Category Archives: New Labor Forum

New Labor Forum

New Labor Forum is a national labor journal from the Murphy Institute and the City University of New York. Published three times a year, New Labor Forum provides a place for labor and its allies to test and debate new ideas. Issues we explore include (but are not limited to): the global economy’s impact on work and labor; new union organizing and political strategies; labor’s new constituencies and their relationship to organized labor’s traditional institutions; internal union reform and new structural models for the labor movement; alternative economic and social policies; and the role of culture in a new, revitalized labor movement. Read the latest issue or subscribe to New Labor Forum.

Video: The Making of a Foreign Policy

As the 2020 presidential election approaches, what do progressives hope to see from candidates when it comes to foreign policy? On Friday, May 10th, members of the SLU community and beyond gathered to explore the tricky of how to develop a foreign policy that makes sense for the current world and keeps true to progressive values.

The conversation brought together Katrina vanden Heuvel, Publisher of The Nation, and Aziz Rana, Professor of Law at Cornell University, with the New Labor Forum’s Steve Fraser moderating.

Progressive activists and political leaders in the U.S. have been slow to elaborate a vision regarding foreign policy. Although anti-interventionism and support for decreases in military spending are widely shared stances on the left, they do not comprise a comprehensive foreign policy platform.

What accounts for the lack of attention toward developing a progressive foreign policy platform? What principles and policies would make up such a platform? What would a non-imperial vision of the U.S. in the world look like? What current alliances would such a platform call into question? What are the current possibilities and the substantial obstacles to advancing a contemporary progressive vision for foreign policy? What can we expect from the growing progressive wing of Congressional Democrats?

New Labor Forum Highlights: May 13th, 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.

This installment of New Labor Forum Highlights brings a sneak peek at the May 2019 issue just before it rolls off press. In the cover article, linked here, Nick Serpe assess whether millennials, indeed, constitute a political category. Not since the 1960s has a cohort of young people felt so drawn to a radical critique of American society. Back then it was a college age population growing up in a period of post-war prosperity. Today, it’s a somewhat older cohort in their mid-twenties to thirties, coming of age in far more austere circumstances. In both cases, however, a sizeable fraction of American youth did and are now again concluding that something is profoundly wrong in the “homeland.” Demographics don’t lie. But what we make of them is not so straight-forward. Generational analysis is a tricky business that Serpe explores to unravel the enigma.

Also linked here, you’ll find a poem from the May issue by Javier Zamora, who left El Salvador as an “unaccompanied minor,” wholly dependent on the aid of an MS13 member to cross the U.S./Mexico border. Zamora survived the dangerous passage and the tenuous existence of an undocumented child in the U.S., and has gone on to become an award-winning poet.

We hope you’ll decide to support New Labor Forum by subscribing to the print and/or online journal, and thereby gain full access to articles, columns, reviews, and poetry essential grappling with the contemporary “labor question” writ large.

Table of Contents
  1. Beyond Generational Politics: Do Millennials Constitute a Political Category?/ Nick Serpe, New Labor Forum
  2. “Second Attempt Crossing”/ Javier Zamora, New Labor Forum

Photo by Fibonacci Blue via flickr (cc-by)

New Labor Forum Highlights: April 29th, 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.

According to a recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of U.S. workers involved in work stoppages in 2018 was at a three-decade high. Not since 1986 had as many workers taken up the most potent tool in labor’s arsenal: the strike weapon. The recent, victorious strike by Stop & Shop workers in New England – achieving wage increases and halting the company’s roll back of health benefits − continues this trend, indicative of heightened solidarity and militancy among workers. This labor fight back may be part of the burgeoning national resistance of all kinds to political and economic elites. It’s likely to have taken some inspiration from the heroic red state teachers’ strikes last year. It may also be an outgrowth of a low unemployment rate emboldening workers to demand more from employers. Whatever the cause, labor seems increasingly prepared to dust off the nearly defunct strike weapon, which New Labor Forum author, Joe Burns, has argued is a sine qua non for rebuilding worker power.

Table of Contents

  1. STRIKE! Why Mothballing Labor’s Key Weapon is Wrong/ Joe Burns, New Labor Forum
  2. Another Big Victory for Labor/ Lauren Kaori Gurley, The New Republic
  3. Major Work Stoppages in 2018/Bureau of Labor Statistics

Photo by Revise_D via flickr (cc-by-sa)

New Labor Forum: April 15th, 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. 

The gaping income and wealth inequality, increasing constrictions on democratic rights, and perilous ecological unsustainability that are the features of the contemporary U.S. political economy have given rise to a host of theoretical and practical efforts to imagine another way. These efforts were the focus of an important national conference “Our Economy! Economic Democracy and System Change” held on April 12th at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, publisher of New Labor Forum. How can we transform our economy into a more just and ecologically sustainable system? What current practices and historic precedents offer lessons toward the creation of a participatory democracy? This newsletter provides a video clip of a rousing speech by conference keynote, J. Phillip Thompson, NYC Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. In his remarks, Thompson discusses the legacy of organized labor’s tragic failure to build a multi-racial working-class movement for economic democracy. On this theme, we also include a New Labor Forumarticle by Brandon Terry and Jason Lee, who examine current tendencies among the leadership of black social justice organizations and unions that hinder the possibility for this sort of broader movement. We end with a poem by Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Gregory Pardlo, who writes with poignant grace of his childhood as the son of an African American union leader in the cataclysmic PATCO strike of 1981.

