Category Archives: Murphy News

Film Screening to Raise Funds for Diversity Scholarship

On May 22nd, connect with both global labor history and the ongoing fight for worker justice in this country when the Murphy Institute hosts a screening of Blood Fruit, the award-winning film documentary about the historic 1984 South African anti-apartheid labor strike. Director Sinead O’Brien and subjects from the film who staged the historic strike will be on hand, as will Kendall Fells, organizing director of Fight for $15. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Joseph S. Murphy Institute Scholarship for Diversity in Labor

Tickets available here.  

[youtube:] Continue reading Film Screening to Raise Funds for Diversity Scholarship

Murphy Prof. Michael Fortner Publishes New Book on Politics of Punishment

Assistant Professor Michael Fortner, Academic Director of Urban Studies at the Murphy Institute, has a new book available for preorder on Amazon.

Black Silent Majority: The Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment will be formally released on September 7, 2015. As described on Amazon, “Black Silent Majority uncovers the role African Americans played in creating today’s system of mass incarceration… Fortner traces how many blacks in New York came to believe that the rehabilitation-focused liberal policies of the 1960s had failed. Faced with economic malaise and rising rates of addiction and crime, they blamed addicts and pushers. By 1973, the outcry from grassroots activists and civic leaders in Harlem calling for drastic measures presented Rockefeller with a welcome opportunity to crack down on crime and boost his political career. New York became the first state to mandate long prison sentences for selling or possessing narcotics.”

Photo by Kate Ter Haar via flickr (CC-BY).

Happy May Day — and Happy Birthday!

It’s May Day again — that’s International Workers’ Day, for those not in the know. Here in NYC, the Guggenheim’s been occupied, Free University’s been liberating education from the university-industrial complex,  the Immigrant Workers Justice Tour has marched through Manhattan and at 5pm, we’ll be Shutting It Down for Freddie Gray, starting at Union Square. (For more on today’s events — of which there are many — check out the calendar at

Here at Murphy, we celebrate May Day as the yearly commemoration of those who have fought for a better life for the working class — while continuing to wage our struggle.

This year’s May Day marks yet another milestone: the one-year anniversary of this blog.  Continue reading Happy May Day — and Happy Birthday!

Basil Smikle Jr. Named Executive Director of State Democratic Party

Last week, long-time Murphy Institute Adjunct Professor Basil Smikle Jr. was named Executive Director of the New York State Democratic Party. From the New York Observer:

“Basil is a national-caliber political operative and we are lucky to have him leading day-to-day operations for the State Democratic Party,” [Former Gov. David] Paterson said. “Basil combines a mastery of public policy with an inherent feel for communities throughout New York State.”

Mr. Paterson said that Mr. Smikle, a PhD candidate at Columbia University’s Teachers College, will play a “key role” in the 2016 election cycle, though he did not say specifically this would include returning Democrats to the majority in the State Senate.

Congratulations, Basil!

Read more here.

NYC: EEOC Rules in Favor of Underpaid Minority, Female Employees

Yesterday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal commission on fair employment practices, ruled that New York City has underpaid its female and minority employees, engaging in a broad pattern of discrimination that could cost the City hundreds of millions of dollars. From the New York Times:

The ruling comes in response to a complaint brought against the administraton of former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on behalf of more than 1,000 administrative managers employed by the city and represented by Local 1180 of the Communications Workers of America.

Specifically, the commission found that “structural and historic problems” have resulted in the pay of minorities and women being suppressed.

“This rate of pay is much less than their white male counterparts’ in similarly situated jobs and titles,” according to the commission’s findings. Continue reading NYC: EEOC Rules in Favor of Underpaid Minority, Female Employees

Prof. Eve Baron Quoted in City & State Article on Community Planning

With pledges and rhetoric from city officials circulating about better integrating communities into the planning process, some questions remain: what does a community planning process entail? And, given the current state of New York City politics, is it reasonable for communities to expect rhetoric to translate into a truly inclusive process?

Last week, City & State ran an article examining these questions and more. The article features perspectives from respected planners and academics in the city, including Eve Baron, Academic Program Manager for the Urban Studies Program here at Murphy. From the article:

Eve Baron, an expert in community development, advises taking a wait-and-see approach to the new administration. But she notes that a salient feature of a true community-based plan is that it’s “first and foremost one that originates in the community. Not government meeting the community, but the community reaching out,” she said.

For the full article, visit City & State.

Photo by Dan Reed via flickr (CC-BY-NC).