Tag Archives: class

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Can the Bay Area Tech Economy Embrace Equity Before It’s Too Late?

Featured photo credit: SEIU-USWW

By Chris Schildt, PolicyLink

This post originally appeared at New Economy Week 2015: From Austerity to Prosperity.

Uber recently purchased one of the largest office spaces in downtown Oakland, California, with plans to move3,000 of its workers there by 2017. For a city facing a housing crisis and rapid displacement of Black families and low-income communities, many fear this act will accelerate gentrification pressures. It has also led to some cautious optimism for an opportunity to make Oakland a leader in what Mayor Libby Schaaf has called techquity: “fostering our local technology sector’s growth so it leads to shared prosperity.”

Tech companies can play a role in advancing an equitable economy, but they will first have to confront a deeply inequitable status quo. The San Francisco Bay Area has one of the highest levels of inequality of any region in the country, and it is growing at an alarming pace. Unequal access to business and job opportunities have deepened racial economic gaps – Black and Latino workers earn a median wage that is $10 an hour less than White workers in the Bay Area, and these racial inequities exist across all education levels. The tech-driven “innovation economy” can reverse these trends. But to understand how, it’s important to examine how the innovation economy works. Continue reading Can the Bay Area Tech Economy Embrace Equity Before It’s Too Late?

Spain’s Municipal Elections and the Prospects for Radical Democracy

Photo from the 15M anniversary march in Madrid last week. (Credit: Robert Pluma)

With contributions from a New York City social movement delegation currently in Spain ahead of the country’s local elections on May 24th, which includes JSMI Part-Time Staff Member Tamara Shapiro. You can follow their trip on Twitter at @NYCtoSpain, and NYC to Spain on Facebook. This article originally appeared on Medium.com.

“Do you hear the buzz? The buzz says: let’s defend the common good.” These are the lyrics of the campaign song of Barcelona en Comú — one of the new “confluence” platforms of “popular unity” running in the May 24th municipal elections in Spain, sung (with the help of autotune) to the rhythm of a popular Catalán rumba by its candidate, Ada Colau. According to the polls, Colau is poised to win the mayoral election in Barcelona this Sunday. These electoral insurgencies across Spain are reimagining the promise of radical democracy, one that draws from social movements to define a new participatory style of “governance by listening.” Four years ago, the May 15 movement appeared precisely during the campaign for municipal and regional elections. Despite its undeniable questioning of electoral politics and representation, previous election cycles were too soon to measure the movement’s impact. Then, the characterization of the movement by many politicians and mainstream media oscillated between patronizing and condescending overtones: “If these kids want to achieve anything, they should organize a party, and run for elections.” Continue reading Spain’s Municipal Elections and the Prospects for Radical Democracy