News Item Archive - 2023

UAW Strike, Behind the Headlines




Leon and Slaughter have been covering reforms at the UAW well before the strike was called. Leon’s most recent piece is “Scabs Deployed at GM Parts Distribution Centers.” Slaughter just wrote the piece “Viewpoint: With No Reform Caucus, Auto Workers Would Not Be on Strike.”

Lichtenstein is research professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he directs the Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy. He has written several books on labor including State of the Union: A Century of American Labor (Princeton University Press).

He recently wrote “What’s at Stake in the General Motors Strike,” which states: “Today a demand that the investment program of big corporations like GM must become subject to democratic pressure might not only save factories like Lordstown, but it would be the most effective way to expose President Trump’s faux sympathy for the Midwestern working class. It would unite the populist denunciation of the billionaire class to the concrete work-a-day fears and hopes of millions in factories and offices. In the process such a movement would demonstrate a far more effective and progressive way to revive and reshape the industries and workplaces that once sustained a more egalitarian America.”

Earlier this month, he wrote in “The United Auto Workers Strike Is Already Shaking Up the Presidential Race,” that “the present strike is becoming political because it coincides with a momentous transformation of the industry itself: a transition to electrical vehicles (EVs) whose production is being subsidized and incentivized by the Biden administration through a multibillion-dollar industrial policy — a policy whose impact on the America that actually makes things made of metal, glass, silicon chips, and plastic has been surpassed only by the mobilization of ‘manpower’ and money that took place at the start of World War II.”

Lichtenstein’s newest book, which he wrote with the late Judith Stein, is A Fabulous Failure: The Clinton Presidency and the Transformation of American Capitalism.

FTX: Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One


Late last week, campaign finance charges against Sam Bankman-Fried were dropped.


Author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One, Black was the deputy staff director of the national commission that investigated the cause of the savings and loan debacle.

He said today: “The New York Times journalist team consistently fails its readers. It created a precis (“What to Know About the Collapse of FTX”) that the online version routinely tacks on to any story about the SBF prosecution. It includes these gems (and excludes all candor). I provide a candid correction (in italics).

What is FTX? The now bankrupt company was one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. It enabled customers to trade digital currencies for other digital currencies or traditional money; it also had a native cryptocurrency known as FTT. The company, based in the Bahamas, built its business on risky trading options that are not legal in the United States.

FTX was a large financial fraud using fake accounting to inflate asset values so the elite insiders could loot it. The “exchange” was a front that hid the real operation (Alameda) that lost vast amounts and enriched the elite insiders.

Who is Sam Bankman-Fried? He is the 30-year-old founder of FTX and the former chief executive of FTX. Once a golden boy of the crypto industry, he was a major donor to the Democratic Party and known for his commitment to effective altruism, a charitable movement that urges adherents to give away their wealth in efficient and logical ways.

SBF is a fraudster. While he donated to Democrats, his top confederates donated heavily to Republicans to ensure bipartisan political support for the looting scheme. The elite insider looting funded the political and charitable contributions that made SBF and FTX appear to be honest and saintly.

How did FTX’s troubles begin? Last year, Changpeng Zhao, the chief executive of Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, sold the stake he held in FTX back to Bankman-Fried, receiving a number of FTT tokens in exchange. In November, Zhao said he would sell the tokens and expressed concerns about FTX’s financial stability.

They began when SBF and his top confederates used fraudulent accounting and looting to make FTX appear to be highly profitable, and to enrich the elite looters.

What led to FTX’s collapse? Zhao’s announcement drove down the price of FTT and spooked investors. Traders rushed to withdraw from FTX, causing the company to have a $8 billion shortfall. Binance offered a loan to save the company but later pulled out, forcing FTX to file for bankruptcy on Nov. 11.

SBF and his co-conspirators’ looting and fraudulent accounting combined with their public financial illiteracy led SBF to rely on Binance for liquidity – which put an unscrupulous competitive rival with the ability to expose FTX’s massive insolvency by selling FTT’s token which Binance received for bailing out FTX. Binance used its leverage. 


Also see: “Why Did FTX Spend So Much on Politicians?