Table of Contents

  1. The Origins and Relevance of the Struggle for Economic Democracy in the U.S./ J. Phillip Thompson, CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies
  2. Rethinking the Problem of Alliance: Organized Labor and Black Political Life/ Brandon M. Terry and Jason Lee, New Labor Forum
  3. Winter After the Strike/ Gregory Pardlo, Digest

Photo by Neil Hinchley via flickr (cc-nc-nd)

New Labor Forum: April 1st, 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.

The early successes of the #MeToo movement caught many commentators by surprise. However, despite its notable achievements – including dramatic increases in awareness regarding sexual harassment, as well as the conviction of a long list of high profile offenders – the institutional changes required to prevent sexual harassment and assault are still a long way off. A recent national online survey highlights this fact, finding that 81 percent of women have experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime. This figure is higher than previously cited data because it includes the plethora of verbal forms of sexual harassment, as well as physical harassment, cyber harassment and sexual assault. The survey also indicates that girls and young women experience alarmingly high rates of harassment, with the highest incidence occurring between the ages of 14 and 17.
Establishing and enshrining changes in the workplace, where sexual harassment so often occurs, should be a first order priority for organized labor. Yet, as Ana Avendaño writes in her article for New labor Forum , “with some notable exceptions, the labor movement has been a bystander, or even complicit, especially in male-dominated industries where harassment is most pervasive.” Avendaño examines labor’s troubled legacy, including some unions’ efforts to weaken the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and steer claims of racial and gender discrimination away from the courts. She also describes the effective work by a handful of unions to make their industries more equitable and safe for women workers, and suggests how this work provides a model for organized labor to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace and in its own union halls.
The #MeToo movement has also forced unions and other social justice organizations to reckon with their own internal cultures that enable, and sometimes breed, racial and gender discrimination. A recent case in point is the Southern Poverty Law Center, long admired by progressives for its work in tracking and prosecuting hate groups. We include here a New York Times article that discusses the accusations of racial discrimination and sexual harassment in that organization that have now forced the departure of its top leadership. What next? Reversing decades of weakening labor law and shoring up the fragile prosecutorial footing provided by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act seem like two necessary, albeit uphill, battles that must be waged to stop ubiquitous workplace sexual harassment.
Table of Contents
  1. #MeToo Inside the Labor Movement/Ana Avendaño, New Labor Forum
  2. A New Survey Finds 81 Percent of Women Have Experienced Sexual Harassment/ Rhitu Chatterjee, NPR
  3. Roiled by Staff Uproar, Civil Rights Group Looks at Intolerance Within/ Audra D.S. Burch, Alan Blinder and John Eligon, New York Times
  4. The Rape of Recy Taylor Film Screening/ Co-sponsored by the Women’s Organizing Network

Photo by GGAADD via flickr (cc-by-sa)

New Labor Forum Highlights: March 18th, 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.

With today’s newsletter, we offer an article written for us by Bob Dreyfuss, editor ofTheDreyfussReport.com and frequent writer for Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, The American Prospect , and The New Republic . In his piece for New Labor Forum , Dreyfuss notes that Sanders and Warren, alone among the 14 candidates who have currently entered the 2020 Democratic field, have begun to elaborate foreign policy positions. Their unabashedly left positions, Dreyfuss argues, are without parallel since the 1972 candidacy of George McGovern. As centrist candidates and the U.S. military lobby apparatus gear up, Democratic foreign policy discussions are certain to shift to the right. And as that happens, Dreyfuss suggests we keep an eye out for a bold, new actor on the scene: Common Defense, an organization unwilling to cede any anti-war ground to the erratic gyrations of Donald Trump.

As the left continues its efforts to elaborate a foreign policy in the 2020 race, Ted Fertik, writing for N+1, urges a more accurate understanding of what he views as the widely mischaracterized Marshall Plan. Rather than an act of global generosity, he argues, its intent was to shore up U.S. capitalism and bourgeois political systems in Western Europe, and its distinct result was to feed the Cold War. “Marshall Plan-thinking”, Fertik argues, has held powerful sway in U.S. politics through the periods of the Vietnam War, wars in Central America, and the war in Iraq. It is this thinking to which the left must offer an alternative in a world made more complex by the rise of China as a global economic and military power.

Table of Contents

  1. The Left Gets a Foreign Policy, Sort of/Bob Dreyfuss, New Labor Forum
  2. Geopolitics for the Left/ Ted Fertik, N+1 Magazine
The Left Gets a Foreign Policy, Sort of.
By Bob Dreyfuss/ New Labor Forum
With the number of Democrats who’ve opted to challenge Donald Trump’s reelection in 2020 now well into double digits and growing, it’s notable that so far only two, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have put down markers on foreign policy. Both, hailing from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, have outlined in some detail the principles that, they say, would guide their approach to foreign affairs as president. Both outlines, of course, should be considered works-in-progress. Neither Sanders nor Warren have much of a track record when it comes to national security, and in 2016 the Sanders..

 

Geopolitics for the Left
By Ted Fertik/ N+1 Magazine
Not since the early years of the Iraq War has foreign policy dominated American headlines as it does in the age of Trump. The United States in the ’90s enjoyed the narcissism of the “New World Order,” and journalistic glances abroad mainly flattered this self-conception. After Bush, Obama campaigned as an antiwar candidate, only to get the country embroiled in at least five additional conflicts, all more or less waged sotto voce, so as to minimize the tarnish imperial police…

Photo by ricardo via flickr (cc-by)