Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio Interview with CT Gubernatorial Candidate Dan Drew

July 15, 2017

The Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio interview with Middletown Mayor and Connecticut gubernatorial candidate Dan Drew will air Tuesday, August 15 at 8:00 PM Eastern Time, 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Topics will include police accountability, the state budget crisis, single payer health care, workplace bullying and urban policy issues that are ignored by the corporate media.
http://sometroradio.com/

 

Resources

WFSB Face the State interview with Dan Drew.

http://www.wfsb.com/clip/13265780/middletown-mayor-looks-to-take-on-governors-role

Lumumba Interview Part 2 / Keep Hartford Libraries Open!/ Rep. Josh Elliott’s CT Budget Plan

July 13, 2017

by David Samuels

This column appears in the July 13 – 20 edition of the Hartford News.

 

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First, third and fifth Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! http://www.sometroradio.com/  Next show: July 18. Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/community-party-media-3/

Community Party Radio Podcasts

Visit No Sellout to listen to podcasts of past shows. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/podcast-community-party-radio-on-so-metro-radio/

 

Safe Work Environment Act Update

I continue to receive reports from Connecticut Valley Hospital employees about racism at CVH. Coming soon, an update on structural racism at the facility, and analysis of the Department of Administrative Services (DAS runs CVH) using their political influence to kill workers’ rights legislation in Connecticut.

 

Free the Land: An Interview with Jackson, Miss. Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba Part 2

Lumumba was sworn in July 3. Interview by Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go back to your father, Chokwe Lumumba. In June 2013, I interviewed him just after he was elected mayor.
MAYOR-ELECT CHOKWE LUMUMBA: There are some people historically who have always tried to separate the populations and to have a certain portion of the population oppress the rest of the population. We’re not going to tolerate that. We’re going to move ahead. We’re going to let everyone participate in this movement forward. We’re going to invite everyone to participate in this movement forward. And we have formed like a people’s assembly, that’s key to what we’ve done here, where we have—every three months, the population can come out and participate in an open forum to say what’s on their mind.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Chokwe Lumumba in 2013, when he was mayor-elect, in the very same studio that you, Mayor-elect Lumumba, are sitting in right now. In that speech we just played that you gave at the People’s Summit, where I first met you just a few weeks ago, in Chicago, you said, “We’re going to be the most radical city on the planet.” What does that look like?
MAYOR-ELECT CHOKWE ANTAR LUMUMBA: It looks like a plan where we, you know, change the way we view electoral politics. You know, in that speech, I spoke about not accepting someone’s agenda for our lives, but creating one ourselves. So, giving people more control of their governance is what that looks like. It’s an inclusive process. Sometimes when we use the word “radical,” people find themselves in fear and question whether they’re a part of that radical agenda. And that’s exactly our plan, is to incorporate more people, giving people voice who have not had it. That is a shift from what we’ve seen in traditional politics. It’s usually the lay of the land is given to those who are most privileged. And so, we’re trying to incorporate more people in the process, give voice to the voiceless.
And it starts with identifying, you know, the areas of greatest need. We need to show our workers, our city workers, and, you know, even the unionized work that we need—we need to show people dignity and respect in their jobs and also see the economic benefit of it. You know, Jackson is like many cities: It does not have a problem producing wealth; it has a problem maintaining wealth. And so, if you put more money in the people’s hands that live and work here, you stand a greater chance of receiving it back. And so we’re also going to look at practical solutions to our problems. It is about forming relationships. It is about operational unity and making certain that you can work with people who may historically find themselves on the opposite end of a struggle that you may be engaged in, such as the state, such as, you know, a Trump administration. And so you want to identify your common ends and see how you exploit those common goals in order to arrive at the solutions that benefit us all. But it’s also about how you take—make better use of the resources you have.

What we look at as—
AMY GOODMAN: Mayor-elect, I’m going to interrupt just because we only have a minute—
MAYOR-ELECT CHOKWE ANTAR LUMUMBA: Yes.
AMY GOODMAN: —and I want to ask, Jackson drew a lot of attention earlier this year, when Daniela Vargas, who is a 22-year-old undocumented immigrant, was arrested by ICE after she had just held a news conference. Her pending application for renewal of DACA status, it was pending. Is Jackson going to be a sanctuary city?
MAYOR-ELECT CHOKWE ANTAR LUMUMBA: Jackson is going to be a city which protects human rights for human beings. I don’t care whether your ancestors arrived on the Mayflower or whether you joined us more recently, you deserve the same protections and respect in this city. And so, I find—we find ourselves in interesting times, where the word “sanctuary” becomes a negative phrase. I’m proud of the work my father did in order to secure an anti-racial-profiling ordinance in the city, and we will continue to protect everyone who lives within our city, and make sure that they’re not harassed.
AMY GOODMAN: And the issue of police accountability? In the last weeks, we have seen two police officers acquitted or cases with mistrials around the killing of African-American motorists. Your thoughts?
MAYOR-ELECT CHOKWE ANTAR LUMUMBA: I think we have a criminal justice system in our country which is entirely out of hand. You know, it’s the largest business going. And the fact that we’ve made the criminal justice system into more of an industry, it provides or creates a culture that allows for people to be harassed, killed and shuffled in like cattle.
AMY GOODMAN: We have 10 seconds.
MAYOR-ELECT CHOKWE ANTAR LUMUMBA: And so, that encourages an environment of police brutality. And so, what we want to do is be ahead of the curve in the city of Jackson.
Keep Hartford Public Library Mark Twain and Blue Hills Ave Branch from Closing

Petition by Jasmine Wilson

“Bridget Quinn-Carey ex Chief Operating Officer of the New York Queens Burough Public Library now CEO of Hartford Public Library, has made a budget cut totaling around $1.25 million resulting in the closing of the Mark Twain Branch, The Blue Hills Branch, and the Camp Field Branch. However, the 2017 budget for Hartford Public Library is $10.6 million. In 2015 they had a budget of $8 million and had much more staff and branches running perfectly fine. Why close access to a vital community asset if its affordable? These branches are essential for the citizens of Hartford who don’t have access to these resources at home. They are dangerously vital as it allows many citizens to apply to jobs and for youth to participate in after school programs. “Thousands of Hartford children and their families will lose reading programs, homework help and free computer time,” the library posted in a plea for help on its Facebook page. Read more here.
https://www.change.org/p/keep-hartford-public-library-mark-twain-and-blue-hills-ave-branch-from-closing

This petition will be delivered to:
Mayor of Hartford
Luke Bronin

 

Rep. Josh Ellliott’s State Budget Plan

“Earlier in the year a little group of progressive legislators met to discuss what we wanted in a budget. We were never able to come to any sort of agreement, but at one point we were able to get over 45 house democrats to sign onto a document asking for revenue for the sake of investing in our future, whether that’s education, infrastructure, or help for small business.
But there are still some in the caucus who want us to close the $2.3BB all in cuts. That’s just dangerous. So, what would I do? The following:
A Statewide Property Tax:
Each statewide mil would bring in $300MM in revenue. We set a statewide mil rate to cover the baseline cost of education in every district. Then, the municipality can add additional mils to cover all other expenses.
Income tax on top earners
Top income earners pay a 6.99% tax rate, compared to NY and NJ where that rate is close to 9%. After the 2008 market crash the wealthy have completely rebounded and then some – the middle class has stagnated, and the poor are making less than they did before the crash.
We are the richest state per capita in the US. We can ask our wealthy to pay more. Each half percent on our millionaires will net us $200MM. I would propose a 2% increase, akin to what New York did nearly a decade ago – which brought in an additional $3.5BB a year for them. This would be about $800MM for CT.
Eliminating sales tax exemptions
Nearly $7BB in services is untaxed, even though they ought to be. Attorneys, engineers, architects, the list of exemptions goes on. We should be applying the sales tax to all services. We could then lower the sales tax to 5.35% and bring in an additional $700MM.
Large Employer Fee
Large companies come to the state, underpay their workers, suck up the profit, and leave the state to take care of their employees. Then people get to call them lazy for relying on the state. Sound fair? It’s not.
Asking companies with 500 employees or more to cover the cost to the state for underpaying their workers would bring in $300MM.
Marijuana
States nearby are beginning the process of legalization and will get a huge boost to their economy as the first entrants to the market. The market exists, and we are just missing out on anywhere between $50MM to $150MM a year. Plus there are the side benefits of increased youth, tourism, and new business.
Tolls
We were one vote away from getting tolls passed this year. This won’t have a budgetary effect this year, but will bring in billions of dollars over the next decade – and not all of it from residents.
And here is where we should be investing:
Universal Broadband
Build it and they will come – except big telecom companies are saying that there is no demand. They also pay heavily in to the Democratic Governor’s Association, which Malloy is the chairman of. This means that as long as Malloy is our Governor, we will not get universal broadband.
Want youth? Want information technology research? Want entrepreneurs? Want equalized access to education and information? Then we need universal broadband that is affordable, at least a gig of upload and download, and accessible to everyone.
Let’s sink $250MM into this and get the ball rolling. What if we could become the Silicon Valley of the East Coast?
State owned bank for small business liquidity and start up loans
The only reason I was able to open my business was because I’m a second-generation business owner. Without the access to easy capital and assets, I never would have been able to open my business. Ever. Not everyone is in the position. Banks do not lend to start ups – they are too risky.
That’s exactly why government is precisely the right entity to be a lender for new and small business. One place CT is really suffering is new business and high growth business. We need to provide entrepreneurs with an avenue for capital. If they succeed, we all succeed.
Let’s set aside $250MM for a state owned bank that collects deposits, but more importantly, provides loans and liquidity to CT businesses. We could get shares of start-ups, and charge low interest rates while businesses get up and running.”

