The U.S. and the U.K., said George Bernard Shaw, are two nations separated by a common language. Further distinguishing us from our former colonial master is our form of government—though GOP opposition to monarchy seems increasingly squishy.
Our editorial position on monarchy was most recently published on February 10th, with a selection from Thomas Paine’s, Common Sense; herewith, a more succinct version: Britain’s first king was “nothing better than the principal ruffian of some restless gang, whose savage manners of pre-eminence in subtilty obtained him the title of chief among plunderers.”
Unimpressed by William the Conqueror, Paine wrote he was a “French bastard landing with an armed Banditti and establishing himself king of England against the consent of the natives…a very paltry rascally original…[which] certainly hath no divinity in it.”
Our jaundiced view notwithstanding, we are encumbered with certain information about the impending coronation, a burden we can only shed by sharing it with—imposing it upon?—our readers. According to Hearst’s monthly Town & Country—apparently America’s pre-eminent Anglophile rag—“The Chrism oil which will be used to anoint His Majesty The King on 6th May 2023 has been consecrated in Jerusalem today, Friday 3rd March 2023.”
The BBC reported last week that “reflecting modern animal-friendly sensitivities, this oil will not include any ingredients from animals. … Previous versions have included civet oil, from the glands of the small mammals, and ambergris from the intestines of whales.”
Certain users of Twitter find this innovation unacceptable.
@JenJudson averred that, “To truly become the king, one must be anointed in whale guts and cat pee. Pretty sure the court jester slipped that into the coronation requirements as a joke back in the 1500s.”
@rob_sheridan, on the other hand, saw an opportunity for, if not progress, then change, at least: “Now if you show up to the palace absolutely drenched in sperm whale intestinal wax they have to give you the crown right off that false king’s pasty lil head, it’s in the rules.”
Some of the olives from which the oil was derived came from the Monastery of Mary Magdalene, on the Mount of Olives—the burial place of King Chuck’s paternal grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece.
Often portrayed as being slightly peculiar, King Charles III seemingly acquired those traits naturally. According to Brewer’s Rogues, Villains, and Eccentrics: An A – Z of Roguish Britons Through the Ages, between 1925 and 1936, when Charles’s father Philip, the future Duke of Edinburgh, was between the ages of four and 15, Princess Alice “alternated between being harmlessly eccentric (playing Ouija, receiving messages from packs of cards) and clinically insane (announcing a dinner engagement with Jesus, cutting out objects and putting them in parcels, believing herself to be magnetic, and thinking she had a band of disciples in Bedfordshire). … [She] was interned in a succession of Freudian clinics…she talked incessantly about prostitutes and pulled faces at her doctors. Dr. Binswanger diagnosed her a neurotic pre-psychotic libidinous condition and sedated her with morphine.”
Transcending this treatment, during World War Two, living in Athens in conditions described as “humble, not so say somewhat squalid,” she worked for the Red Cross, organized soup kitchens and medical supplies, and hid a Jewish family from the Gestapo.
In 1994 she was honored at Yad Vashem as “Honored Among Nations.” Her last years were spent at Buckingham Palace, where the staff remembered her as “strange but likeable.”
Iowa Bill Aims to Expand Child Labor
by Alec Johnson
On Jan. 30, Iowa State Sen. Jason Schultz (R-Schleswig), introduced Senate File 167. The bill seeks to rollback long established protections governing child labor. This piece of legislation is yet another link in a chain of recent attacks on children and worker’s rights occurring across the country.
At the time of writing, SF 167 is making its way through the legislative process which is difficult to predict in Iowa. As of March 1, the bill has survived the first legislative funnel deadline and has advanced with amendment. Defending the bill Schultz promised, “We’re going to end up with a generation of skilled leaders because of these efforts.” Senate Democratic Minority Leader Zach Wahls counters, “My hope is that this bill does not advance … and then we can get back to focusing kids on actually having rewarding, enriching childhoods and that their employment opportunities are age-appropriate and are safe.”
SF167 includes provisions to allow 14- to 17-year-olds to work in previously prohibited jobs so long as they are part of an approved training program. Given Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds’ very cozy relationship with the business sector, skepticism about how rigorous the approval process is seems entirely warranted.
These “training programs” would allow minors to work in, “slaughterhouses, meatpacking or rendering plants; mining; operating power-driven metal forming, punching or shearing machines; operating band or circular saws, guillotine shears or paper balers; or being involved in roofing operations or demolition work.” The law also now allows 14- and 15-year-olds to work in freezers and meat coolers.
Another provision of the bill “exempts businesses from civil liability if a student is sickened, injured or killed due to the company’s negligence.” It continues, “A business also would be free of civil liability if a student is hurt because of the teen’s negligence on the job — or is injured traveling to or from work. A company could face fines of up to $10,000 for violations under the bill, but the state’s labor commissioner could reduce or waive the penalty.”
Beyond this example in Iowa, labor violations and attempts to further exploit workers are taking place across numerous sectors all over the United States. As Liberation News reported on Aug. 22, 2022, Hyundai Motor Co. was exposed exploiting children as young as 12 to manufacture auto parts in Alabama. There were also recent reports of systemic abuse of children performing sanitation services in meatpacking plants in Minnesota and Nebraska. These experiences in Alabama, Minnesota and Nebraska make it clear that children’s safety, much less their welfare, are not the foremost priority, profit is.
