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Spring 2019 MA Scholarship Application Now Open (Deadline: 12/18)

The Murphy Institute is offering a small number of tuition-only scholarships for Spring 2019 to both newly-admitted and continuing MA students in Urban Studies and Labor Studies. Students must re-apply each semester to be considered for a scholarship for the next term. (Scholarships and amounts may vary from semester to semester depending on the availability of funds and/or enrollment status.)

Applications are open until 11:59pm on July 12th, 2018. Learn more and apply here.

Video: The Next Generation: Young Workers Building Movements

On December 6th, members of SLU community gathered to discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by young adults in building the labor movement.

Despite the recent weakness of the U.S. labor movement, young workers are invigorating unions and other working-class organizations throughout the country, showing the promise of a new broad-based progressive movement. Social media-driven movements like #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter, along with the emergence of left political organizations and young candidates for local and national office, have also played an important role in sparking new organizing among younger workers. At the same time, student debt is skyrocketing, permanent full-time jobs are harder to find, unemployment and underemployment are prevalent among low-income young people and communities of color, and increases in housing/living costs far surpass increases in real wages for many young workers.

How are young adults building the labor movement in the face of worsening conditions? How are young workers in other movements influencing the political landscape? Are there fundamental differences in young workers’ outlook or analysis compared to previous generations? What are the primary challenges and obstacles they face given the changing economy and its more precarious job opportunities? What are the most exciting opportunities and partnerships that are being developed by young workers?

The conversation featured Arsenia Reilly-Collins, Jedidiah Labinjo, and Kim Kelly, and was moderated by Diana Robinson.

Check out the video above or here.

New Labor Forum Highlights: December 3rd, 2018

The New Labor Forum has 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 the New Labor Forum newsletter, we take a break from our bi-weekly offering of free articles, reports, videos, and poems. This holiday season, we ask you to support the journal by taking out a gift subscription now for a friend and subscribe or re-up yourself for 2019!  This month, subscribers will also receive a free back issue of New Labor Forum from 2018.

The journal has a long and proud history of publishing the work of cutting-edge labor activists, first-rate scholars, and journalists who debate and discuss the full range of issues confronting workers and working-class communities. Highlights from the January 2019 issue provide manifest proof of that:

Subscribe to New Labor Forum

Shoshana Zuboff’s Surveillance Capitalism and the Challenge of Collective Actionwill present an extended essay summation of her forthcoming book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power.  Zuboff theorizes how surveillance capitalism opens up a whole new era in capital accumulation.  Relying on a process of primitive accumulation, which has always been characteristic of capitalism, it extends capital’s reach beyond nature and human labor into the interior, intimate life of human beings, by tracking, manipulating, and trading in human behavior.  She calls the new system the “Big Other” and ponders what new forms of collective resistance might emerge to challenge the dominion of surveillance capitalism.

In Renewing Working-Class Internationalism, Aziz Rana will reckon with the fact that, for some time now, the new left as a whole, pre-occupied with domestic political issues, has failed to offer an alternative vision of a left foreign policy.  His article will suggest what a left foreign policy should entail, urging progressives to break through the artificial division between domestic and foreign affairs, arguing − as did social democrats of yesteryear − that the dominion of capital at home depends on its political and economic over-lordship throughout the rest of the world.

Ted Fertik will offer provocative answers to the question What Did the Midterms Tell Us About the Future of the Electoral Left?  Presenting an anatomy of the left’s electoral coalition,  he’ll take a stab at assessing the prospects for “multiracial left populism.”

And in Sex Work Is Work, Riley Renegade, a sex worker and organizer, will pan the trepidation of feminists and labor organizers to accept this form of labor that far predates capitalism.  She describes both the harmfully exploitative and the rewarding nature of work in her segment of this multi-billion dollar industry.

SLU Prof. Kafui Attoh on WNYC’s On the Media

Last week, SLU Urban Studies Professor Kafui Attoh made an appearance on WNYC’s On the Media to talk about the relationship between public transportation and democracy, closing out an hour that explores the injustices that undergird “feel good” stories about workers persevering through horrifying commutes and the perils of self-driving cars. From On the Media:

The lion’s share of our transit-oriented program this week has centered on the personal car and its infrastructure. This is no accident. The car speeds, stalls, thrills and kills us — all because we need a ride. But what if we’d really rather journey by bus? 

Brooke spoke with Kafui Attoh, professor of urban studies at the CUNY Graduate Center, about the deep political connotations of “transit rights.” Such rights, Attoh argues in his forthcoming book Rights in Transit, have roots in Marx, Engels and Lefebvre’s thinking on the radical nature of cities

Listen to the whole hour here or check out Prof. Attoh’s segment here.

Photo by Sergio SC via flickr (CC-BY-SA)

Spring 2019 Special Topics Course: Economic Democracy & System Change (M 6:15-8:45pm)

Evan Casper-Futterman and Michael Menser

  • URB 651- Special Topics: Economic Democracy and System Change Class
  • LABR 669 – Special Topics: Economic Democracy and System Change Class
  • And cross listed at the Grad Center, Earth and Environmental Science Dept.

Discussions around economic democracy and economic “alternatives” often focus on either firm-level changes like cooperative ownership structures, or focus on high-level, abstract conceptual shifts from “capitalism” or “neoliberalism” to some “next system”. Where do system transformation and the transformation of daily life intersect and interact? How do we join the urgent need for institutional redesign and reconstruction to the present day political movements and structures available to us today?

In this class we will look at mechanisms and visions for democratizing the economy, politics, and social life. We will investigate democratic forms of ownership, management, production, and consumption and the institutional and political conditions needed for them to flourish and scale.  Perspectives discussed include solidarity economy, community wealth building, P2P, co-city, new municipalism, energy democracy, commons, climate justice. Processes and forms include participatory budgeting, green new deal, cooperatives, platform cooperativism, reparations, community land trusts, federal job guarantee, public bank, green transition.  Sectors include healthcare, climate change adaptation, advanced manufacturing, public utilities in energy, water and broadband. Readings will draw from multiple disciplines, and include scholarship, policy, and dispatches from activists and practitioners past and present including Kali Akuno, Sylvia Federici, Sheila Foster, Jessica Gordon-Nembhard, Paul Mason, Nathan Schneider, and many others.

Event: The Next Generation: Young Workers Building Movements (12/6)

Thursday, December 6th, 2018
6pm – 8pm ET
CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies
25 W. 43rd Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10036

RSVP HERE

Despite the recent weakness of the U.S. labor movement, young workers are invigorating unions and other working-class organizations throughout the country, showing the promise of a new broad-based progressive movement. Social media-driven movements like #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter, along with the emergence of left political organizations and young candidates for local and national office, have also played an important role in sparking new organizing among younger workers. At the same time, student debt is skyrocketing, permanent full-time jobs are harder to find, unemployment and underemployment are prevalent among low-income young people and communities of color, and increases in housing/living costs far surpass increases in real wages for many young workers. Continue reading Event: The Next Generation: Young Workers Building Movements (12/6)