Saturday, June 4, 2016

THE LOOMING AMERICAN MELTDOWN: Portrait of the social crisis in America: Rockford, Illinois







"This analysis has the economic facts precisely backwards: Economic growth benefitted Americans up and down the income distribution until the Great Recession. Since then, Americans have struggled considerably."

"The president argued his administration deserves credit for the recovery thus far. If so, he has engineered the weakest recovery of the post-war era." 

"The shrinking of the American middle class is a pervasive phenomenon," said Rakesh Kochhar, associate research director for Pew and the lead author of the report. "It has increased the polarization in incomes."


"This dangerous power vacuum has fueled 

frustration and created an entirely new breed of 

disenfranchised voters who are fed up with the 

status quo. These are real people, their anger is 

palpable, and it’s not going away anytime soon."




"Today, workers in Rockford confront the 

many problems generated by the 

concentrated crisis of capitalism. The barriers

to overcoming poverty among Rockford-area 

workers include rising health care costs, 

severe housing cost burdens, lack of good 

quality jobs, high utility costs, high 

transportation costs and poor public 

education and job training."



“People are living under bridges and in abandoned 

buildings,” she added. “Meanwhile, the banks are charging $7

a day for overdraft fees. By the time they take $7 a day, you 

ain’t got any income left. They stuck me with a $39 fee. 

They’re robbing the disabled and poor. It’s highway robbery.”

Portrait of the social crisis in America: Rockford, Illinois

By George Gallanis and George Marlowe 
4 June 2016
Ninety miles northwest of Chicago sits Rockford, the third largest city in Illinois. Like many former urban industrial centers spanning the upper Midwest of the United States, Rockford belongs to the American “Rust Belt.” After decades of robust industrial and manufacturing output, the city has seen a large decline in jobs, a decay in infrastructure and a rise in unemployment and poverty.
Officially chartered as a city in 1852, Rockford initially grew on the basis of its connection to Galena, at the time a major manufacturing center in Illinois, and the Chicago Union Railroad. According to an article entitled History of a “Rust Belt” City published on, Swedish furniture collectives in the 1880s marked the beginning of the ascent of Rockford as an industrial center. During the first half of the 20th century, Rockford was transformed into the second largest furniture manufacturing center in the United States. At the same time, thanks to its auspicious location in a highly productive agricultural area and its direct connection to Chicago via rail, Rockford developed a manufacturing base focusing on the production of agricultural machinery.
As the 20th century unfolded, Rockford’s industry diversified from agricultural products to machine tools, heavy machinery, automotive products, fasteners, packaging and even aerospace. Its position as a major industrial hub made it attractive to immigrants looking for jobs and economic security. Rockford’s mostly Scandinavian settlers were joined by Italians, Eastern Europeans and African-Americans relocating from the South as part of the “Great Migration.” They would later be followed by Asian, Latino and other ethnic groups.
As World War II ended and America experienced a post-war boom, the country’s infrastructure expanded. Roads and freeways etched their way throughout the country. In Rockford, these roads had a permanent impact on the layout of the city. Divided into eastern and western halves by the Rock River, which bisects it, Rockford had experienced relatively equal growth on both halves up to the 1950s. However, the construction of Interstate 90 just beyond the eastern part of the city shifted the balance and conditioned all future growth and development.
Rockford’s western area has seen very little growth in the past few decades and has become racially segregated, with most of the city’s African-Americans and Hispanics living there. Abandoned industrial buildings are scattered throughout both halves, but Rockford’s southwestern section has seen the most neglect and now comprises the city’s most impoverished neighborhoods.
The development of technology and industry led to a more auto-centered lifestyle. As a result, many industrial buildings in the center of the city fell into disuse. Some are still standing today as industrial fossils. Structures such as the 13-story Amerock building, as the History of a “Rust Belt” City article notes, became impractical as the central location did not have sufficient surface parking to accommodate employees, meaning, like many companies, they relocated out of the area or to newer facilities on the edges of the city.”
As in other parts of the country, especially those regions centered around manufacturing hubs such as Detroit and Chicago, the post-war boom provided a higher standard of living for workers in Rockford. But with the globalization of capitalist production in the latter part of the 20th century, the process of deindustrialization engulfed cities such as Rockford.
More recently, the 2008 housing and financial crash 

shattered Rockford’s housing market. The Wall Street 

Journal in 2013 described Rockford as the “underwater 

mortgage capital of America.”
The 2008 crisis dealt a devastating blow to Rockford’s working class. The official unemployment rate in 2010 reached a peak of 19 percent, and nearly 30 percent of the city’s population fell below the poverty line at one point.

Today, workers in Rockford confront the 

many problems generated by the 

concentrated crisis of capitalism. The barriers

to overcoming poverty among Rockford-area 

workers include rising health care costs, 

severe housing cost burdens, lack of good 

quality jobs, high utility costs, high 

transportation costs and poor public 

education and job training.

Presently, the poverty rate for African-Americans is 43.3 percent. Part-time workers have a poverty rate of 32.2 percent. For black men between 20 and 24, the unemployment rate is 70 percent. In the absence of stable jobs, many young men turn to drugs, alcohol and crime.
Two residents of the Luther Center housing complex in Rockford spoke to a WSWS reporting team.
“A lot of people are out of work,” one said. “There are a lot of homeless. There aren’t any jobs here.
“It’s getting worse. There’s too much crime. We see it all the time on the news. It happens everywhere in Rockford. Not just the West Side. It happens in town as well.”
The official unemployment rate dropped to a post-recession low of 6.9 percent in 2015 and has since steadily climbed back up, reaching 7.6 percent in March of 2016. There are currently nearly 12,673 people officially unemployed. As in many other parts of the country, however, the dip in the unemployment rate in Rockford is largely due to a fall in the labor force participation rate: workers are disappearing from the work force (moving away, retiring or no longer looking for work). In 2015, according to Labor Department data, Rockford was one of 20 metropolitan areas in the country where unemployment fell because the work force shrank.
According to one analysis of the last 20 years, Rockford’s job growth peaked in 2000 with 165,700 people employed. There has been negative net job growth in the area since then, with 12,200 jobs lost between 2000 and 2009. By 2009, Rockford employment leveled out at 142,200, with only 11,300 jobs added since then.
Greg, a worker who grew up in Rockford, told a WSWS reporting team, “I work in Madison even though I live here because there aren’t any jobs here. I drive 50 miles a day. Nothing is getting better.
“I noticed when I was getting a little older how bad things were getting. It’s poverty. When I was young, I didn’t know that. Things ain’t the way they use to be. When you have no jobs and no opportunity, what else is there to do? You go down the wrong road.
“Some kids turn out good, [but] the majority of them end up in the streets and in jail. And you have to live with those consequences and the decisions you make because of poverty.”
Asked about the current presidential candidates and the never-ending wars being waged by the US across the globe, he commented, “They’re all going to do the same thing. I thought it would be good when Obama got into office. He was supposed to make positive change, but it wasn't. Your country cares nothing for you, why are you dying for it?”
The WSWS team visited the Shelter Care Community Soup Kitchen in the northwest part of downtown Rockford, where it spoke to two residents, a woman who went by the name of Ms. Megan and her friend Gayle.
“The truth is, down here, from the mayor on down, there is so much crime, including the police department,” Gayle said. “The judges, the attorneys, they’re doing the crime. The community is going to keep being the way it is.”





“People are living under bridges and in abandoned 

buildings,” she added. “Meanwhile, the banks are charging $7

a day for overdraft fees. By the time they take $7 a day, you 

ain’t got any income left. They stuck me with a $39 fee. 

They’re robbing the disabled and poor. It’s highway robbery.”

Her friend, Ms. Megan, commented, “I went from Chicago to Aurora, back to Chicago, and now I’m here in Rockford. They’re pushing all the homeless people out. They’re pushing them out here, pushing them out in Milwaukee. They’re pushing them out in Kenosha, they’re pushing them out everywhere.
“It’s about the whole community. It’s across the nation. All communities, all nations need to be pulling together. It doesn’t matter about the culture. It’s about us human beings pulling together.”
Portrait of the social crisis in America: Rockford, Illinois

yep! massively in debt from colleges costs and all the jobs go to foreigners! it's a good place to be in!

