Oxfam’s latest report on global inequality has highlighted some alarming statistics on how wealth distribution has worsened during the pandemic. While the wealth of the world’s 10 richest men doubled since the pandemic began, the incomes of 99% of humanity became worse off because of COVID-19. What are the solutions to this crisis?Continue reading
Deepening The Higher Education Divide
American mythology promises upward mobility, and college can provide an important first step up the class ladder. With the rise of the “knowledge economy” and the decline of industrial jobs and unions, some insisted that education is the answer to economic displacement. If you can’t earn a stable, living wage as a steelworker, go to college and become a nurse or a computer programmer. And if you didn’t make that choice, it’s your own fault that you’re struggling. After all, college was affordable, accessible, and varied. You could commute to campus, take evening classes, cover tuition with loans and grants, and work part-time or even full-time while you completed the degree that would transform your life.Continue reading
America’s New Class War
There is one last hope for the United States. It does not lie in the ballot box. It lies in the union organizing and strikes by workers at Amazon, Starbucks, Uber, Lyft, John Deere, Kellogg, the Special Metals plant in Huntington, West Virginia, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, the Northwest Carpenters Union, Kroger, teachers in Chicago, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona, fast-food workers, hundreds of nurses in Worcester, Massachusetts, and the members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.Continue reading
A Program For A Future Society That We Will Build In The Present
In October 2021, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released a report that received barely any attention: the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2021, notably subtitled Unmasking disparities by ethnicity, caste, and gender. ‘Multidimensional poverty’ is a much more precise measurement of poverty than the international poverty line of $1.90 per day. It looks at ten indicators divided along three axes: health (nutrition, child mortality), education (years of schooling, school attendance), and standard of living (cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing, assets). The team studied multidimensional poverty across 109 countries, looking at the living conditions of 5.9 billion people.Continue reading
When Revolutionary Moments Arise Again — What Will We Do?
The world is in a prolonged period of global unrest. Since the financial crisis of 2008, every region of the planet has experienced levels of mass protest unprecedented in recent history, from the Arab Spring in the Middle East and Black Lives Matter in the U.S., to the farmers’ protests in India and the recent upheaval in Kazakhstan.
Yet decades of social movement struggle haven’t produced a break from capitalist domination, and in most places they have failed to even accomplish the more modest aims of reform. Meanwhile, the global climate crisis has added another layer of urgency to the task of social transformation.
What can past struggles teach us about the possibility of achieving a liberated world?Continue reading
The Capitalist Death-Drive, Afghan Sanctions, Attack On Medicare
Lee Camp looks at how the capitalist system sits at the heart of the worst problems facing society. In this history lesson, Camp takes you back to the feudal system, to the creation of corporations and currency, to the modern system that’s destroying the lives of the poor today. The ruling class don’t even try to hide the inhumanity that keeps the system running anymore, now that it has become almost impossible to ignore. This leaves it up to popular movements to end the capitalist system and create something new. Then, Camp reports on the police brutality victims who don’t gain as much attention as those murdered by cops, and Marilyn Manson’s #MeToo allegations.
Afghanistan’s economy is suffering under US sanctions after the 20-year war on the Afghan people.Continue reading
Rising Food Prices Could Spark Famine, War, And Revolution In 2022
Washington – Already dealing with the economic fallout from a protracted pandemic, the rapidly rising prices of food and other key commodities have many fearing that unprecedented political and social instability could be just around the corner next year.
With the clock ticking on student loan and rent debts, the price of a standard cart of food has jumped 6.4% in the past 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the cost of eating out in a restaurant similarly spiking, by 5.8% since November 2020.
The most notable change has been in the price of meat, with beef costing 26.2% more than it did last year, pork 19.2% more and chicken 14.8% more. Bacon prices have reached historic levels, and are now 36% higher than in 1980, even after adjusting for inflation.Continue reading
We Have To Stand On Our Ground
Almost every single child on the planet (over 80% of them) had their education disrupted by the pandemic, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural (UNESCO) agency. Though this finding is startling, it was certainly necessary to close schools as the infectious COVID-19 virus tore through society. What has been the impact of that decision on education? In 2017 – before the pandemic – at least 840 million people had no access to electricity, which meant that, for many children, online education was impossible. A third of the global population (2.6 billion people) has no access to the internet, which – even if they had electricity – makes online education impossible.Continue reading
Nabisco Workers Hope Strike Inspires Others
A month-long strike by Nabisco workers beat back the snack-maker’s bid to introduce a two-tier health care plan and switch them onto 12-hour shifts. Employer contributions to workers’ 401(k) plans will be doubled.
One of the biggest issues in the strike was the company’s effort to do away with premium pay for weekend shifts and work after eight hours. The company wanted to put all workers on an Alternative Work Schedule consisting of 12-hour days, paid at straight time.
“The big issue for me is I just can’t do the 12 hours,” said April Flowers-Lewis, who’s been at the Chicago plant for 27 years. “Because the 12 hours will be 16 hours. And then if you do that and you’re not paying us for our time-and-a-half and double time, that’s like $20,000 from everybody.”
Workers are currently scheduled for eight-hour shifts Monday through Friday.Continue reading
COVID Hit The Working Class Hardest, But The Traditional Left Is Deaf To Them
The ruling class across Europe and in the US would rather see people divided than united against oligarchy, that’s why Left populism coupled with the working-class outlook represents a greater threat to the establishment.
In the aftermath of the recent German Federal election many people were wondering how Die Linke (The Left) had become so relegated to the sidelines as to lose 30 seats and become the smallest party in Germany’s parliament.
Many liberal publications were quick to place blame on Sahra Wagenknecht, one of Die Linke’s most prolific politicians, for the release of her book “The Self Righteous.” In the book, Wagenknecht attacks “lifestyle leftists” for whom being on the Left has become more about labels, identity, and lifestyles rather than the working-class roots that made leftist politics such a threat to the political establishment in the first place.Continue reading
Diesel Emissions In Major US Cities Disproportionately Harm Communities Of Color
Studies have long pointed to air pollution in the United States disproportionately harming poor and minority communities. But a pair of recent studies that examined tailpipe pollution in major urban hubs suggest policymakers could craft regulations more effectively to reduce air pollution disparities by targeting emissions from diesel vehicles.
One of the studies, published by University of Virginia researchers earlier this month, used satellites to measure the near-daily emissions of nitrogen dioxide in 52 major U.S. cities, including Phoenix, Los Angeles and Newark, New Jersey. It found that low-income neighborhoods and communities of color experience an average of 28 percent more nitrogen dioxide pollution than higher-income and majority-white neighborhoods.Continue reading
Beneath Striketober Fanfare, The Lower Frequencies Of Class Struggle
As the rich and comfortable stayed indoors and rode out the worst months of the pandemic on their Peloton bikes, workers around the country shifted into a different gear. Ten thousand farming equipment workers in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Colorado, and Georgia walked out of their jobs, joining 1,400 cereal workers at Kellogg’s plants in Nebraska, Michigan, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania, as well as 1,100 coal miners at Warrior Met Coal in Alabama and nurses in New York and Massachusetts. And thousands more are waiting in the wings—from workers in academia, to health care workers at Kaiser Permanente in Oregon, California, and Hawaii, to film and television workers in the entertainment industry who averted a strike after threatening to walk off the job and reached a tentative agreement, which will now be voted on.Continue reading
Deadly US Sanctions Are Exacerbating The Pandemic Globally
There was a sigh of relief for people who are concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic when President Biden took office in January. After a year of COVID denial, Biden promised to “follow the science” and put more effort into containing the virus than the Trump administration did. But 10 months later, a new report by the Department of the Treasury makes it clear that “following the science” only applies when it protects the profits of the wealthy class.
On January 21, President Biden issued a National Security Memorandum that, in a section titled, “COVID-19 Sanctions Relief,” ordered various departments to “review existing United States and multilateral financial and economic sanctions to evaluate whether they are unduly hindering responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and provide recommendations to the President.”Continue reading
The Race Class Narrative Can Win
We’re glad to be at a point in American political discourse where the question being posed is how to talk about race and class, rather than whether to do so. For too long, many on the left, especially white progressives, have shied away from talking directly about race and racism. Talking about race, they have argued, is divisive and costs us electoral victories. This approach centers the experiences of white voters, who don’t feel the direct impact of racism in our economy or democracy, and neglects the concerns of people of color, who make up a large portion of our base. It also ignores the fact that race is always being discussed by our opponents. By not responding to the racial sentiments of their narratives, we leave their potent messages unopposed. As a result, we lose persuadable voters and fail to mobilize our base.Continue reading
A Unified Story For A Divided World
Wars of position rage between “race reductionists” who insist on the political primacy of race and their “class reductionist” counterparts. But some of us, especially those of us who make use of racial capitalism as a set of frameworks, insist that such debate is tired.
In Golden Gulag, Ruth Wilson Gilmore offers an intricate definition of racism: “the state-sanctioned or extralegal production and exploitation of group-differentiated vulnerability to premature death.” It follows that races are divisions of populations into hierarchies of vulnerability to premature death (the likely fate of the materially insecure).
What’s the difference between “race” and “class,” then? They are two, compatible ways of explaining how society is split into strata of material security.Continue reading