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Stories about Labor and Economics.

Is Water Pollution Trading Coming to the Midwest?

By: 
John E. Peck

Pollution is a bad thing, right? Isn’t the ultimate goal of the 1972 Clean Water Act to make all water in the U.S. swimmable, fishable, and drinkable – as it once was? Well, think again… If you are a capitalist entrepreneur who believes, to paraphrase Reagan, in the “magic of the market place” then a lucrative opportunity awaits you in the emerging water pollution trading business!

The Wobblies in their Heyday

By: 
Staughton Lynd and Eric Chester

Review of The Wobblies in their Heyday: The Rise and Destruction of the Industrial Workers of the World during the World War I Era by Eric Chester (Praeger, 2014, hardbound; Levellers Press, 2016, paperback). Staughton Lynd

The Wobblies are back. Many young radicals find the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) the most congenial available platform on which to stand in trying to change the world.

This effort has been handicapped by the lack of a hard-headed history of the IWW in its initial incarnation, from 1905 to just after World War I. The existing literature, for example Franklin Rosemont’s splendid book on Joe Hill, is strong on movement culture and atmosphere. It is weak on why the organization went to pieces in the early 1920s.


 

The Evolution of Union Co-ops and the Historical Development of Workplace Democracy

By: 
James Anderson

Management at Carrier Corporation pulled Donnie Knox, president of the United Steelworkers Local 1999, and others employed by the company into a meeting on February 10th. Knox and his fellow workers were informed their jobs would be moved to Mexico.

Despite remaining profitable in Indianapolis – the company boasted more than $7 billion in profits last year and was able to award their CEO a $10 million pay package – Carrier and its parent company United Technologies abruptly decided its 1,400 workforce in the Midwest would be discarded so manufacturing could be relocated to a site where, according to union staff, the company will pay workers just $3 per hour.

Energy and Climate as Labour Issues

By: 
Nicholas Hildyard

Organised labour has long insisted that energy is more than an issue of electrons. Over two decades ago, the Congress of South African Trade Unions was explicit that addressing energy poverty is not just a matter of power plants, grids and transformers; it is also – and primarily – a matter of political change. Who controls energy production, who finances it, what the energy is used for and who decides are key to the struggle to ensure that people have the energy they need to ensure decent livelihoods.

The New South American Political Map

By: 
Raúl Zibechi

The New South American Political Map

The election results in Venezuela and Argentina, the Brazilian crisis, and the erosion of the “citizens’ revolution” in Ecuador are part of a change in political climate that puts the transformative processes underway on the defensive.

In the past weeks four progressive governments in the region show unmistakable signs of weakness. Rafael Correa will not compete for re-election, in the context of an uncertain economic outlook for his country. Dilma Rousseff may face impeachment by parliament. Nicolás Maduro suffered the first Bolivarian electoral defeat, leaving his government at the mercy of parliament, and Cristina Fernandez’s candidate was defeated by the right-wing Mauricio Macri.

Wilderness areas more often a boon, not drag

By: 
Thomas M. Power and George Wuerthner

Wildland preservation is motivated by a variety of ethical, biological, cultural, and recreational concerns. Rarely are efforts to protect wildlands motivated by an interest in promoting economic growth.

Those working on wildland preservation have been forced to take up the issue of local economic impacts because those supporting commercial development of those wild natural landscapes emphatically assert that wildland preservation damages the local and national economies by restricting access to valuable natural resources and constraining commercial economic activity that otherwise would take place.

Yet numerous economic studies suggest that protecting landscapes for their wildlands values at the very least has little negative impact on local/regional economies and in most instances is a positive net economic benefit.

How to kill the demos: the water struggle in Italy

By: 
Andrea Muehlebach

On November 28, 2015, water activists from the Southern Italian region of Campania staged a massive protest in the city of Naples. Some 5,000 water activists and environmentalists, trade unionists and workers from Naples’ water works protested a recently passed regional law that aims to centralize water management and set the stage for water privatization.

The demonstration was one in several that occurred in the last few years. Previous demonstrations had been organized against an (only nominally) public water company that manages water services in 76 Campanian municipalities and that had made water prices soar and water-shut offs proliferate. What was striking about this protest was not only the presence of Naples’ mayor Luigi de Magistris but of more than thirty mayors walking shoulder to shoulder with protesters. The latter were part of a network of mayors that had been formed in 2013 to protest privatization and to underscore their commitment to the public and participatory management of water.

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