Category Archives: New Labor Forum

New Labor Forum Highlights: April 3rd, 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.

The Trump campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare has gone down in flames, preserving the ACA for the time being. That legislation, which remains at risk of being hollowed out, was from the outset mired by its fealty to a complex market-driven system.  A prescient article by New Labor Forum Editorial Board member Marie Gottschalk, written upon the passage of the ACA, argued that  the Obama administration and leading Democrats had squandered an opportunity for more thorough reform that would prove “perilous for the cause of universal health care and for their political futures.” She indicates that organized labor was partly responsible for the failure to even approximate a single payer system.

Seemingly in response, Bernie Sanders is about to introduce a Medicare-for-all bill in the Senate, which overlaps with Rep. John Conyers’ HR 676 bill in the House. Together, they represent the renewed fight for single payer healthcare. Democracy Now covered that story, and we’re including it here.

Meanwhile, there’s a lot to be learned about the health care wars, which are far from over. Charles Lenchner collects some of the conservative voices sympathetic to single payer health care, even if they’re at odds with the Sanders and Conyers initiatives. And finally, Jacobin’s Branko Marcetic describes what may be the real obstacle: Democrats fighting against single payer.

Table of Contents

  1. Sick on Arrival: Healthcare Reform in the Age of Obama / Marie Gottschalk
  2. Medicare for All? Sen. Bernie Sanders Poised to Push for Single Payer after GOP Plan Falls Apart / Democracy Now
  3. A Synopsis of ‘Conservatives for Single Payer’ / Charles Lenchner
  4. Democrats Against Single Payer / Branko Marcetic / Jacobin

Photo by Images Money via flickr (CC-BY)

New Labor Forum Highlights: Mar. 20th, 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.

In this issue, we’re looking at the explosion of what is being called ‘the resistance.’ The vast proliferation of organizing in the face of President Trump raises important questions Should partisans inside the Democratic Party wage a fight between its left and it’s center, or combine forces? Does the proliferation of new efforts represent genuinely innovative projects, or does it mask a great deal of overlap and wheel reinvention? Should the main target of organizing be Trump and the Republicans, or broader, systemic obstacles that include casino capitalism? Finally, what does it mean that the largest, most powerful progressive institutions  – such as organized labor – don’t seem to be at the forefront of this resistance?

Today’s issue includes a piece written for the newsletter by Tom Gallagher on the strategic options confronting the left within the Democratic Party; an article by Micah Uetricht  soon to appear in the May issue of New Labor Forum assessing the Sander’s inspired Our Revolution as well as various snapshots of what this resistance is looking like in the current moment, including the breaking news that a major local of the Service Employees International Union as well as a multitude of workers centers plan to participate in a May Day strike.

Table of Contents

  1. The Democratic Party Left After the Ellison DNC Campaign: Unite or Fight? By Thomas Gallagher
  2. The World Turned Upside Down: ‘Our Revolution,’ Trump Triumphant, and the Remaking of the Democratic Party by Micah Uetricht
  3. List of New Resistance Initiatives in 2017
  4. GroundGame listing of protests
  5. SEIU Local Joins May 1 General Strike by (BuzzFeed) Cora Lewis
  6. Indivisible Eldorado Hills Townhall meeting

Photo by Ted Eytan via flickr (CC-SA)

New Labor Forum Highlights: Mar. 6th, 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.

This year, International Women’s Day (March 8) is being celebrated in the U.S. at a higher pitch than usual. The election of Donald Trump has led to an upsurge in organizing and activism. In the last few months, we’ve witnessed  the massive Women’s Marches in cities all over the country and, indeed, the world; a February 16th Day Without Immigrants and a less successful call for another general strike on February 17th; and the current call for a global women’s strike on International Women’s Day.

This newsletter opens with an informative and lucid overview by Diane Elson of  the current global state of gender inequality, as well as  policy recommendations to remedy the crisis.  Elison’s article is provided here as a coming attraction to the May 2017 issue of New Labor Forum. The issues she raises form part of the animating spirit of the call for a  Women’s Strike on March 8., organized  by a coalition of  women working closely with the venerable Global Women’s Strike, an international organization that has existed since 1972. Here we also offer the link to the  promotional video for the strike.

General strikes, or days of action that are meant to resemble a strike, are gaining in currency. An example of recent experimentation with a general strike was the February 16th ‘Day Without Immigrants’, described here by Dan DiMaggio and Sonia Singh in Labor Notes.  NLF editorial board member Nelson Lichtenstein addresses the meaningful difference between ‘weekend protest’ vs. ‘weekday strike action’ and why it matters, in No More Saturday Marches, published this week in Jacobin. We also include Francine Prose’s essay in The Guardian, offering a full-throated argument for  the general strike as a tactic. And we close with Alexandria Neason’s meditation in the Village Voice – Is America Ready for a General Strike?

