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Stories about Labor and Economics.

John L. Lewis and His Critics: Some Forgotten Labor History That Still Matters Today

By: 
Staughton Lynd

Abstract The purpose of this essay is to propose a new answer to the question of "what happened to the Congress of Industrial Organizations?" Lynd argues the CIO became what its creator, United Mine Workers (UMW) president John L. Lewis, intended it to be. This approach is juxtaposed with the approach taken by A.J. Muste, who helped to lead the cotton textile strike of 1919 to victory, then founded the Brookwood Labor School—probably the most radical and effective school for workers in American history.
 

Canada in Zambia

By: 
Yves Engler

While few Canadians could find Zambia on a map, the Great White North has significant influence over the southern African nation.

A big beneficiary of internationally sponsored neoliberal reforms, a Vancouver firm is the largest foreign investor in the landlocked country of 16 million.

First Quantum Minerals (FQM) has been embroiled in various ecological, labour and tax controversies in the copper rich nation over the past decade. At the end of last year First Quantum was sued for US$1.4 billion by Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH), a state entity with minority stakes in most of the country’s mining firms. The statement of claim against First Quantum listed improper borrowing and a massive tax liability.

The Life and Death of Yugoslav Socialism

By: 
James Robertson

During the Cold War, the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia represented to many a viable alternative to the Soviet model. Grounded by workplace self-management, the Yugoslav system seemingly gave workers the right to exercise democratic control on the shop floor.

The distinct Yugoslav path to socialism found admirers around the world. In Eastern Europe, the combination of market socialism and self-management offered a model for anti-Stalinist reformers. In the capitalist West, democratic socialists hopefully viewed the experiment as a more “human” socialism. And across much of the Third World, Yugoslavia — a leading member of the Non-Aligned Movement — demonstrated the viability of a “third way” between the capitalist United States and the communist Soviet Union.

Saving Illinois: Getting More Bang for the State’s Bucks

By: 
Ellen Brown

Illinois is insolvent, unable to pay its bills. According to Moody’s, the state has $15 billion in unpaid bills and $251 billion in unfunded liabilities. Of these, $119 billion are tied to shortfalls in the state’s pension program. On July 6, 2017, for the first time in two years, the state finally passed a budget, after lawmakers overrode the governor’s veto on raising taxes. But they used massive tax hikes to do it – a 32% increase in state income taxes and 33% increase in state corporate taxes – and still Illinois’ new budget generates only $5 billion, not nearly enough to cover its $15 billion deficit.

The Epic Failure of Labor Leadership in the United States, 1980 to 2017 and Continuing

By: 
Kim Scipes

This article argues that the AFL-CIO leadership has betrayed the interests of working people in the US, and our only hope it to democratize our unions and focus on making lives of working people better instead of their supporting the US Empire.  Argues that we need to transform our unions from business unions to social justice unions.

Mass Incarceration, Prison Labor in the United States

By: 
John Stanton

The Federal Prison Industries (FPI) under the brand UNICORE operates approximately 52 factories (prisons) across the United States. Prisoners manufacture or assemble a number of products for the US military, homeland security,and federal agencies according to the UNICORE/FPI website. They produce furniture, clothing and circuit boards in addition to providing computer aided design services and call center support for private companies.

UNICORE/FPI makes its pitch for employing call center support personnel to firms thinking about off-shoring their call center functions. The logic is that, hey!, they may be prisoners, but it’s keeping the jobs in the USA that matters. Fair enough. That approach cuts out the middleman though, those Americans desperate for any kind of work but, through no fault of their own, are not behind prison bars and employable by UNICORE/FPI.

The Savings and Stability of Public Banking

By: 
Ralph Nader

As a society obsessed by money, we pay a gigantic price for not educating high school and college students about money and banking. The ways of the giant global banks – both commercial and investment operations – are as mysterious as they are damaging to the people. Big banks use the Federal Reserve to maximize their influence and profits. The federal Freedom of Information Act provides an exemption for matters that are “contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions.” This exemption allows financial institutions to wallow in secrecy. Financial institutions are so influential in Congress that Senator Durbin (D, IL) says “[The banks] frankly own this place.”

How the Democrats Lost West Virginia

By: 
Les Leopold

What a State-Owned Bank Can Do for New Jersey

By: 
Ellen Brown

Phil Murphy, the leading Democratic candidate for governor of New Jersey, has made a state-owned bank a centerpiece of his campaign. He says the New Jersey bank would “take money out of Wall Street and put it to work for New Jersey – creating jobs and growing the economy [by] using state deposits to finance local investments … and … support billions of dollars of critical investments in infrastructure, small businesses, and student loans – saving our residents money and returning all profits to the taxpayers.”

A former Wall Street banker himself, Murphy knows how banking works. But in an April 7 op-ed in The New Jersey Spotlight, former New Jersey state treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff questioned the need for a state-owned bank and raised the issue of risk. This post is in response to those arguments, including a short refresher on the stellar model of the Bank of North Dakota (BND), currently the nation’s only state-owned depository bank.

An Eco-Revolutionary Tipping Point?

By: 
Paul Burkett

The system of fossil-fueled neoliberal capitalism is indeed moving toward an end of history, but only in the sense of the end of any historical advance of humanity as a productive, political, and cultural species due to the increasingly barbaric socio-economic and environmental conditions the system creates. There is now no alternative to the end of history as we know it. The sustainable development of human society co-evolving with nature including other species now depends on a definite historical break with capitalism as the dominant mode of production.

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