Rep. Elliott’s complete budget proposal and info on how you can get involved is available on his Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/staterepjoshelliott/videos/?ref=page_internal

 

Resources

The Connecticut Economy, the State Budget, and the State of Our Children

 

Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. https://www.facebook.com/david.samuels.948 Listen to So-Metro Radio the first, third and fifth Tuesday of each month at 8:00 PM for commentary on urban issues http://www.sometroradio.com/  Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/). Contact us at samuelssloflo@aol.com.

 

 

 

Free the Land: An Interview with Jackson, MS Mayor Chokwe Lumumba

July 6, 2017

by David Samuels

This column appears in the July 6 – 13 edition of the Hartford News.

 

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First, third and fifth Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! http://www.sometroradio.com/  Next show: July 18. Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/community-party-media-3/

Community Party Radio Podcasts

Visit No Sellout to listen to podcasts of past shows. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/podcast-community-party-radio-on-so-metro-radio/

 

Community Update

Get Global Network podcast. American News Network Summary Judgement hosts Rachel Baird and Ed Peruta expose the newly formed Hartford Civilian Police Review Board, led by police apologist Hyacinth Yennie, who was appointed by Mayor Luke Bronin.

Coming soon, we’ll have a report on racism at Connecticut Valley Hospital.

 

This week we’ll share Part 1 of a Democracy Now! interview with Jackson, Mississippi mayor Chokwe Lumumba, who was sworn in July 3. The Community Party will provide updates on the Lumumba administration, which will be a model for Black America.

 

Jackson, Miss. Mayor-elect Chokwe Lumumba: I Plan to Build the “Most Radical City on the Planet”
June 26, 2017

We end the show today in Jackson, Mississippi, where just one week from today social justice activist and attorney Chokwe Lumumba will be sworn is as the city’s next mayor. He has vowed to make Jackson the “most radical city on the planet.” He is the son of the city’s former mayor, the late Chokwe Lumumba, who was once dubbed “America’s most revolutionary mayor.” We air the mayor-elect’s speech at the People’s Summit and speak to him in Jackson about his plans for the city and his father’s legacy.

Earlier this month, Lumumba won the general election in a landslide, after handily winning a primary election in May. This is Chokwe Antar Lumumba celebrating his general election victory with supporters.
MAYOR-ELECT CHOKWE ANTAR LUMUMBA: Free the land!
SUPPORTERS: Free the land!
MAYOR-ELECT CHOKWE ANTAR LUMUMBA: Free the land!
SUPPORTERS: Free the land!
MAYOR-ELECT CHOKWE ANTAR LUMUMBA: Free the land!
SUPPORTERS: Free the land!
MAYOR-ELECT CHOKWE ANTAR LUMUMBA: By any means necessary. I need you to stand strong as we go forward. There are people who doubt your resolve, doubt that this city can be everything that it will be. And so, you can’t give up now. I say, when I become mayor, you become mayor. So that means y’all got some work to do.
AMY GOODMAN: Chokwe Lumumba is the son of the late Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, a longtime black nationalist organizer and attorney, dubbed “America’s most revolutionary mayor” before his death in 2014. The 34-year-old Chokwe Antar Lumumba supports economic democracy, and has proposed a civic incubator fund to support cooperative, member-owned businesses in Jackson. Shortly after his election, Lumumba was a featured speaker, just a few weeks ago, at the People’s Summit in Chicago.
MAYOR-ELECT CHOKWE ANTAR LUMUMBA: I bring greetings from Jackson, Mississippi, where I have recently been named mayor-elect of Jackson, Mississippi. In this process, we defeated a field of 16 people. We were able to secure the general election with 94 percent of the vote. And more important than that, we did so on a people’s platform, on a people’s platform where, from the moment we announced, we did so saying that we were running on an agenda of social justice, of economic democracy and—and working with people, making certain that people had a voice. And that’s our story, and we’re sticking to it.
As we look at the condition of our country, as we consider the fact that we’re in Trump times, we have all kinds of questions of what that means. And when I’ve been confronted with the question of “How do you feel in Jackson, Mississippi, after the Trump election?” what I had to share with people is, after—the Wednesday after the election, I woke up in Jackson, Mississippi. And what that means is, no matter whether our country has experienced great booms or busts, in Mississippi we’ve always been at the bottom. And so what that means is that we have to decide that we are going to rescue ourselves, that in places like Jackson, Mississippi, we won’t allow it to become havens of oppression which endanger all of us.
So what happens in Jackson, Mississippi, impacts each and every one of us. And so we have to make the decision that we’re going to start controlling the way electoral politics proceeds. And so we’ve made the decision that we’re going to be the most radical city on the planet, that we’re going to make certain—that we’re going to make certain that we change the whole scope of electoral politics. No longer will we allow an individual to step before us and tell us all of the great things that they’re going to accomplish on our behalf, only to find that nothing in their past demonstrates a sincerity, a willingness or an ability to do so. What we must do—what we must do in Jackson, Mississippi, in D.C., in Maryland, in Gary, Indiana, in Chicago, Illinois, is we have to start drafting an agenda for ourselves, creating an agenda, creating what we want to see, and then we draft the leadership which represents our agenda.
And so, we’re excited about this energy which is surfacing, but it is time that we concretize it, that we take it from the mystical, from the mysterious, and put it into action and see what we can demonstrate when progressive people come together and have a plan and decide how we’re going to change the very scope of this world.
And so, we have to come to the same understanding that Martin Luther King came to in his last days. Martin had a conversation with Harry Belafonte not long before he died. And what Martin told Harry, he said, “Listen, Harry, we’re going to win this integration struggle. But I’m beginning to wonder. I’m beginning to wonder if we’re not integrating into a burning house.” He said, “I see a system which is abusing labor and abusing working people.” And he said, “I’m worried about integrating into a house that looks like that.” He said, “If people can’t be fed, if people can’t take care of their families, then it is useless to walk Mississippi roads together.”
And so, ultimately, it becomes greater than a question of color and more a question of ideas and what are the best ideas and what are the worst ideas. And what the worst ideas are, is that you can be oppressive to anyone. And so, we now demand—we now demand that our leadership looks at how we include the people’s voice in the process, and that we have a—we have two choices. We have a choice of economics by the people and for the people or economics by a few people for themselves. And so, we’re demanding, right now, right now, that we begin to rescue ourselves. Right now, as my comrade said, we have nothing to lose but our chains. Thank you so much.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Jackson, Mississippi, Mayor-elect Chokwe Antar Lumumba speaking earlier this month at the People’s Summit in Chicago. Well, he joins us now live from Jackson, Mississippi.
Mayor-elect Lumumba, welcome to Democracy Now!
MAYOR-ELECT CHOKWE ANTAR LUMUMBA: Thank you so much, Amy. I’m happy to be on your program with you today.
AMY GOODMAN: So, one week from today, you’re going to be sworn in as the next mayor of Jackson, Mississippi. Talk about your plans, what are your—going to be your first actions in office.
MAYOR-ELECT CHOKWE ANTAR LUMUMBA: Well, Amy, we’re putting together—we have a transition team that’s in place right now and looking at the issues which Jackson is facing, making certain that we don’t make plans just off conjecture, but a fact-based analysis of where we find our city, and bringing together not only people who have the acumen and ability and skill to do the job, but people who have a passion, a passion which goes beyond just the way we see electoral politics, but a passion to change people’s lives. And part of that process is putting together a budget. Shortly after we take office, we have to pass a budget. And so, it’s important that we have the right people in place.
One of the symbolic measures that we’re going to take immediately as we take office is a citywide cleanup. It’s more than just, you know, taking care of the aesthetic appeal of our city. It’s about unifying the city. It’s about bringing people from all areas of the city together and taking a collective interest in how our city looks. You know, I hearken back to the words of my mother: “If you don’t care for your house, no one else will.” And so, we’re going to take those easy first steps, that is symbolic of where we’re going and the direction we’re headed in collectively.
AMY GOODMAN: You referred your mother. Can you talk about the origins of your name, Chokwe, Chokwe Antar Lumumba?
MAYOR-ELECT CHOKWE ANTAR LUMUMBA: Amy, I couldn’t hear you. My earpiece slipped out for a moment.
AMY GOODMAN: Oh. Can you talk about the—
MAYOR-ELECT CHOKWE ANTAR LUMUMBA: Can you please repeat that question?
AMY GOODMAN: —the origins of your name, Chokwe Antar Lumumba?
MAYOR-ELECT CHOKWE ANTAR LUMUMBA: So, my father changed his name when he was in law school, and accepted a name that he believed to be more culturally identifiable. Chokwe is the name of a tribe in the Angola region, a tribe that was resistant to the slave trade. The name Chokwe means “hunter.” Antar is the name of a historic poet and warrior who died while saving a woman from drowning. And Antar means “poet” and “warrior.” Lumumba, given that name from our namesake, Patrice Lumumba, the former prime minister of the Congo. And Lumumba means “gifted.”
AMY GOODMAN: And can you talk about—I mean, your rise to the—to becoming mayor of Jackson is very interesting, because the incumbent mayor, Tony Yarber, won the special election against you in 2014, the race that determined who would finish your father’s term after he died in office. Your thoughts about losing to him then but defeating him in this race? What changed?
MAYOR-ELECT CHOKWE ANTAR LUMUMBA: Well, you know, as I’ve shared with many people, hindsight is 20/20. And I’m actually grateful that we lost the election in 2014, not because the sincerity was not there, not because we don’t believe we could have done a good job, but we’ve been able to, you know, appreciate far more that’s going on with the city of Jackson, and I’ve been able to appreciate more within myself. You know, people have to remember, in 2014, not only did I bury my father in a two-month time span and then enter into an election, my wife was pregnant with our first child. And so there was a world of change. You had a first-time candidate, who had not run for junior class president, much less mayor of a city. And so, we’ve been able to, you know, gather more information and position ourselves better. And so everything happens in a perfect timing. And so, we’re happy where we find ourselves at this time, to move forward the agenda that my father embarked on, an agenda of a people’s platform, one that was not only, you know, symbolic of his work in his short term as mayor, but symbolic of his work, a lifetime of work, that he subscribed to and also ultimately dedicated his family toward.
Next week: Part 2

Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. https://www.facebook.com/david.samuels.948 Listen to So-Metro Radio the first, third and fifth Tuesday of each month at 8:00 PM for commentary on urban issues http://www.sometroradio.com/ ; Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/). Contact us at samuelssloflo@aol.com.

 

 

 

Johnny Eric Williams, Racism, Selective Outrage & the Democrats                                      

June 29, 2017

by David Samuels

This column appears in the June 29 – July 6 edition of the Hartford News.

 

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First, third and fifth Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! http://www.sometroradio.com/  Next show: June 20. Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party
Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/community-party-media-3/

Community Party Radio Podcasts

Visit No Sellout to listen to podcasts of past shows. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/podcast-community-party-radio-on-so-metro-radio/

 

Safe Work Environment Act

Stay tuned in the  coming months for updates on the Community Party’s workplace bullying legislation, coming in 2018.

 

Policy Watch

The System isn’t Broken

June 16, a judge found a woman guilty of killing a white male with texts and a phone call. Later a jury found a cop not guilty of killing Philando Castile with bullets. In my opinion, the ruling class wants to seal off peaceful means of police reform, because they want to provoke a street war between people of color and the police. If cops are killed, this can be used to argue for militarization, repression of urban neighborhoods, racial profiling, and harsher sentencing guidelines.

“The system continues to fail black people,” Valerie Castile, Philando’s mother, said after the acquittal of Jeronimo Yanez,  the Minnesota police officer who fatally shot her son. “And it will continue to fail you all.” Respectfully I must disagree with Ms. Castile. The system is designed to oppress people of color, so it’s working EXACTLY the way it’s supposed to. The rulers don’t give a damn about protests; that should be clear at this point. What they do fear is the system being dismantled, which requires radical policy change.

I recently watched a CNN segment titled Delivering ‘Law and Order’ to Inner Cities?” Predictably, the piece aired after coverage of protests in Minnesota, following the Philando Castile verdict. Gun violence in Baltimore was the focus. There was a lot of talk about more police, and harsher drug sentences. The brief mention about the need for jobs was made by Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, a Democrat who vetoed a city council ordinance raising the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour; Pugh ran on a campaign platform that included raising the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour.

Too much talking. That’s my reaction to Trinity College professor Johnny Williams endorsing a blog post, which tells Black people to be indifferent to the suffering of white bigots. I read the post. My response is that everything happens or doesn’t happen in this country because of policy. Two white cops gunned down Charleena Lyles, a pregnant Black mother of three children, because the current system protects killer cops.

I do policy work. Been doing it for 13 years. I don’t have time for esoteric debates about what I should do if I see a bigot drowning. I know the chances of that happening today are next to zero. There’s a much higher chance of me being pulled over by a cop, who will feel like they can put a hole in me because POLICY will protect him or her. My message to Williams and his supporters is that if they want to actually do something about structural racism, they need to step to the Connecticut Democrats, who prop up the system that protects dirty cops, while police officers who speak up about racism, brutality and corruption are run off the force. Democratic urban legislators didn’t make a peep about police accountability during the 2017 legislative session, until 15-year-old Jayson Negron was fatally shot last month by Bridgeport police officer James Boulay. After the shooting a press conference was hastily called to bring attention to Rep. Robyn Porter’s bill, which doesn’t come close to addressing police repression of communities of color. Prior to the shooting, all the Community Party got from House Majority Leader Matt Ritter and Sen. Gary Winfield was a shrug, when we complained about the lack of support for our two police accountability bills. Some Black folks want to fixate only on Republican congressman Steve Scalise, the primary target in the Virginia mass shooting, who is known for his racism and homophobia. What about urban legislators in Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport who are in a position to change POLICY, and are doing nothing to dismantle the current system? Confederate flags and statues are rightfully a focus of outrage, but what about the other monuments to slavery?

 

Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport annually have the highest poverty rates in the country. The unemployment rate for young Black males in some areas of Hartford is as high as 50%, while the overall jobless rate for Blacks are at Depression era levels. Blacks earn 60 cents for every dollar whites make, and possess 12 cents of net wealth for every dollar whites have. We have talked to urban legislators about the draconian cash assistance program in Connecticut, which perpetuates the cycle of poverty in urban neighborhoods. The response we got was lip service. There is police accountability and economic justice legislation at the State Capitol every year. Bills that could really change things. The outrage aimed at Republicans like Scalise and white supremacists should also be directed at the Democrats, who control predominantly Black cities that are engulfed by poverty and gun violence. Conversations about racism must include the fact that the Democrats and Republicans deprive communities of color of jobs and resources. Instead of huffing and puffing on social media, get engaged in the political process.

 

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s domestic policy platform included a Green New Deal (identical to CP’s urban policy plan): a federal jobs program modeled after Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. The New Deal provided over 8 million jobs at the height of the Depression, as people were trained and hired to work on infrastructure projects. Another New Deal program, targeting communities with the highest poverty and unemployment rates, is part of the prescription for economic justice in this nation. Dr. Stein’s platform also included universal health care, free college,  abolishing student loan debt, slashing the bloated military budget (54% of the federal budget) and independent investigators based in communities of color, to probe police brutality cases. How many Black folks who have involved themselves in the Williams flap voted for Dr. Stein? Hillary Clinton, a racist, neoliberal warmonger, who enthusiastically supported Bill Clinton’s racist crime and so-called welfare bills, which have fueled Black mass incarceration and poverty respectively, won Connecticut and the vast majority of the Black vote in this state. THIS IS MADNESS.

 

Dr. Stein dismantled the Democratic Party propaganda about her costing Hillary the presidential election, during her appearance Saturday on CNN’s Smerconish show. Stein pointed out that the picture of her seated at a table with Vladmir Putin (that liberals have pasted to their foreheads) during a conference in Moscow surfaced long AFTER the election, as the Democrats looked for anyone to blame for the loss of a candidate who like Donald Trump, had historically high negative ratings.

 

Dr. Stein reminded viewers that like her presidential campaign, her appearance at the conference with Putin was totally ignored by the U.S. media, because of her message. Dr. Stein spoke against militarism by the U.S. and Russia, touting her peace offensive plan that included a joint U.S. / Russia weapons embargo (including the allies of both nations), and freezing the bank accounts of countries that sponsor terrorism.

 

When Smerconish tossed out Stein’s vote totals in battleground states that Hillary lost, Dr. Stein countered with exit poll and research data. The numbers show that if Stein had not been on the ballot in battleground states, 61% of Green Party voters would have stayed home rather than vote for Hillary or Trump, and that one-third of the Greens who would have voted would have supported Trump. Dr. Stein added that 45% of registered voters did not support Hillary or Trump.  Finally Dr. Stein said that the Democrats can’t blame her for their loss of 1,100 legislative seats in the past 10 years, two-thirds of governors, or the special election this week in Georgia.