POVERTY IN THE BURBS…you are next and an illegal is next in your job!


Much of the rise in suburban poverty is due to the impoverishment of working families already living there. The decline in manufacturing, the Great Recession, and widespread foreclosures have left many longtime suburban families reeling

Obama to American youth: Stop complaining, things have never been better!
By Niles Niemuth
17 May 2016
Niles Niemuth is the Socialist Equality Party's candidate for vice president in the United States
US President Barack Obama used his commencement address Sunday at Rutgers University in New Jersey to express contempt for those who are supporting either the campaigns of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump or self-proclaimed socialist Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders.
While the media has focused on Obama’s thinly-veiled swipes against Trump’s promise to build a wall along the Mexico border and his foreign policy, more significant was the president’s clear rebuke of students and others for supporting Sanders.

The conclusion to be drawn from his speech is that workers—and particularly youth—need to stop complaining and do what they are told. Obama insisted, in what has become his mantra, that things have never been better in America and chastised young people for supporting calls for a “political revolution.”

In a reference to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has promised that if elected he will “Make America Great Again,” Obama insisted that social and economic conditions have never been better than they are now. “In fact, by almost every measure, America is better, and the world is better, than it was 50 years ago, or 30 years ago, or even eight years ago.”

Among other trends, Obama cited the decline in crime rates, teenage pregnancies, the percentage of people living in poverty and an overall increase in life expectancy as proof that life in America is better than it has ever been. He also cited the fact that a greater share of Americans have a college education and more blacks and Latinos sit on corporate boards and hold political office than ever before.

In the course of his remarks, Obama complained that access to the Internet and smart phones has “in some ways… made us more confident in our ignorance… We have to agree that facts and evidence matter. And we got to hold our leaders and ourselves accountable to know what the heck they’re talking about.”

It would have been appropriate for someone in the audience to have shouted out at this point, “Physician, heal thyself!”

Obama’s rose-colored account flies in the face of the reality of life confronted by the vast majority of Americans in 2016. Over the last eight years workers have experienced declining incomes and wages, and rising death rates among working class men and women due to an increase in suicides, drug overdoses and alcoholism. Entire cities and regions have been devastated by decades of deindustrialization, with the rate of poverty higher than ever in urban and suburban areas across the country.

Obama was addressing an audience that is part of a generation saddled with more than $1.3 trillion dollars in student loan debt. The first generation worse off than their parents, millions of college graduates who entered the job market after the 2008 economic crisis are either unemployed or underemployed, with an average student loan debt of $30,000.

A majority of individuals with onerous debt payments are unable to afford to buy a car, buy their own house and many delay getting engaged or married. A recent poll found that 77 percent of respondents found it more difficult to live due to their student loan debt.
After eight years of the candidate of “hope and change,” a period in which 95 percent of income gains (since 2009) have gone to the top one percent, there is a general sense that the entire political system is rotten and the economic order is rigged.
Obama’s remarks expressed concern within the ruling class not over Sanders himself, who is working to redirect opposition back into the Democratic Party. Rather, it is over the anti-capitalist sentiments that are motiving an overwhelming turn out among young voters for the self-declared socialist.
He lectured students with a potted version of history in which activists and organizers engaged in “alliance-building and deal-making” are the source of all social progress in America. Lest they get ny ideas, Obama warned his young audience that change “didn’t happen because some a political revolution occurred.”

Even as Obama argued that social and economic conditions in America are better than ever, he insisted they could be even better if only more people, especially students, voted in even greater numbers for the Democrats! He cited 2014 voter turnout, which was the lowest since the World War II era, and warned that “apathy has consequences.”

Obama cynically counseled the students to “have faith in democracy,” by which he meant they should support a political set-up entirely controlled by and subservient to the interests of the wealthiest individuals and corporations. The accusation that those who do not vote are apathetic is slander. The general sentiment is not apathy, but hostility and anger over a corrupt two-party system over which Obama himself presides.