This issue was the focus of a recent Socialist Program podcast: “Bosses Want More Child Labor,” where Brian Becker and Professor Richard Wolff shared the history of the campaign to end child labor in the United States. They share why capitalists are rolling back protections for children hard fought and won over decades early last century.
The last few years saw major changes in the labor market, according to Wolff. Older workers and women left the workforce in large numbers. Years of demonizing the immigrant community has, in Wolff’s words, “hounded them out” of the country, significantly changing the workforce composition. Preferring not to address the labor shortage by offering wages and conditions that would increase the adult workforce, some employers are turning their attention to exploiting children.
Most of the children exploited in Alabama, Minnesota and Nebraska were Latino from migrant families. Instead of efforts to protect these children, in Iowa we find the GOP has introduced legislation that generalizes the exploitation of all children.
Taking into account Governor Reynolds’ track record on the pandemic, public education and gun violence, if SF167 gets to her desk, Iowa’s children may have much to fear. Her mishandling of the pandemic cost thousands of Iowans their lives and earned her the nickname, “Killer Kim.” Having already undermined public education with the successful passage of a school voucher bill, Reynolds continues to lead the attack on Iowa’s transgender youth. Allowing corporations to dangerously exploit minors is cut from the same cloth. Serving up Iowa’s children as the answer to the state’s labor shortage is no stretch for her. Efforts to confound Reynold’s ambitions in Iowa may well be essential to protect not only Iowa’s children, but children across the country.
This article appeared March 4, 2023 at LiberationNews.org, which publishes news and analysis from the Party for Socialism and Liberation [PSL]. PSL is comprised of leaders and activists, workers and students, of all backgrounds, across the country.
Majority of U.S. Voters Want the Fed to Stop Raising Rates Before It Tanks the Economy: Poll
by Jake Johnson
Survey data released Monday shows that a majority of U.S. voters want the Federal Reserve to stop raising interest rates before it plunges the economy into recession, a position that aligns with the view of many economists and lawmakers who fear the central bank is on the verge of needlessly throwing millions out of work.
Conducted by Lake Research Partners and published by the Groundwork Collaborative, the new poll found that 56 percent of U.S. voters believe the Fed should bring its rate hikes to a halt as top central bankers indicate that more increases are coming in the near future—even though rates are already at their highest level in 15 years.
“Our new poll makes it clear that people across the country want the Federal Reserve to stop raising interest rates before it pushes us toward a devastating and completely avoidable recession,” said Rakeen Mabud, chief economist at the Groundwork Collaborative.
“People understand that pushing millions of workers out of a job is a terrible way to address inflation and will do nothing to address root causes of inflation like supply-chain interruptions, the war in Ukraine, and big corporations manipulating the market to increase profits,” Mabud added. “And they want a Federal Reserve that prioritizes workers and families, not Wall Street and Big Business.”
The survey, which reached 1,240 registered voters nationwide, found that just 14 percent believe the Fed is on the side of “average Americans.” Nearly 40 percent said they feel the central bank serves the interests of big businesses or banks.
“Voters believe overwhelmingly that the Federal Reserve is on the side of Big Business, banks, and Wall Street,” Celinda Lake, the president and founder of Lake Research Partners, said during a press call Monday.
The findings were released a day ahead of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s scheduled appearance before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, where he will likely face sharp questioning from central bank policy critics such as Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Elizabeth Warren(D-Mass.).
On Wednesday, Powell was set to testify before the House Financial Services Committee.
The Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates again during its policy meeting later this month, even with inflation easing and despite mounting calls for a pause as previous increases—which are taking a toll on wage growth and the housing market—work their way through the economy.
Powell and other central bankers have repeatedly claimed that the U.S. labor market—which has thus far remained strong in the face of the Fed’s rate increases—is running too hot and must be weakened in order to curtail inflation, sparking accusations that the Fed is prioritizing just one side of its dual mandate and “trying to engineer a recession.”
The latest U.S. job figures are set to be released today.
Critics have said the Fed’s chosen policy approach—aggressive attempts to curb demand—is misguided and will do little to tackle the primary drivers of inflation, including corporate concentration and profit-seeking price increases.
During Monday’s press call, economist J.W. Mason argued that “it’s absolutely possible for inflation to drop without much job destruction.”
“Over the past few months, we’ve seen a substantial fall in inflation without significant job destruction,” said Mason. “You can have disinflation without falling wages and without unemployment. The question is: Are higher interest rates really a tool that can deliver that? I think the answer is no.”
The new polling shows that an overwhelming majority of U.S. voters—77 percent—believe that “we should be focusing on the legislative tools Congress can use to fight inflation instead of simply relying on the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.”
While the survey doesn’t mention specific legislative fixes, campaigners and experts have floated a range of proposals over the past year, from a crackdown on Big Oil profiteering to targeted price controls.
Pointing to the public earnings calls of major corporations, Mabud noted Monday that “you don’t actually have to look too hard to hear the CEOs being pretty crystal clear that they’re jacking up their profit margins by raising prices on consumers.”