The Democrats would rather lose, than go to the left. Failed Georgia congressional candidate John Ossoff was a typical neoliberal, corporate funded, privatization Democrat. He lost. SURPRISE! Look around the country; the candidates who are winning are progressives like Chokwe Antar Lumumba, who won the mayoral election in Jackson, Mississippi. However the Democrats will keep rolling out neoliberal candidates, because they don’t want to upset their corporate donors. The Democrats’ approach to fielding candidates is like Kentucky Fried Chicken deciding to change their menu to hot dogs.

Black Agenda Report commentator Bruce Dixon broke down the problem with Ossoff prior to the election. “Jon Ossoff is running for the seat vacated by Tom Price, the nutcase anti-abortion doctor who is now Secretary of Health and Human Services. Osoff is endorsed by David Perez the new chair of the Democratic national Committee, and Congressman John Lewis, who has been coasting on his lifetime civil rights hero pass for two generations now. He is also embraced by a host of pro-privatization Democrats like Atlanta’s Stacey Abrams.
This is one of those political moments where there are bright lines which distinguish friends from foes. The American people have always wanted real healthcare for everyone and the only practical way to get that is to simply lower the Medicare age down to zero. Those who say it cannot be done or should not be tried are on one side and the rest of us are on the other. That is a bright line and Democratic party leaders have placed themselves on the wrong side.
The question of war and global empire is another bright line. Ossoff touts his top secret security clearance obtained by working on Capitol Hill as a national security staffer. But so far, in the tradition of warmongering corporate Democrats he has little or nothing to say about President Donald Trump’s one-upping the warlike Democrats with his ten percent hike in the military budget, and when he does have something to say it will be about Russia. This is the kind of Democrat that gets a DNC endorsement and millions of dollars from the likes of Tom Perez, and the endorsement of John Lewis, again on the wrong side of another bright line.
We haven’t heard from Ossoff on school privatization, raising the minimum wage or championing the right to organize unions and strike, but apparently those too are outside and beyond the pale of respectable Democrats, and many Berniecrats as well. These constitute still another bright line.
Jon Ossoff is another corporate Democrat, peddling a politics that deems an end to unjust wars unspeakable, Medicare for All impractical, and places cooperation with Republicans above standing for his own constituents and on the left side of history.”

BAR commentators slammed the People’s Summit, an annual conference of Bernie Sanders supporters that took place a couple weeks ago in Chicago,  for avoiding any mention of the U.S. war machine. I  listened to Sanders’ People’s Summit speech; while he talked about President Trump’s budget proposal including tax cuts for the rich and slashing funding for human services, Sanders said nothing about Trump proposing a historic $54 billion increase to a war budget that is already 54% of the total federal budget, or the U.S. bombing seven predominantly Muslim countries. You can’t talk about economic justice without mentioning the military industrial complex.

 

The Democrats at their core cannot be reformed. Independent grassroots political action is essential to dismantling a system that is at work every day, grinding up people of color.

Resources

Community Party urban policy paper: https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/10/25/sandra-bland-police-reform-economic-justice-plan-4/

Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. https://www.facebook.com/david.samuels.948 Listen to So-Metro Radio the first, third and fifth Tuesday of each month at 8:00 PM for commentary on urban issues http://www.sometroradio.com/  Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/). Contact us at samuelssloflo@aol.com.

 

 

 

City of Hartford Employees, Bankruptcy is Extortion!

June 23, 2017

by David Samuels

This column appears in the June 22 – 29 edition of the Hartford News.

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First, third and fifth Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! http://www.sometroradio.com/   Next show: July 4. Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party
Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/community-party-media-3/

 

Community Party Radio Podcasts

Visit No Sellout to listen to podcasts of past shows. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/podcast-community-party-radio-on-so-metro-radio/

 

Policy Watch

 

The Hartford Bankruptcy Hustle

 

House Majority Leader Matt Ritter talked about City of Hartford employees rejecting a concessions deal, during a May Hartford Courant podcast.
Ritter made it clear that bankruptcy is a possibility if municipal workers don’t agree to wage / benefits cuts. The public sector is the largest employer of Black people and women. I worked with Ritter since he was on the city council. The gulf between our policy positions has grown to the point where collaboration is no longer possible. We need a grassroots, independent political movement to fight back against the neoliberal attack on public sector workers. Ritter fully supports the Democrats’ neoliberal agenda. He must be held accountable.

Saqib Bhatti, director of the ReFund America Project, talked to The Real News Network producer Jaisal Noor about how the threat of bankruptcy is used to scare public sector workers into accepting austerity measures, when reforming a regressive tax system, especially corporate tax subsidies, could fund vital city services.
*****

Why Chicago Won’t Go Bankrupt and Detroit Didn’t Have To

 

JAISAL NOOR, PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Jaisal Noor in Baltimore.

Detroit’s 2013 bankruptcy, the largest of its kind in history, was not inevitable, and neither is Chicago’s, but the austerity haws don’t want you to know that. That’s according to a new piece by Saqib Bhatti in In These Times. He’s now joining us. He’s a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and director of the ReFund America project.  Thanks so much for joining us.

SAQIB BHATTI, DIRECTOR, REFUND AMERICA PROJECT: Thank you.
NOOR: So conventional wisdom dictates that Detroit had to go bankrupt because of its bloated public pensions. You have a different take on this, and the road that Detroit took to address its bankruptcy. And what the lessons are for the rest of the country, including cities like Chicago.
BHATTI: Right. No, there is this narrative out there that Detroit went bankrupt, the bankruptcy was inevitable because of the city’s pensions. And in fact, to emerge from bankruptcy the city did end up cutting pensions for its retirees.
But the thing that people don’t realize is that Detroit didn’t cut pensions to get out of bankruptcy. Detroit filed bankruptcy so they could cut pensions. The reality is that there was a broader political agenda, and cutting pensions was really high on that list. And bankruptcy was the means that they used to accomplish that goal. There was nothing about the Detroit bankruptcy that was inevitable. It was a political decision made by state officials in conjunction with the emergency manager of the city to really push the city into bankruptcy so they could get around constitutional, state constitutional prohibitions against slashing pensions.
NOOR: And in your story you mentioned how many other cities have been compared to the, what could be the next Detroit, including cities like Baltimore, but commentators say that state law would prevent that from happening. But that was also the case in Detroit. Is that correct?
BHATTI: Right. Detroit–I mean, Michigan state law now permits municipalities to file bankruptcy. Currently there is 26 states that do not allow it. So cities file bankruptcy under Chapter 9 of the U.S. bankruptcy code. But under Chapter 9 the filing actually has to be authorized by the state. And so currently there’s 26 states that do not authorize it. A thing that’s interesting, given people talk about the next Detroit, they seem to completely disregard that fact.
So one city that’s often mentioned as the next Detroit is Chicago. Well, in Chicago–in Illinois, Illinois does not allow municipalities to file bankruptcy. There is a bill before the legislature right now to try to change that, but that bill is not passing. It’s not, it’s basically dead on arrival.
The other thing that’s interesting is we’ve also seen people talk about states going bankrupt. And that’s another thing that’s just not possible. The bankruptcy code, federal law does not allow states to go bankrupt, period.
And so what we’re seeing in a lot of places is this talk of bankruptcy is basically part of a political agenda to really scare people into accepting draconian cuts and austerity agenda. And the idea is that if you sort of scare people enough and say, look what happened to Detroit. You don’t want that to happen to your city, you can force them to accept painful cuts. You can really move a radically regressive agenda just by scaring people, even though bankruptcy is typically not even on the table.
NOOR: And so talk about what the alternatives to this could be, because you know, one of the things you propose is raising taxes, but critics would say taxes are high enough, and if you raise taxes you’re just going to drive away businesses and you’re only going to further hurt the economy.
BHATTI: Right. And the issue is not raising any taxes. It’s raising progressive taxes, right. So one of the key things that we have right now in a lot of places is that cities rely on, for most of their funding, from property taxes. And property taxes can be done in a progressive way, but typically they’re not. And so it really is how do we actually figure out how to change that?
So in Illinois for instance, Illinois has the fifth most regressive tax system in the country. Two-thirds of corporations pay no income taxes at all. So we should be figuring out how we’re actually, flipping that on its head, and creating a fair tax system that allows us to properly fund services while also sort of meeting our obligations to work with retirees and everyone else. Because of course at the end of the day, funding workers who provide the services is part of funding the services.
And we saw this in Los Angeles, that after the financial crash the city’s budget took a steep hit and they laid off 5,000 workers. Well, those 5,000 workers provide a lot of services. And the thing that sort of happened since 2008 is that all sorts of service provision have gone down. And so we’re often, what the right and sort of Republicans, conservative Democrats often try to do is say that well, you had–if you raise taxes to, you’re doing that on the backs of people who are trying to get service–they’re trying to pit service recipients against service providers. And the correct solution is that we need proper funding for services, period. And proper funding for services means you got to fund the workers as well as the actual delivery of the service, and that’s how you actually [underplay] the good, healthy economy.
The other thing that’s important to note is when we talk about, you know, helping the economy, if you eliminate–if you sort of slash pensions down drastically, that actually has a huge negative impact on the economy. Some of the best jobs in cities, particularly in cities with, that are predominantly or majority minority, are often public sector jobs. And if you’re actually slashing pensions or going after the public sector, that’s going to have a huge impact on the broader economy of the city.
NOOR: And so how do we change this conversation? Because as you alluded to, this threat of bankruptcy is being used to go after public sector pensions in Baltimore. This financial shortfall has led to a similar move to what’s happening in Detroit. Thousands of people have had their water cut off, because they say the city–because you know, the city says they are owed millions of dollars in overdue water bills.
So how do we rephrase that conversation? How do we put the wealthy on the defensive, instead of always being on the offensive?
BHATTI: I mean, it’s important to really shine a light on who is paying their fair share and who is not. And looking at any crisis, it’s also important to look at who’s profiting off of it.
And you know, you mentioned the example of the Baltimore water and the Detroit water. Well, in both of those cases one of the big profiteers was actually Wall Street banks that had roped both the city of Detroit and the city of Baltimore into interest rate swap deals that completely backfired as a result of the economic crash. And they ended up costing both cities, Detroit and Baltimore, tens of millions each year.
And so in the case of Detroit, the Detroit water department had to pay more than half a billion dollars in penalties on these swaps in 2012. And as a result of that the water bills skyrocketed, because they had to take out a new bond to pay that off. And currently about 40 percent of the water bill goes towards paying off those swaps. And the thing that’s the kicker there is that there’s actually a very strong legal argument that those swaps were illegally done, and that if the city were to actually file a lawsuit to get that money back they could potentially recover that money, but that’s never been on the table. Instead there’s a big push to really just turn off people’s water, even if they’re only behind a couple of payments. They’ll turn off people’s water for $150, but they’re not trying to recover the half a billion that they paid to the banks. And we have a similar thing happening in Baltimore, where the interest rate swaps in Baltimore were actually directly linked–a lot of them were directly linked to the water and wastewater system. And they’ve actually really sucked a lot of money out of the budget.
And so I mean, that’s just one way that we can start shining a light on who’s not paying their fair share. But really the key thing is looking at these types of financial deals, looking at corporate tax subsidies, looking at who are the people who are lobbying to keep taxes down, particularly progressive taxes. Because the solution is not cutting. The fact is that we’ve had an anti-government–and an anti-government, anti-taxing environment for the last 35 years, since Ronald Reagan’s presidency. And we’ve actually cut services to the bone already. We can’t cut out any more without permanently crippling ourselves. We need to actually start finding ways to put more money on the table so we can properly fund the services that we all know that we need and deserve.
NOOR: Thank you so much for joining us.
BHATTI: Thank you.

