THE US IS NOT COMPETING WITH CHINA----IT IS ON THE BOARD OF GLOBAL CORPORATIONS WITH CHINESE.
The fear is not of Chinese investment or Chinese immigrants----it is the bringing back to the US corporate structures that operated in China and made these Chinese wealthy!
Isn't it interesting that an article like this does not mention TPP and what the terms of these trade deals mean for all of this foreign investment and corporate development in the US as a driver of all this migration of the wealthy to Europe and US. The point is ----the American government and Wall Street love this partnership---
China's investments in the US are growing. Should we be concerned?
Steven Hill The Guardian
A majority of Americans believe China poses the greatest threat to the US economy. Such fears are unwarranted The China Center, which assists Chinese investors and companies in the US, will be one of the biggest tenants in One World Trade Center, taking up six floors and 190,000 square feet of office space.
Photograph: Paul Owen/The Guardian Paul Owen/Guardian Friday 24 January 2014 10.51 EST Last modified on Monday 6 October 2014 09.38 EDT
Leaked documents this week revealed what many already knew: Chinese investors are storing their money – and investing – more and more overseas. China's rich and powerful seem to prefer the British Virgin Islands for their offshore transactions, but the US and Europe remain top destinations for their actual investments. The question is: should we be concerned?
Polls show that a majority of Americans believe China poses the greatest threat to the US economy, and a third aren't comfortable with any investment by Chinese firms into US companies. In the past, the US government has killed Chinese investments in American companies, such as an infamous deal where China's state-owned CNOOC tried to buy petroleum company Unocal corp for $18.5bn in 2005.
On the one hand, people look at the high-profile investments that China is making in the west, especially US real estate, and they question whether such iconic places should be in a communist country's hands. In the Big Apple, Beijing real-estate tycoon Zhang Xin led an investment group's $1.4bn purchase of the General Motors office tower last year, a 50-story monster that reportedly is the most expensive building in the US. Another headliner was Fosun International Ltd's purchase of the landmark building One Chase Manhattan Plaza for $725mn from JP Morgan Chase. Anticipating a surge in Chinese commercial activity, Fosun billionaire co-founder Guo Guangchang projects that eventually his company will fill as much as one-third of the building with Chinese companies. No doubt they will be assisted by the China Center (CCNY), a pro-business headquarters for Chinese investors and companies seeking to gain a foothold in the US. CCNY will be one of the biggest tenants in the new One World Trade Center (the site of the 9/11 terrorist attack), taking up six floors and 190,000 square feet of office space.
This kind of investment is good for New York City, and a sign of Chinese investors' confidence in the Big Apple during a time of economic uncertainty.
But money from China isn't just flowing into big time projects in Manhattan. It's also going to unlikely places, such as bankrupted Detroit, where financing is badly needed. Motown has become the fourth most popular US destination for Chinese real estate investors (behind New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia). With thousands of homes foreclosed, some two-storey homes have been auctioned off for as little as $39. This attracted attention in China, with state broadcaster China Central Television reporting that houses in Detroit cost the same as "a pair of leather shoes".
Chinese investors have made bulk purchases of dozens of cheap homes in the urban rings surrounding the city center, many of them bought without even having been seen. Then Dongdu International Group of Shanghai bought two downtown icons: the Detroit Free Press building for $9.4mn and the David Stott building for $4.2mn. Yes, Chinese investors have purchased the former headquarters of the free press in Motor Town.
Most of these investments should be welcome, not only in the US but also in Europe. Indeed, Europe has attracted twice as much Chinese investment as the US, as investors have seized commercial opportunities arising from the eurozone crisis. The Chinese have been providing fresh capital when western investors are tapped out or weary of troubled places like Detroit or Greece. This is a sign of China's further integration into the global market, and should be welcomed, not feared. The more the Chinese invest abroad, the more they have reason to want to partner with western countries and see them succeed.
But it goes beyond that. Americans need to understand what's driving Chinese investors. Many have begun looking abroad because of tight policy measures by China's communist government aimed at cooling off the country's overheated real estate market.
