Letters / FRFI 217 Oct/Nov 2010

FRFI 217 October/November 2010

Victory for Irish prisoners

On 13 August a resolution was announced to the dispute in Maghaberry, the north of Ireland’s main prison housing political detainees. This followed a summer of protests by Irish Republican Prisoners of War, in response to an increase in prison staff harassment, brutality and strip searches. Protests in support of the POWs had taken place across all the main nationalist areas in Ireland, as well as Glasgow and London. The prisoners’ protest ended after their demands had been conceded in that there would be a phasing out of ‘controlled movement’ and an end to random strip-searching.

The dispute began on Easter Sunday when 28 Republican prisoners barricaded themselves inside the prison canteen in the Roe House part of the prison following weeks of increased brutality. The Republican wing at Roe House is made up of prisoners from different organisations including INLA, CIRA, RIRA and other independent Republicans. It includes convicted and unconvicted prisoners ranging in age from their early twenties to one prisoner in his sixties.

In May, in response to the escalating crisis, relatives and supporters held a meeting in Belfast’s Conway Mill attended by over 500 people. This led to the creation of a new organisation called the Concerned Families and Friends Group, which organised support among the nationalist community.  Demonstrations outside Maghaberry prison  drew hundreds and highlighted the level of community support. Protests were also held at the Prison Ombudsman’s Office and the Alliance Party Office in South Belfast. White-line pickets were held across Belfast and a successful protest march took place in County Armagh.

On 13 August, the Group issued a press release stating: ‘After three weeks of intensive negotiation the British have agreed to change the punitive and vindictive regime Republican prisoners were forced to endure. We are relieved that our prisoners are no longer hostages to the whims of the Loyalist Prison Officers Association and share in the joy and relief of the prisoners’ families who have endured years of stress and turmoil and vindictive harassment at the hands of the screws.’

FRFI welcomes this victory for the prisoners. The number of political prisoners is rapidly increasing, as British repression is stepped up against Republicans; already the pitched battles in Ardoyne against Loyalist incursions on 12 July have led to the arrest of around 40 nationalists, mainly youth. The criminalisation of nationalist resistance to occupation and oppression must be highlighted and opposed by socialists and progressives in Britain and the struggles of prisoners continue to be supported.

Paul Mallon

Glasgow


 

Racial discrimination at UPS

I worked at UPS Ltd for 11 years, with 100% attendance for seven years. Until 2008 I had never received any kind of disciplinary action.

In January 2008 I was asked by a manager to supervise the merging of all the Lynx Courier accounts in our department. In July 2008 another manager, who was a director at Lynx Couriers, became my manager.

In October 2008 I was placed on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP).  This wasn’t authorised by the HR department. I was the only Black male employed and I am the only person ever to be placed on a PIP.

I hit the £3,000 department monthly target given to me. This was then raised to £4,000 the next month. I was then shouted at and given a written warning for failing this target. I was also given a smudged warning letter.

The warning was then revoked after my appeal but I was advised in writing that I would be placed back on the PIP.

I was signed off with occupational stress because of these events.

I emailed HR to involve the corporate office in my situation. I was then quickly contacted by HR to arrange an emergency meeting. Clearly UPS HR and management were trying to cover up their treatment of me.

In the meeting I was told I should ignore being placed back on the Performance Improvement Plan. At this point I raised a grievance. I again asked for the corporate office details but was given a false HR contact.

I resigned from UPS on 11 March 2010 and took the company to a Race Discrimination Tribunal hearing, which took place on 23 March 2010. I represented myself as I thought it was an open and closed case. However the judge dismissed my case.  I am now appealing.

UPS is an official supporter of the 2012 Olympics and an equal opportunities employer.

Clive Henry

To sign a petition in support of Clive’s case, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


 

Solidarity with migrants in Calais

I recently visited Calais, where a year ago on 22 September the French riot police attacked and destroyed the migrant camp known as the ‘Pashtun jungle’ (see FRFI 211). The police flattened tents and makeshift shelters, made hundreds of arrests and finally bulldozed the entire area, in an attempt to stop migrants gathering in and around Calais in northern France, waiting for an opportunity to cross the Channel to Britain. Despite the intensity of the attack, it was unsuccessful.

