This week world leaders meet in Davos to discuss cooperation to address multiple crises, from COVID-19 and escalating inflation to slowing economic growth, debt distress and climate shocks. Only three months earlier, finance ministers had gathered in Washington DC for the same reason. The mood was grim. The need for ambitious actions could not be greater; however, there were no agreements, evidencing the fragility of multilateralism and international cooperation. Worse, policy makers -advised by the International Monetary Fund- are resorting to old, failed and regressive policies, such as austerity (now called “fiscal restraint” or “fiscal consolidation”), instead of much needed corporate/wealth taxation and debt reduction initiatives, to ensure an equitable recovery for all. A recent global report alerts of the dangers of a post-pandemic wave of austerity, far more premature and severe than the one that followed the global financial crisis a decade ago.
Even as 2022 is drawing to a close, the strike wave that swept the UK this year, with hundreds of thousands of workers in the public and private sector downing tools to fight for better conditions, is showing no signs of slowing down. On Saturday, December 31, over 1,000 members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers (RMT) who are working on contract as cleaners in the railways are set to walkout in the first national strike of its kind. Workers at private companies including Atalian Servest, Churchill, and Mitie are fighting for a £15 ($18.04) per hour wage, company sick pay, good pensions, and “decent holidays.” They will join ISS cleaners on Docklands Light Railway (DLR), who will enter their second day on strike on Saturday over issues including over pay, working conditions, and imposed rosters.
Thousands of people gathered at the Bab Al-Ahad Square in Moroccan capital Rabat on Sunday, December 4, as part of a national march against “high prices, political repression, and social oppression.” The action was organized by the Moroccan Social Front (FSM), a coalition of left-wing political parties and trade unions, with support from leading human rights groups as well as various political, civil society, and sectoral organizations and unions. “We came to protest a government that embodies the marriage between money and power and supports monopoly capitalism,” declared Younes Ferachine, a coordinator at FSM. As the march proceeded through the capital, protestors chanted,“The people want lower prices… The people want to eliminate despotism and corruption.”
If you’re having trouble making ends meet right now, you’re not alone. Nearly 52 million adults – about 1 in 4 – are having difficulty paying for usual household expenses, according to the most recent Census data, and, according to Monmouth polling, more than 4 in 10 Americans, 42 percent, “say they are struggling to remain where they are financially.” So let’s split the difference between those numbers and say one in three American adults say they’ve found it difficult to cover expenses or pay bills. Does that sound like a system that’s working well? Does that sound like a machine that is just humming along beautifully? Does that sound like citizens are living the American dream? This system is clearly not working for everyone and this is happening while rich-ass Congresspeople do next to nothing to help Americans.
Let me indulge you with a Father’s Day story. Five years ago on June 10th, my father fell ill with a massive heart attack. He spent two weeks in the ICU before dying at the age of 69. That day changed my life forever. I was familiar with the commonness of death under U.S. imperialism, but never had it hit so close. The loss of a parent or caregiver compels us to revisit our roots. After all, there are few people more influential on the trajectory of our lives than those who raise us. I was twenty-seven when my father died and only possessed a cursory understanding at that time of how his life influenced my own. Five years later and I am still figuring it out. What I do know is that my father was raised with a keen awareness of suffering. He was raised in rural New Hampshire by parents who struggled with mental illness and addiction.
An alarming new survey of thousands of grocery workers across three western U.S. states reveals that they suffer from shockingly high rates of poverty. More than three-quarters of the workers meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s definition of “food insecure,” and 14% say they have been homeless within the past year. The survey, which was funded by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) and performed by the nonprofit research group the Economic Roundtable, drew responses from more than 10,000 workers at Kroger, the largest all-grocery chain in the United States. (Kroger also owns other grocery brands including Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, and City Market.) The workers surveyed live in Southern California, Washington state, and Colorado, and all of them are UFCW members...
Few would disagree in light of recent events that the Trump regime, its most diehard extreme-right, white supremacist supporters, and elements of the Republican Party are bidding for a fascist putsch. Whether this putsch remains insurgent or is beaten back will depend on how events unfold in the November 3 election and its aftermath, and especially on the ability of left and progressive forces to mobilize to defend democracy and to push forward a social justice agenda as a counterweight to the fascist project.
As millions of U.S. workers face unemployment, food insecurity and eviction amid the coronavirus pandemic, the limited aid provided by the federal government’s flawed CARES Act from March has long since dried up. Last week, following more than six months of stalled negotiations with congressional Democrats over a new economic relief package, President Trump abruptly announced he was halting talks until after the November election. While the president quickly backtracked and is now reportedly continuing to negotiate, the federal government’s ongoing failure to pass a new relief package spells catastrophe for a U.S. working class...
We understand that needing doctors and medical care is just a part of life. We are happy to distinguish ourselves from our southern neighbours on the grounds that we are a society that ensures a health crisis does not result in financial ruin. In the course of our lifetime, most of us will also find ourselves in a situation where we need a lawyer. Whether it’s a divorce, a car accident, a business dispute, an eviction, or a criminal matter, one time or another, we will require a lawyer to advocate and advise us as we navigate the complex judicial system.
The tinder that could soon ignite widespread violent conflagrations throughout the United States lies ominously stacked around us. Millions of disenfranchised white Americans, who see no way out of their economic and social misery, struggling with an emotional void, are seething with rage against a corrupt ruling class and bankrupt liberal elite that presides over political stagnation and grotesque, mounting social inequality. Millions more alienated young men and women, also locked out of the economy and with no realistic prospect for advancement or integration
Since the end of the draft in 1973, the U.S. has relied on an all-volunteer service to maintain its 1.3 million-member global police force. Over the years the military has used a number of different recruitment methods, but the target audience has always been the same: high schoolers. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 significantly changed how military recruiters reach teenagers. Section 9528 mandates public high schools give military recruiters the same access to students that college recruiters get, including their personal contact information. Schools became gold mines for recruiting “future soldiers.” Recruiters at my high school in Fairfax County, Virginia always set up shop in the cafeteria. For the next two hours, they would sit through the four different lunch periods and give their spiel to whoever was curious enough to stop at their station.