Tag Archives: trump

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)

New Labor Forum Highlights: May 15, 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 enduring conversations of the 2016 election is the significance of the white working- class Trump vote. According to some pundits, this vote drew much of its impetus from economic decline characteristic of the rust belt. New Labor Forum’s Michael Zweig writes about White Working-Class Voters and the Future of Progressive Politics. One major issue he raises is the difficulty of identifying precisely what we mean by ‘working-class,’ as well as the extent to which class anxiety versus racial animosity motivated their support for Trump. An excellent data-filled companion piece is the PRRI/The Atlantic report on the WWC. Using large data sets and prominent academic researchers, this report indicates that economic fatalism predicted support for Trump, while economic hardship predicted Clinton support. Greg Sargent of the Washington Post focuses on a specific demographic: the swing voters who moved from Obama to Trump. This group played an outsize role in the 2016 elections. What are they telling Democrats?

The economic nationalism and xenophobia that motivated some working-class Trump supporters has found distinct articulations throughout Europe. The failure of European center and center-left parties to take a stand against the ravages of neo-liberalism has buoyed right-wing populism. Edouard Louis has written a moving essay about the recent French elections describing the feelings of neglect many working-class voters have experienced at the hands of the governing Socialist Party and expect under Macron’s centrist banner En Marche!. This fact, he contends, lead many of them, like his working-class father, who sense their own invisibility to vote for Marine Le Pen.

Table of Contents

  1. White Working-Class Voters and the Future of Progressive Politics / Michael Zweig, New Labor Forum
  2.  Beyond Economics: Fears of Cultural Displacement Pushed the White Working Class to Trump / Daniel Cox, Rachel Lienesch, Robert P. Jones / PRRI, The Atlantic
  3. Why Did Trump Win? New Research by Democrats Offers Worrisome Answer / Greg Sargent, New York Times
  4. Why My Father Votes for Le Pen / Edouard Louis, New York Times

Photo by Lorie Shaull via flickr (CC-BY-SA)

Event: Immigration Politics in the Trump Era (5/11)

Date: May 11th, 2017
Time: 10am-6pm
Location: Murphy Institute, 25 W. 43rd St., 18th Floor

RSVP HERE

Co-sponsored by the Scholars Strategy Network and Murphy Institute

This all-day conference will assess the unfolding immigration crisis, highlighting the perspectives of labor unions, worker centers, community organizations, and local government. The Trump administration’s efforts to restrict immigration, expand deportations, thwart sanctuary cities, and intensify border enforcement mark dramatic shifts in immigration politics and policies. This event convenes a range of national and local experts and leaders to explore the implications of these national shifts, especially for local immigrant communities and the possibilities for resistance.

Program

10:00am: Introductions and coffee

10:30am-12:00pm: Background and Context

Speakers:

  • Muzaffar Chishti – Migration Policy Institute, Director of MPI’s office at NYU School of Law
  • Mae Ngai – Columbia University, Professor of History and Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies

Moderator: Ruth Milkman, CUNY Graduate Center & Murphy Institute

12:00-1:00pm: Lunch (Provided)

1:00-2:30pm: Labor Responses

Speakers:

  • Esther Lopez – United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, International Secretary-Treasurer
  • Eliseo Medina – Service Employees International Union, Former International Secretary-Treasurer
  • Gonzalo Mercado – National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), New York City Regional Coordinator, and Executive Director at La Colmena – Staten Island Community Job Center
  • Javaid Tariq – New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Co-Founder and Senior Staff
  • Modesta Toribio – Make the Road New York, Senior Organizer

Moderator: Ed Ott, Murphy Institute/CUNY, Distinguished Lecturer of Labor Studies

2:30-3:00pm: Break

3:00-4:30pm: Community and Local Government Responses

Speakers:

  • 
Anu Joshi – NY State Immigrant Action Fund, Deputy Director
  • Abraham Paulos – Families for Freedom, former Executive Director
  • Donna Schaper – Judson Memorial Church, Senior Minister
  • Monica Sibri – CUNY DREAMers, Founder, and New York Fellow at IGNITE National

Moderator: Els de Graauw, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Baruch College-CUNY

4:30-6:00pm: Closing Reception

Tom Cat Workers Resist

This article was originally featured at the Indypendent.

By Astha Rajvanshi

Workers at Tom Cat Bakery start kneading the day’s first loaves inside a Queens factory at 6 a.m. Soon after, the industrial-scale bakery begins delivering 400 varieties of baked goods to hotels, supermarkets, food chains and Starbucks locations across New York City.

One of the bakers, Sabino Milian, a 40-year-old Guatemalan native, came to New York 17 years ago looking for work. Hurricane Mitch struck Milian’s hometown in 1998, leaving his parents helpless and vulnerable. He needed to support them financially. New York presented a land of opportunities, Milian told The Indypendent through a Spanish interpreter. He began working for Tom Cat in 2006 and never had any problems with his bosses.

In March, however, a manager called Milian into his office and told him the company was subject to an ongoing audit by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Milian, along with 30 other workers, were given 10 days to prove they possessed proper documentation to legally work in the country. If they failed to do so, they would be fired. Continue reading Tom Cat Workers Resist

Avoiding Concessions Under Trump

In a recent In These Times article (When Raising the Minimum Wage is a Bad Thing), Murphy Prof. Stephanie Luce and Jen Kern warn of the perils of conceding ground on minimum wage in the name of short term gains:

First, we cannot accept short-term gains in the form of a higher wage if they mean concessions that undermine our ability to organize over the long haul. Such concessions could include the ability to form unions, engage in collective bargaining, strike and protest. For example, a minimum wage increase that comes alongside cuts to the Department of Labor’s inspection staff would be a major setback. A minimum wage increase that comes at the price of “right-to-work” provisions would be disastrous.

The minimum wage is a valuable tool for raising the incomes of millions of workers, but it loses much of its value if worker organizations and movements are too weak to enforce the law. It doesn’t help people without jobs and only minimally helps those with few hours of work. Most importantly, minimum wages have the greatest impact when workers have unions to protect their jobs and help them move up to higher paid positions.

Second, we must be wary of attempts to divide our movement. The first minimum wage, which was passed in 1938, excluded domestic workers and farmworkers—occupations that were dominated by African-American workers. Today, the federal law sets a much lower minimum wage for tipped workers—a practice that disproportionately hurts women and people of color. An increase to the minimum wage must benefit everyone, including farmworkers and people who work for tips.

It’s also quite possible that a higher minimum wage could be linked to concessions on policies that impact unemployed workers, through cuts to unemployment benefits and the safety net. If we accept an increase to the minimum wage on these terms, we will drive a further wedge between the so-called “deserving” and “non-deserving” poor. Indeed, our ability to win depends on whether this fight is an inclusive one. 

They remind us:

Our job isn’t to find common ground with Trump or to figure out ways to work with a hostile administration that will put forward terrible deals. Our job is to build organizations and make our movements more powerful.

For more on the role of unions, trade and infrastructure under Trump, read the full article at In These Times.

Photo by Stephen L via flickr (CC-BY-NC)

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)