Migrants have congregated in Calais in large numbers since 1999.  In 2002, following sustained pressure from the British Labour government, the French authorities closed the Sangatte Red Cross refugee camp, which had provided food, water and shelter to the men, women and children gathered on the coast.

After the camp was closed, charities and local groups took over providing food. Further material support, as well as political solidarity is provided by the No Borders Network, which has had a small group of mainly British activists permanently stationed in Calais since June 2009.  The activists patrol the squats and ‘jungles’ acting as an early warning for imminent raids and as observers when the raids, evictions and arrests take place.

While I was in Calais there were daily raids on both the ‘Kurdish jungle’ and on ‘Africa House’, a disused factory where a group of predominantly Sudanese, with some Eritrean and Somali, men were spending their nights, gathered around a fire or catching some sleep in corners of the building.  On the first day I was there a large number of migrants were arrested and taken to the detention centre at Coquelles; 15 activists were also arrested, including ones who had simply been photographing the raid.  The police told French-speaking comrades that there’d be an even bigger raid the following day, so most of the people who usually sleep at Africa House got up and left very early in the morning, and we maintained a presence outside the building from 5 to 11am when the police arrived.  This time they didn’t arrest anyone, but evicted the five men who had not managed to flee, following warnings. They were accompanied by some suited officers who were discussing sealing off the building on the pretext of ‘health and safety’. In every raid, bedding that has been acquired or donated is lost and there is a constant struggle to replace it, which will intensify as the winter sets in.

In contrast with Britain, and indeed with the current actions of the French government, I saw no local hostility to either the groups of migrants or the activists, and the people of Calais seemed to be generally supportive and tolerant.

The police are continuing to wage a war of attrition, characterised by daily and nightly raids on the ‘jungles’ and squats across Calais and the surrounding area. No Borders is committed to maintaining a presence there and to documenting and publicising the attacks.  More information can be found on the Calais Migrant Solidarity blog http://calaismigrant solidarity.wordpress.com/

Nicki Jameson

London


 

Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer

Now that Michael Mansfield’s claims regarding me in his Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer have been publicly exposed as lies, would Carol Brickley please explain why she so eulogistically praised the book in the January issue of FRFI?

John Bowden

HMP Perth


Reply

The short review of Michael Mansfield’s book Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer was published in FRFI 212 December 2009/January 2010. In the following issue FRFI published John Bowden’s letter detailing the inaccuracies contained in the book in relation to John’s history and imprisonment. Since then, John’s criticisms of the book have been widely publicised and, despite Mansfield’s shameful attempts to keep the matter private, he has admitted the errors and they have been corrected in the latest edition of his book.

Carol Brickley writes:

When I wrote the review of Mansfield’s Memoir I was not aware of the details of John Bowden’s original conviction for murder, nor of any dispute over Mansfield’s role at Parkhurst prison. Regular readers of FRFI will realise that we do not study the criminal histories of prisoners who contact us. Our main concern is the role that prisoners play in resisting the oppression that the British state routinely unleashes on them. We are well aware of and have documented John’s role in resisting this oppression and I am sure this will continue, regardless of the details of his original trial and imprisonment. I was not aware, therefore, of the errors in Mansfield’s book. If I had been, certainly I would have drawn them to the attention of FRFI readers.

These errors do not, however, alter the fact that Mansfield has played a progressive role as a barrister over many years. Despite being a well-paid middle class servant of British ‘justice’, and unlike prominent members of his profession and even of his own chambers (Vera Baird, for instance), he has chosen to play a role which has helped many people on the receiving end of oppressive treatment by the British state. For that reason his role should be acknowledged and recorded. Like resisting prisoners, good barristers deserve to be recognised for their part in the struggle.

Thank you

Having recently been discharged from hospital, I just wanted to thank everybody at FRFI for all the ‘get well’ cards and letters of support. I’m truly grateful to you all for your relentless support.

Please convey my heartfelt thanks for everybody for taking the time to write to me. I’m indebted to you all.

‘Till all walls fall’, respect, love and power.

Satpal Ram

HMP Garth


 

Prison staff seg unit violence

In March, I was attacked at Swinfen Hall Young Offenders Unit (YOI)’s segregation unit by three members of staff who punched me in the face, used nose distraction techniques and threatened to break my arm. Despite it being captured on CCTV I now find myself due to stand trial at Stafford Crown Court on two counts of ABH.

