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
- The Priest, The Commissar, and the Donald/ Steve Fraser, Salmagundi Magazine
- Triumph of the Shill: The political theory of Trumpism/ Cory Robin, N+1
- America the Decrepit: The Trump Plan Won’t Fix the Infrastructure Deficit/ John Miller, NLF
- How Trump’s New Infrastructure Plan Will Hurt Local Climate Action/ Alissa Walker, Curbed
Photo by thierry ehrmann via flickr (CC-BY)
A new TUED Working Paper draws attention to the alarming implications for human health caused by pollution and by climate change, both of which are being made worse by the growing use of coal, oil, and gas.
Authored by Svati Shah and Sean Sweeney, An Illness to One is the Concern of All presents the main findings of recent landmark reports in a way that unions can use to more effectively advocate both for their members and the broader public.
Read more, and download here.
For a while, it looked like we’d have to choose: labor or climate; jobs or the planet. But with unions like the CWA increasingly calling for action on climate change, some of these once-divergent interests appear to be coming into alignment. As Samantha Page wrote in an article in ThinkProgress last week:
The Climate and Community Protection Act passed the Democrat-led Assembly this week and is now at the Republican-controlled State Senate. NY Renew, a coalition which brought together labor, climate, and social justice groups, helped pass the measure. The bill sets a goal of 50 percent renewable electricity generation by 2030 and focuses on clean energy job creation, particularly in disadvantaged communities.
While unions have traditionally fought for workplace and economic improvements, climate change represents a serious threat to everyone, including union members, [CWA Political and Legislative Director Pete] Sikora said, so an alliance with green groups makes sense. Continue reading Labor and Climate Change: What Comes Next?
The International Union of Food Workers and the Tunisian national center, the Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail (UGTT), have joined the Trade Union Call for A Global Moratorium on Fracking.
The statement sends a strong message calling for “a global moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for shale gas, coal seam gas, and shale oil,” stating that “[f]racking has led to attacks on land rights, and the large amounts of water used in fracking also threatens to increase water scarcity in areas where water supply and access pose real problems for people, particularly those in poor rural communities.” Moreover, “[t]he experience of fracking in the United States since 2002 has shown that the process threatens the health and quality of life of communities situated near drilling sites.”
See the full statement and a list of signatories here.
Photo by Simon Fraser University via flickr (CC-BY).
Last week, Murphy Professor Sean Sweeney appeared on City Watch to talk with Mark Dunlea about the upcoming climate summit in Paris, and the fight against “not letting science get in the way of business as usual.” The two discuss the climate justice movement, mobilizations and global emissions.
Photo by John Duffy via flickr.
By Laura McClure
I have a feeling that our children and grandchildren will look back on this as the era of mass denial — a strange period when almost everybody in the U.S. knew that catastrophic climate change was upon us, but for some weird reason, just went about their lives pretending it wasn’t. It’s a kind of insanity, because by our inaction, we’re creating a world of trouble for ourselves and those who will come after.
A quick review of the facts: scientists tell us that climate change is proceeding more quickly than they had predicted, and that human civilization is in danger. (If you think I’m exaggerating, please see the latest report by the International Panel on Climate Change.) There is no quick fix in the works. Continue reading 10 Ideas to Rethink in Light of Climate Change