Some experts also believe that the parking of wealth offshore may indicate an increase in capital flight from China. A study conducted by Bank of China and Hurun found that more than half of China's millionaires have taken steps to emigrate or are considering doing so. Chinese individuals already have stashed offshore anywhere from $450bn to $658bn in assets, with Boston Consulting predicting that amount will double in three years. CNBC recently called the movement of Chinese capital "one of the largest and most rapid wealth migrations of our time". That's not a strong sign of Chinese investors' confidence in their own country.
On the other hand, the Chinese have only 13% of their wealth outside China, while the global average is 20% to 30%, according to Oliver Williams of WealthInsight. In a developing society like China, it's normal for the wealthy to geographically diversify their investment portfolios and send more of their wealth abroad.
While there's something ironic about investors from the land of "communism-capitalism" exploiting the west's economic vulnerabilities to snatch up valuable properties, that's how capitalism's "creative destruction" is supposed to work. Adam Smith would be pleased.
Unfortunately, the Chinese seem to want to play both sides of the coin. The Chinese government doesn't allow foreign investors to acquire properties of significance, whether real estate or companies. Other investment restrictions and requirements are applied to foreign enterprises in China, such as usually requiring foreign companies to enter into joint venture agreements with local Chinese partners.
While some consideration should be given to the fact that China is still a developing nation, in general East-West relations should live by the Investor's Golden Rule: "Invest in others as you would have them invest in you."
This principle should be enshrined in trade agreements, and be part of the findings whenever US or European regulators consider whether to approve Chinese investments.
The world should welcome China's further integration into the global market, since the more Chinese and western economies are integrated, the more it will build political bridges and diffuse tension. But the rules have to be fair and equal, and right now, they're not. China should be nudged to further open its economy. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
Looking below at what the article above describes nationally----thinking about the building of this Chinese Economic Zone in Baltimore and how these few decades moved all of this forward----sounds just like Robert Paxton's idea of fascism......the corporate state.
It's misleading because fascism has a specific historical meaning. The best definition I've seen is from the historian Robert Paxton's The Anatomy of FascismFor Paxton, fascism is:
"A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."
When Martin O'Malley creates the slogan Moving Maryland Forward---which is a global corporate tribunal slogan by the way.....all the while installing Trans Pacific Trade Pact structures in Baltimore and Maryland that ends US, Maryland, and Baltimore sovereignty----ALL WHILE BEING CALLED A PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT IN THE MEDIA AND BY NATIONAL LABOR AND JUSTICE ORGANIZATION LEADERS---that is fascism. MARYLAND MUST COMPETE WITH ITS NEIGHBORS TO WIN! Meanwhile, O'Malley is connected to another neo-conservative Ivy League University ----Brown University of Rhode Island known in history for slave running----as with Johns Hopkins known today for human capital trafficing---and involved with a neo-conservative San Diego to create the same International Economic Zone as in Baltimore. Look internationally, and you see these same Economic Zones being built all around the world by global corporate development. So, we know Martin O'Malley is not progressive and never was---he simply threw a few progressive bones to keep labor and justice quiet.
Then you have the Baltimore black caucus working it hard for Johns Hopkins and the building of International Economic Zone Baltimore.....neo-conservative policy all by pols running as Democrats. These pols are handing the most valuable of Baltimore's real estate to global investment firms and shareholders leaving the idea of 'Baltimore' in the dust while using the slogan 'Baltimore Pride'---Baltimore media literally played that over and over====this is FASCISM.
The article below is long please glance through to the next article-----do you really think global corporations are going to come back to the US under TPP and not look like they do overseas? REALLY?
REMEMBER, TPP IS ILLEGAL AND A COUP AGAINST THE US CONSTITUTION AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE----IT CAN BE VOIDED. AS WELL, THE US CONSTITUTION HAS ANTI-TRUST LAWS THAT WILL BREAK DOWN ALL US GLOBAL CORPORATIONS---WE SIMPLY NEED TO ELECT POLS THAT WANT TO DO THAT!
This is what Trans Pacific seeks to bring to the US and cities like Baltimore under Baltimore Development and Johns Hopkins are leading the way......all with pols running as Democrats....
By: Dexter Roberts in Zhongshan and Aaron Bernstein in Washington
Inside a Chinese Sweatshop: "A Life of Fines and Beating"
Wal-Mart's self-policing in the Chun Si factory was a disaster. What kind of monitoring system works?