 

Saqib Bhatti is a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and the Director of the ReFund America Project. He works on campaigns to rebalance the relationship between Wall Street and local communities by advancing solutions to fix inefficiencies in our municipal finance system that cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year. Bhatti was previously a fellow at the Nathan Cummings Foundation. Prior to that, he spent several years working on Wall Street accountability at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), where he developed strategic campaigns to hold banks accountable for their role in creating and profiteering off the economic crisis, with a particular focus on municipal finance and housing and foreclosure issues.
*****

Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. https://www.facebook.com/david.samuels.948 Listen to So-Metro Radio the first, third and fifth Tuesday of each month at 8:00 PM for commentary on urban issues http://www.sometroradio.com/ ; Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/). Contact us at samuelssloflo@aol.com.
 

 

© 2017 AOL Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

June 18, 2017

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio returns Tuesday, June 20. Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. Black Fox Newz Editor in Chief BShip Grady will talk about corporate media bias. Our Political Roundup segment will feature an analysis of right-wing hypocrisy following the mass shooting in Virginia, that wounded Republican congressman Steve Scalise and three others.  The Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me is in theaters; we’ll share a recorded phone conversation that provides a glimpse at Pac’s revolutionary community organizing plans.

8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific.   http://sometroradio.com/

 

Resources:

BFN WORLD Broadcast #7 // 2016 WRap Up (Video)

 

 

Black Fox Newz: Voice 4 the People

https://www.gofundme.com/blackfoxnewz

 

From Hartford to Kansas, Neoliberalism = Disaster

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/from-hartford-to-kansas-neoliberalism-disaster/

 

When Protesters Bear Arms Against Health-Care Reform

http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1917356,00.html

 

Tupac at Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

 

 

From Hartford to Kansas, Neoliberalism = Disaster

June 15, 2017

by David Samuels

This column appears in the June 15 – 22 edition of the Hartford News.

 

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

 

 

Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First, third and fifth Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! http://www.sometroradio.com/  Next show: June 20. Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party
Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/community-party-media-3/

Community Party Radio Podcasts

Visit No Sellout to listen to podcasts of past shows. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/podcast-community-party-radio-on-so-metro-radio/

 

CITY OF HARTFORD & STATE OF CONNECTICUT EMPLOYEES,

Call and email Gov. Dan Malloy and your legislators. Request data on how many jobs were created by each company that receives tax subsidies from the State of CT. Also ask what their position is on 14 CT businesses stashing a combined $180 billion in offshore profits, as reported by the Hartford Business Journal in 2016 (see below). Request a WRITTEN RESPONSE. The full list of CT corporations receiving tax subsidies from the state is available through the New York Times interactive database. We are sharing page 1 of the list. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/12/01/us/government-incentives.html

 

Gov. Malloy’s office: Phone Number: (860) 566-4840 Toll-Free: (800) 406-1527 TDD: (860) 524-7397
Email:  http://portal.ct.gov/en/Office-of-the-Governor/Contact-Governor-Malloy/Share-your-Opinion-with-the-Governor

Visit the CT General Assembly website to identify and contact your state representative and senator. Call and email them. BE POLITE.

https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp

 

 

Policy Watch

 

Austerity: Recipe for Failure

 

Last week I watched the Senate debate on the Connecticut Republicans’ state budget proposal, which includes provisions that would strip state employees of our collective bargaining rights. It’s not fun being a state worker right now. Gov. Dan Malloy and the Democrats are coming after us with an ax, while Senator Len Fasano and the Republicans want to toss us into a thresher. Neither party (both swimming in corporate donations) wants to address corporate welfare and other business tax breaks, which cost this state $7 billion in revenue every year. CT companies stash $180 billion in offshore accounts, according to an article from the Hartford Business Journal. http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/article/20160304/NEWS01/160309951/cts-largest-corporations-hold-billions-in-offshore-profits.

 

Luke Bronin, a carpetbagger from Greenwich whose 2015 mayoral campaign was bankrolled mostly by donors outside of Hartford, has taken preliminary steps toward the city filing for bankruptcy. Bronin has had conversations with law firms that specialize in bankruptcy proceedings. While Bronin wears a long face and pretends that he doesn’t want to go this route, the reality is that bankruptcy would be the express lane to Bronin’s ultimate goal: busting the municipal unions. In 2016 Bronin introduced legislation to strip city workers of their collective bargaining rights. http://www.courant.com/community/hartford/hc-hartford-financial-legislation-0317-20160316-story.html The public sector is the largest employer of Black people and women. The bipartisan neoliberal attack on state workers and City of Hartford employees will only fuel racial wage and wealth disparities. Black people earn 60 cents for every dollar whites make, and possess 12 cents of net wealth for every dollar whites have. Houses are the primary wealth asset for Black people; you’ll see the significance of that statistic shortly.

 

Black Agenda Report commentator Abayomi Azikiwe reported in 2013 on Detroit residents fighting to stop the catastrophic effects of bankruptcy on their city. Unfortunately these brave citizens were unable to stop the city from filing for bankruptcy.

