Economic and Social Justice

Economic and Social Justice (107)

All of us on the Left are all too familiar with the capitalist offensive of the past forty years. Under the banner of "neoliberalism," capital has rolled back almost every gain working people across the world have made since the 1930s. All sorts of public industries, services and institutions have been privatized, social welfare programs that protected workers from the worst insecurities of the labor-market have been rolled back or simply abolished and unions and working class political parties that had traditionally organized and represented working people have been severely weakened.

Businesses always find big bucks for the boss. He wants a raise; he gets it. No problem. For workers whose sweat of the brow produces profits, well, somehow there’s never a cent for them.

In fact, last week when President Obama proposed making more workers eligible for overtime pay, fat cats and CEO sycophants expressed abject horror that companies may have to pay employees more when they work more.

The South Carolina legislature has voted to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the statehouse. It was put there in 1961 as a show of defiance against the Civil Rights movement, i.e. against the demand that the system of legally-imposed segregation of African-Americans cease.

But, as I have argued before, the flag is only a symbol. South Carolina needs to address its real racial disparities if this vote is to be more than a gesture born of the heat of the moment.

The US government is at least partially responsible for the emergency, which is affecting millions of what are effectively second-class US citizens.

Riding through the hills of Canóvanas last weekend with Prima, a vacationing 65-year-old Brooklynite who was born and raised in the Puerto Rican countryside, I got a brief lesson on the island’s history and political economy. “This land was all cañaverales,” she said, meaning rough acres of sugarcane, which has now been replaced by mile after mile of suburban tract housing. “When that ended, some people worked in factories and construction. Now, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I think the empire is collapsing.”

WaPo's Lyndsey Layton: Arne Duncan will stay on until the last buzzer

Lyndsey Layton of the Washington Post has written a sympathetic article about Arne Duncan and the waning of his powers as Secretary of Education. He is a nice guy. He is a close friend of the President. He cares about individual children that he met along the way. The pending reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act will prohibit him and future Secretaries from interfering in state decisions about standards, curriculum, and assessment. His family has already moved back to Chicago. But he will stay on the job to the very end.

The Confederate flag flying on South Carolina’s statehouse grounds is set to come down after the House voted 94-20 to remove it in the early morning hours on Thursday. The bill now heads to Governor Nikki Haley’s desk and she is expected to sign it.

Lindsey Graham(R-SC) not only became the latest Republican to jump into the 2016 presidential race, he also became the latest Republican to signal strong support for deep Social Security cuts.

"Washington's failure to do the hard but right thing has put Social Security and Medicare in jeopardy," Graham said during his speech on Monday. "As my generation retires both programs are on track to go bust. We're living longer and fewer workers are supporting more retirees. That's unsustainable, everybody knows it, but not everybody will admit it. We have to fix entitlement programs to make sure people who need the benefits the most receive them. That's going to require determined presidential leadership."

Thursday, 28 May 2015 00:00

The Cost of an Adjunct

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The plight of non-tenured professors is widely known, but what about the impact they have on the students they’re hired to instruct?

Imagine meeting your English professor by the trunk of her car for office hours, where she doles out information like a taco vendor in a food truck. Or getting an e-mail error message when you write your former biology professor asking for a recommendation because she is no longer employed at the same college. Or attending an afternoon lecture in which your anthropology professor seems a little distracted because he doesn’t have enough money for bus fare. This is an increasingly widespread reality of college education.

The party of the rich is now doing everything in its power to make sure those without money live in misery

Last week my colleague Simon Maloy caught us up with the latest on Kanses Gov. Sam Brownback’s famous Arthur Laffer “petri dish” experiment, in which he slashed taxes and government programs in order to usher in a Republican free market economic utopia. The experiment looks like it’s blowing up the lab:

While technically Sen. Rand Paul's (R-Ky.) stand against the NSA yesterday wasn't a filibuster, any time a member of Congress talks for over ten hours without a bathroom break, it's close enough in our book.

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