Political and religious coercion in the workplace is a growing problem affecting workers from all backgrounds and across the political spectrum. U.S. employers have tremendous power over worker conduct under current federal laws. For example, employers can require workers to attend “captive audience” meetings—and force employees to listen to political, religious, or anti-union employer views—on work time. In the face of this growing threat, legislators in 18 states have advanced bills to protect workers from offensive or unwanted political and religious speech unrelated to job tasks or performance.
In Mr. Associated Press, Gene Allen investigates the Associated Press (AP) and its trajectory from a pony express news agency founded in 1846 to the international stage, by way of the person most responsible for that transformation, Kent Cooper (1880-1965). As exceptional as every era believes itself to be, the history chronicled in these pages reveals that many of the problems currently facing the media and the public’s relationship to it are reiterations of the past. Some one hundred years on, Allen—a professor emeritus of journalism at Toronto Metropolitan University—analyzes Cooper’s time in the news industry and spotlights evergreen issues, including the politicization, polarization, and corporatization of the news.
The fusion of politics, news, and entertainment has given prominence to comics like Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, and Bill Maher, who serve as attack dogs for the Democratic Party, which has joined forces with the establishment wing of the old Republican Party against Donald Trump and his supporters. By belittling Trump and his followers, these comics feed the smug, self-righteousness of the ruling establishment, bolstering their sense of moral and intellectual superiority. All the while, they remain comfortably constrained by the corporations and advertisers that employ them.
The Supreme Court of the United States is enshrined in the Constitution as one of three branches of government, the other two being the Executive branch, the presidency, and the Legislative branch, the Senate and House of Representatives. In other words the Court is a lawmaking body. The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision was a landmark, a case that most Black people commit to memory. The Court declared that public accommodations could not be considered equal if they were separate, and thus began the long road to ending segregation in the law.
Six years and millions of dollars later, the “Durham report” released on May 15th confirmed once again what a few of us had the nerve to argue before all of the reports and stories that subsequently emerged – that “Russiagate” was the most massive fraud ever perpetrated on the U.S. public by a section of the capitalist rulers and represented a maturing of a form of U.S. neofascism unique to this historical moment. The public may have forgotten that during the Trump Administration U.S. Attorney General Bob Barr assigned John H. Durham as special counsel to review the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign. The Durham report, as it is being referred to in the media, corroborated many of the conclusions reached by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report in 2019.
Water is not, and has never been, a standalone issue. Over the past 20 or 30 years, in a context of increasing concern with access to water in terms of quality, particularly in the global south, there has been an extraordinary amount of activism around water: access, struggle, ownership, etc. What has that done to systematically change the configuration of access to water? Almost nothing. Clearly the highly triaged and uneven access and distribution of water is a major issue. It’s the number one cause of premature mortality in the world. Poor access to water is a concern that many activists share. Something has to be done. But the focus on the specificity of the issue is politically stifling.
“We need to ask ourselves,” Leo Panitch and Donald Swartz stated in the third edition of From Consent to Coercion, “whether free pertains to those who do business or whether it pertains also to the majority of Canadians who do not do business.” Their book, now a classic, focused on a critical expression of the tension between liberal democratic principles and capitalist realities: the substantive right of workers to strike. Canadian workers were officially granted the basic democratic right to form unions, but the substance of that right – the withdrawal by workers of their labour power – was regularly suspended when workers successfully used it.
Alex S. Vitale is a Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College and coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project. His book, “The End of Policing,” has been highly praised, and he has become a well-known figure in debates over policing in America. In this interview with Lee Camp, Vitale shares his insights into the recent events surrounding the murder of Tyree Nichols and the fight against Cop City. According to Vitale, the issue of policing needs to be understood as a political issue. For example, during the Trump administration, Operation Relentless Pursuit was launched to target six American cities controlled by Democrats, including Memphis.
The U.S. Congress’ dysfunction was on full display through 15 rounds of votes for the “Speaker of the House” position. The rivalry, trading, dealing, secret and public concessions, within the Republican Party, and even physical scuffles were in clear view. The multiple votes and the open floor fights are a preamble of the coming session. During the theater of numerous votes, the House of Representatives ground to a halt. Without a Speaker elected, no other body in the House can function or even convene meetings, nor can the new members of the House be sworn in. Since the Republicans had a majority (a slim majority, 222 Republicans, 212 Democrats) in the House, they chose the Speaker, who is right behind the vice president in the list for succession to the presidency. But 218 votes were needed to make Kevin McCarthy, a conservative California Republican with eight terms in Congress, Speaker.
Our political class does not govern. It entertains. It plays its assigned role in our fictitious democracy, howling with outrage to constituents and selling them out. The Squad and the Progressive Caucus have no more intention of fighting for universal health care, workers’ rights or defying the war machine than the Freedom Caucus fights for freedom. These political hacks are modern versions of Sinclair Lewis’s slick con artist Elmer Gantry, cynically betraying a gullible public to amass personal power and wealth. This moral vacuity provides the spectacle, as H.G. Wells wrote, of “a great material civilization, halted, paralyzed.” It happened in Ancient Rome. It happened in Weimar Germany. It is happening here.
This October marks the third anniversary of the 2019 popular protests in Iraq. On Tuesday, October 25, a large number of people gathered in the Tahrir square in capital Baghdad and paid homage to the people who were killed in the protests. They raised slogans in support of what has been termed by the protesters as the Tishreen movement. The countrywide protests in 2019, rooted in the long-term grievances of people against successive governments, went on for months. Before the global COVID-19 outbreak forced them to end, the protests were successful in forcing the then government led by Adil Abdul Mahdi to resign, putting the ruling classes on the defensive and pressing for reforms.
The political landscape in Peru is pretty complicated these days. The country has been living a political crisis for years due to the desire of a small minority to control the country both economically and politically. From 2016 until today, five people have occupied the presidential chair. All of them have faced tremendous resistance from Congress, which impeached two of them and threatened to do it with the other two, including the current President Pedro Castillo. The last remarkable event of these tireless attempts by Congress to impeach Castillo was unveiled by the weekly “Hildebrandt en sus Trece”. According to the outlet, two politicians, together with some Congress members from the opposition, including the Congress President Maria del Carmen Alba, gathered in the hotel “Casa Andina de Miraflores” to discuss the best way to get President Castillo out of the way.
There is an ever-growing consensus that the climate crisis represents humanity’s greatest problem. Indeed, global warming is more than an environmental crisis — there are social, political, ethical and economic dimensions to it. Even the role of science should be exposed to critical inquiry when discussing the dimensions of the climate crisis, considering that technology bears such responsibility for bringing us to the brink of global disaster. This is the theme of my interview with renowned scholar Richard Falk. For decades, Richard Falk has made immense contributions in the areas of international affairs and international law from what may be loosely defined as the humanist perspective, which makes a break with political realism and its emphasis on the nation-state and military power.