Tag Archives: green new deal

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Stephanie Luce: The Coronavirus Crisis Exposes How Fragile Capitalism Already Was

With various states moving to “re-open” the economy and bring things “back to normal,” it benefits us to look at what we might return to — and how the conditions we’ve come to accept as “normal” played such a significant role in getting us to the current crisis.

In Labor Notes last month, SLU professor Stephanie Luce outlined how we define the economy — and how the illusion of a strong economy has helped produce our current dysfunction:

Capitalism is ideologically based on the principles of individualism and competition, but it becomes completely clear in a pandemic that what’s needed is solidarity: collective solutions that help everyone.

For example, if we assume profit should guide health care decisions, millions of people won’t be able to afford treatment, or even testing, and the virus will just continue to spread. The market solution would let rich people buy ventilators for themselves, just in case, while hospitals need them. So far, the U.S. has made no promises that a vaccine will be free or affordable. Continue reading Stephanie Luce: The Coronavirus Crisis Exposes How Fragile Capitalism Already Was

New Labor Forum Highlights for May 2020

As the impact of the coronavirus continues to sweep across the country, the long-term failures of capitalism are in stark view. Yet socialism—as both a critique of capitalism and an alternative political and economic system—has until recently remained outside the narrow limits of U.S. electoral politics. Well before the anti-communist fervor of the Cold War, socialist Eugene Victor Debs ran five times for president of the United States, never receiving more than six percent of the vote. Still, this constituted an all-time high for a socialist party candidate. For a hundred years afterward, socialism remained virtually dormant in American politics.

Then the tide began to turn in September 2011. In the wake of the global financial meltdown, Occupy Wall Street protesters massed in Zuccotti Park, and subsequently in other public spaces around the nation and the world, raising a banner for the 99 percent. And then the 2016 Sanders campaign, spurred by the broadening base of anti-corporate sentiment, especially among the young, brought this critique into the realm of American electoral politics. In comparison to the outcome of the Debs candidacy in 1912, the tens of millions who voted for Bernie in the current round of Democratic primaries, show that socialism, or Democratic Socialism, has achieved a measure of influence and reached a number of adherents previously unthinkable. According to a recent Gallup poll, 43 percent of Americans now view “socialism as a good thing for the country”; and fully 61 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 hold a positive view of socialism, with capitalism trailing at 58 percent.

Continue reading New Labor Forum Highlights for May 2020

Stephanie Luce: Essential Work

This article was original featured at Organizing Upgrade.

By Stephanie Luce

IS SEEKING OUT in Prospect Park Brooklyn. So in a few days it’s my birthday and I’m mega depressed enough as it is already spending isolation alone. Now I’ll have to spend my bday alone too. Can anyone help me get stuff to make Mac and cheese and a small cake for myself. I’m just trying to do anything from going into full blown depression mode. – Anna

In the midst of the COVID-19 quarantine, Anna* wrote to a neighborhood facebook page, asking for help. Within hours, dozens of people had responded offering to buy groceries, donate cash to pay for a birthday dinner, bake a cake, host an online birthday party, take a socially-distant walk in the park, or just to talk.

This wasn’t unusual. During this pandemic lots of people need help and have turned to neighbors (usually strangers). Even more people have stepped up to offer assistance.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise. Many writers have told stories of how people step in quickly to assist in times of disaster. Rebecca Solnit observed this in the 1989 earthquake in San Francisco and in post-Katrina New Orleans in 2005; she learned of similar responses in earlier disasters like the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. After Hurricane Sandy hit New York City in 2012, activists from Occupy Wall Street quickly mobilized into “Occupy Sandy” to get food and medical care to residents in hard-hit neighborhoods. Continue reading Stephanie Luce: Essential Work

Event: The Green New Deal, Net-Zero Carbon, & The Crucial Role of Public Ownership (9/28)

Date: Sat, September 28, 2019
Time: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM EDT
Location: CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, 25 West 43rd Street, 18th Floor, NYC

REGISTER HERE

Description

This conference has two main goals. The first goal is to show how both public ownership and a public goods approach is critical to achieving “zero carbon” and the other core objectives of the Green New Deal. The second goal is to make visible key struggles around ownership and control—including anti-privatization fights—that are taking place around the world , and how these struggles are leading to a “new internationalism” that puts both class and climate at the center of progressive politics.

Context: Climate Policy Failures and the Need for Radical Alternatives

Calls for a Green New Deal in the US have resonated around the world. Driven by concerns about climate crisis, the GND has also become a rallying cry for those who seek radical and urgent action to combat rising levels of inequality, racial injustice, as well as the rise of corporate power.

The GND has also endorsed the “net-zero carbon” target articulated in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, and governments at national, state and municipal levels (including New York State and New York City) have adopted similarly ambitious climate goals.

But according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), effective action on climate change “would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” within a dozen years or less. Establishing targets, while important, are clearly not enough. Meanwhile, neoliberal policies aimed at “mobilizing private investment” in order to promote “green growth” have shown themselves to be completely incapable of even slowing the rise of emissions. These same policies have increased inequality, injustice, and precariousness all over the world.

The need for a radical change in policy is today indisputable. This realization has sparked a growing movement of unions and other allies that see the need to extend public ownership and democratic control over key economic sectors—such as energy, finance, and transportation—in order to ensure that the world has a fighting chance of addressing the climate emergency in ways that advance social and economic justice and equality.

Participants and Partners

We will be joined by unions and policy allies from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Korea, Mexico, Philippines, South Africa, Uruguay, and the UK.

The meeting is being organized in partnership with: National Nurses United (NNU); New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA); United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE); Canadian Union of Public Employees; National Union of Public and General Employees (Canada);Transnational Institute; The Democracy Collaborative; Science for the People; DSA’s Ecosocialist Working Group; #NationalizeGrid; Our Public Power (New York)New York Communities for Change.

Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. The program will start at 9:00 a.m. and end by 5:00 p.m. Full program and speakers to be announced.

New Labor Forum Highlights: Feburary 19th, 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.
An increasing number of Americans now see climate change as an imminent threat caused by humans. Sixty-four percent of voters also believe the U.S. should do more to respond to the crisis. Enter Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of 14th district of New York, the burgeoning Sunrise Movement, and the Congressional Resolution on the Green New Deal, released February 7th. In this installment of the New Labor Forum newsletter we make available to our readers an analysis of the Resolution by Sean Sweeney, NLF columnist and Director of Trade Unions for Energy Democracy. Sweeney examines what have widely been characterized as the Resolution’s far-fetched proposals, and argues that “the magnitude of the climate crisis makes the half-measures and failed ‘market mechanisms’ of the mainstream in fact more unrealistic than the bold plans put forward by the Green New Deal.” We also include a link to the resolution itself, as well as two pertinent articles, one describing successful organizing by the residents of a majority-black community in Detroit to achieve public ownership and community control of utilities, and another article highlighting legislation in Maine to create a consumer-owned utility, with the support of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union. All of this is intended to spur discussion and inform action on the most urgent challenge of this era.

 

Table of Contents

  1. The Green New Deal’s Magical Realism/ Sean Sweeney, New Labor Forum
  2. Resolution on the Green New Deal/ Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, House of Representatives
  3. The Green New Deal Must Put Utilities Under Public Control/ Jackson Koeppel, Johanna Bozuwa and Liz Veazey, In These Times
  4. Consumer-Owned Electric Utility Proposed for Maine; Union Contracts to be Protected/ IBEW Local 1837

Photo credit: Dimitri Rodriguez via flickr (cc-by)