Behind Ferguson police, the St. Louis corporate elite
The trigger-happy, tear-gas throwing, billy-club wielding cops in Ferguson, Mo., aren’t really “out of control.”
These goons are very much in the control of some of the biggest corporations in the land. Michael Brown’s blood is on their hands, too.
Ferguson is corporate headquarters of Emerson Electric, an outfit with sales of $24 billion and profits of nearly $2 billion last year. With that amount of money, you would think that Emerson’s CEO, David N. Farr, could at least set up a summer jobs program for youth in his company’s hometown.
Dream on. The majority of Emerson’s 132,000 workers are horribly exploited in overseas sweatshops.
White cops are terrorizing Black people in Ferguson on behalf of a powerful local ruling class in St. Louis.
The city is home to Monsanto, which is trying to control global seed production. With sales of $15 billion last year, this evil outfit made $2.5 billion in profits.
During the Vietnam War, Monsanto and Dow Chemical were the biggest manufacturers of Agent Orange, which killed and disabled hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese people. Monsanto’s executives should have been given Nuremberg justice for these war crimes.
Racist terror and restrictive covenants
St. Louis was the second biggest railroad center in the United States after Chicago. While the liars on Fox News are screaming about looters, Wall Street tycoon Jay Gould looted millions from the railroads he controlled.
Among them were two lines serving St. Louis: Wabash (now part of Norfolk Southern) and the Missouri Pacific (now part of Union Pacific).
In 1886, Jay Gould broke the strike of Missouri Pacific workers. Gould bragged that he could hire half of the working class to shoot the other half.
The St. Louis ruling class took Gould’s advice to heart. Across the Mississippi River in East St. Louis, Ill., in 1917, white racist mobs murdered 250 Black people. Children were dragged off streetcars and killed.
This bloody massacre wasn’t spontaneous. It was promoted by a racist campaign in local newspapers. It came a year after St. Louis officially established housing segregation.
It wasn’t until 1948 that the U.S Supreme Court declared that these “racial covenants” were illegal in the Shelley v. Kraemer ruling. This case involved the African-American Shelley family which was trying to buy a house in St. Louis.
Ninety-seven years after the East St. Louis massacre, almost all the factories and stockyards have closed there. The now 98 percent Black city may be the poorest in the U.S.
In the late 1990s, the city slid into virtual bankruptcy. Garbage collection ceased after the Illinois state Legislature refused to pay for it.
St. Louis is given a liberal veneer by the Post-Dispatch, the city’s only remaining newspaper, which was long owned by the Pulitzer family.
More typical is Washington University in St. Louis. This local elite institution, which has an endowment of $5.7 billion, refused to admit any Black students until 1952. Even today in a city that is half Black, only 6.8 percent of its students are African American.
The St. Louis area has been home to a whole series of racist right-wingers. The racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Semite, Pat Buchanan, was writing editorials in the early 1960s attacking the Civil Rights Movement for the now defunct St. Louis Globe-Democrat.
At the same time, local author John Stormer wrote “None Dare Call It Treason,” which claimed a communist conspiracy was in virtual control of the U.S. This book became a bible for Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign.
Another Goldwater favorite was “A Choice Not An Echo,” written by Phyllis Schlafly, who lives in nearby Alton, Ill. Schlafly later led the vicious campaign to torpedo the Equal Rights Amendment.
Schlafly has been appalled that men can be arrested for raping their partners, since she believes submission of women is the basis of marriage.
None of this prevented Washington University from bestowing an honorary doctorate degree upon this bigot in 2008.
This article is based on comments the author made during a discussion at an Aug. 15 New York Workers World forum.