Inside a Chinese Sweatshop: ``A Life of Fines and Beating''
TABLE: What Are the Auditors Missing?
Liu Zhang (not his real name) was apprehensive about taking a job at the Chun Si Enterprise Handbag Factory in Zhongshan, a booming city in Guangdong Province in southern China, where thousands of factories churn out goods for Western companies. Chun Si, which made Kathie Lee Gifford handbags sold by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. ( WMT) as well as handbags sold by Kansas-based Payless ShoeSource Inc. ( PSS), advertised decent working conditions and a fair salary. But word among migrant workers in the area was that managers there demanded long hours of their workers and sometimes hit them. Still, Liu, a 32-year-old former farmer and construction worker from far-off Henan province, was desperate for work. A factory job would give him living quarters and the temporary-residence permit internal migrants need to avoid being locked up by police in special detention centers. So in late August, 1999, he signed up.
Liu quickly realized that the factory was even worse than its reputation. Chun Si, owned by Chun Kwan, a Macau businessman, charged workers $15 a month for food and lodging in a crowded dorm--a crushing sum given the $22 Liu cleared his first month. What's more, the factory gave Liu an expired temporary-resident permit; and in return, Liu had to hand over his personal identification card. This left him a virtual captive. Only the local police near the factory knew that Chun Si issued expired cards, Liu says, so workers risked arrest if they ventured out of the immediate neighborhood.
HALF A CENT. Liu also found that Chun Si's 900 workers were locked in the walled factory compound for all but a total of 60 minutes a day for meals. Guards regularly punched and hit workers for talking back to managers or even for walking too fast, he says. And they fined them up to $1 for infractions such as taking too long in the bathroom. Liu left the factory for good in December, after he and about 60 other workers descended on the local labor office to protest Chun Si's latest offenses: requiring cash payments for dinner and a phony factory it set up to dupe Wal-Mart's auditors. In his pocket was a total of $6 for three months of 90-hour weeks--an average of about one-half cent an hour. ''Workers there face a life of fines and beating,'' says Liu. Chun Kwan couldn't be reached, but his daughter, Selina Chun, one of the factory managers, says ''this is not true, none of this.'' She concedes that Chun Si did not pay overtime but says few other factories do, either. In a face-to-face interview in August, she also admitted that workers have tried to sue Chun Si.
Liu's Dickensian tale stands in stark contrast to the reassurances that Wal-Mart, Payless, and other U.S. companies give American consumers that their goods aren't produced under sweatshop conditions. Since 1992, Wal-Mart has required its suppliers to sign a code of basic labor standards. After exposes in the mid-1990s of abuses in factories making Kathie Lee products, which the chain carries, Wal-Mart and Kathie Lee both began hiring outside auditing firms to inspect supplier factories to ensure their compliance with the code. Many other companies that produce or sell goods made in low-wage countries do similar self-policing, from Toys 'R' Us to Nike and Gap. While no company suggests that its auditing systems are perfect, most say they catch major abuses and either force suppliers to fix them or yank production.
What happened at Chun Si suggests that these auditing systems can miss serious problems--and that self-policing allows companies to avoid painful public revelations about them. Allegations about Chun Si first surfaced this May in a report by the National Labor Committee (NLC), a small anti-sweatshop group in New York that in 1997 exposed Kathie Lee's connection to labor violations in Central America. For several months, Wal-Mart repeatedly denied any connection to Chun Si. Wal-Mart and Kathie Lee even went so far as to pass out a press release when the report came out dismissing it as ''lies'' and insisting that they never had ''any relationship with a company or factory by this name anywhere in the world.''
But in mid-September, after a three-month BUSINESS WEEK investigation that involved a visit to the factory, tracking down ex-Chun Si workers, and obtaining copies of records they had smuggled out of the factory, Wal-Mart conceded that it had produced the Kathie Lee bags there until December, 1999. Wal-Mart Vice-President of Corporate Affairs Jay Allen now says that Wal-Mart denied using Chun Si because it was ''defensive'' about the sweatshop issue.