 

*****

‘“I suspect there is a small group of racist rich men and banks who have been pulling the puppet strings of Detroit for a very long time.'” Contradicting what the corporate media editorial boards have promoted in chorus with the multi-millionaire Governor Rick Snyder and his appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr, 110 people filed objections to the forced bankruptcy of the City of Detroit. The hearing took place on September 19 and was widely covered in the local, national and international press.
This extraordinary hearing had provided only a small window of time for legal action. Many of the people that testified were retirees, city workers, community organizers and professionals who met the deadline set by Judge Steven Rhodes to submit their objections.
Outside the federal courthouse on Lafayette Blvd. downtown, members of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition carried a banner which read “Cancel the Debt: Jobs, Pensions, City Services, the Banks Owe Us!” Later a group of active firefighters gathered to demonstrate their displeasure with the state of affairs facing the people of this majority African American municipality.
Testimony Illustrates Broad Opposition to Bankers’ Rule
Michael Shane, a resident of the northwest side of Detroit, told the bankruptcy court how the impact of predatory lending carried out by the banks had contributed to the economic crisis of the city. He described the practices of the banks as illegal and racist in its overall character.
“The financial crisis in Detroit was triggered by the housing crisis where an estimated 100,000 home foreclosures occurred and almost a quarter million people left the city. The banks issued predatory loans, targeting Detroit and other communities of color in a racist and illegal manner,” Shane noted.
Shane then emphasized that “The banks have already been fined tens of billions of dollars.  And former bank employees are testifying under oath, confirming the illegal and racist practices of the banks. Some of this testimony includes racially offensive language that cannot be repeated in polite company.  These banks include many of the same banks who hold Detroit’s debt.”
“Property and income taxes dropped precipitously during this crisis, causing huge losses to the City of Detroit.  And to make matters even worse, the banks refuse to pay property taxes on homes seized after foreclosure,” Shane told Judge Rhodes.
Another objector to the bankruptcy filing was Cynthia Blair, the widow of a Detroit police officer. Blair has been active in attempts to mobilize retirees and their families against the program of cuts and austerity being imposed by Orr and Snyder.
Blair said “The bankruptcy could take me and my daughter’s pension away. And we would be thrown directly to the welfare rolls.”
“The banks issued predatory loans, targeting Detroit and other communities of color in a racist and illegal manner.”
According to the figures released by the emergency manager, Detroit has over $22 billion in long term debt. These purported debts are to the banks, bondholders and insurers who have played the most significant role in the decline of the city.
Orr is attempting to cut a deal with the banks and bond insurers where they will be paid 80 percent of what they say is owed to them by Detroit while pensioners and workers are being chained with massive obligations that derive directly from financial practices dictated by Wall Street and the corporations, many of whom are based in the metropolitan area.
The automobile firms of General Motors and Chrysler were bailed out in 2009 by the federal government. Nonetheless, the pre-packaged bankruptcy and restructuring resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and small businesses such as car dealerships which employed skilled and often unionized workers.
People in Detroit are saying that the municipality is not a private corporation and that people have a vested interest in maintaining their jobs, salaries, healthcare benefits, pensions and city assets. Many more people are agreeing with the slogans and program advanced by the Moratorium NOW! Coalition calling for the cancellation of the bank debt and the holding of the financial institutions and corporations accountable for the damage they have done to the city.

*****

Connecticut Republicans have launched an offensive to take the Governor’s Mansion and control of the General Assembly in 2018. The sad truth is that the right-wing of the duopoly is pushing fiscal policies based on tax cuts, that are a blueprint for even greater disaster. In Kansas, GOP Gov. Sam Brownback implemented a plan developed by economists Stephen Moore (Heritage Foundation) and Arthur Laffer, who are also involved with President Donald Trump’s war budget. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities columnist Michael Mazerov reported on the Moore / Laffer plan.

“Moore and Laffer were principal architects of the tax cut plan that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback recommended and the legislature enacted in revised form in May 2012.  Moore described his and Laffer’s role in developing the plan, its key features as enacted, and its objective this way:
A few years ago, Arthur Laffer and I advised Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) on an aggressive tax rate reduction plan to help revive an underperforming Kansas economy.  The end result was a reduction in income tax rates (the top rate fell to 4.5 percent from 6 percent, with further reductions planned for future years) and a feature that reduces taxes on passthrough income earned by small businesses to zero.  Our goal, and one shared by Brownback, is to make Kansas the 10th state without an income tax.[7]
The Kansas tax cut package has had a deleterious impact on the state’s financial stability and the provision of critical services.  For example:
Personal income tax revenues in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016 (fiscal year 2016) were almost $700 million lower than those received in fiscal year 2013,[12]when the tax cut first took effect, even though the economy nationally is stronger in 2016 than it was in 2013.  Receipts dropped immediately by slightly more than $700 million (24 percent), and the meager economic growth that occurred in Kansas from 2014 to 2016 boosted collections by only $30 million, or less than 2 percent.[13]
Total General Fund revenues in 2016 were $570 million below 2013 levels, despite significant sales and cigarette tax increases enacted to partially offset the income tax losses.[14]  The General Fund’s ending balance fell from $709 million in 2013 to $40 million in 2016 (just 0.7 percent of General Fund spending).[15]  That’s important because Kansas’ General Fund balance is its “rainy day fund.”[16]  Should a recession hit and tax revenues shrink as household incomes and retail sales fall, the state will need to cut programs or enact tax increases almost immediately because it will have very little savings to tap.
The General Fund’s depletion occurred even though the state transferred to the Fund substantial tax revenues that were collected to finance road maintenance and construction.[17]  The resulting reduction in infrastructure funding has forced the state to postpone numerous highway projects indefinitely.[18]

Because the tax cuts leave less state revenue with which to repay people who lend the state money by buying its bonds, Kansas’ bond rating has been downgraded twice — in 2014, and most recently on July 26, 2016.[19]  Lower bond ratings mean that the state will likely have to pay a higher interest rate on future borrowings, raising the cost of infrastructure projects such as school construction and road building.”

CBPP columnist Nicholas Johnson reported on the bipartisan effort by Kansas lawmakers to undo the damage of the Brownback economic plan. The Connecticut General Assembly would be wise to follow the course being taken in Kansas. “The Kansas legislature wisely voted to start rebuilding the state’s lagging economy by eliminating unwarranted tax breaks and raising much-needed new revenue to invest in schools and other vital services that will help the state and its people now and in the future. A bipartisan supermajority of both houses recognized the damage that Governor Brownback’s tax cuts have caused and came together to choose a different path. This vote represents a striking repudiation of far-right wing economic orthodoxy and, as such, will influence fiscal debates far beyond the state’s borders. Kansas is now choosing a constructive and forward-looking approach to its finances, and other states will be taking notice.”

 

Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. https://www.facebook.com/david.samuels.948 Listen to So-Metro Radio the first, third and fifth Tuesday of each month at 8:00 PM for commentary on urban issues http://www.sometroradio.com/  Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/). Contact us at samuelssloflo@aol.com.

 

 

 

 

Connecticut Budget Crisis: State Employees Get Blamed, Corporations Get Paid

June 9, 2017

by David Samuels

This column appears in the June 8 – 15 edition of the Hartford News.

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First, third and fifth Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! http://www.sometroradio.com/  Next show: June 20. Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party

Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/community-party-media-3/

 

 

 

 

Community Party Radio Podcasts 

 

 

Visit No Sellout to listen to podcasts of past shows. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/podcast-community-party-radio-on-so-metro-radio/

Policy Watch

The Corporate State

“The bad news is that as (Connecticut’s) budget deficit grows, the response from Hartford has been to put more obligations on struggling cities rather than on the financial sector. Connecticut’s metropolises are already impoverished and dangerous, starved by decades of suburban separatism and victims of the state’s highly segregated school system. Hartford is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. But the state’s public spending has lagged behind the national average.

Decades of corporate poaching made Connecticut rich but never resuscitated the places it needs to compete. Now, in a time of budget stress and ongoing population loss, Republicans are pushing for the state to recover its status as a New England tax haven. The truth is that it still is one. Its top marginal income tax rates are lower than those in New Jersey and New York. According to accounting firm Ernst & Young, Connecticut’s total effective business tax rate is the lowest in the country.” ~ Slate Magazine columnist Henry Grabar “Trouble in America’s Country Club”  http://www.slate.com/articles/business/metropolis/2017/06/something_is_wrong_with_connecticut.html

The state budget deficit is $5 billion over the next two fiscal years. While the public sector (largest employer of Black people and women) is used as a scapegoat by the two corporate controlled political parties and corporate owned media outlets, billions of dollars in corporate welfare, tax breaks and tax dodging go unreported. 

 

 

From Connecticut Voices for Children…

April 2017

The Cost of Business Tax Breaks in Connecticut

Derek Thomas, M.P.A.

In a new report, Connecticut Voices for Children estimates the costs of business tax breaks in fiscal year (FY) 2017 to be $707 million. The report highlights that, unlike strategic investments, such as education and health care, the full cost of business tax breaks is unknown, and their effectiveness is not analyzed according to nationally-recognized best practices.   http://www.ctvoices.org/TaxBreaks

CITY OF HARTFORD & STATE OF CONNECTICUT EMPLOYEES,

Call and email Gov. Dan Malloy and your legislators. Request data on how many jobs were created by each company that receives tax subsidies from the State of CT. Also ask what their position is on 14 CT businesses stashing a combined $180 billion in offshore profits, as reported by the Hartford Business Journal in 2016 (see below). Request a WRITTEN RESPONSE. The full list of CT corporations receiving tax subsidies from the state is available through the New York Times interactive database. We are sharing page 1 of the list. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/12/01/us/government-incentives.html

Gov. Malloy’s office: Phone Number: (860) 566-4840 Toll-Free: (800) 406-1527 TDD: (860) 524-7397

Email:  http://portal.ct.gov/en/Office-of-the-Governor/Contact-Governor-Malloy/Share-your-Opinion-with-the-Governor

Visit the CT General Assembly website to identify and contact your state representative and senator. Call and email them. BE POLITE.

https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp

.

