The people of Puerto Rico are fighting back

first_imgTo the conference title, “Putting Revolutionary Socialism on the Table,” I add, “at the time of capitalism at a dead end.” We need a serious and deep discussion on how to defeat capitalism. Not with reforms, not with patches; we need structural change.Editor of Mundo Obrero Berta Joubert-CeciWe need socialism!Fidel once said that as long as imperialism is standing, racism will not end. Imperialism nurtures racism, profits from it and from all the differences that it can use to divide the working class so the workers don’t unite and fight against the capitalists.For several years I have been reporting on the turn to the left in Latin America. But I want to raise the difficulties confronted by the progressive movements and governments there, because many of those difficulties arise from U.S. imperialism. The great achievements won in the region are too much for imperialism to bear!The U.S. has intensified its intervention in the region, aligned with the reactionary right wing of many of those countries. Capitalism in its final dead-end phase is trying to turn back the forward march.The capitalist crisis is global, but so also is the struggle. There are two camps worldwide: The capitalists together with those who serve them, and the masses fighting it.But I want to focus on Puerto Rico, a country that for a long time was not even considered Latin American, and has been in the news because of its immense $73 billion debt.Puerto Rico is the perfect example of the virulence of capitalism in its final dead-end stage.Puerto Rico: U.S. colonyPuerto Rico is a colony of the U.S. It has no sovereignty. Foreign capital owns everything, decides everything. The island’s government is just a figurehead; Wall Street and the Pentagon, through the U.S. Congress, are the real rulers.Puerto Rico has been a laboratory for U.S. practices since the U.S. invaded it in 1898. Erasing our history and our heroes; trying to suppress our language and our flag; using us for pharmaceutical experiments; sterilizing our women; using our land to test toxic weapons and to practice for military interventions in other countries; targeting, killing and imprisoning the independence movement; etc. — a long et cetera.One of the most criminal practices has been economic destruction. It has left Puerto Rico in a deep depression. All the measures to deal with the current crisis are to benefit the bondholders in Wall Street, many of them “fondos buitres” — vulture funds.The Puerto Rican government squeezes the workers and the poor to pay bondholders. While the people are getting increasingly poorer, laws have been implemented to give a free ride to billionaires from the U.S. — by exempting taxes from their profits made in Puerto Rico!The Puerto Rican people receive increased taxes and higher costs of utilities, gasoline and medicines. Medicare, which is deducted from wages at the same rate as here, provides only almost half of the benefit. And while Medicare benefits will be raised in the U.S., in Puerto Rico they will be lowered even more — by 11 percent.Puerto Rico’s government is paying millions to U.S. firms to “solve” the crisis. Economists from the International Monetary Fund have produced a report that the government is now trying to impose. It includes privatization of education, electricity, water and sewage, and roads; cuts in wages; an increase in university tuition; etc.But the people in Puerto Rico are fighting back. They are holding people’s assemblies about the consequences of the government’s reforms. There is a call for a general strike that we should support in any way possible here.Viva Puerto Rico Libre! U.S./Wall Street out of Puerto Rico! Free Oscar López Rivera now!FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

On “Jobs that Pay” Tour Stops, Governor Wolf Calls on Harrisburg Lawmakers to Pass Minimum Wage Legislation

first_img Government That Works,  Jobs That Pay,  Minimum Wage,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Yesterday, as part of his “Jobs That Pay” initiative, Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order that ensures employees under the governor’s jurisdiction will be paid no less than $10.15 an hour. Governor Tom Wolf is now calling upon Pennsylvania legislators to pass a minimum wage increase for all Pennsylvania workers. The increase would benefit more than 1.2 million Pennsylvania workers, many of whom are adults with families.“I am calling on the Pennsylvania House and Senate to pass legislation that increases the minimum wage in Pennsylvania,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “A minimum wage increase to $10.15 per hour supports local businesses, creates new jobs, and would boost state revenue by roughly $60 million annually.”In Delaware County, Governor Wolf visited MOM’s Organic Market, a locally owned and operated company founded in 1987. They sell 100% organic produce and pride themselves on carrying the area’s highest quality produce every day.In April 2014 MOM’s Organic Market raised their minimum wage, from $10.00 to $11.00 per hour.  Gordon Scoff, the general manager of the Bryn Mawr MOM’s, said that they viewed raising the minimum wage as an investment into their most valuable assets, their people.  Since they raised the minimum wage, they have seen increased productivity, increased employee retention, and an improved culture. Finally, Mom’s Organic Market is also as profitable as ever.Following his tour stop at MOM’s, Governor Wolf stopped at Trolley Car Diner on Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia. This deli and ice cream shoppe has been operating since 2000.“If the minimum wage is increased across the board, all restaurants in our area will be on the same level playing field,” said Ken Weinstein, the owner of Trolley Car Diner. “By doing so, no one will have an unfair competitive advantage. It will be a win-win because all employees will have more spending power. Small businesses will be able to compete, grow, and keep both employees and customers.”# # #Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: SHARE Email Facebook Twitter March 08, 2016center_img On “Jobs that Pay” Tour Stops, Governor Wolf Calls on Harrisburg Lawmakers to Pass Minimum Wage Legislationlast_img read more