Tag Archives: highlights

New Labor Forum Highlights: Oct 2nd, 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.

A number of contemporary economists and political observers have begun to argue that remedies for the devastating consequences of neoliberalism can be found in the economic and social arrangements associated with information-technology. They detect therein the makings of a post-capitalist future.  In the current issue of New Labor Forum, U.S. historian Howard Brick takes issue with the info-tech disciples. Brick also considers naive what he views as their over reliance on spontaneous collective action, and a disregard for the work of building solidarity and systematic organizing so essential to socialist and labor movements. We include a link to Brick’s article here, as well as an interview Laura Flanders conducts with Paul Mason, author of Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future, a leading theoretician of the view that the digital world cannot be assimilated into the accumulation process of capitalism and that it contains the seeds of an alternative economic model.

Whether or not a post-capitalist future lies on the horizon, the gig economy has arrived and is already shaping the conditions and imaginings of millions of workers. In our current installment of “Working-Class Voices,” Clynton Lowry, a young art handler who crates, transports, and assembles artwork,  draws a compelling picture of the simultaneous attraction and exploitation of this sort of gig work, as well as the inherent obstacles it poses to worker solidarity.

Table of Contents

  1. Info-Tech Is Not the New Utopia/ Howard Brick, New Labor Forum
  2. Paul Mason on Post-Capitalism and “A Guide to Our Future”/ Interview on The Laura Flanders Show
  3. The Ecstasy and Exploitation of Art Handling/ Clynton Lowry & Kressent Pottenger,  New Labor Forum

Photo by paul.comstock via flickr (CC-BY)

New Labor Forum Highlights: Sept 18th, 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.

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

  1. The Priest, The Commissar, and the Donald/ Steve Fraser, Salmagundi Magazine 
  2. Triumph of the Shill: The political theory of Trumpism/ Cory Robin, N+1
  3. America the Decrepit: The Trump Plan Won’t Fix the Infrastructure Deficit/ John Miller, NLF
  4. How Trump’s New Infrastructure Plan Will Hurt Local Climate Action/ Alissa Walker, Curbed 

Photo by thierry ehrmann via flickr (CC-BY)

A Not-So-Happy Labor Day: NLF Highlights for September 4, 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.

For the past half-century, Labor Day has more often than not presented the occasion for a sobering assessment of the diminished power of organized labor and the resulting decline in living standards for the entire working-class – from wage stagnation and precarious work to the whittling away of employer-based health and pension coverage. And this Labor Day forces an even grimmer-than-usual reckoning. The fact that, only a week ago, the Trump regime inducted the likes of former President Ronald Reagan into the Labor Department Hall of Honor is emblematic of the crisis. With the addition of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the right-wing’s decades-long attack on public sector unionism is likely to score a big victory in the Janus v. AFSCME case, slated for a hearing later this fall. In theSeptember 2017 issue of New Labor Forum, rolling off press now, we contemplate the probable implications and strategic options facing public sector unions once the ruling is handed down. Included in this newsletter is an article from the issue by Chris Brooks, arguing against a strategy of members-only unionism advocated by some on the left in response to the predicted end of the agency shop.

Also under contemplation in the Fall 2017 issue, is the historically troubled, but occasionally productive, relationship between organized labor and civil rights organizations. Strengthening that alliance in the years ahead will prove critical to the fate of labor and racial justice movements. We offer here a piece from the journal by Brandon Terry and Jason Lee, examining the historical obstacles to such alliances, and suggesting new grounds on which to reinvigorate those efforts under current circumstances.

Subscribe to New Labor Forum and gain full access to in-depth analysis on issues like these.

Table of Contents

  1. A Cure Worse Than the Disease/ Chris Brooks
  2. State of the Union/ Ruth Milkman & Stephanie Luce
  3. Rethinking the Problem of Alliance/ Brandon Terry & Jason Lee
  4. Fighting Back Against Public Sector Attacks/ Pierrette Talley
  5. The Trump Administration Just Put Ronald Reagan Alongside Eugene Debs In Its Labor Hall of Honor/ Thor Benson

Photo via The Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives 

New Labor Forum Highlights: June 26th, 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.