Wal-Mart Director of Corporate Compliance Denise Fenton says its auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP ( PWC) and Cal Safety Compliance Corp., had inspected Chun Si five times in 1999 and found that the factory didn't pay the legal overtime rate and had required excessive work hours. Because the factory didn't fix the problems, she says, Wal-Mart stopped making Kathie Lee bags there. Kathie Lee, who licenses her name to Wal-Mart, which handles production, concurred with the chain's action at Chun Si, says her lawyer Richard Hofstetter. Payless also stopped production there after an investigation, a spokesman says.
Still, the auditors failed to uncover many of the egregious conditions in the factory despite interviews with dozens of workers, concedes Fenton. Charges NLC Executive Director Charles Kernaghan: ''The real issue here is why anyone should believe their audits.''
A SECOND LOOK. And it's not just Wal-Mart. The NLC's report, entitled Made in China, detailed labor abuses in a dozen factories producing for household-name U.S. companies (www.nlcnet.org). After it came out, bootmaker Timberland Co. asked its auditors to revisit its plant, also in Zhongshan. They found that the factory hadn't fixed most of the violations cited the first time, despite repeated assurances to Timberland that it had (table). Similarly, in mid-September, Social Accountability International (SAI), a New York group that started a factory monitoring system last year, revoked its certification of a Chinese factory that makes shoes for New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc. after auditors reinspected the plant following the NLC report. ''The auditors found that indeed there were many violations they had not picked up the first time,'' says SAI President Alice Tepper Marlin.
Because such efforts to reassure consumers have proven so unsatisfactory, a handful of companies, including Nike Inc. and Reebok International Ltd.--so far, the companies most tarnished by anti-sweatshop activists--have concluded that self-policing isn't enough. They--along with Kathie Lee--helped form the Fair Labor Assn., created in 1998 after a White House-sponsored initiative. The FLA now has a dozen members and is setting up an independent monitoring system that includes human rights groups.
Wal-Mart and many other companies, though, reject such efforts, saying they don't want to tell critics or rivals where their products are made. Yet without independent inspections, such companies leave themselves open to critics' accusations that self-policing doesn't work. ''The big retailers, such as Wal-Mart, drive the market today, yet...they're not committed to changing the way they do business,'' says Michael Posner, head of New York-based Lawyers Committee for Human Rights and an FLA board member. Wal-Mart's Allen says that after three years of talks, the company may soon set up independent monitoring with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a religious group in New York City.
Certainly, what happened at Chun Si illustrates the inadequacy of many labor-auditing systems in place today. Wal-Mart uses nine auditing firms, including PWC. Like other big accounting firms, PWC has a booming labor-auditing business inspecting many of the thousands of factories making toys and clothes made by Wal-Mart and other companies. After Kathie Lee's drubbing by sweatshop critics, she hired Cal Safety, a Los Angeles-based labor-auditing firm, to do separate audits of the factories that produce the clothing and accessories bearing her name. According to Wal-Mart's Fenton, Cal Safety inspected the factory four times from March to December of last year, and PWC inspected it once, in September. The auditors found that Chun Si had numerous problems, including overtime violations and excessively long hours, says Fenton.
But otherwise, concedes Fenton, the audits missed most of the more serious abuses listed in the NLC report and confirmed by BUSINESS WEEK, including beatings and confiscated identity papers. (Wal-Mart declined to allow BUSINESS WEEK to talk in detail to Cal Safety or PWC, citing confidentiality agreements. Randal H. Rankin, head of PWC's labor practices unit, insists his audit did catch many of the abuses found by the NLC, though he wouldn't provide specifics, also citing Wal-Mart's confidentiality agreement. Cal Safety President Carol Pender says her firm caught some, though not all, of the abuses.)
All the while, evidence was piling up at the local labor office in Zhongshan. There, officials received a constant stream of worker complaints--several a month since the factory opened 10 years ago, says Mr. Chen, the head of the local labor office, who declined to give his full name. ''Since they opened their factory, the complaints never stopped,'' he says. Officials would call or go to the factory once a month or so to mediate disputes, but new complaints kept arising, he says. Neither Wal-Mart's nor Kathie Lee's auditors discovered this history.
Chun Si also tried to hoodwink the auditors, according to the workers BUSINESS WEEK interviewed. After Cal Safety's initial inspection in March, 1999, Wal-Mart (through its U.S. supplier, which placed the order with the factory) insisted that Chun Si remedy the violations or it would pull the contract. Cal Safety found little improvement when it returned in June, as did PWC in September.
DOUBLE STANDARD. Chun Si then took drastic steps, apparently in an effort to pass the final audit upon which its contract depended. In early November, management gave a facelift to the two attached five-story factory buildings, painting walls, cleaning workshops, even putting high-quality toilet paper in the dank bathrooms, according to Liu and Pang Yinguang (also not his real name), another worker employed there at the time whom BUSINESS WEEK interviewed in mid-September. Management then split the factory into two groups. The first, with about 200 workers, was assigned to work on the fixed-up second floor, while the remaining 700 or so worked on the fourth floor, leaving the other floors largely vacant. Managers announced that those on the fourth floor were no longer working for Chun Si but for a new factory they called Yecheng. Workers signed new labor contracts with Yecheng, whose name went up outside the fourth floor.
The reality soon became clear. Workers on the fourth floor, including Liu and Pang, were still laboring under the old egregious conditions--illegally low pay, 14-hour days, exorbitant fees for meals--and still making the same Kathie Lee handbags. ''It felt like being in prison,'' says Pang, 22. But those on the second floor now received the local minimum wage of $55 a month and no longer had to do mandatory overtime. A new sign went up in the cafeteria used by workers on all floors explaining that the factory was a Wal-Mart supplier and should live up to certain labor standards. Liu says there was even a phone number workers could call with problems: 1-800-WM-ETHIC. ''When we saw the Wal-Mart statement, we felt very excited and happy because we thought that now there was a possibility to improve our conditions,'' says Liu.
LAST STRAW. Instead, they got worse. On Nov. 28, a second notice went up stating that starting on Dec. 10, all workers would be required to pay cash for dinner rather than just have money subtracted from their paychecks as before, say Liu and Pang. With up to 80% of workers already skipping breakfast to save money, the upper-floor employees were aghast, says Liu. ''If we had left the factory then, we wouldn't have had even enough money for a bus ticket home,'' he says. ''But if we stayed, we knew we wouldn't have enough money to eat.''
A group of workers, including Liu and Pang, met around a small pond on the factory grounds on one of the following evenings. They knew that workers had fruitlessly complained before to the local labor office. So they decided on a plan to smuggle out documents to prove Chun Si's illegal fees and subminimum wages. On Dec. 1, 58 workers overcame their fears of retaliation and marched out the factory gates, down to the labor office.
Faced with the throng of workers, local labor officials visited Chun Si and forced the factory to immediately pay the workers and return the illegally collected fees. But the officials also told these workers they would have to give up their jobs at Chun Si. Days later, some 40 labor officials returned, ordered Chun Si to properly register or shut down the so-called Yecheng factory, and fined the company about $8,500. Shortly after the blow-up, Wal-Mart ended production at Chun Si.
Kernaghan and other labor activists concede that Chun Si is an extreme example of working conditions in China today. Yet many experts think most factories in China producing for Western companies routinely break China's labor laws. Some Western companies' monitoring efforts do catch and fix some of these problems. But unless companies and governments alike take more serious steps, labor watchdogs will give little credence to company claims that they're doing the best they can.
fas·cism (făsh′ĭz′əm)n.1. often Fascisma. A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, a capitalist economy subject to stringent governmental controls, violent suppression of the opposition, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.b. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a system of government.2. Oppressive, dictatorial control.
Baltimore has been in the grips of fascism for decades with Johns Hopkins running it as a company town....it is now noticable to all because they are tightening the grip.
The good news is fascism never keeps hold of a society---people always get tired of being abused and send them sociopaths packing. What Americans and Maryland/Baltimore citizens need to do is START NOW. There are no winners in this---.0001% will fight for it all.
DO NOT WAIT UNTIL IT BECOMES UNBEARABLE. WAKE UP AND GET ENGAGED!
As Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley begins to campaign for President telling Americans he is a progressive Democrat-----here is O'Malley's history for all to see. The American people must stop relying on what used to be labor and justice organizations that educated about public policy but are now tied to Clinton neo-liberalism----TAKE TIME TO EDUCATE YOURSELF AND OTHERS ON PUBLIC POLICY AND POLITICIANS---BE THE CANDIDATE THAT DOES NOT SELL OUT!
This is what Fascism looks like----
Sunday, May 17, 2015 11:00 AM EST Salon
The ghosts of Baltimore: How plunder, violence and intimidation built a great American city The Freddie Gray protests are merely the epilogue to a decades-long story of corruption and crippling inequality
SHELLEY PUHAK, The Weeklings
Baltimore, May 1, 2015. (Credit: Reuters/Eric Thayer) This article originally appeared on The Weeklings. EVERY CITY HAS SEAMS where the past peeks through, spots especially vulnerable to echoes and reverberations. Take Camden Yards, the iconic retro stadium where drunk baseball fans and splinter groups of protestors clashed in Baltimore. Before Camden Yards was a stadium, it was a B&O railyard; before that, it was the “Frenchtown” neighborhood, and before that, a packed dirt camp for colonial troops.
Baltimore is haunted, but I mean that in the 13th century sense, when to haunt was to frequent, to be familiar with. Baltimore has a habit of brawling and plundering and brick-throwing, with most instances dwarfing the recent destruction. Camden Yards (once Camden Station, before that Camden Street, and before that just an oak tree at the end of what was called Forest Street, and before that a sapling, and before that a seed) is a spot more haunted than most. Like the waterfront Pratt Street, Camden Street was named after Charles Pratt, first Earl of Camden. This Englishman never set foot in Baltimore, but he did side with the Colonies against the Stamp Tax, which had inspired riots of its own.
Two weeks ago Saturday, when police moved in when protesters neared the stadium itself, when some white suburban fans taunted protesters with racial slurs, scuffles erupted. Most of those fans had entered the stadium that afternoon via the pedestrian walkway at the intersection of Camden and Eutaw Streets, right at centerfield. They had milled around the shops and restaurants, treading on brick stacked upon asphalt paving over what was once Donovan’s slave jail. Most of these fans would have no idea they were doing so— there is no plaque or marker. Most of these fans would end up stuck inside the stadium, where beleaguered Union troops barricaded themselves another mild April evening 154 years earlier. Coincidence or convergence?
By now, you’ve probably heard references to Baltimore’s Pratt Street riots, which erupted on April 19, 1861, when a mob attacked a Massachusetts regiment on its way to D.C. Shots had been fired at Fort Sumter the past week, both sides had been posturing, but there had been no casualties. It was in Baltimore that the very first blood of the Civil War was drawn— four soldiers and twelve civilians died that day. After that, there was no backing down.
The song “Maryland! My Maryland!” was inspired by the Pratt Street Riots and written by a local English teacher. Set to the tune of “O Tannenbaum,” this Confederate fight song called upon troops to “Avenge the patriotic gore/That flecked the streets of Baltimore.”
This is our official state song, a song that opens with a reference to Lincoln as a “despot” and wraps up by praising how our state “spurn[ed] the Northern scum!” Note that “Maryland! My Maryland!” was adopted by the state legislature in 1939, almost 75 years after the end of the Civil War.
Traditionally, the third verse of “Maryland, My Maryland” is sung at the Preakness Stakes by the Naval Academy’s Glee Club, a verse that was intended to intimidate on the battlefield, which rejoices that our “beaming sword shall never rust,” immortalizing our propensity for violence.
The 1861 riots are not even the incident that earned Baltimore its moniker of Mobtown. The city’s nickname was probably coined during the 1812 riots, which culminated in an angry mob setting upon a newspaper editor and his armed supporters (which included the father of Robert E. Lee) holed up with muskets in what is now trendy Federal Hill. But there were also the Bank Riots of 1832, the Nunnery Riots of 1839, the Know Nothing Election Riots that occurred annually between 1856-1859, the Federal Hill and Fells Point Riots of 1858, the Railroad Strike of 1877, the Red Summer race riots of 1919, and, of course, the MLK riots of 1968.
These riots that occur cyclically are pressure-valves built into our system to keep it from imploding.