In July I was again assaulted, this time in Reading YOI seg unit. At around 7am I was informed I would be going to HMP Woodhill in a few minutes. I told the Senior Office I didn’t want to go. He gave the other staff an order. I was then attacked by at least six officers, punched in the face, poked in the eye and nose distraction techniques used. I was pinned on the floor of the cell, placed in handcuffs and carried out of the cell.  One officer even grabbed me by my genitals. Outside the cell I was again pinned on the floor, carried outside to the van and pinned down for a third time whilst a second set of handcuffs were put on. I was held down until I got to HMP Woodhill. On arrival I had all my injuries noted by health care and I put in an application to see the Police Liaison Officer. I reported the assault but am yet to hear from Reading police. Unfortunately staff get away with assaulting prisoners by claiming they were assaulted first. Very rarely do the police take prisoners’ allegations seriously or investigate them and when they do it’s always the same outcome – no further action.

In October 2006 Cambridgeshire police set up an investigation into assaults by staff on prisoners in the seg unit at HMP Whitemoor  – I’m trying to find out the outcome. I’ve heard that prisoners have reported being physically and racially abused in the seg unit at HMP Long Lartin. I don’t agree with Colin Moses [Prison Officers Association chair] that prisons are being liberalised but I do agree that there needs to be a proper investigation, not just of the events at HMP Frankland, but of all segregation units in the high security estate – not a whitewash as Mr Moses suggests but a proper investigation by the Prison Service, the police and prisoners’ representatives.

While on occasion prisoners do assault staff; this is normally only after months of abuse, physical and psychological. Mr Moses needs to accept that his staff do assault prisoners out of sheer spite, boredom and on occasion for sexual gratification. After the events of 13 March 2010 [for which a prisoner faces charges of attacking staff at Frankland] Mr Moses said he’d like to see the Prison Service adopt a zero tolerance to violence. What he doesn’t mention is the abuse which that prisoner had been subjected to – and which he continues to suffer.

The close supervision centre system has been proved not to work. These units are  psychological torture chambers designed to mentally break prisoners the system has decided to make an example out of. It is designed around humiliating and degrading treatment of prisoners and needs to be closed down.

I urge all your readers to keep challenging false allegations made by staff and to stand up against the bullies who abuse their position.

Ross Macpherson A6791AD

HMP WOODHILL

LETTERS / FRFI 216 Aug/Sep 2010

FRFI 216 August/September 2010

John Bowden v Michael Mansfield – secrets and lies

I received the enclosed letter from Lawrence Kershen today, which makes very interesting reading.

Dear Mr Bowden

As agreed I passed on your draft to Mr Mansfield and he has suggested the following changes:

‘In my recently published Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer, I made certain references to John Bowden, a life sentence prisoner whom I defended at his original trial in 1982 and which [sic] I described in my book as a central figure in a siege at Parkhurst Prison in 1983.

‘In the narrative describing the siege at Parkhurst I wrote that John Bowden was convicted of a series of murders that involved “carving up homosexuals and winos while they were still alive and freezing the cuts”.

‘This is in fact untrue and is the result of a mistaken recollection on my part. There were other serious charges on the indictment, but there was never any claim or suggestion during John Bowden’s trial in 1982 that he or his co-defendants were responsible for more than one murder or that John Bowden had ever targeted a specific group of people for the violence that I described in my book.

‘This error was entirely unintentional, and has been corrected for all future editions of the book. I wish to apologise for this mistake particularly as the overall thrust of the narrative is intended to provide support for John Bowden’s stance on prison conditions.’

We also need to be clear about the status of whatever version is agreed. So far all our discussions are confidential. Mr Mansfield is willing for an agreed document to be made available to the relevant authorities eg the Parole Board.

He would not want it to be published eg in a newsletter or on the web. I would be grateful for your comments on this.

In case I haven’t made it explicit, my intention is that if you and he are able to reach agreement about this matter, it will be in full and final settlement of the issues between you, and no other action will be entered into. I hope this is your understanding as well…

Of course there is no possible way that I’m going to agree to Kershen’s or Mansfield’s condition that I keep quiet about Mansfield’s acknowledgement that what he wrote in his book about me was untrue.

Can you believe the cheek of the man? So it’s OK for him to write and publish blatant lies that are then distributed around the world, but I must keep it quiet and private when finally he admits that what he wrote about me was?a load of shite.

