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In the Aftermath of Hurricane Maria

As the tragic aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria continues, we in the Murphy community are reminded that the struggles of Puerto Rico residents are our struggles as well. Last week, the New York Times featured an article highlighting community efforts in New York to aid with disaster relief, and quoted Murphy student John Carlos Rosario:

“There are people in the center of the island with no gas, no water,” said John Carlos Rosario, 25, a Puerto Rican student at the City University of New York. He finally was able to contact his girlfriend in Puerto Rico after six days, only to find out that she was also out of cash. She went to three towns, and no banks had cash. “We need rescue, we need help,” he said.

Our thoughts go out to all of those both within and outside of the Murphy community who have been and continue to be affected by the disaster.

Read the full article here, and read this primer from ProPublica to learn how best to donate after a disaster.

Photo by Sgt. Jose Ahiram Diaz-Ramos via US Department of Defense. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

New Labor Forum Highlights: Oct 2nd, 2017

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.

A number of contemporary economists and political observers have begun to argue that remedies for the devastating consequences of neoliberalism can be found in the economic and social arrangements associated with information-technology. They detect therein the makings of a post-capitalist future.  In the current issue of New Labor Forum, U.S. historian Howard Brick takes issue with the info-tech disciples. Brick also considers naive what he views as their over reliance on spontaneous collective action, and a disregard for the work of building solidarity and systematic organizing so essential to socialist and labor movements. We include a link to Brick’s article here, as well as an interview Laura Flanders conducts with Paul Mason, author of Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future, a leading theoretician of the view that the digital world cannot be assimilated into the accumulation process of capitalism and that it contains the seeds of an alternative economic model.

Whether or not a post-capitalist future lies on the horizon, the gig economy has arrived and is already shaping the conditions and imaginings of millions of workers. In our current installment of “Working-Class Voices,” Clynton Lowry, a young art handler who crates, transports, and assembles artwork,  draws a compelling picture of the simultaneous attraction and exploitation of this sort of gig work, as well as the inherent obstacles it poses to worker solidarity.

Table of Contents

  1. Info-Tech Is Not the New Utopia/ Howard Brick, New Labor Forum
  2. Paul Mason on Post-Capitalism and “A Guide to Our Future”/ Interview on The Laura Flanders Show
  3. The Ecstasy and Exploitation of Art Handling/ Clynton Lowry & Kressent Pottenger,  New Labor Forum

Photo by paul.comstock via flickr (CC-BY)

Video: The Taylor Law in Perspective at 50

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Public Employees Fair Employment Act, commonly known as the Taylor Law. This New York law was one of the first state laws to grant public workers the right to unionize, to require public employers and unions to bargain in good faith over working conditions, and to mandate conciliation of bargaining impasses.

Yesterday, the Murphy Institute, in conjunction with Hunter’s National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Roosevelt House, sponsored a series of panels and conversations examining the Taylor Law in historical context, and exploring the future of public sector unionization and collective bargaining.

Missed the event or want to see it again? You can watch it here.

Announcing the 20th Anniversary Issue of New Labor Forum

The right-wing’s decades-long attack on public sector unionism is slated for a hearing before the Supreme Court later this fall in the Janus v. AFSCME case. The September 2017 issue of New Labor Forum contemplates the probable implications and strategic options facing public sector unions once the ruling is handed down.

Also under contemplation in the Fall 2017 issue is the historically troubled, but occasionally productive, relationship between organized labor and civil rights organizations. Strengthening that alliance in the years ahead will prove critical to the fate of labor and racial justice movements. The journal examines the historical obstacles to such alliances, and suggests new grounds on which to reinvigorate those efforts under current circumstances.

Subscribe to New Labor Forum and gain full access to in-depth analysis on issues like these.

Video: Divided Results: Voting and Partisan Gerrymandering

On Friday, September 15th, members of the Murphy Institute community gathered for a discussion about gerrymandering. In light of the Supreme Court’s decision to hear Gill v. Whitford, a case that deals with the legality of partisan gerrymandering, this panel explored the history of gerrymandering and the effects of recent changes in technology, data mining, and dark money.

Missed the event or want to see it again? You can watch it here:

Speakers

  • David Daley, author, Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy and former Editor in chief of Salon.com
  • Lauren Jones, National Civil Rights Counsel, Anti-Defamation League
  • Michael Li, Senior Counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program
  • Deuel Ross, Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Jerry G. Vattamala, Director, Democracy Program,  Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
  • Moderator: John Mollenkopf, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, CUNY Graduate School and consortial faculty, Murphy Institute

New Labor Forum Highlights: Sept 18th, 2017

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 are now eight months into the hand-wringing and head-scratching induced by Donald Trump’s Presidency. Given the weekly unfolding of chaos and peril, few on the left fail to mark the current dismal march of time. But you could be excused for having neglected to notice two notable anniversaries this year: the 500th of the Protestant Reformation and the 100th of the Russian Revolution. In The Priest, the Commissar, and the Donald (Salmagundi), Steve Fraser, historian and New Labor Forum Editor-at-Large, argues that these anniversaries – one paving the way for an inner, spiritual quest for freedom, and the other toward a collective emancipation – offer a useful lens for viewing the nihilism of the Trump moment. While Fraser notes the constriction of the spiritual revolution and the appalling failures of the social revolution in question, he suggests they highlight precisely how ominous The Donald’s political lurching is.

Perhaps the lack of serious contestation from the left and the enormous achievements of the right during the past few decades – an eviscerated labor movement, a new Gilded Age of economic inequality, deregulated industry, and racial re-segregation – partly explain the unmoored performance of Trump as candidate and President. Thus posits Corey Robin in his new article Triumph of the Shill: The political theory of Trumpism (N+1), which we also include here.

Another aspect of the Trumpian presidency is, of course, its legislative incompetence. In America the Decrepit:  The Trump Plan Won’t Fix the Infrastructure Deficit (New Labor Forum), John Miller details precisely why we should be so pleased that’s the case regarding Trump’s promise to pass an infrastructure bill. In addition to the get-rich-quick schemes that would be made possible by its privatized infrastructure projects, the plan also promises to exacerbate climate change, and worsen the risks posed by coastal storms and sea-level rise, according to our final piece here by Alissa Walker  from Curbed.

Table of Contents

  1. The Priest, The Commissar, and the Donald/ Steve Fraser, Salmagundi Magazine 
  2. Triumph of the Shill: The political theory of Trumpism/ Cory Robin, N+1
  3. America the Decrepit: The Trump Plan Won’t Fix the Infrastructure Deficit/ John Miller, NLF
  4. How Trump’s New Infrastructure Plan Will Hurt Local Climate Action/ Alissa Walker, Curbed 

Photo by thierry ehrmann via flickr (CC-BY)