Baltimore has enjoyed periods of integration during prosperity and cycles of ethnic or racial strife in tough times. The city depends upon having the working poor police those even poorer, upon setting their interests against one another.
In 1835, a year after the state Bank of Maryland failed and lost millions of the common people’s dollars, those on its board were accused of fraud and corruption. The board had promised a financial settlement but had been dragging its feet for well over a year.
In an attempt to speed the process along, an angry throng smashed a few windows at the home of the powerful Bank Director (and U.S. senator) Reverdy Johnson. The mayor not only called up troops to protect his friend’s property from the mob, but went himself to try to personally dissuade them.
Unable to destroy the bank director’s home, the mob satisfied itself with trashing the homes of other board members.
After the violence subsided, the mob leaders were jailed. The bank directors who had already bankrupted the taxpayers went on to successfully sue the state of Maryland for failing to protect their property.
I teach at a small university in Baltimore bordered by two thoroughfares: Charles Street, with its million-dollar Federalist and Tudor homes; and York Road, with its check cashing places and fast food restaurants, a short stretch one visiting poet said reminded her of her hometown of Harlem. They are separated by a distance of a half mile.
In the past quarter century I’ve lived in the neighborhoods of Waverly, Charles Village, Hampden, and Cedmont, before becoming part of the problem and moving across the county line. I know my white flight makes me complicit. Still, I can no longer believe farm-to-table/organic/eat local/hipster-quirky/Main Street initiatives are going to be enough to plaster over our past.
Baltimore is like no other city. Baltimore is like too many other cities. It is not just a city that has fostered inequality, but one founded upon it, upon a Land of Pleasant Living forged through violence and intimidation.
At the same spot Confederate sympathizers fired upon Union troops, the Maryland National Guard fired upon a large group of railroad workers and their families in 1877. The workers had been out on strike because the B&O had cut their wages at the same time they paid their shareholders a record 10% dividend. Ten civilians were killed and more than two dozen were wounded.
That regiment also ended up barricaded in Camden Station, trapped for days until Marines were sent in to rescue them. In the meantime, to avenge the protestor’s deaths, the mob set to burning down anything that was not brick.
The National Guard had been sent in in the first place not to keep the peace and protect the citizens of Baltimore, but to protect the railroad.
Protect and serve. Protect the bank director’s home. Protect the B&O. Protect the Orioles.
What if Baltimore’s demonstrators had chanted the following at police:
We will not crook to your control,
Better the fire upon us roll,
Better the blade, the shot, the bowl,
Than crucifixion of the soul.
Would we have thought them patriots for singing our state song?
Maryland, My Maryland!
Oh, Baltimore, my Baltimore.
All a ghost, any ghost asks, is to be acknowledged. Every legend, every story, starts with this premise. Or else we remain haunted, throwing the same bricks and shouting the same slogans. And while we are busy sweeping up the glass and putting out the fires, the same folks keep making money.
Creation of global economic zones in the US with the goal of rotating immigrants through one employment situation after another under Trans Pacific Trade Pact will create the very structures for poverty that leads to inequity and abuse. The problem is never the immigrant----the US has the potential to employ all Americans and any immigrants that want to come IF IT RETURNED TO A DOMESTIC ECONOMY FUELED BY US WORKERS AND CORPORATIONS THAT PAID TAXES AND WERE HELD ACCOUNTABLE IN THE WORKPLACE. Global markets are built to keep workers of the world always needing more---always afraid of losing jobs. Domestic economies create stability and that works well for immigrant labor. WHEN WE SHOUT AGAINST TPP AND THE MARKET-BASED IMMIGRATION REFORM-----AGAINST CHINESE-STYLE ECONOMIC ZONES -----WE ARE SHOUTING AGAINST PUBLIC POLICY AND NOT AGAINST IMMIGRANTS.
'But to group low-paid workers of different nationalities against each other is just another aspect of the divide and rule culture that will help to foster tensions and divisions between communities. The answer to poverty isn’t to pitch one worker against another of a different nationality; it’s to combat the systems and structures that lead to such inequality'.
