By Joseph Jankowski for Activist Post – The “official” unemployment rate (U3) released each month is, to put it in the most straight-forward way possible, a completely misleading and politicized statistic. The U3 unemployment rate, which is one of 6 ways the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the amount of people out of work, is defined as the “total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force.” This is the 4.7% number which came out today and the statistic that soon-to-be former President Barrack Obama has boasted so proudly over. You remember this, right? …
By David Frayne for ROAR Magazine – If work is vital for income, social inclusion and a sense of identity, then one of the most troubling contradictions of our time is that the centrality of work in our societies persists even when work is in a state of crisis. The steady erosion of stable and satisfying employment makes it less and less clear whether modern jobs can offer the sense of moral agency, recognition and pride required to secure work as a source of meaning and identity. The standardization, precarity and dubious social utility that characterize many modern jobs are a major source of modern misery.
By Giuliana Sgrena for Il Manifesto – Five years after the Arab Spring that shook the Middle East and North Africa, Tunisia is bursting up in flames again. The images that arrived from the city of Sfax, where a young merchant set himself on fire Wednesday after his goods were confiscated by the authorities, is reminiscent of the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, whose act kicked off the Tunisian Revolution on Dec. 17, 2010. This time, the protest started from Kasserine, in central Tunisia not far from Sidi Bouzid, after a 24 year old young man, Ridha Yahyaoui, who was threatening to kill himself because his name had been deleted from a list of hirings, got struck and died when climbing an electricity pole.
By Paul Buchheit for Nation of Change – The homeless are feared by the upper classes, and they’re often arrested for nonexistent or non-violent infractions, in good part because they are simply considered “offensive” to people of means. They usually have personal problems that society has failed to address. A study of nearly 50,000 cases revealed that most deal with alcohol or drug abuse, and mental health issues. Legislating against impoverished people is expensive: shelters, emergency rooms, jail cells.
By Staff of The Huffington Post – KASSERINE, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia imposed a nationwide overnight curfew Friday in response to growing unrest as protests over unemployment across the country descended into violence in some cities. A curfew from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. has been put into place because the attacks on public and private property “represent a danger to the country and its citizens,” the Interior Ministry said. On Thursday night, police stations came under attack and security officers used tear gas to repel protesters armed with stones and Molotov cocktails.
Were you shocked at the disruption in Baltimore? What is more shocking is daily life in Baltimore, a city of 622,000 which is 63 percent African American. Here are ten numbers that tell some of the story. One. Blacks in Baltimore are more than 5.6 times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than whites even though marijuana use among the races is similar. In fact, Baltimore county has the fifth highest arrest rate for marijuana possessions in the USA. Two. Over $5.7 million has been paid out by Baltimore since 2011 in over 100 police brutality lawsuits. Victims of severe police brutality were mostly people of color and included a pregnant woman, a 65 year old church deacon, children, and an 87 year old grandmother.
“A long time ago, when I was a student,” said Olga Kesidou, sunk low in the single, somewhat clapped-out sofa of the waiting room at the Peristeri Solidarity Clinic, “I’d see myself volunteering. You know, in Africa somewhere, treating sick people in a poor developing country. I never once imagined I’d be doing it in a suburb of Athens.” Few in Greece, even five years ago, would have imagined their recession- and austerity-ravaged country as it is now: 1.3 million people – 26% of the workforce – without a job (and most of them without benefits); wages down by 38% on 2009, pensions by 45%, GDP by a quarter; 18% of the country’s population unable to meet their food needs; 32% below the poverty line. And just under 3.1 million people, 33% of the population, without national health insurance.
The problems of TTIP are so many – total lack of meaningful transparency, the unnecessary inclusion of an ISDS chapter, the threat to Europe’s high standards governing health, safety, the environment, labour etc. – that the agreement’s supporters have been forced to fight back with the only thing they claim to offer: money. TTIP, they argue in multiple ways, will take us to the land of milk and honey, boost the GDP massively, and lead to lots of extra dosh for every family in the EU. But as I’ve explained, none of this is true. Even the European Commission’s own research shows that the most ambitious outcome – that is, one that is already totally unrealistic given the resistance that TTIP is meeting – would produce a boost to Europe’s GDP of 0.5% – just 119 billion euros. However, as I and many others have pointed out, this is after ten years, and therefore represents a *cumulative* boost to GDP, which works out at around 0.05% GDP boost per year on average. Here’s someone else joining that chorus: