Tag Archives: bernie sanders

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)

Bernie Sanders, Labor, Ideology and the Future of American Politics

This article originally appeared at the New Labor Forum. Want to continue the conversation about the future of American politics? Join us at the Murphy Institute for “The Left Wing of the Possible,” to be held Friday, September 16th at 8:30am.

By Bob Master

The Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, contrary to all expectation, has become the most important left insurgency in the United States in nearly half a century.

A year ago, even his most optimistic supporters might have hoped that Sanders would enliven the presidential debates by challenging Hillary Clinton on issues of Wall Street power and big money corruption, and perhaps garner a quarter to a third of the primary vote. Instead, Sanders won primaries and caucuses in 23 states, and amassed over 12 million votes and nearly 43% of the pledged delegates. And all this while unapologetically and unabashedly proclaiming himself a “democratic socialist,” re-legitimizing a systemic critique of US capitalism for the first time since the one-two punch of Cold War reaction and neoliberal triumphalism froze the left out of mainstream American discourse two generations ago.

The power of Big Banks, job-killing trade deals, ending the corrosive influence of big money in elections, eliminating private insurance companies from the health care system, and the merits of a “political revolution” became staples of prime-time presidential debates. Once stunning poll numbers now seem commonplace: 43% of Iowa caucus goers, including roughly a third of Clinton supporters, describing themselves as “socialists”; a New York Times poll late last year which said that 56% of Democratic primary voters had a “positive view of socialism;” and Sanders’ overwhelming support among young voters, by margins as high as 84% in Iowa and New Hampshire, but even reaching the low 60s in states like South Carolina, where he was otherwise crushed. Indeed, Sanders’ remarkable popularity among “millennials” prompted John Della Volpe, the director of a long-running Harvard University poll of young people, to tell the Washington Post that Sanders is “not moving a party to the left. He’s moving…the largest generation in the history of America…to the left.”

Something significant is definitely going on. Continue reading Bernie Sanders, Labor, Ideology and the Future of American Politics

New Labor Forum Highlights: July 11th, 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.

The 2016 election season has simmered with both an inchoate and occasionally crystal clear sense that there is something intrinsically wrong with the U.S. political economy. Despite macroeconomic indicators of post Great Recession recovery, the 99 percent remains strangled by low and flat-lined wages, increasingly precarious work, mountains of personal debt, and political disenfranchisement. The resulting anger and distress, of course, can sometimes lead to constructive possibilities.

This issue of Highlights considers the transformational potential of the present moment. We begin with a proposal for large-scale organizing aimed at asserting control over wealth and capital in the interest of poor and working-class people. In “Organizing in a Brave New World,” Stephen Lerner and Saqib Bhatti make an argument for bold campaigns that confront financialized capitalism head-on and address the racial disparities at its core.

We also take a look at a new report by Tom Liacas and Jason Mogus, “Behind Today’s Breakthrough Advocacy Campaigns.” It’s a clear and helpful guide to some of the newest and best organizing taking place today by groups that aren’t following the usual scripts, including Black Lives Matter and the Bernie Sanders campaign.

Last but not least, we include a fresh article from John Nichols about the ongoing struggle over the Democratic Party Platform. That struggle — which peaked this past weekend in Orlando — represents a fascinating window into the divide between movement activists and electoral campaigners.


  1. Organizing in a Brave New World by Stephen Lerner and Saqib Bhatti
  2. Behind Today’s Breakthrough Advocacy Campaigns by Tom Liacas & Jason Mogus, Stanford Social Innovation Review
  3. Democrats Toughen Trade Stance—but Reject Formal Opposition to the TPP by John Nichols

Photo by Tony Website via flickr (CC-BY-SA)

New Labor Forum Highlights: May 2nd, 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.

The May 2016 issue of New Labor Forum is hot off the press and shipping now!  It includes articles you won’t want to miss: Feeling the Bern: An Analysis of the Sanders Phenomenon by Tom Gallagher; The Black-Labor-Left Alliance in the Neoliberal Age, by Adolph Reed; Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of the Chilean Labor Movementby René Rojas; The Marikana Massacre: Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency in South Africaby Rajendra Chetty; Class Struggle in Robot Utopiaby Peter Frase; and much more, including a fascinating book review in which Rachel Sherman takes us behind the scenes with the one percent, examining two pop culture books: Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir by Wednesday Martin, and The Nanny Chronicles of Hollywood by Julie Swales and Stella Reid.