Connecticut

Connecticut spends at least $860 million per year on incentive programs, according to the most recent data available. That is roughly:

  • $241per capita
  • per dollar of state budget

 

  • GRANTS TO COMPANIES (293)
  • STATE PROGRAMS (37)

 

Amount Company No. of grants Types Town, city or county Years
$100 million Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)Urban and Industrial Site Reinvestment Tax Credit 1 Corporate income tax credit, rebate or reduction Greenwich 2007
$71 million CIGNA Corporation 1 Corporate income tax credit, rebate or reduction Bloomfield 2011
$66 million UBS Financial ServicesManufacturing Assistance Act 2 Cash grant, loan or loan guarantee 2001-2011
$51 million Alexion Pharmaceuticals 1 Cash grant, loan or loan guarantee 2012
$43.9 million DisneyDigital Media and Film Tax Credit 4 Cash grant, loan or loan guarantee,
Corporate income tax credit, rebate or reduction
Bristol 2011
$40 million DiageoUrban and Industrial Site Reinvestment Tax Credit 1 Corporate income tax credit, rebate or reduction Norwalk 2004
$29.3 million Comcast CorporationUrban and Industrial Site Reinvestment Tax Credit,
Manufacturing Assistance Act,
Digital Media and Film Tax Credit
9 Cash grant, loan or loan guarantee,
Corporate income tax credit, rebate or reduction
Stamford 2009-2011
$29 million Blue Sky StudiosUrban and Industrial Site Reinvestment Tax Credit,
Manufacturing Assistance Act
3 Corporate income tax credit, rebate or reduction,
Cash grant, loan or loan guarantee
Greenwich 2008-2011
$28.5 million Berkshire Hathaway (General Re Corp.)Urban and Industrial Site Reinvestment Tax Credit,
Manufacturing Assistance Act
2 Corporate income tax credit, rebate or reduction,
Cash grant, loan or loan guarantee
Stamford 2010
$27.5 million DOLLAR TIME INC. 1 Corporate income tax credit, rebate or reduction 2012
$24 million High-Tech Lumber, Inc. 1 Corporate income tax credit, rebate or reduction New Haven 2010
$24 million CareCentrix 1 Cash grant, loan or loan guarantee 2012
$20 million Lowe ConstructionUrban and Industrial Site Reinvestment Tax Credit 1 Corporate income tax credit, rebate or reduction Plainfield 2005
$16.5 million World Wrestling EntertainmentDigital Media and Film Tax Credit 15 Corporate income tax credit, rebate or reduction 2010-2011
$15 million General Dynamics 1 New London 2010
$13.5 million Engineered Electric Company d/b/a DRS FermontUrban and Industrial Site Reinvestment Tax Credit,
Manufacturing Assistance Act
2 Corporate income tax credit, rebate or reduction,
Cash grant, loan or loan guarantee
Bridgeport 2010
$12.6 million Prudential FinancialUrban and Industrial Site Reinvestment Tax Credit,
Manufacturing Assistance Act
2 Corporate income tax credit, rebate or reduction,
Cash grant, loan or loan guarantee
Hartford 2009
$12.5 million Righteous Kill Productions, Inc.Digital Media and Film Tax Credit 1 Corporate income tax credit, rebate or reduction 2009
$11 million Old Dogs Productions, Inc.Digital Media and Film Tax Credit 1 Corporate income tax credit, rebate or reduction 2009
$9.9 million Electric Boat CorporationManufacturing Assistance Act 1 Cash grant, loan or loan guarantee Groton 2008

FirstPrevious12345NextLast

Show 102550100 entries

Search:

Sources: State agencies, government reports, Investment Consulting Associates’ ICAincentives.comGood Jobs First’s Subsidy Tracker Database, company financial filings, Equilar.
State budget figures from Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the National Association of State Budget Officers. Learn about the database methodology.

 

By LOUISE STORY, TIFF FEHR and DEREK WATKINS

CT’s largest corporations hold billions in offshore profits

GREG BORDONARO

Fourteen of Connecticut’s largest corporations had a combined $180 billion in offshore profits on their books in 2015, down nearly 5 percent from a year earlier, according to a new report from public policy research group Citizens for Tax Justice.

Fairfield-based General Electric, which is moving its corporate headquarters to Boston, had the most offshore profits in 2015, totaling $104 billion, followed by Farmington-based United Technologies, with $29 billion in offshore profits.

Nationwide, the United States’ 303 largest corporations held $2.4 trillion in offshore profits—$200 billion more than in 2014—that could be costing the U.S. as much as $695 billion in federal taxes, the report said.

The report said many of the biggest corporations appear to be increasing their offshore cash significantly. Seventy-nine of the companies surveyed in this report increased their declared offshore cash by at least $500 million each in the last year alone. And just 12 corporations each moved at least $5 billion offshore in 2015. These include companies in the tech sector, such as Alphabet (formerly known as Google), Apple, and Microsoft, as well as pharmaceutical companies (Gilead Sciences and Pfizer).

The report’s authors examined Fortune 500 companies’ 2015 financial filings and found that 303 corporations claim to hold at least some profits offshore. If corporations repatriated these profits to the United States, Citizens for Tax Justice estimates the companies could collectively owe as much as $695 billion in federal taxes.

Other Connecticut companies holding offshore profits are shown in the table below.

Unrepatriated Foreign Profits of Major CT Corporations
Unrepatriated Income ($millions)
Company 2015 2014 2013
General Electric $ 104,000 $ 119,000 $ 110,000
United Technologies $ 29,000 $ 28,000 $ 25,000
Praxair $ 11,000 $ 10,400 $ 9,300
Priceline.com $ 9,900 $ 7,300 $ 4,900
Xerox $ 9,000 $ 8,500 $ 8,000
Stanley Black & Decker $ 4,391 $ 4,773 $ 4,439
Amphenol $ 3,699 $ 3,300 $ 2,600
Starwood Hotels & Resorts $ 3,600 $ 3,500 $ 3,300
Cigna $ 2,200 $ 1,800 $ 1,100
Harman International Industries $ 895 $ 717 $ 629
Pitney Bowes $ 860 $ 830 $ 700
Terex $ 855 $ 800 $ 825
United Rentals Inc. $ 651 $ 595 $ 465
W.R. Berkley $ 79 $ 58 $ 103
Totals $ 180,130 $ 189,573 $ 171,361
Source: Citizens for Tax Justice

Resources   

It’s the Corporate State, Stupid

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article7260.htm

 

Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. https://www.facebook.com/david.samuels.948 Listen to So-Metro Radio the first, third and fifth Tuesday of each month at 8:00 PM for commentary on urban issues http://www.sometroradio.com/  Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/). Contact us at samuelssloflo@aol.com.

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio Tuesday, June 6

June 5, 2017

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio returns Tuesday, June 6. Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. Our Policy Watch report on the Connecticut budget crisis will feature an analysis of the impact of corporate welfare.  We’ll also talk about the ACLU sabotaging police reform, and the Seattle Seahawks’ decision not to sign Colin Kapernick. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific  http://www.sometroradio.com/

Resources

The Cost of Business Tax Breaks in Connecticut

http://www.ctvoices.org/TaxBreaks

Explore Government Subsidies – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com

 

Joe Visconti: Face of the Duopoly / Chokwe Antar Lumumba Leads an Uprising in the South

June 2, 2017
by David Samuels
 
This column appears in the June 1 – 8 edition of the Hartford News.
 
 
 
 
Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio
 
Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First, third and fifth Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! http://www.sometroradio.com/  Next show: June 6. Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party
Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/community-party-media-3/
 Community Party Radio Podcasts 
Visit No Sellout to listen to podcasts of past shows. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/podcast-community-party-radio-on-so-metro-radio/
PROGRAM ALERT: The podcast of our May 30 show includes an analysis of the tentative concessions agreement between Gov. Dan Malloy and state employee unions.
 
