Next month marks the launch of Murphy Professor Michael Javen Fortner’s eye-opening new book, Black Silent Majority: the Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment. A controversial and important account of the role that some in the African-American community played in encouraging punitive policies during the 1970s, in particular the Rockefeller Drug Laws, the book asks vital questions about agency, history and how we can strive for real peace and justice in an era of mass incarceration.
Today, the Chronicle of Higher Education published an article on Fortner and Black Silent Majority (Defending Their Homes: How crime-terrorized African-Americans helped spur mass incarceration, by Marc Parry, Aug 3rd, 2015). In it, Parry describes Fortner’s engagement with Michelle Alexander’s explosive 2010 book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness:
What vexed Fortner was that The New Jim Crow seemed to be two different books. One did a powerful job showing how mass incarceration undermines black communities and perpetuates racial inequality. The other — and this was the vexing part — advanced a political theory about how we got here. That history stressed the resilience of white supremacy. First came slavery; when slavery ended, a white backlash brought Jim Crow segregation; when Jim Crow crumbled, a backlash to the civil-rights movement spawned yet another caste system, mass incarceration. Each time, writes Alexander, an associate professor of law at Ohio State University, proponents of racial hierarchy achieved their goals “largely by appealing to the racism and vulnerability of lower-class whites.” Continue reading Crime, Punishment and the Black Community: the Untold Story of the Rockefeller Drug Laws
Last month, Murphy co-hosted “ClothesLined: Stopping Walmart’s Dirty Supply Chain Moves” along with Jobs with Justice, the Asia Floor Wage Alliance, and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. At the event, leaders from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and the United States discussed strategies of organizing Walmart workers both on the floor and on the supply chain and documented a legacy of retaliation by Walmart against collective bargaining.
Check out footage from the event below.
It’s all happening. Last Wednesday, the New York state wage board appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo recommended a state-wide minimum wage of $15 for fast food workers in NYC and throughout the state. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has voted for a $15 minimum wage for those working in its unincorporated areas by 2020, which will complement the minimum wage hike for workers in the City passed in May.
Who else is making moves in the $15 direction? The UC system, Kansas City (well, $13), Washington, DC.
Justin Miller wrote up a nice roundup of these developments over at the American Prospect on Friday. As he writes, “All in all, it has been a highly successful week for minimum wage campaigns around the country.”
Photo by MTEA via flickr (CC-BY).
Murphy Institute Professor Sean Sweeney just returned from Athens, where he delivered a presentation entitled Third Memorandum or Grexit: What are the implications for the Future of Greece’s Energy System? at the Democracy Rising conference. In his talk, Sweeney explained:
…[E]nergy will be at the heart of the struggles in Greece in the years ahead, Memorandum or Grexit. Energy poverty has grown with austerity and recession, and Syriza has taken measures to protect the poorest and most vulnerable from, for example, electricity disconnections.
But it is clear that the structure of Greece’s energy system also needs to change. The “Institutions”, through the Memorandum, have a clear sense of what restructuring energy means for them—full-on privatization. However, a left restructuring would seek to address two major challenges: firstly, Greece’s dependence on fossil fuel imports and, secondly, how to take advantage of its potential to generate large amounts of renewable energy.
Sweeney presents a thorough analysis of Greece’s choices given the country’s uncertain future and the real, pressing need for “a new economy and a new society.”
Access the full presentation at Trade Unions for Energy Democracy.
Photo by Martin Abegglen via flickr (CC-BY-SA).
Murphy’s Advancing the Field of Labor Relations Program seeks to broaden and strengthen communications and exchanges between China and U.S. universities and unions.
www.ALRexchange.org is an English-Chinese bilingual website, developed by Murphy’s Advancing the Field of Labor Relations Program to serve as a hub of resources for both academics and practitioners in the field of Labor Relations. More than five hundred searchable bilingual bibliographies, contract languages, training materials, relevant Labor Relations articles and U.S.-China comparative curriculum materials for the study of labor relations have been posted and shared in our website. Find it on our resource page.
The website also includes “Labor in the News”, featuring news from the labor field in the U.S., China, and worldwide on a weekly basis. To further this unique comparative perspective, the team also tweets these updates via Chinese social media, Weibo, to interact with our Chinese audience directly. Continue reading Introducing: ALRexchange.org
The Labor Studies Program invites all CUNY and non‐CUNY
graduate-level students to enroll in our special topics
Facilitated by Immanuel Ness & Christopher Michael
Tuesdays, Sep. 1st to Dec. 22nd, 2015 from 6:15 to 8:45pm
Worker cooperatives have become a compelling alternative to traditional labor‐management forms of labor relations in the 21st century and with the rise of the Global Financial Crisis. The class examines worker control and cooperatives in comparative historical and geographic perspective. We will examine the historical experiences of worker cooperatives throughout the world, their successes, and challenges, and we will also focus on the growing world of worker owned cooperatives in New York City, examining the practical, economic and political aspects of their work. The class will make use of readings, film, and guest speakers with practical expertise in worker control and cooperatives.
NOTE: This graduate course is open to all non‐degree/non‐matriculated students who already hold a Bachelor’s Degree. Current CUNY graduate students should register for the course via E‐Permit @ CUNY Portal and pay tuition to their home college. Once a permit is approved and processed the course will appear on the tuition bill and your course schedule will be generated by the home college. For more information about registration and tuition and fees, please contact Irene.Garcia‐Mathes@cuny.edu / 212‐642‐2050
Photo: Sergey Galyonkin CC-BY-SA