New Labor Forum Highlights: Nov. 28th, 2016

The New Labor Forum has launched a bi-weekly newsletter on current topics in labor, curated by the some of the most insightful scholars and activists in the labor world today. Check out some highlights from the latest edition below.

Many of us continue to scratch our heads about a Trump electoral victory that only weeks ago seemed pretty improbable. While we anxiously gaze ahead at the likely domestic and international ramifications of a Trump presidency, we also look back in an effort to understand how it came to this. The Democratic Party primaries, of course, hold some clues. The labor movement was divided during the primary season over whether to support Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. In the forthcoming January issue of New Labor Forum, we invited contributions from both sides to debate those differences. Larry Cohen, past president of the Communications Workers of America argued on behalf of the Sanders option, and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, together with Leo Casey, president of the Albert Shanker Institute, argued on behalf of the Clinton nomination. The authors assumed, as many readers also did, a Clinton victory.  When the election results came in, Randi Weingarten and Leo Casey asked to rewrite their essay. Larry Cohen elected to leave his essay as originally written, opting instead to add a brief addendum that also takes account of the election results. We feature that exchange here, as well as 2 articles and a video which all seek to wrestle with what happened and why — particularly as relates to organized labor.

Table of Contents:

  1. We Believe that We Can Win! by Larry Cohen
  2. Why Hillary Clinton Deserved Labor’s Support by Randi Weingarten and Leo Casey
  3. Election Debrief: Reporters’ Roundtable (Video)
  4. The Union Revolt by Bob Hennelly
  5. What Unions Got Wrong by Steven Greenhouse

Photo by Bill B via flickr (CC-BY)

Community-Driven Social Change in the Age of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

How can we make sense of the organizing coming out of today’s social change and resistance movements?

In a new article coming out in the Fordham Urban Law Journal, Professor Michael Haber connects many of today’s most important movements—from post-Occupy community organizing to the rise of the worker co-op movement to parts of the Movement for Black Lives—by looking at how activists’ growing understanding of the non-profit industrial complex has led to the creation of a new framework for social change practice, what he calls the community counter-institution. Continue reading Community-Driven Social Change in the Age of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

New Book by Prof. Dan La Botz on Nicaraguan Revolution

Dan La Botz, an Adjunct Professor at the Murphy Institute, on the publication of his new book, The Nicaraguan Revolution: What Went Wrong: A Marxist Analysis, published by Brill.  In this volume, La Botz argues that the FSLN—the Sandinistas—failed to maintain a commitment to democracy, thus undermining the promise of the revolution.

Dan La Botz has a Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati and is the author of ten books on labor, social movements, and politics in the United States, Mexico, Indonesia and Nicaragua. Dan teaches the Capstone and Perspectives in the Labor Movement course at the Murphy Institute. He has also taught in the History Department and Labor Studies program at Queens College and in the Sociology Department of Brooklyn College. Additionally, he serves as editor of the Mexican Labor News and Analysis and is the co-editor of New Politics.

Photo by William Neuheisel via flickr (CC-BY)

New Labor Forum Highlights: Nov. 15th, 2016

The New Labor Forum has launched a bi-weekly newsletter on current topics in labor, curated by the some of the most insightful scholars and activists in the labor world today. Check out some highlights from the latest edition below.

We send this newsletter just a week after Donald Trump’s electoral victory. That stunning outcome raises more questions than it answers. To what degree are the election results largely a result of an anxious and enraged white working class, sections of which endorse the Trump campaign’s virulent racism, or are willing to overlook it in favor of his tough talk on free trade and a rigged political system? And how should labor and progressive activists understand and respond to the racism the campaign both encouraged and exposed? What did the 2016 election tell us about the wisdom and viability of the Obama coalition, which depends on demographic changes presumed to be advantageous, rather than on birthing a multi-racial working-class? What was the nature and extent of organized labor’s impact on the election, particularly in the rust belt?

Table of Contents:

  1. The Dinosaur and the Billionaire By Steve Fraser, The Nation
  2. Why Did White Workers Leave the Democratic Party? by Judith Stein, Jacobin
  3. Video/Transcript: Michael Eric Dyson vs. Eddie Glaude on Race, Hillary Clinton and the Legacy of Obama’s Presidency, Democracy Now
  4. It Looks Like Donald Trump Did Really Well With Union Households. That’s A Bad Sign For Unions By Dave Jamieson, Huffington Post
  5. Elizabeth Warren addresses the AFL-CIO Executive Council (Video)
  6. Election Debrief: Reporters’ Roundtable November 18 Event, Murphy Institute

Photo by Gage Skidmore via flickr (CC-BY-SA)

Moving Forward

We post this just days after Donald Trump’s electoral triumph. That stunning victory raises more questions than it answers.

To what degree is the election outcome largely a result of an anxious and enraged white working class, sections of which either endorse the Trump campaign’s virulent racism or are willing to overlook it in favor of his tough talk on free trade and a rigged political system? How should labor and progressive activists understand and respond to the racism the campaign both fueled and exposed? What did the 2016 election tell us about the wisdom and viability of the Obama coalition, which depends on demographic changes presumed to be advantageous, rather than on birthing a multi-racial working-class? What was the nature and extent of organized labor’s impact on the election, particularly in the rust belt?

The Murphy Institute’s community of students, faculty, and union and community-based allies will be tackling these and other related questions on this blog; in our classes; in the pages of our journal, New Labor Forum; and in our public programming, beginning with a forum on November 18th, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., Election Debrief: A Reporter’s Roundtable.

Profs. Steve Brier and Michael Fabricant Talk Austerity Blues on WNYC

If you missed our forum last Friday on the history and impact of austerity and neoliberal policies on public higher education, you can still listen to an interview on WNYC with two of our panelists: Murphy Institute consortial faculty member Prof. Steve Brier and co-author Prof. Michael Fabricant of the CUNY Graduate Center and Vice President of CUNY’s Professional Staff Congress. They speak about their recently published work, Austerity Blues: Fighting for the Soul of Public Higher Education.

Listen here.

Photo by chadinbr via flickr (CC-BY)

A conversation about workers, communities and social justice

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