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The world battle against fascism

Robin Yeamans  |  Issue: May | June 2016
May Day 2016

Long Live May Day
May Day 2016. This year the workers are in the midst of the most challenging presidential elections in years. Due to the economic situation the workers expressed their anger and took to the streets to express their demands: Stop the deportations, $ 15 an hour, safe water, Black lives Matter and end to Puerto Rico’s debt.
PHOTOS: Adrian C. Garcia & Pedro A. Rivera

 

The global oligarchy is moving to enforce a stranglehold on the peoples of the world, as seen in the Trump presidential campaign and the financial disaster in Puerto Rico. The workers of the world are struggling to take the offensive in this battle.

Donald Trump steps forth as hangman of democracy. He began his campaign for US president by calling Mexicans rapists and attempting to degrade well known TV news reporter Jorge Ramos. Having him hauled out of a press conference was a serious fascist-type move and set the tone of the campaign. Trump moved on to encouraging spectators at his rallies to physically attack counter-demonstrators. When a Trump supporter was recorded sucker punching a young black man, the police abetted Trump by hauling out the victim instead of the attacker.

Trump not only represents the international capitalists but is himself part of that class. Indeed, he is the world’s most recognizable international capitalist. He is certainly not invincible as seen in his many bankruptcies, but he can be instrumental in the attack on democracy and political liberty, reshaping the US state to fit the needs of fascism in the new world economy.

At the same time the capitalist financial attack on the peoples of the world as exemplified by Puerto Rico, a US colony, has intensified. Puerto Rico has a $72 billion debt to international finance. In a period where untold wealth has accumulated in a few capitalist hands, a bill in Congress, HR 4900, proposes reducing the minimum wage in Puerto Rico from its present $7.25 an hour to $4.25. The attack on Puerto Rico echoes the “austerity” measures foisted on Greece and the US state of Michigan, where “emergency managers” have been appointed to wipe out any semblance of local democracy.

Control of the Greek economy in 2010 was seized by a decision group formed by the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to force down the Greek standard of living and turn over resources to international finance. In Michigan an “emergency financial manager” system of taking over cities, counties and schools has been in effect in one form or another for a decade. The global capitalists have now perfected this means of financial, anti-democratic attack.

Previously, bonds issued by Puerto Rico were triple tax-free—from federal, state, and local income taxes. Beginning in 1973, Puerto Rico began to issue bonds (which amount to government debt) to balance its budget. When Puerto Rico had enlarged its outstanding debt to $71 billion USD — an amount equal to 68% of Puerto Rico’s gross domestic product (GDP) —Puerto Rican bonds were downgraded to “junk status” by bond credit rating agencies in 2014. This downgrade triggered bond acceleration clauses that required Puerto Rico to repay certain debts within months rather than years.  This led to Puerto Rico’s current debt crisis, which the oligarchs falsely blame on “wild spending” by Puerto Rico. On August 3, 2015, Puerto Rico defaulted on a $58 million bond payment to the Public Financing Corporation, while other financial obligations were met, and further default looms.

At the same time, the workers and destitute people of the world are fighting for their right to necessities of life, including democracy, as exemplified in the Bernie Sanders US presidential campaign. What is important about that campaign is not so much the individual Sen. Sanders but the movement of which he is a part. Many thousands are attending his campaign rallies and funding him through small donations. Whether or not Sen. Sanders is the Democratic Party’s nominee, he has legitimized discussion of socialism and life-and-death issues of importance to the people. The battle is on.

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