Little more than a century ago, British and Indian archaeologists began excavating the remains of what they soon realized was a previously unknown civilization in the Indus Valley. Straddling parts of Pakistan and India and reaching into Afghanistan, the culture these explorers unearthed had existed at the same time as those of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, and covered a much larger area. It was also astonishingly advanced: sophisticated and complex, boasting large, carefully laid out cities, a relatively affluent population, writing, plumbing and baths, wide trade connections, and even standardized weights and measures.
The pandemic brought the spotlight on many of the wrongs of capitalism, among them the issue of unpaid labor. The term unpaid labor is generally associated with care work—care for children, the elderly, the sick, and the family—mostly considered “women’s work.” For the majority of care work, capitalism does not provide any remuneration; instead, the “payment” is societal – praise for women’s “motherly nature” while violating all their rights as members of the working class, thus making women what I call “the proletariat of the proletariat.” Although gender-based discrimination in the working class has existed since the establishment of private property, as explained by Engels in his well-known treatise The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State (1884), the matter came into sharper focus during the pandemic.
There is no need to delve too deeply into statistical data when the findings are obvious. For instance, when women and men work at the same job, women are paid – on average – 20 percent less than men. To raise awareness about this persistent disparity, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and United Nations Women host the International Equal Pay Day every year on 18 September and, through their Equal Pay International Coalition, lobby corporations and governments to close the yawning gender pay gap. The idea of ‘equal pay for equal work’ was established in the ILO’s Equal Remuneration Convention (1951) in recognition of the fact that women had always worked in industrial factories, increasingly so during the Second World War.
Colombia - The Vice President of Colombia, Francia Márquez, symbolically took office in her homeland, in the department of Cauca, where she announced that this week the creation of the Ministry of Equality, which she herself will lead, will be filed in Congress. The formation of this new portfolio will be made to “take on the greatest challenge that Colombia has: inequality”, in the words of the vice-president. In this sense, “the agreement was to create a Ministry of Equality, and this project will be submitted to the Congress this week” and they hope it will be approved urgently”. In the municipality of Suarez (Cauca), the vice president also celebrated being “the first Afro-descendant woman vice president of Colombia and the second Afro-descendant woman vice president in Latin America (…), a daughter of this people”.
How best to understand the assault on the Capitol this week? Might some historical perspective help us better comprehend how endangered our democracy has become? Could that perspective point us to a more promising post-Trump path? A global team of anthropologists from the United States and Mexico may be offering up just the sort of historical perspective we need. The team’s newly published research — on premodern societies — might at first glance seem more than a bit irrelevant. Wednesday’s mob violence has Americans by the millions, after all, worried about “democratic backsliding.” But we had no democratic nation states in premodern times.
What makes someone a Jew—not just a Jew in name, but a Jew in good standing—today? In Haredi circles, being a real Jew means adhering to religious law. In leftist Jewish spaces, it means championing progressive causes. But these environments are the exceptions. In the broad center of Jewish life—where power and respectability lie—being a Jew means, above all, supporting the existence of a Jewish state. In most Jewish communities on earth, rejecting Israel is a greater heresy than rejecting God. The reason is rarely spelled out, mostly because it’s considered obvious: Opposing a Jewish state means risking a second Holocaust. It puts the Jewish people in existential danger. In previous eras, excommunicated Jews were called apikorsim, unbelievers. Today, they are called kapos, Nazi collaborators. Through a historical sleight of hand that turns Palestinians into Nazis, fear of annihilation has come to define what it means to be an authentic Jew.
In December 2019, 34-year-old Sanna Marin from Finland’s Social Democratic Party became the world’s youngest head of state. Her centre-left government consists of five parties, all led by women, four of them 35 or under. The cabinet has a female majority, and even the parliament has near gender parity with 93 women MPs out of a total of 200.
If you thought that Indigenous women won equal rights to Indigenous men under the Indian Act in 1985 when Section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into force, you'd be wrong. You might be aware of the Mohawk activist Mary Two-Axe Early who, in 1967, founded Indian Rights for Indian Women and worked with the National Action Committee on the Status of Women in support of ending discrimination under the Indian Act. Or perhaps you remember Jeannette Corbiere Lavell and Yvonne Bedard, two Indigenous women whose Bill of Rights discrimination claim over the Indian Act was rejected by the Supreme Court of Canada in a split vote in 1979.