Community Update
 
Joe Visconti & the Marketing of Candidates
 
Last week Republican gubernatorial candidate Joe Visconti was on Facebook, running his big mouth about state employees (I’m a state worker) . My brief exchange with Visconti confirmed what I always thought: Visconti is a corporatist blowhard, who can’t hang in a fact based conversation about policy. Visconti ducked my point about Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton turning a $6 billion budget deficit into a $1 billion surplus, by increasing the tax rate on individuals earning $150,000 and couples earning $250,000 when filing jointly. He also wouldn’t address my point about CT companies stashing $40 billion in offshore accounts. Like liberals, Visconti suffers from selective outrage. If you visit Visconti’s campaign website, you will see Donald Trump worship, vague assurances about how Visconti and the Republicans will save the state, plenty of Democrat bashing and a fully functioning donation button. What you won’t find is a policy plan, with specific details. Visconti bailed out of our conversation after I corrected his assumption that I was a Democrat, and told him that the Dems and Republicans are the common denominator in this country’s problems. 
Visconti is the face of the political duopoly, asking voters to continue the insane practice of bouncing back and forth between the two major parties, punishing the incumbent party by running to the other when they’re inevitably dissatisfied with the results. Would you use that strategy if you were having a health crisis, and two doctors couldn’t fix the problem? No, you would find another doctor. Quickly… Visconti, who is ripping off Trump’s maverick populist act, is no different from the average poitician: he markets himself like a product. Movies such as A Face in the Crowd starring Andy Griffith have commented on politicians selling themselves with slogans, while avoiding specifics regarding policy.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7igHBf7yHs
Visconti, like Gov. Dan Malloy and the other neoliberal Democrats that he ridicules, have zero interest in serving the people. Their constituency is the rich and corporations.There are Democrats like Dayton, Rep. Josh Elliott and Jackson, Mississippi’s next mayor, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, whose policies do actually benefit poor and working class people, but they are a tiny minority. Perhaps that will start to change with the 2018 elections, but the Democrats at their core cannot be reformed. We need an independent, grassroots political movement. The Democrats and Republicans are swimming in corporate money. Their polices reflect this. https://www.opensecrets.org/   
 
 
Visconti is currently a fringe candidate because he lacks Trump’s charisma, but is still dangerous because he’s an extremist who emulates Trump’s exploitation of white fear, racism and Islamophobia. Trump’s tweet storm last Sunday did not include one word about Army veteran Sgt. Ricky Best, 53 and Reed College graduate Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, who lost their lives last Friday defending a Muslim girl and her friend from a racist attack by domestic terrorist Jeremy Christian, 35. A third man, 21-year-old Micah Fletcher, suffered minor injuries as he also tried to stop the attack. Trump’s hate speech against Muslims resulted in a spike in hate crimes and the number of hate groups in the U.S. since the 2016 presidential election.  https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2017/trump-effect
 
 
Face the State: Cadillac vs. Bentley
 
Last Sunday WFSB Face the State co-hosts Susan Raff and Dennis House, two unapologetic corporatists, interviewed insurance broker Jonathan Schulman about state employee concessions. Raff described benefits for the public sector (largest employer of Black people and women) as the “Cadillac plan”. If I have a Cadillac, corporate executives’ benefits are a Bentley dealership. Mother Jones reported on Wall Street executives at AIG Financial Products, Citigroup, Bank of America and other companies who reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses, AFTER they crashed the economy in 2008 and received a taxpayer funded bailout.  http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2010/01/wall-street-bailout-executive-compensation The real issue is private sector workers getting jerked on their benefits, while their bosses sit on gold toilets. State employees have agreed to concessions twice since 2009.
 
Schulman supports Hartford filing for bankruptcy; in Detroit this move proved to be catastrophic for city employees, who were threatened with a 26% cut to their pensions, and a windfall for predatory banks. More details in coming weeks. https://www.blackagendareport.com/content/siege-detroit-war-black-urban-removal
 
 
 
Colin Kaepernick
 
The Seattle Seahawks are interested in signing free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has been blackballed by the NFL for his national anthem protest. The fact that teams have welcomed players with criminal histories, while shunning Kaepernick speaks for itself. Kaepernick bashers have made the argument that Kaepernick’s 2016 statistics, which compare favorably with Carolina Panthers star QB Cam Newton, were racked up in garbage time playing for a bad team, but the fact that Kaepernick hasn’t at least been offered a job as a backup is ridiculous, and a clear indicator that Kapernick’s protest is the reason.  
 
Policy Watch
 
 
 
Black Nationalist Chokwe Antar Lumumba Leads a Political Revolution
“On November 9, people across the left woke up and wondered, ‘What do I do now? Under total Republican control, how does one fight for progressive change?’ Kali Akuno, the co-founder of Cooperation Jackson, a workers’ cooperative in Jackson, Mississippi, has been grappling with that question for years, and believes his organization provides a good model for progressives who still want to effect change under President Trump. When Donald Trump was elected, Akuno felt like he could tell the rest of the country: ‘Welcome to Mississippi.’ ”    Peter Moskowitz, The Nation
Gov. Dan Malloy and his fellow neoliberal Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly will only keep urban areas like Hartford’s North End poor, while they serve the ruling class. Malloy and the Democratic controlled legislature are right now carrying out their yearly attack on the public sector: 4200 state workers face layoffs, if they don’t ratify the tentative concessions agreement between Malloy and state employee unions. State workers have agreed to concessions twice since 2009. While Malloy and his party partner with the GOP to deprive communities of color of jobs and resources, ensuring that poverty and racial wage / wealth disparities continue to grow in Hartford (along with the murder rate), Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton is proving to be a tipping point. 46 million voters stayed home, because they rightfully saw no difference between the Democrats and Republicans, two wings of the same corporate controlled war party.
Chokwe Antar Lumumba is a Democrat in name only; his policy agenda is everything the Democrats hate. Lumumba is carrying on the work of his father Chokwe Lumumba (a self-described Fannie Lou Hamer Democrat), a Black nationalist who was elected mayor of Jackson in 2013, but died suddenly eight months into his first term. Like his father, Lumumba is partnering with Cooperation Jackson, and ran on a platform of participatory democracy and cooperative economics. Lumumba won the Jackson mayoral primary May 2, easily defeating neoliberal Democrat incumbent Tony Yarber. The June 6 general election is expected to be a formality, as Jackson is a heavily Democratic city. Read on for the Cooperation Jackson policy agenda, which appears on their website. http://www.cooperationjackson.org/ The Community Party will provide updates on the Lumumba administration, which will serve as a model for communities of color nationwide.
Below is a portion of the Cooperation Jackson economic policy plan. The full plan is available at their website. http://www.cooperationjackson.org/principles
                                                                                             *****
Cooperation Jackson has crafted its own definition, values and principles of cooperatives and democratic organizations by drawing on the definitions, values and principles of Mondragón and the International Cooperative Alliance that address our vision and context.
Definition
A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.
Values
Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.
Principles
The cooperative principles are guidelines by which cooperatives put their values into practice.
Voluntary and Open Membership: Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all who agree with the cooperative principles who are able to use its services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
Democratic Member Control: The cooperative system is based upon the equality of member-workers or cooperators. Aside from limited and special circumstances all workers must be members. The cooperative is democratically controlled on the basis of one member, one vote; its governing structures are democratically controlled and are also responsible to the general assembly or other elected body.
Sovereignty of Labor: Labor is the essential transformative facto of society. The cooperatives renounce wage labor, give full power to the owner-workers to control the co-ops, give primacy to workers in distribution of surpluses, and work to extend the cooperative choice to all members of society.
Autonomy and Independence: Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If the co-op enters into agreements with other organizations or raises capital from external sources, it is done so based on terms that ensure democratic control by the members and maintains the cooperative’s autonomy.
Instrumental and Subordinated Character of Capital: Capital is basically accumulated labor and a necessary factor in business development and savings. The co-ops pay a just but limited return on capital saved or invested, a return that is not directly tied to the losses or surpluses of the co-ops. Their need for capital shall not impede the principle of open admission, but co-op members must make a substantial, affordable, and equal financial investment in the cooperative. At present, this membership contribution is equal to a year’s salary of the lowest-paid member.
Members’ Economic Participation: Members contribute equally to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. This benefits members based on the proportion of contributed labor or hours worked or the level of business they conduct with the cooperative rather than on the capital invested.
Self-Management: Cooperation involves both collective effort and individual responsibility. Cooperation “is the development of the individual not against others but with others.” Democratic control means participation in management and the ongoing development of the skills needed for self-management. There must be clear information available on the co-op’s operations, systematic training of owner-workers, internal promotion for management positions, and consultations and negotiations with all cooperators in organizational decisions that affect them.
Pay Solidarity: The co-ops will practice both internal and external pay solidarity. Internally, the total pay differential between the lowest and the highest paid member shall not exceed a factor of one to six.
                                                                                                   *****
 
 
Resources
 
Community Party urban policy paper:  https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/10/25/sandra-bland-police-reform-economic-justice-plan-4/
Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. https://www.facebook.com/david.samuels.948  Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm and So-Metro Radio the first, third and fifth Tuesday of each month at 8:00 PM for commentary on urban issues http://www.sometroradio.com/  Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/) for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s archive for selected columns (http://www.northendagents.com/). Contact us at samuelssloflo@aol.com.