  1. Feeling the Bern: An Analysis of the Sanders Phenomenon, by Tom Gallagher
  2. The Black-Labor-Left Alliance in the Neoliberal Age, by Adolph Reed
  3. Behind the Scenes with the One Percent, Reviewed by Rachel Sherman
  4. There Is No Such Thing as the Moment of Death, by Marilyn Krysl
  5. Subscribe to the New Labor Forum Journal

News Roundup 8/14/15

No matter where they might fall on the political spectrum, it seems like everyone’s got something to say about the presidential candidates — and it’s only August. And in the space of it — in no small part due to the tactics of some #BlackLivesMatter activists — people are talking about racial justice. Here’s some of what’s been happening in progressive circles and beyond:

  • #BlackLivesMatter activists disrupted a Bernie Sanders rally in Seattle, setting off a progressive firestorm, question of allyship and tactics, and more. Dara Lind gives a good summary of the way it’s all shaken out over at Vox. The upshot, at least in the short-term? The Bernie Sanders campaign has released a racial justice platform.
  • Since then, Sanders has pulled ahead of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire polls. Meanwhile, the National Nurses Union became the first trade union to endorse Sanders.
  • The one year anniversary of Mike Brown’s murder by a white police officer in Ferguson, MO came the past week, and with it, demonstrations and arrests — including the arrest of Cornel West — over a “weekend of resistance” to the ongoing assault on black lives in the United States.
  • Meanwhile, California has banned secret juries and affirmed the right to film police (via DemocracyNow!)
  • More coverage of the toll that unpredictable schedules is taking on the lives of workers, this time in the form of a NYTimes editorial by Teresa Tritch. A choice excerpt: “being on-call, even when one is not called, decreases an employee’s well-being and increases the need for “recovery,” (read: sleep and time off).” Meanwhile, Sabri Ben-Achour at Marketplace.org asks: Will last-minute work soon be history?
  • Academic freedom may soon be a memory in the state of Wisconsin, thanks to new policies pushed forward by Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin State Legislature (via the Guardian).
  • 4000 workers have gone on an indefinite strike at a GM plant in Brazil in the face of ongoing layoffs (via LaborNotes)
  • Verizon contract negotiations continue, with Verizon East contract workers rallying up and down the coast. Meanwhile, AT&T faces a possible strike thanks to the expiration of a contract covering 23,000 of its union workers.
  • Ever wonder how Amazon continues to offer those low prices, that quick delivery, that effortless consumer experience? David Golumbia wrote a piece (The Amazonization of Everything) for Jacobin explaining who pays and how.
  • In NYC yesterday, protesters demonstrated outside of the offices of Paulson & Co in response to Puerto Rico’s fiscal problems and those who appear to be profiting off of them.

National Nurses Union Endorses Bernie Sanders for President

It’s officially election season, and will be for some time to come. Some surprises have thrown the traditional players for a loop, including the rising support for Bernie Sanders. Drawing huge crowds at rallies across the country, and even a bit of controversy along the way, Sanders has galvanized his progressive base. And, as of Monday, he has also secured his first national trade union endorsement from the National Nurses union.

From CNN:

“Bernie Sanders has a proven track record of uncompromised activism and advocacy for working people, and a message that resonates with nurses, and, as we have all seen, tens of thousands of people across the country,” NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro said in a press release announcing the endorsement. “He can talk about our issues as well as we can talk about our issues. We are proud to stand with him in his candidacy for President today.”

The nurses organization officially announced their support at an event with Sanders in Oakland, California. The group, which is 90% women, called the meeting a “Brunch with Bernie.”

“Bernie’s issues align with nurses from top to bottom,” DeMoro said, noting that Sanders earned the groups support because of his positions on trade, minimum wage and expanding Social Security and Medicare.”

Earlier this year, the group conducted an internal poll to decide who to endorse. Charles Idelson, the group’s spokesman, said the Vermont senator won “overwhelming support,” but no percentage was given.

Previously, the American Federation of Teachers endorsed Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, Sanders has received support, if not outright endorsement — though neither is permitted according to AFL-CIO rules —  from a number of union locals.

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