Washington, DC — Multimedia artist and filmmaker Robin Bell premiered a moving lights and projection exhibition of what an open and transparent society should be at the Corcoran School of Arts and Design at George Washington University. ‘OPEN: an installation by Robert Bell’, uses light and projection to celebrate transparency, belonging, and accessibility with a social commentary about closed thought, exclusion, erasure, and authoritarianism. Bell is known nationally for his works and guerilla light projections of social commentary on well-known venues in Washington, DC, New York, and Los Angeles.
If a low-income mom gets a $10/hour raise, that’s good news for her family, even if her boss gets an extra $100, right? Maybe not. Looking at children’s wellbeing in rich countries like the U.S. in 2007, Kate E. Pickett and Richard G. Wilkinson found that inequality may matter a lot more for kids’ lives than absolute income level. Pickett and Wilkinson started their study by looking at UNICEF data for 23 relatively wealthy countries, including Australia, Japan, the U.S., and much of Europe. For each country, they looked at a variety of child wellbeing measures, including infant mortality rates, immunizations, academic achievement, bullying, and loneliness. Only a few of these measures turned out to be related to a nation’s average income. Kids in the richest countries were more likely to pursue advanced education, less likely to live in single-parent or step-parent families, and more likely to eat fruit every day, but that was about it.
The Cold War displaced the legacies of the New Deal. Time and Trump are now displacing Cold War legacies. Where capitalism was questioned and challenged in the 1930s and into the 1940s, doing that became taboo after 1948. Yet in the wake of the 2008 crash, critical thought about capitalism resumed. In particular one argument is gaining traction: capitalism is not the means to realize economic equality and democracy, it is rather the great obstacle to their realization. The New Deal, forced on the FDR regime from below by a coalition of unionists (CIO) and the political left (two socialist parties and one communist party), reversed the traditional direction (to greater inequality) of income and wealth distributions in the US. They shifted toward greater equality.
Almost every day, entertainment, sports, media, political and even some business organizations are jettisoning their top officials and incumbents after reported accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assaults of their subordinates. They’re not waiting for prosecutors, courts or regulators to take action. “Get out now” is the first punishing order. Then the work product of these asserted offenders—whether music, comedy shows, etc.—are often scrubbed, and recipients of political contributions are under pressure to give these sums to charity. In addition a wider arc of resignations by the heads and Boards of Directors, accused of lax monitoring is emerging. The speed of punishment is unprecedented. One day millions of people watched Bill O’Reilly, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer and others.
By Peter Bohmer for Counterpunch. The Universal Basic Income(UBI) is getting increasing attention in the United States, in particular from Silicon Valley, and also in many other countries in the world. The idea of the universal basic income is that every resident in a society would get a certain income that’s not attached to their work. The numbers I’m suggesting to start with for the United States are $1,000 a month for each person over 18 and $500 a month for each person under 18. These amounts would increase annually to keep up with inflation and would also rise as productivity increases. To illustrate the idea, let’s take a family of two adults—two parents 18 and over and two children under 18. They would receive $1,000 for each adult and $500 for each child, which would total 3,000 a month. That is $36,000 a year, which is about 1 1/2 times the official poverty line. In addition, it would offer a housing allowance in high rent cities. That’s the basic idea.
By Staff of NELP - It has been more than 50 years since the Civil Rights Movement and the passage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a landmark federal law that prohibits racial discrimination in the workplace. Yet despite decades of struggle, Blacks and other minorities continue to face discrimination in the workplace, perpetuating cycles of inequities that make it difficult to attain success. Whether working full-time or part-time, Black workers earn only three-quarters of what white workers earn. The wage gap is even more pronounced for Black women. Furthermore, almost two in ten Black workers with higher degrees are still earning low wages. These trends may be exacerbated in the coming years, as the Trump administration has already proposed divesting significant financial resources from civil rights enforcement, making rigorous state-level protections all the more critical. In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on immutable factors such as race, age, and disability. However, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the agency responsible for enforcing the law, is underfunded, understaffed, and overburdened by the difficult task of being the first line of defense against both housing and workplace discrimination.
By H. Patricia Hynes for Truth Dig - What the world will look like in 15 years depends also on our commitment to reduce substantially greenhouse gas emissions and achieve 50 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2030, so that her world remains habitable. However, we cannot get to a sustainable world without the full realization of girls’ and women’s rights, for women are responsible for providing food, fuel and water for billions of people in much of Africa and Asia, where natural resources are growing scarce or rapidly degrading. Yet many of these women lack the right to own land or to access credit and technical training to assure the sustainability of their countries’ natural resources. We will not get there in 15 years without women’s equality in decision-making because women in governance positions sign on to international treaties that take action against climate change more than their male counterparts. Further, there is abundant evidence that women care more about the environment than men and handle risk—economic, environmental and personal—more wisely than men.