I’ve now written to Kershen letting him know that I will indeed be telling people that Mansfield has admitted telling lies!

John Bowden

HMP Perth


Why ‘they’ owe ‘us’

Steve Palmer’s article in the last FRFI (‘Holding the world to ransom: who owns the money?’) is good. However, I think there is more to be got out of this. The question was ‘To whom do “we” owe the money?’ The real question should have been ‘Why do we owe them?’

The answer should be we don’t owe them anything. Their existence is justified by theft alone (apologies to Luther). What we see is the result of a mechanism which intensifies daily the extent and intensity of its theft from the working masses. By law, and so force, these arrangements now aim to strip the weakest and poorest of what they have in order to patch up a dysfunctional system that cannot meet its own demands. Necessarily it threatens the middle classes too, for they have no real social base, only a political one.

So we could move from your article to ‘Part two: Why they owe us’, to explain again the basic mechanism of exploitation and the barrier that capital presents to itself.

Paul Bullock

London


My kind of newspaper

Ahh! The newspaper FRFI was a pleasure to read! I learned things I had no idea about before. This is definitely my kind of newspaper!!! It’s really good, you can tell a lot of work has gone into it.

Anam
Manchester


Save the life of Mumia Abu-Jamal

We are launching a UK campaign to save the life of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been on death row in Philadelphia for almost 30 years. We want to make alliances with other organisations and gain as much publicity as possible to build the campaign. We have up-to-date information from Robert R Bryan, Mumia’s lead council, who spoke at a well-attended meeting in Brixton that we organised and at which a member of the RCG also spoke.We showed the film about Mumia, In prison my whole life, in Brixton in July, introduced by the film’s narrator, Will Francome.

We are following this with a demo on 28 July 4-8pm outside the US Embassy. We hope you can attend and publicise this event.

Mumia’s legal team are currently engaged in pivotal litigation in the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia. At stake is whether Mumia will be executed or granted a new jury trial. Two years ago the federal court found that the trial judge misled the jury, rendering the proceedings constitutionally unfair. But in January 2010 the US Supreme Court vacated that victorious ruling and ordered that the case be again reviewed by the Court of Appeals. Their initial brief will be submitted on 28 July (hence the date of the demo). At issue is the death penalty.

There is therefore a great deal of urgency. We look forward to your support.

Keeley Mudd

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Defence Campaign UK


Frankland brutality

I read Eric Allison’s article in FRFI 215 about brutality in Frankland prison. I’ve had my own troubles down the block there… The screws are like bulls and are pumped full of steroids. It was the only prison I saw where hypodermic needles were used for anything other than narcotics, and some cons had the screws bringing them steroids and needles.

I was assaulted down the block when I went to collect my dinner and returned the rice pudding because it was solid, and they construed that as me throwing it back at them (it did fall off the table, but not intentionally). All the way back to my cell I had them pushing and shoving me down the stairs and when we got to the rest of the cells I started shouting that they could ‘assault me all you want! There are six of you and one of me, but all it will take is one go from me and one of you is going to lose an eye! How do you fancy that?’ I wanted the rest of the cons to hear what was going on in case I needed witnesses.

On another occasion I was sitting next to a black prisoner and the screws were standing outside his door making ‘monkey’ noises. It might not seem like a lot but that was in the days when we had a bit of control of the system. As soon as the IRA lads got repatriated the screws took control of the system again, so it must be horrendous now.

I heard too that a Muslim prisoner in Frankland received FRFI but with that article torn out. Reminiscent of the days when Irish POWs received copies of AP/RN with all mention of prison and the liberation struggle torn out, leaving just the Gaelic football section!

Mo Riaz

Via Facebook


Remanded and acquitted?

I am aware that your paper is often read by former prisoners. I am hoping to hear from any ex-prisoner who has been on remand but who was acquitted at trial, to learn about your experiences of what it is like to be in prison on remand when a conviction does not follow.

I would be grateful if you could contact me in confidence if you would be prepared to share your experiences.

Scott Lomax

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Prison censorship

I write following my previous letter in April 2010. That letter gave an accurate description of events in HMP Frankland. As you published an article in your June issue about this, I was wondering if you actually received my letter as nothing from it was used and I received no response to it.