Table of Contents

  1. Recognize, Reduce, Redistribute Unpaid Care Work: How to Close the Gender Gap by Diane Elson
  2. Women of America: we’re going on strike.
  3. Video: International Women’s Strike US – Promotional Video
  4. Tens of Thousands Strike on Day without Immigrants by Dan DiMaggio, Sonia Singh
  5. No More Saturday Marches by NLF editorial board member Nelson Lichtenstein
  6. Forget protest. Trump’s actions warrant a general national strike by Francine Prose
  7. Is America Ready for a General Strike? by Alexandria Neason

Photo by Garry Knight via flickr (CC-BY)

New Labor Forum Highlights: Feb. 21st, 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.

One of the major accomplishments of Democrats and financial reformers during the Obama Administration was the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Like Dodd-Frank which authorized its creation, the CFPB was a response to the financial meltdown of 2007-8. It sought to close regulatory gaps that allowed banks and corporations to prey on consumers. New Labor Forum columnist Max Fraser writes in the January 2017 issue about what had been a set of frustrated Congressional efforts to dismantle the bureau and the business interests backing those efforts. Now that Donald Trump and a solidly Republican Congressional majority have assumed control of the government, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is firmly on the chopping block. Fraser’s investigative reporting reveals the Congressional and Wall Street actors behind its demise.

We also offer an update on the state of play regarding the most recent efforts to take down the CFPB in Congress since the election, and an excellent overview of what the CFPB actually does from LifeHacker, written for a general audience.

With the general trend of increasing cooperation between Wall Street interests and the Trump Administration in the news, activists and consumer advocates in Washington have taken to the streets. On Valentine’s Day, a coalition held a mock wedding in our nation’s capitol to highlight the cozy relationship between Wall Street and Washington. Bernie Sanders spoke and we provide the video of that event, courtesy of act.tv.

Table of Contents

  1. Gutting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau / Max Fraser
  2. The Assault on the CFPB: Current State of Play / Charles Lenchner
  3. What is the CFPB and What Does It Offer Consumers? / Kristen Wong
  4. Video: Washington DC Protest against the Financial Industry / Act.tv

Photo by Rev Stan via flickr (CC-BY)

New Labor Forum Highlights: Feb. 6, 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.

In the short time since Donald Trump was inaugurated, a lot has happened — with the threat of more to come. Among the many Executive Orders signed last week, Trump acted to reverse Obama’s halt on the Keystone and Dakota Pipelines. While EO’s won’t get the pipelines built on their own, it’s a clear signal that on climate policy, things are quickly heading south.

New Labor Forum Columnist Sean Sweeney has written a post about the evolving relationship between some of the Building Trades, the new Administration, and the fossil fuel industry.

Naomi Klein rounds out the topic by pointing out that much of the policy changes we are likely to see under Trump will be driven by the logic of disaster capitalism – that changes the 1% has long desired and planned for, will be rolled out in response to ‘disasters’. Understanding this dynamic is important, as it will apply not only to energy policy, but to national security, labor rights, and more.

Given the tensions in the labor movement around climate policy, we expect (and hope for) vigorous debate — please be sure to visit our Facebook page and/or the blog to participate.

Table of Contents

  1. Pandering to the Predator: Labor and Energy Under Trump / Sean Sweeney
  2. Get Ready for the First Shocks of Trump’s Disaster Capitalism / Naomi Klein
  3. President Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum – The Corporate Connections / LittleSis

Photo by Joe Brusky via flickr (CC-BY-NC)

New Labor Forum Highlights: Jan. 23rd, 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.

The numbers from the rallies this past weekend are astounding: 600 events in dozens of countries with a global turnout in the millions. What sparked the uprising that surprised us all?.

In addition to widespread antipathy toward the Donald, another driving force is certainly an outrage over the state of our democracy. Trump won the Electoral College, but lost the popular vote by 3 million votes. And in so many other ways — from the erosion of voting rights to the massive increase in political spending by the super rich — we are witnessing the shredding of fundamental democratic principles. This crisis neither began, nor will end with Trump, Rob Goodman warns in an especially useful article in Politico. We include that here as a way to provide some insight into what is happening and how we might respond. Aso included is the video of an illuminating talk at the Murphy Institute by Saqib Bhatti of the ReFund Project, in which he explores shifts in the economy that mirror the shifts in our political culture. And by way of surveying the proliferation of organizational responses to the crises we face, New Labor Forum has compiled a list of many of the new, social media-fueled efforts launched since the election. And among the new-ish organizations formed pe-election is LittleSis, a winking name referencing Big Brother, committed to  uncovering the conflicts of interest to watch for as corporate power continues to exert undue influence.

Table of Contents

  1. What Trump Taught Us About Democracy by Rob Goodman
  2. Debt, Wall Street, and Public Sector Unions, presentation by Saqib Bhatti
  3. The New Wave of Organizing on Social Media
  4. LittleSis – the Database of Hidden Relationships Among the Powerful

Photo by Ted Eytan via flickr (CC-BY-SA)