First of all: there seems to be some kind of misconception among some people, of what capitalism actually is. There are some who believe that where there is a market economy, money and competition, then that’s automatically capitalism. That’s not true. In capitalism there is of course a market economy, but that can exist in other systems as well.
What characterizes capitalism is that there is private ownership of the means of production. That’s when you know you’re dealing with a capitalist system. If this feature is absent, if it’s not the case that some individuals privately own the means of production others are using, then it’s no longer capitalism. If it instead was a system in which, let’s say, the workers themselves controlled and managed the means of production democratically at the place where they worked, and that these institutions were operating in a market system, then that would be some kind of market socialism etc, not capitalism.
A system that allows a few individuals to have undemocratic control and power, not only at the workplace, but in society in general, is unacceptable; a system that allows some individuals to exploit and profit on other people’s misery is unacceptable; a system that allows more and more cash to be shuffled into the pockets of the owners and the wealthy, is unacceptable.
Five years after Wall Street crashed the economy, not one banker has been prosecuted for the reckless and fraudulent practices that cost millions of Americans their jobs, threw our cities and schools into crisis, and left families and communities ravaged by a foreclosure crisis and epidemic of underwater mortgages.
Record profits are back at the bailed-out banks. Meanwhile:
Homeowners and communities have lost billions to Wall Street’s foreclosure crisis;
Millions more families face foreclosure in the coming months;
The time is now for Congress and the Obama administration to make Wall Street pay us back:
Prosecute Wall Street bankers for stealing our homes, savings and livelihoods;
End the foreclosure crisis;
Reset mortgages to their current value (“principal reduction”);
Restore and rebuild wealth stolen from communities of color hardest hit.
Since the crisis began, Americans from all walks of life have banded together to help each other. Working through community organizations, civil rights groups, the Occupy movement, and community and faith leaders, we have shared our stories, lobbied, petitioned, and even faced arrest for occupying our own homes and demanding justice.
During the Wall Street Accountability Week of Action in Washington, D.C., May 18-23, families on the front line of the foreclosure crisis will travel from around the country to Washington, D.C., to make their voices heard. The week will include community organizing, home-defense training, and non-violence and civil-disobedience training.
On Monday, May 20, at 1:00pm, home defenders, as well as faith and community leaders will rally to Bring Justice to Justice – demanding an end to the “too big to jail” policy, and relief for families and communities devastated by the financial crisis and foreclosure epidemic.
When people from two different countries hate you, that means you are a public enemy. Last week, the richest man in the entire world, Carlos Slim, attempted to use a philanthropic gift to cover up the fact that his monopolistic practices have impoverished all of Latin America, with headway being made to raid the coffers of the United States with over $451.7 million taken in from subsides from the government of the United States every year.
As the world's richest people are prone to do, Skilling is getting out of jail early with a combination of cash payments and legal maneuvers.
In exchange for early release, Skilling is paying Enron's victims some $40 million in shut-up money and has generously agreed to stop suing everyone involved with his conviction and sentence in 2006.
Skilling's promised payments would equal 0.1% of the $40 billion Enron stole under Skilling's leadership. He was originally sentenced to 24 years behind bars, but his total sentence would be half of that if his lawyers get approval on this latest scheme.
Skilling's appeal went to the Supreme Court in 2010, and the justices agreed with his attorneys that the original conviction was "based in part on an invalid legal theory known as the 'theft of honest services.'”
The same judge who sentenced Skilling will rule at the next hearing, on June 21 in Houston.
For the second year in a row, Frieze Art Fair and its subcontractor Production Glue have hired low-wage, non-unionized workers to construct their fair, bringing in people from as far away as Wisconsin. This breaks with the industry standard: the major New York City art fairs including the Armory and the ADAA, as well as many other cultural and business expositions, employ unionized workers to construct and run their shows.
Frieze is a for-profit private event that takes over a municipal public park for two months to serve a global clientele of wealthy art collectors. The fair pays less than $1 per square foot to lease the land from the city. With a ticket price of $42 per day, Frieze is inaccessible to many working New Yorkers. However, despite the cheap rent and high admission prices to an event that generates millions of dollars in art sales (and not to mention the event's main sponsor, Deutsche Bank), Frieze still claims it cannot afford to pay decent wages to local workers.
Labor organizations including Teamsters Joint Council 16, NYC Central Labor Council, IATSE Local 829, IATSE Local 1, NYC District Council of Carpenters, and District Council 9 have all called on Frieze to employ their union members and guarantee local workers a fair, living wage with benefits. This demand has been repeated by City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito (representing Randall’s Island), as well as City Councilmembers Jessica Lappin and Mark Weprin, and U.S. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY12). As Weprin said recently, “Frieze NY Art Fair, or any private business that chooses to use public parks, should hire local New York workers and adhere to fair labor standards.”
If you are an artist or gallerist showing at the fair:
We ask you to refuse to serve as a fig leaf for exploitation. We ask you to decline to lend artistic cachet to an event that does not support New Yorkers, and that desperately needs the stamp of cultural seriousness to justify itself to the public.
Even if you cannot withdraw from the fair at this point, we ask you to consider speaking out publicly against Frieze’s unfair labor practices by making information about this issue available at your booth. We would be glad to provide you with a sign and/or flyers you can display.
We also urge you to tell Frieze organizers that you are an artist or represent artists in the exhibition and that you support organized labor.
If you are attending or work at the fair: Urge everyone you know to contact Frieze to demand they engage in fair labor practices, and consider not attending the fair until Frieze agrees.
It takes courage to speak the truth when many wish to deny it, but rest assured that should you decide to stand up and speak out, you will not be alone.
The arts are an economic engine for New York, bringing millions of people and billions of dollars to the city each year. Yet each year, more jobs become unpaid internships, artists are denied payment for their labor, real wages go down, and benefits are lost; meanwhile, the city becomes more expensive and the distribution of wealth more unequal. We believe in the importance of holding institutions such as Frieze accountable for their impact on New York and the people who live and work here. We want to see art bloom across our city, but we know there is a better, fairer way to foster this growth.
Arts & Labor
To contact Frieze:
Frieze New York Office
41 Union Square West, Suite 1623
New York, NY 10003
+1 212 463 7488
Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.
the only solution is WorldRevolution
Click here for a list of actions, meetings, assemblies in New York.