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The Workers Inquiry into the bankruptcy of Detroit

On Saturday, the Socialist Equality Party in the US is holding a Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA & Pensions. The aim of the Inquiry is to uncover the social and historical roots of the bankruptcy of Detroit and expose the political and financial interests behind this attack on the working class. The purpose of the meeting is to provide workers and young people with the knowledge they need to fight back.

The Inquiry is being held as Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, Detroit’s financial dictator, prepares to release his “plan of adjustment.” Worked out in collaboration with the city’s biggest creditors, the plan will call for the gutting of the pensions and health benefits of more than 20,000 retired city workers and the privatization of public assets, including the cultural treasures of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA).

Australian car industry closure: A warning to workers internationally

The entire car industry in Australia has been slated for destruction following the announcement by Toyota on February 10 that it intends to join Ford and General Motors Holden in ceasing production by the end of 2017. At least 7,000 workers in five assembly and engine plants will lose their jobs. Many of the 44,000 workers employed by components manufacturers and supporting businesses will also be sacked. As the impact is felt across the economy, up to 150,000 more workers will be thrown into unemployment. Working class suburbs in south-eastern Australia will be reduced to the deindustrialisation and impoverishment that exists in American cities such as Detroit, once the centre of the US auto industry.

The state assassination of a US citizen foretold

The Associated Press Monday published an extraordinary report based on deliberate leaks from senior US government officials announcing that the Obama administration is “wrestling with whether to kill [an unnamed US citizen] with a drone strike and how to do so legally under its new stricter targeting policy.” The targeted individual is alleged to be a terrorist residing “in a country that refuses US military action on its soil and that has proved unable to go after him.” The media subsequently carried various reports indicating that the individual is located in Pakistan.

Monday’s revelation that the White House is once again preparing to carry out the illegal murder of an American citizen gives an entirely new and sinister meaning to President Obama’s campaign slogan, “Yes we can.”

Indeed, if the government can order the state assassination of a US citizen in the name of national security, what can it not do? Concentration camps (a remedy recently justified by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia), torture, disappearances, martial law, the suspension of the Constitution—all the methods of a police state dictatorship become equally justifiable and possible.

Mass unemployment in America

Speaking Friday in advance of signing a bill slashing $8.7 billion from the food stamp program, President Barack Obama hailed the dismal jobs report for January released earlier that day. Wall Street also reacted enthusiastically, rallying to send the Dow Jones Industrial average higher by 160 points.

The US economy created 113,000 jobs in January, according to Friday’s report, far fewer than the 189,000 economists had predicted. It was the second consecutive month of slow job growth, following December’s increase of 75,000.

There are mounting warnings by economists that the US confronts long-term economic stagnation and high unemployment into the indefinite future. The Associated Press ran a piece Sunday entitled “US economy may be stuck in slow lane for long run,” and last month former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers warned of “secular stagnation.”

Mass unemployment has become a permanent fact of life in the United States and much of the rest of the world.

* Officially, there are ten million unemployed people in the US, up from 6.8 million in 2007.


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