I have been having serious problems with my mail here at Woodhill and so would be interested to know if you got it or not.

I am willing to provide further details for publication if you could arrange for someone to interview me.

You might like to know that the IPCC is looking into HMP Frankland and Durham police’s stance that it is not within its jurisdiction whenever a prison officer is reported to have committed a crime.

Kevan Thakrar A4907AE

HMP Woodhill

FRFI did not receive Kevan’s previous letter and can only assume it was held up by prison censorship.


Support Irish political prisoners

The continuing deterioration of conditions for Irish Republican political prisoners in Maghaberry Prison in the north of Ireland has led to protests inside and outside the prison. Over 500 people attended a meeting at Conway Mill in Belfast on 29 May; on 4 July, hundreds demonstrated outside the prison itself. Support groups are being set up in all of the main nationalist areas, as well as in Glasgow and London. One of these, the Republican Prisoners Support Group in Derry, is made up of members of the Irish Republican Socialist Party, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, the Republican Network for Unity and a number of individuals.

Spokesperson for the group, ex-blanketman, Thomas ‘Dixie’ Elliott, described the current suffering of prisoners: ‘In Maghaberry prison in 2010 Republican prisoners are living in the most inhumane conditions imaginable. The prisoners are locked up 23 hours per day and have no access to canteen or education facilities. For the hour that they are allowed out of their cells they are stripsearched, their movements are controlled by three prison officers to each prisoner, they have to shower and are allowed one five-minute phone call home to family members. This is totally unacceptable. As a direct consequence the prisoners have…for a number of months been partaking in what can only be described as a ‘dirty protest’ in which their bodily waste has been dumped on the floors of their cells and on the landings. The prison authorities have responded by sealing the bottom of the cell doors with rubber strips to prevent this waste leaking onto the landings and to keep the waste in the cells with the prisoners. This waste is now accumulating and in a number of cells is one to two inches deep on the floor. It is in these horrific conditions that the prisoners are forced to eat every meal.’

Thomas Elliott went on to detail the aims of the new group: ‘to distribute information and build awareness of the situation in Maghaberry. We are also intent on pushing for a solution. We believe that the implementation of the prisoners’ two basic demands will go a long way to resolving the situation and bringing about a satisfactory solution. The prisoners have called for the end to controlled movement and for the end to strip searches and we fully support them in these calls. We do see a solution but we also see a deep need for the people to come out and help us to highlight the current conditions.’

Speaking on Radio Free Ireland, recently-released Republican prisoner Gary Donnelly likened Maghaberry to ‘an open sewer’. It can be heard online www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Dds2tm5p8c

To be kept up to date with the growing protests and events in support of the prisoners visit http://friendsofcolinduffy.com

Victory to the political prisoners!

Paul Mallon

Glasgow

Picket the Ministry of Justice in solidarity with Republican political prisoners, Saturday 7 August,

2pm: 102 Petty France, Westminster, London (nearest tube St James’s Park)

Eric Allison's comments and Pauline Campbell's letter to FRFI

Eric Allison writes: I was fortunate enough to consider Pauline Campbell as a close friend. Since her death, I have been inundated with phone calls from people bereft at her passing - from a woman in her late seventies, who joined Pauline on the campaign trail and mourns the loss of a passionate and dedicated leader, to a young ex-prisoner, who viewed her as a surrogate mother. Because, despite her personal grief at the loss of an only child, Pauline always found room to console and comfort the relatives of others who had died in custody and to guide them through the legal minefield that obstructs the search for the truth.

Few in the new Ministry of Justice will mourn her passing. She met the criminal justice system head on and became a constant, sharp thorn in its side. Her direct action, in blocking the progress of a wretched sweat box into the prison she was demonstrating outside created a huge dilemma for the system; should it prosecute her and make her a martyr; or release her without charge, knowing full well that, come the death of another woman in prison, Pauline would be back, to confront the system at full tilt? When she was arrested, the police would often employ dirty tactics, such as keeping her in a cell until the early hours of the morning. (For the heinous offence of obstructing the highway) If they thought would deter her from demonstrating in the future they badly miscalculated her strength and determination.

During the five years that Pauline took on the system, it was easy to forget that she was a grieving mother, who had lost her only child. They say that time is the great healer, but in Pauline’s case, the pain of her loss must have attacked her every day; for every single day that she carried the banner, was a day that her grief was stirred up yet again. I suspect that, in the end, she was simply very tired.

Rest in peace Pauline, you were a true warrior.


CPS backs down

My letter published in FRFI No. 202, April/May 2008 ("Protest against prison deaths") urged readers to write to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in Crewe, Cheshire, to question how the prosecution against me could possibly be in the public interest.

Following written representations to both the CPS and the Attorney General, I can report that the charge against me has been dropped, and my three-day criminal trial scheduled for July 2008 has been cancelled. I am aware that FRFI readers have written letters to protest against this senseless prosecution, and I should like to place on record my thanks to those who have put pen to paper on my behalf.

This prosecution should never have reached court in the first place. Both the CPS and the court were made aware that I am a bereaved mother, and that my only child had died at the hands of the state. This particular attempt to criminalise and punish me was especially cruel, as I was arrested outside Styal the prison responsible for my daughter's death in 2003. Lisa Marley, a young mother held on remand at Styal, died on 23 January 2008, and I was arrested and charged with obstructing the highway - a charge which I denied - at the demonstration to protest against her death.

Aside from the vindictive nature of this prosecution, the case has raised a number of issues and, for reasons of openness and transparency, it is important to highlight this iniquity.

All along, the Crown had argued that the case was in the public interest. At each of my three court appearances, and in a three-page letter to the CPS in March 2008, I argued to the contrary, and challenged their assertion that the case had passed the public interest test. After three months they caved in, but it is unclear to me why it took so long for them to see the light.

The case also highlights difficulties defendants face when applying for legal aid. My application for legal aid had been refused, apparently on the grounds that it had not met the criteria necessary to meet the 'interests of justice' test. At each hearing, I had to attend court without a solicitor, which was enormously stressful. I am not a lawyer, and have had no legal training. It is an affront to the principle of access to justice that anyone should have to stand criminal trial, and attend pre-trial reviews, without legal representation. Yet whenever I attended court, the Crown was represented by a lawyer. I fail to understand how a defendant in a criminal trial can adequately represent themselves. It defies common sense. How can justice be achieved when there is clear inequality of arms?

There is a growing loss of confidence in our criminal justice system, which is hardly surprising. When laid bare, the system is frequently revealed as unjust and unfair, and it is crucial that people speak out against this injustice.

But bringing pressure to bear on the authorities can and does work, as my case illustrates. The idiom 'the pen is mightier than the sword' tells us that words and communication are more powerful than wars and fighting. When faced with a prosecution, and an attempt to criminalise me, I will always fight my corner with strong words, and an even stronger determination to ensure that justice prevails.

Pauline Campbell Bereaved mother of Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, 18, who died on 'suicide watch' in Styal Prison's segregation unit, 2003

Spanish political prisoner writes...

We have received the last four issues of your newspaper, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! with great pleasure, since it brings us important information concerning the deepening inter-imperialist rivalries and their consequences.
You will be interested to know we now have a date for the judicial farce/court case for the PCE(r) activists and GRAPO fighters who have been detained since November 2000: from 12 June to 4 July. We have sent you some leaflets we have put out to mobilise, through our limited means, all anti-fascists and democrats to join us in demonstrating outside this travesty of justice and turn the event into an international tribunal against imperialism, against capitalism and against fascism.

JAIME SIMON QUINTELA
Centro Penitenciario, Sevilla II, Spain

Free the Paris 7!
Demonstrate against the farcical trial of the PCE(r)
12 June-4 July, outside the Palais de Justice de Paris, 4, Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris, France.
For further information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

FRFI 173 June / July 2003

Can printing dollars stave off US economic crisis?

FRFI 173 June / July 2003

Thanks to David Yaffe for his excellent article in FRFI 171. As he points out, the USA needs a constant influx of foreign capital to maintain the overinflated and privileged lifestyles of the US American masses.

Such an influx should be impossible, considering that, since 1970, the US produces less and less basic substantial goods and the weakness of the US dollar with respect to the euro. ‘Should’ be that way, if free trade governed, but not if the neighbourhood’s only armed bully has anything to do with it.

Absent from the article, I suggest, is the fact that the US dollar is today’s ‘preferred currency of international exchange’. So the US needs no foreign capital influx, but only to set the presses rolling.

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