As summer heats up, even those of us in the northern hemisphere can’t help but ponder the perils of climate change. This crisis should be a top issue for the U.S. labor movement. Yet unified action by organized labor to protect our planet remains constrained by narrow notions of worker self-interest and of solidarity, as well as by public policy that disregards the need for a “just transition” to sustainable energy. Today’s Highlights includes New Labor Forum columnist Sean Sweeney speaking at this year’s People’s Summit in Chicago, arguing for an independent worker’s voice on climate.

We’re also proud to call attention to Climate Solidarity: Workers vs. Warming, a brand new e-book by New Labor Forum Contributing Editor Jeremy Brecher. We have posted a chapter of the book to our website, and the entire book is available for free download. It’s full of insight regarding the practical and ideological obstacles to concerted work within unions to combat climate change, as well as strategic thinking on energizing labor’s climate protection work.

Committed climate activist Naomi Klein’s new book, No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need, notable in part for coming out so quickly after the elections, is reviewed by Hari Kunzru (The Guardian), and we include that here. The book is a clarion call for a politics that accentuates what movements are working towards, rather than what they merely oppose.

Lastly, we’re sharing an article from Wired by Nick Stockton about dogged legal efforts to delay and obstruct the Trump Administration’s environmental efforts.

Table of Contents

  1. Winning Clean Energy & Climate Justice for All / Sean Sweeney, New Labor Forum
  2. Climate Solidarity: Workers vs. Warming / Jeremy Brecher
  3. No Is Not Enough by Naomi Klein (Book Review) / Hari Kunzru, The Guardian  
  4. The Grizzled, Stubborn Lawyers Protecting the Environment From Trump / Nick Stockton, Wired Magazine 

Photo by Jonathan Potts via flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND)

New Labor Forum Highlights: June 12th, 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.

With this installment of Highlights from New Labor Forum, we draw your attention to a roundup of notable books and films you might have missed. We’re grateful to NLF contributor Matt Witt for his excellent curatorial skills, which are a regular feature of his “Out of the Mainstream” for the print journal! Among the books Witt points to in his forthcoming inventory is Look, an arresting book of poetry by Solmaz Sharif. Born in Istanbul to Iranian parents, Sharif is a former participant in Poetry for the People, and arts/activism program founded at UC Berkeley by the late, great poet June Jordan. The sampling of her work included here, offers precise and unforgettable depictions of the dread brought about by our wars on terror.

Table of Contents

  1. Out of the Mainstream: Books and Films You May Have Missed by Matt Witt / New Labor Forum, September 2017 issue
  2. Poems by Solmaz Sharif

New Labor Forum Highlights: May 30th, 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.

Ah, summer! Time for conferencing, summit-ing and gathering for organizers, activists, and left-leaning academics. New Labor Forum has done the hard work of curating some of the more important upcoming events on our radar that we think you’ll be interested in. While attending a conference is usually a major expense, increasingly the organizers are using livestreamed video and social media to make remote, online participation a reality. All of the events listed below are also agenda-setting opportunities for their constituencies, so it’s worth following to see what  new thinking is emerging.

We’re not ranking by order of importance, and would love to see the events we missed that you think ought to be mentionedon our website. We’ll be updating the link to this list with your suggestions. Get ready to learn more about Left Forum, The People’s Summit, Allied Media Conference, the Labor and Working-Class History Conference, the Working-Class Studies Association Annual Conference, the National Urban League Conference, Netroots Nation, and the Personal Democracy Forum.

Table of Contents

  1. Conferences on the Left
  2. Labor Studies Conferences
  3. Broad Political & Constituency Conferences
  4. Immigration Policy in the Trump Era (VIDEO) with Muzaffar Chishti, Director of the Migration Policy Institute

Photo via National Nurses United/Twitter