Structural inequality, not immigration, is the UK’s problem
George Gillett 27 May, 2014 1.3k041
The answer to poverty isn’t to pitch one worker against another of a different nationality; it’s to combat the systems and structures that lead to such inequality.
The answer to poverty isn’t to pitch one worker against another of a different nationality; it’s to combat the systems and structures that lead to such inequality
In light of the European election results, it is clear that UKIP’s rhetoric has resonated among the public. With more MEPs than any other party and over 27 per cent of the vote, fear about immigration and the harmful effects of EU membership is widespread. UKIP’s popularity, however, means that it’s now more important than ever to scrutinise their rhetoric.
Of course, much has been written about the economic benefits of membership to the EU, and specifically, immigration. Reports have highlighted that migration increases the UK’s GDP, and aids public finances. Yet it’s been claimed that these economic benefits aren’t felt by low-paid workers, a viewpoint that may indeed be valid considering the worrying increase in inequality within the UK over recent decades.
Depending on the measurement, it is thought that the UK has the sixth or seventh largest economy in the world. We benefit from an excellent National Health Service and state education system until the age of 18. The notion that the UK is ‘under threat’ is absurd, and represents a huge misunderstanding of our place in the world. We are immensely fortunate to be born into such a lifestyle when comparing the UK to other countries.
Why aren’t others entitled to this good fortune and lifestyle? What is it out about Britons that, just because we had the luck of being born here, makes us more deserving than immigrants? UKIP’s rhetoric is shrouded in the pernicious notion of birth-rights – the language that ‘we’ deserve ‘our’ land, ‘our’ hospitals and ‘our’ schools more than others who differ from us only by birthplace.
Considering this, it’s unsurprising that Farage’s party are so often described as racist, when so fundamental to their philosophy is the idea that British people are more deserving than others. When Farage speaks about the ‘people’s army’, he talks about an exclusively British ‘people’s army’, which concerns itself with improving life for British people, at the deliberate exclusion of others.
Yet foreign migrants are as deserving as anyone born in the UK, especially when considering that they are often attempting to escape poverty or to better their economic position.
To prioritise the curbing of immigration on the political agenda is to enthusiastically embrace structural global inequality. And not only to embrace such inequality, but to benefit from it, to maintain our privilege at the neglect of others. For anyone with any sense of a belief in equal opportunity, social mobility or economic equality, the issue is fundamentally the same; to accept privilege and to deny somebody else of similar opportunity is inherently unjust.
This is what is so concerning about the EU election results. We had a chance to mandate our representatives to act on a number of issues; to combat global poverty, to take measures on climate change or to prevent international organised crime such as sex trafficking. The kind of issues that fundamentally require international co-operation, and that UKIP ignore in favour of nationalistic entitlement.
Despite the privilege that the UK grants us, it would of course be unfair to deny that the UK faces significant challenges. In recent years, inequality has increased rapidly, food bank usage has soared, and many, both in and out of work, are struggling with poverty.
But to group low-paid workers of different nationalities against each other is just another aspect of the divide and rule culture that will help to foster tensions and divisions between communities. The answer to poverty isn’t to pitch one worker against another of a different nationality; it’s to combat the systems and structures that lead to such inequality.
We need to better represent workers and their rights, an end to zero-hours contracts and the implementation of a Living Wage, which pays all employees enough to maintain a reasonable quality of life. Similarly, the housing crisis can’t be solved by scapegoating foreigners – instead, the government must take responsibility and increase the building of council homes.
Indeed, between 2002-2012, a total of 9,860 council homes were built, less than 4 per cent of the number built over the same period 30 years ago. This is clearly inadequate for the UK’s growing population.
It would be foolish and wrong to argue that UK poverty doesn’t exist. However, it’s absurd to respond to such poverty by victimising fellow low-paid workers in other nations, whilst ignoring the structural inequality that exists within the UK. As one of the wealthiest countries in the world, our fixation with immigration can only be described as a self-serving maintenance of our own privilege, which only reinforces the lottery of birth and stifles any essence of equal opportunities.
Farage claims that he’s leading a ‘people’s army’. In reality, he’s a public-schooled, millionaire City trader, playing divide and rule with oppressed communities. He knows who benefits from inequality and injustice, and he has no intention of changing it.