In an additional jab at students, Obama went on to criticize protests at Rutgers over a previous announcement that Condoleezza Rice, one of George W. Bush’s secretaries of state, would speak at a commencement. That students should object to having to listen to a war criminal upon their graduation is, according to Obama, an outrageous violation of the principle that is is necessary to “listen to those who don’t agree with you.” Obama perhaps worried that he could be the object of similar protests and denunciations in the not-so-distant future.

Even as he admitted that “big money in politics is a huge problem,” he cynically asserted that “the system isn’t as rigged as you think, and it certainly is not as hopeless as you think…if you vote and you elect a majority that represents your views, you will get what you want. And if you opt out, or stop paying attention, you won’t. It’s that simple.”

It was apparently lost on the president that the history of his own administration is ample proof that the anger and hostility he sought to counter is, in fact, entirely justified.

Billary and Hillary: these fuckers would parasite off anyone and anything that moves and smells of money!


Hillary University: Bill Clinton


Bagged $16.46 Million from


For-Profit College as State


Dept. Funneled $55 Million




With her campaign sinking in the polls, Hillary Clinton has launched a desperate attack against Trump University to deflect attention away from her deep involvement with a controversial for-profit college that made the Clintons millions, even as the school faced serious legal scrutiny and criminal investigations.

In April 2015, Bill Clinton was forced to abruptly resign from his lucrative perch as honorary chancellor of Laureate Education, a for-profit college company. The reason for Clinton’s immediate departure: Clinton Cash revealed, and Bloomberg confirmed, that Laureate funneled Bill Clinton $16.46 million over five years while Hillary Clinton’s State Dept. pumped at least $55 million to a group run by Laureate’s founder and chairman, Douglas Becker, a man with strong ties to the Clinton Global Initiative. Laureate has donated between $1 million and $5 million (donations are reported in ranges, not exact amounts) to the Clinton Foundation. Progressive billionaire George Soros is also a Laureate financial backer.
As the Washington Post reports, “Laureate has stirred controversy throughout Latin America, where it derives two-thirds of its revenue.” During Bill Clinton’s tenure as Laureate’s chancellor, the school spent over $200 million a year on aggressive telemarketing, flashy Internet banner ads, and billboards designed to lure often unprepared students from impoverished countries to enroll in its for-profit classes. The goal: get as many students, regardless of skill level, signed up and paying tuition.
“I meet people all the time who transfer here when they flunk out elsewhere,” agronomy student Arturo Bisono, 25, told the Post. “This has become the place you go when no one else will accept you.”
Others, like Rio state legislator Robson Leite who led a probe into Bill Clinton’s embattled for-profit education scheme, say the company is all about extracting cash, not educating students. “They have turned education into a commodity that focuses more on profit than knowledge,” said Leite.
Progressives have long excoriated for-profit education companies for placing profits over quality pedagogy. Still, for five years, Bill Clinton allowed his face and name to be plastered all over Laureate’s marketing materials. As Clinton Cash reported, pictures of Bill Clinton even lined the walkways at campuses like Laureate’s Bilgi University in Istanbul, Turkey. That Laureate has campuses in Turkey is odd, given that for-profit colleges are illegal there, as well as in Mexico and Chile where Laureate also operates.
Shortly after Bill Clinton’s lucrative 2010 Laureate appointment, Hillary Clinton’s State Dept. began pumping millions of its USAID dollars to a sister nonprofit, International Youth Foundation (IYF), which is run by Laureate’s founder and chairman, Douglas Becker. Indeed, State Dept. funding skyrocketed once Bill Clinton got on the Laureate payroll, according to Bloomberg:
A Bloomberg examination of IYF’s public filings show that in 2009, the year before Bill Clinton joined Laureate, the nonprofit received 11 grants worth $9 million from the State Department or the affiliated USAID. In 2010, the group received 14 grants worth $15.1 million. In 2011, 13 grants added up to $14.6 million. The following year, those numbers jumped: IYF received 21 grants worth $25.5 million, including a direct grant from the State Department.
Throughout ten Democratic Party debates, Establishment Media have not asked Hillary Clinton a single question about she and her husband’s for-profit education scam.

No comments: