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KC Labor Newsletter
Week In Review, April 4, 2004

Three Articles Recently Posted On KC Labor

Worker Issues In 2004—Where the Parties Stand
UFCW Proclaims Another ‘Victory’
Vivid Images In a Long, Ongoing Nightmare

Bipartisan Calls For More GIs To Iraq
Clearly no part of Iraq is secure. Major battles raged north and south in Iraq Sunday, including Shia, Sunni and Kurdish regions, as well as in Baghdad. Dozens of Iraqis, at least ten GIs, as well as Spanish and Salvadoran soldiers have been killed. There are hundreds of wounded.

The occupation authority can no longer claim that only Baath rump elements and foreign fanatics are responsible for violence. The single biggest component in Sunday’s uprisings were followers of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. They have established armed militias that are exercising dual power in a number of areas. After the occupiers closed down their newspaper last week they vowed to pursue armed struggle until the occupation forces leave Iraq.

In response to these events Senate foreign relations committee chair Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) and former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, each separately called for more U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq. So much for an exit strategy.

Pension Protests
Hundreds of thousands marched in the streets of France, Germany, and Italy on Saturday to protest plans by their governments to cut their equivalents of Social Security. Especially contentious were the half-million-strong actions in Germany where the benefit slashing government is a Social Democrat-Green coalition.

New Argument Advanced By Bush For SS Privatization
Bush hinted racism might be at work among opponents of Social Security privatization. He quoted a Black businessman who noted that since Blacks don’t live as long as whites they get short changed on Social Security benefits. The entrepreneur argued that’s why African-Americans would be better off using their Social Security to invest in the stock market.

This proposal reminds us of arguments advanced for reducing pension fund reserves for industrial workers—because us blue collars don’t live as long as white collars do.

The real fact of the matter is that Blacks are even more dependent on Social Security benefits than white workers are. Virtually every Black advocacy group strongly opposes any basic changes in Social Security.

Also ignored by Bush and his Black business adviser is what can and should be done to raise Black life expectancy to the level of whites.