THE Global Justice Movement Website

THE Global Justice Movement Website
This is the "Global Justice Movement" (dot org) we refer to in the title of this blog.

Friday, January 13, 2012

News from the Network, Vol. 5, No. 2

Possibly the most earth-shaking event this week is the bankruptcy of the company that makes Hostess Twinkies, to say nothing of Ding Dongs, Sno-Balls, cream-filled cupcakes with twisty little icing squiggles on top, HoHos and other snacks, as well as Wonderbread (and no jokes about it being called that because you wonder why it's called bread).

While the public has been assured that the Twinkie Train will not be derailed, the relevant news to Just Third Way adherents is that the rather large bale of straw that broke the Twinkie's back and left it a little yellow and white smear on the floor of the Quik-E Mart is the nearly $1 billion in unfunded defined benefit pension plan liabilities the company has accrued and owes to the union's pension trust.

Depending on your addiction to brightly colored and tasty — if empty — calories, the Twinkie meltdown may dwarf the negligible problem of the nearly $7 trillion in unfunded defined benefit pension plan liabilities incurred by federal, state, and local governments. After all, the federal government can always just print more money by emitting bills of credit to bail itself or state and local governments out, but they can't bake Twinkies. Or produce anything else to generate income to meet its obligations. Senator Orrin Hatch is just an alarmist, especially when he says that the defined benefit plan is unsustainable. The bulwark of union power a dinosaur? Oh, yeah? Well . . . Mr. Hatch, you're another. So there!

Of course, if Senator Hatch is right, we're up the proverbial creek, and the only way out is a Capital Homestead Act as soon as possible, say, next week. So here's what we're doing to try and bring this about:

• Russell Williams, a Hartford activist and former President of the Greater Hartford NAACP who serves as one of the National Field Directors for the Center For Economic and Social Justice, has organized a Martin Luther King Jr. Economic Justice & Empowerment Summit to be held in Hartford on Saturday, January 14, 2012, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts on 166 Capital Avenue in the city. Admission is free and the public is invited. The auditorium will open at 9:00 am. The Connecticut Coalition for Capital Homesteading, the Connecticut State Baptist Convention, and Service for Peace are hosting the event. Norman Kurland, president of CESJ and managing director of Equity Expansion International, Inc., is the principal speaker.

• More interest is being generated in CESJ's new annotated edition of William Thomas Thornton's A Plea for Peasant Proprietors. Everyone is encouraged to visit the book's website and download a free copy of the e-text for reviews, comments, and endorsements.

• Dr. Scott H. initiated an interesting discussion by locating a poll on the internet that found most people think having a wage system job is the single most important issue today. Dr. H. pointed out that few people seem to be aware of the importance of widespread capital ownership, or are willing to compromise in order to obtain the immediate — if ephemeral — benefits of the Servile State and a guaranteed fixed wage and benefits package over their long-term self-interest in becoming capital owners.

• We were able to respond to Karl D., who asked a question some time ago regarding the possibility that the monetary reforms under Capital Homesteading might lead to unwise uses of credit for unsound capital projects, speculation, or consumption. We explained the additional checks and balances added into the system by using capital credit insurance and limiting the allocation that goes to each person.

• We responded to John McC., a long-time supporter of expanded ownership who, nevertheless, appeared not to understand the Kelso-Adler principles of economic justice, the social doctrine of Pope Pius XI, the need for economic democracy to support political democracy, or the role of the Federal Reserve (or any other central bank) in breaking the "slavery of past savings" and creating money to finance widespread capital ownership instead of government deficits.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 60 different countries and 44 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Most visitors are from the United States, the UK, Canada, Ireland, and Australia. People in Croatia, Germany, Argentina, and Venezuela spent the most average time on the blog. The most popular postings this past week were "Thomas Hobbes on Private Property," "It's the Academics v. the Politicians . . . v. Economic Reality, Part III: Finance," "Ron Paul and Creating Money," "'The Market Must Never Neglect Solidarity'," and "It's the Academics v. the Politicians . . . v. Economic Reality, Part I: Accounting."

Those are the happenings for this week, at least that we know about. If you have an accomplishment that you think should be listed, send us a note about it at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org, and we'll see that it gets into the next "issue." If you have a short (250-400 word) comment on a specific posting, please enter your comments in the blog — do not send them to us to post for you. All comments are moderated anyway, so we'll see it before it goes up.