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New Labor Forum Highlights: October 7th, 2019

The New Labor Forum has a bi-weekly newsletter on current topics in labor, curated by the some of the most insightful scholars and activists in the labor world today. Check out some highlights from the latest edition below.

Over a half-century ago, in a farewell address to the nation, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned citizens to “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence . . . by the military-industrial complex.” Eisenhower’s admonition of “the disastrous rise of misplaced power” implicit in the burgeoning Cold War arms build-up would soon come to seem radical. And for decades hence, the words “military-industrial complex,” were seldom uttered by office holders or candidates in either the Republican or Democratic Party.

But the tides have begun to turn. With the 2020 election season underway, the progressive wing of the Democratic Party shows signs of resuscitating Eisenhower’s indictment. Some Democratic candidates for president have condemned the exorbitant U.S. military budget that now equals a third of all worldwide military spending. Others have challenged the imperial presumptions of American hegemony. Will they go on to reassess the goals of NATO, or the need for American nuclear superiority, to develop a more fully elaborated progressive foreign policy? To do so, they’ll need to challenge the corporate-sponsored lobbying and think tank complex that has long dominated the intellectual and legislative foreign policy landscape. In the fall 2019 issue of New Labor Forum , Robert Dreyfuss takes account of obstacles like these that stand in the way of a progressive foreign policy and he assesses the early efforts of some of the Democratic candidates to overcome these obstacles.

Also included in this installment of the newsletter — which resumes after a summer break and will now appear on the first Monday of every month — is a video clip from a forum organized by the journal. Talks by Katrina vanden Heuvel , Publisher of The Nation; and Aziz Rana , Professor of Law, Cornell Law School very usefully probed “ The Makings of a Progressive Foreign Policy. ” We also offer a recent article that you will not want to miss from  The Nation  by William Hartung and Mandy Smithberger . Examining the long-standing, firmly entrenched corruption within the military-industrial complex, Hartung and Smithberger describe the obstacles to real reform aimed at putting the interests of taxpayers before those of defense contractors.

Table of Contents
  1. Democrats and Foreign Policy: What Will It Take to Overthrow the Foreign Policy Establishment / Bob Dreyfuss, New Labor Forum
  2. The Makings of a “Progressive Foreign Policy” / Aziz Rana and Katrina vanden Heuvel
  3. Pentagon Officials Are Promising to Spend Money More Efficiently. They’re Lying / William D. Hartung and Mandy Smithberger, The Nation

Photo by Andres Feliciano via flickr (cc-by-nc-nd)

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