to fight.  Ex-slave and U.S. antislavery hero Frederick Douglass said it over a hundred and fifty years ago: “For brave men, there is always a remedy for oppression!”  And for cowards, there is always an excuse to do nothing.  You must ask yourselves, fellow workers: which are you?

We have run two consecutive 45-day campaigns on the “Indiegogo” website seeking donations from the working class for this project and have received exactly $0.00 from the U.S. working class in support of our attempt to create a real, revolutionary workers party for you.  It is our belief that the working class of the United States deserves a full-time revolutionary political party that will fight intransigently for the rights of workers here in the U.S., as well as for the rights of our working-class brothers and sisters all over the world.  That will cost some money – not a lot, but it will cost money to rent offices and pay staff to work full-time on your behalf.  If each of the 300,000,000 workers living in the United States just gave one dollar a year to this cause, the end of homelessness, poverty, war and the exploitation of man by man would be ell on its way to the dustbin of history.  The capitalist system would be doomed.  But that’s not what you’re doing with your extra dollars, is it, fellow worker?

On Indiegogo, you can see that American workers are financing all kinds of frivolous and even fake projects to save the lives of puppies and  finance rock bands and all kinds of stupid shit and are even sending millions of dollars a month to provide venture capital for all kinds of crackpot, useless inventions and gadgets designed only to make the designers rich.  And yet this project – there are not many projects like it – to organize a workers party in the US to lead the working class in a struggle to abolish the capitalist system and create a more democratic, egalitarian worker-socialist government to replace our current system based on greed finds not one person in 350,000,000 willing to donate a penny.  It says a lot about how f***ed-up the priorities of the American working class are right now.

When you are ready, fellow workers, to finance working-class political parties to lead the struggle to break the chains that bind you to a life of exploitation and misery under this brutal, warmongering capitalist system, then you will have political parties worthy of that noble cause.  So long as you find it to be more important to you to have 150 cable TV channels broadcasting pro-capitalist propaganda at you 24/7 instead of having a political party to fight for a decent future for you and your children, then you will continue to be credit-slaves for the bankers.  And you will be doing everything in your power to make sure that your children and grandchildren will live under even worse standards of living than you yourselves enjoy right now – if you are, in ,enjoying being in debt up the ass to the bankers and Wall St. swindlers, that is.

We look forward to the day when projects like this find the kind of freely available financing from the working people of the US that capitalist wanna-bes can find today for their worthless projects designed solely to make them wealthy.  When that day comes, you, the working class of the United States, will recognize the value in self-financing your own political parties so that you can have people working 24/7 on your behalf.  In the meantime, you will only have tiny, inconsequential workers parties able to work for you only in their off-hours after work.  Instead of receiving the full amount of potential labor of workers who are dedicated to the task of liberating the working class from capitalist wage-slavery, able to give you 100% of their energy 100% of the time, you will continue to have a tiny force of workers exhausted from their daily toil, trying to do as much as they can for you between the time they return home from work and the time they have to go to bed.

While you, fellow workers, are refusing to provide material support for those activists who want to fight for you 24/7/365, keep in mind that the capitalist class owns hundreds of thousands of operatives, lobbyists, politicians, lawyers and everything else they need to keep you enslaved and to keep sending your children off to die in wars fought to make the capitalists just that much richer, who will be working 24/7/365 to drive your wages and benefits and social programs down so that the capitalists can take all that money and give it to themselves.

Fellow workers! We hope we’ll be here when you finally decide you don’t want to live your lives in debt-slavery to the bankers anymore and when you finally decide to do something about it by financing a full-time party or parties to fight this full-time battle for your rights and those of the people you allegedly love.  Until then, this blog, and every other pro-working class blog, nascent working-class political party and activist group will be struggling hand-to-mouth to fight for your rights while you throw your money away on hundreds of lottery tickets and hundreds of cases of soda pop each and every year of your pathetic, debt-ridden lives.  Enjoy your frivolous pointless lives as consumers and wage-slaves for as long as you can: and when you get tired of living from payday loan to payday loan, remember us.  We might still be around to help you when that glorious day of your enlightenment arrives.  Then again, maybe not.

But hey, if we’re no longer here to help, you can always fall back on that good old-fashioned, time-honored back-up system of praying to your favorite god(s) to help you in your hour of need.  That – like voting for the “lesser of two evils” – always works for you, doesn’t it?

IWPCHI

US Justice Department Lets Wells Fargo Off the Hook For Racist Lending Practices

The US “Justice” Department – a misnomer if there ever was one – has once again let the gang of criminals at Wells Fargo off the hook; this time for steering “tens of thousands” of black and Hispanic prospective home buyers into no-win subprime mortgages.

That Wells Fargo and the US Justice Department are criminal conspiracies against the working people of the United States and the world is well known – to those who still bother to read newspapers, that is.   In 2008, during the worldwide collapse of the capitalist system, Wells Fargo purchased Wachovia Bank, which was at the time under indictment for laundering more than $378 BILLION dollars of South American drug cartel cash through currency exchanges in Mexico and the United States.  When Wachovia/Wells Fargo signed off on the deal they cut with the “Justice Department” in 2010 to “settle” the money laundering case – a deal in which, in return for a promise by Wells Fargo that “we’ll never do that again… for the next twelve months! “, the US Justice Department agreed not to send any of Wachovia/Wells Fargo’s executives to federal prison! [Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office For the Southern District of Florida:  “WACHOVIA ENTERS INTO DEFERRED PROSECUTION AGREEMENT“, 10 March, 2010]

Now we see that, instead of taking these criminals at Wells Fargo to court and forcing their executives to admit that they ripped off African-American and Hispanic workers, forcing them into signing for high-interest subprime loans they knew they’d never be able to repay – the US Department of Justice has once again let these scum walk away scot free in a “settlement” in which they don’t have to admit to any wrongdoing, and the people they robbed will get cash settlements of as little as $2,000.00!

IWPCHI

[To Be Continued]

The Death Of “The American Dream” – Housing Prices Continue to Plunge in Exurbs of Chicago

There have been a lot of news articles in the capitalist press here in Chicago claiming that the housing market here may have reached its bottom.

However, according to figures published today in the Chicago Tribune, it seems more like the housing market in Chicago is just standing around scratching its bottom.

In the three counties out in the hinterlands of Chicago – Kane, Kendall and McHenry counties – housing prices, most likely suffering from competition from the rising number of foreclosures swamping the housing markets locally and nationally, have overwhelmingly continued their multi-year decline.

So many people in the US have bought into the fantasy that “the best investment you can make is to buy your own home”.  This has never been true and it is certainly not true now.  The truth is that, historically, it is always cheaper to rent an apartment or a house than it is to buy a home.  Aside from the ability to move on practically a moment’s notice without having to first sell your house you gain by renting, the expenses of maintenance and taxes simply drive the real costs of owning a home far beyond what it costs to rent an apartment.

Of course, the people trying to sell you real estate will never admit this fact.  And the fairy-tale fantasy shared by millions of – what else can they be called? – brainwashed Americans, called “The American Dream”, leads them, lemming-like, to ignore the careful long-term economic studies proving that it is cheaper to rent, and to burden themselves and their families with overwhelming debt in pursuit of said dream.

Here are the numbers, which compare median home prices in selected towns and cities in McHenry, Kane and Kendall counties from Oct-Dec 2010 to Oct-Dec of 2011.  We have tried to show only those towns in which more than just a handful of homes were sold in both periods, in order to have enough sales to actually produce meaningful comparisons.

There are some outliers – places where, unaccountably, median home prices seem to have increased during the time periods studied here.  They really stick out in a sea of bad news; it is difficult to believe that those numbers are real.  Time will tell if these represent statistical anomalies or actual long-term signs of improvement.

This data was “compiled by Record Information Services from public records” according to the Trib.  “The data are based on deeds transferred during this period… Median price means that half the homes sold for more and half for less.”

The story these numbers tell is the brutal story of the death of the “American Dream.”  But then that’s the thing about dreaming: eventually, you have to wake up and face reality.  And the reality is: capitalism is a trap for the working class.

These numbers would indicate, as this week’s foreclosure data confirms, that there will be many more foreclosures coming up, as more and more American families are forced to either walk away from their upside-down mortgages or are driven into the streets by the banksters for falling too far behind on their mortgage payments.   It is a national tragedy, but one that could have been avoided if Americans did not have such a near-religious faith in the capitalist system.

Marxists have always known, since the mid-1800s – and have always and everywhere warned those workers who would listen –  that capitalism will never be made to work in the interests of the working class.  We have warned people and warned them; but in America, where anti-communism is a national religion and the word “socialism” is treated as a curse word, our warnings have fallen on mostly deaf ears for almost 2 centuries now.   It is indeed tragic that it may take a terrible experience like this current world economic depression – not the first of its kind, by far! – and the immiseration of hundreds of millions of workers before the working class may once again give the socialists a fair hearing.  The human cost – forget about the economic cost!  These numbers can be extrapolated into a human cost of grief, impoverishment, stress; the breakup of families and even murders and suicides – the human cost of the working class’ continued allegiance to the capitalist system has, once again, proved to be extremely high.

It is to the eternal discredit of the revolutionary workers movement in the US that we have not been able to win the working people to our banners in time to save them from this economic disaster.

McHenry County        Oct-Dec. 2010                                         Oct-Dec 2011

Municipality                 Units                 Median                            Units                     Median

Algonquin                       37                    $225,000                           58                      $191,500

Cary                                   28                    $183,000                           46                      $161,000

Crystal Lake                   99                     $188, 000                          98                     $161,500

Fox River Grove           8                       $217,250                           8                        $211,000

Harvard                           23                     $123,000                           16                      $105,000

Huntley                            55                     $218,000                           74                     $204,000

Lake In The Hills          45                      $175,000                          78                     $158,500

Marengo                          24                      $183,500                           20                     $118,750

McHenry                         83                      $168,000                           97                     $134,000

Woodstock                     44                       $150,500                          68                      $141,500

Kendall County            Oct-Dec. 2010                                         Oct-Dec 2011

Municipality                 Units                 Median                            Units                     Median

Aurora                              14                   $208,250                          15                          $184,000

Joliet                                 17                   $182,000                          21                          $164,000

Minooka                           8                      $174,500                          5                            $157,000

Montgomery                  46                    $179,500                         66                          $145,000

Oswego                             95                     $211,000                         121                        $225,000

Plainfield                          23                    $195,000                         29                          $190,000

Plano                                  29                    $132,500                         30                          $117,500

Yorkville                           61                    $198,000                         83                          $194,500

Kane County                 Oct-Dec. 2010                                         Oct-Dec 2011

Municipality                 Units                 Median                            Units                     Median

Batavia                            48                      $237,250                       77                          $225,000

Carpentersville            74                      $141,000                       67                          $112,500

Elgin                                 173                    $185,000                       225                       $172,000

Geneva                            77                      $325,000                       74                         $300,000

Gilberts                           26                       $217,500                       25                         $182,000

Hampshire                     21                       $200,000                      18                          $237,500

Montgomery                 18                       $132,500                       21                          $160,000

Saint Charles                 110                     $282,500                       129                       $229,000

Sugar Grove                   21                       $269,000                       26                         $185,750

West Dundee                  12                       $239,750                       10                         $218,750

[Source: Chicago Tribune, “Price Pulse: October through December 2011”, 13 July, 2012, based on data compiled from public records by Record Information Services]