FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Debtors of the World Unite!

The “bankruptcy reform” bill “passed the House on a 302-126 vote on Thursday, a month after the Senate voted 74-25” (Marcy Gordon/Associated Press, “Congress Passes Bankruptcy Reform Bill,” The Guardian 15 Apr. 2005). Techpolitics reports that not only did 73 House Democrats vote for the bill but those who voted for it “included 10 members of the Congressional Black Caucus, 13 members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, 2 Progressive Caucus members and all but 3 Blue Dogs” (“Bankruptcy Bill Vote: 109th Congress, 1st Session,” April 14, 2005).

Be sure to look at Techpolitics’ table of the bankruptcy vote, which sorts the data by “caucus, vote, party and Representative as well as by the median household income for the congressional district in the 2000 census” (“Bankruptcy Bill Vote: 109th Congress, 1st Session,” April 14, 2005).

The most important vote, however, was taken on March 8, 2005, on the “Motion to Invoke Cloture on Bill S. 256,” which passed 69-31. That was “the only vote that opponents of the bill had a chance of winning” in the words of Paul Krugman (“The $600 Billion Man,” New York Times 15 Mar. 2005). Remember the 14 Democratic Senators who voted Yea, to cut off the debate on the bankruptcy bill and make it impossible to filibuster it:

Biden (D-DE)
Byrd (D-WV)
Carper (D-DE)
Conrad (D-ND)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Salazar (D-CO)
Stabenow (D-MI)

(“U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 109th Congress – 1st Session: On the Cloture Motion [Motion To Invoke Cloture On Bill S. 256],” 8 Mar. 2005)

This is a bill that finance and credit companies have long sought for. Observe how they radically increased their bribes over the last several years: “Finance/Credit Companies: Long-Term Contribution Trends”

How the finance and credit industry bought the “bankruptcy reform” is one of the clearest proofs that America is a plutocracy, not a democracy. While it is important to attempt to replace the Democratic Senators and Representatives who voted for debt slavery by men and women who are actually committed to upholding the interests of the heavily indebted US working class, electoral politics alone will not break open the virtual debtors’ prison that the “bankruptcy reform” will soon create.

Money wins elections, more than 90% of the time: “In 95 percent of House races and 91 percent of Senate races . . . , the candidate who spent the most money won, according to a post-election analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. . . . The biggest spender was victorious in 415 of 435 decided House races and 31 of 34 decided Senate races. On Election Day 2002, top spenders won 95 percent of House races and 76 percent of Senate races” (Opensecret.org, “2004 Election Outcome: Money Wins,” 3 Nov, 2004).

It is time for the American wing of the global justice movement, which has been struggling to force the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to drop the debt under which peasants and workers of the global South groan, to take on the finance and credit industry that oppresses US workers by usury. Source: Patrick McGeehan, “The Plastic Trap: Soaring Interest Compounds Credit Card Pain for Millions” (New York Times 21 Nov. 2004)

Proclaim liberty to the captives, and open the prison to them that are bound (Isa. 61:1­2) — at home and abroad. Why not begin this weekend, when global justice activists gather in Washington D.C. to protest the 2005 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund? Unless and until US activists of the global justice movement begin to connect the debt burden on US workers with that on workers and peasants in poor nations, the movement will never grow beyond usual suspects.

Charity, an exercise in altruism, need not begin at home, but class struggle that has a winning chance surely does.

YOSHIE FURUHASHI is an activist in Columbus, Ohio and author of the blog Critical Montages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:
June 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Divest From the Business of Incarceration
W. T. Whitney
Angola in Louisiana: Proving Ground for Racialized Capitalism
Susan Babbitt
Assange and Truth: the Deeper (Harder) Issue
Kenn Orphan
Humanity vs. the Rule of Law
Mateo Pimentel
Why on Earth a Country of Laws and Borders?
Michael T. Klare
The Pentagon’s Provocative Encirclement of China
Howard Lisnoff
The Outrageous Level of Intolerance is Happening Everywhere!
Vijay Prashad
The People of India Stand With Palestine
RS Ahthion
Internment Camps for Child Migrants
Binoy Kampmark
Rocking the G7: Trump Stomps His Allies
Raouf Halaby
Give It Up, Ya Mahmoud
Lawrence Wittner
Getting Ready for Nuclear War
Patrick Cockburn
Kurdish Women Protest After Being Told by Turkish-Backed Militias to Wear the Hijab
Dean Baker
When Both Men and Women Drop Out of the Labor Force, Why Do Economists Only Ask About Men?
Bruce Lerro
Big Brother Facebook: Drawing Down the Iron Curtain on Yankeedom
June 20, 2018
Henry Giroux
Trump’s War on Children is an act of State Terrorism
Bill Hackwell
Unprecedented Cruelty Against Immigrants and Their Children
Paul Atwood
“What? You Think We’re So Innocent?”
Nicola Perugini
The Palestinian Tipping Point
K.J. Noh
Destiny and Daring: South Korean President Moon Jae-In’s Impossible Journey Towards Peace
Gary Leupp
Jeff Sessions and St. Paul’s Clear and Wise Commands
M. G. Piety
On Speaking Small Truths to Power
Dave Lindorff
Some Straight Talk for Younger People on Social Security (and Medicare too)
George Wuerthner
The Public Value of Forests as Carbon Reserves
CJ Hopkins
Confession of a Putin-Nazi Denialist
David Schultz
Less Than Fundamental:  the Myth of Voting Rights in America
Rohullah Naderi
The West’s Over-Publicized Development Achievements in Afghanistan 
Dan Bacher
California Lacks Real Marine Protection as Offshore Drilling Expands in State Waters
Lori Hanson – Miguel Gomez
The Students of Nicaragua’s April Uprising
Russell Mokhiber
Are Corporations Behind Frivolous Lawsuits Against Corporations?
Michael Welton
Infusing Civil Society With Hope for a Better World
June 19, 2018
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
We Can Thank Top Union Officials for Trump
Lawrence Davidson
The Republican Party Falls Apart, the Democrats Get Stuck
Sheldon Richman
Trump, North Korea, and Iran
Richard Rubenstein
Trump the (Shakespearean) Fool: a New Look at the Dynamics of Trumpism
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Protect Immigrant Rights; End the Crises That Drive Migration
Gary Leupp
Norway: Just Withdraw From NATO
Kristine Mattis
Nerd Culture, Adultolescence, and the Abdication of Social Priorities
Mike Garrity
The Forest Service Should Not be Above the Law
Colin Todhunter
Pro-GMO Activism And Smears Masquerade As Journalism: From Seralini To Jairam Ramesh, Aruna Rodrigues Puts The Record Straight
Doug Rawlings
Does the Burns/Novick Vietnam Documentary Deserve an Emmy?
Kenneth Surin
2018 Electioneering in Appalachian Virginia
Nino Pagliccia
Chrystia Freeland Fails to See the Emerging Multipolar World
John Forte
Stuart Hall and Us
June 18, 2018
Paul Street
Denuclearize the United States? An Unthinkable Thought
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail