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how the ruling class rules & Andy & the Broad Foundation
Source George N. Schmidt
Date 07/11/02/01:52


Colleagues and friends:

THE WORKING CLASS CAN'T understand class unless it understands how wealth is
distributed against it, how value is created, and how the deck is stacked so
much that it's almost disheartening (until you consider all the struggles when
the working class actually broke its chains).

I suggest that instead of exchanging clips from The New York Times, people
Google over to the SEC filings of a few major corporations and read all the way
to the compensation for "directors." This is the small change of capital,
its very important to how capital rules.

Let me offer a small example from Chicago.

Back in the days when Conrad Black was looting the Chicago Sun-Times via
Hollinger Corporation, the Sun-Times/Hollinger Board consisted of people like
Henry Kissinger, Margaret Thatcher, and other right wing notables. Each received
between $25,000 and $50,000 per year in compensation for their services as a
director, plus all expenses for any meetings attended (Kissinger didn't both
go to any for years, but still collected), plus stock options (with a fixed
price target, always lower than the listing price you would pay if you lusted
after a piece of that stock). or stock grants.

All of this information was public and could have been gotten by anyone
interested in how the ruling class was ruling and influencing policy via one of
most vast media groups in opeation at that time (Chicago Sun-Times; Jerusalem
Post; London Daily Telegraph).

The trouble is when leftists wait for the newspapers to tell us how capital
rules, we miss much much much. We have to take the time to learn these things.

Current example: The Boards of Directors on which the leaders of the nation's
major "civil rights" organizations now serve. Those corporate board seats
(cumulatively) hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to these people, who
then make sure that corporate policy becomes the policy of the organization. In
Chicago, for example, the head of the Urban League for years (James Compton)
was always in line for another Board seat (and another $50,000 or more) as
long as the Urban League didn't come out against any of the major predations
corporate America: "School Reform," "Housing Reform," "Welfare
Reform" for
example -- even if those "reforms" destroyed the lives of hundreds of
thousands of
poor and working class black poeple.

Another cool example (for me, since I was recently dumped as "research
director" from the largest SEIU public employee local in the midwest) is how
Stern got on the Board of the Broad Foundation and what that means for "Labor's"
view of privatization in the public schools. In March, Eli Broad's foundation
announced two appointments to its board. SEIU's Andy Stern and former U.S.
Education Secretary Rod Paige. Some people might want to report that as
"balancing" views. I'm not so sure.

But if all you know about Stern and SEIU is what you read in a very well
edited account of the current presidential sweepstakes, you might know less than
anything, since you might have been misled.

Class rule is a dialectic. The more they get, the more power they have to
control not only physical realities (Blackwater is almost a cartoon of this) but
the way people think and eeemote.

While I'm as cool as the next guy with understanding working class "culture"
(I was born and raised in Linden, New Jersey less than a mile from the ESSO
refinery fence, where I rode every morning on my bicycle delivering the Newark
Star Ledger because my family wasn't wealthy enough to send me for golf lessons
or to a 12-step program to learn more about my "issues"), I actually hope
(with W.E.B. Dubois) that we begin spending more time learning about how the
ruling class rules.

We know that we are oppressed and exploited. The trick is to learn how,
understand it, and then begin organizing against it.

George N. Schmidt
Editor, Substance

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