Venezuela has become a popular argument against socialism amongst conservatives because of the deep economic crisis it is currently traversing. Defenders of the Bolivarian project, though, say that US sanctions and economic war are to blame for the crisis. Greg Wilpert presents an analysis that tries to take all the factors into account
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Labor / Economics
Stories about Labor and Economics.
Economists pride themselves on being the serious social science, the one most deserving of status as an actual science. I will let others make the comparative assessment, but there is an awful lot of nonsense that passes as serious analysis within economics.
Dozens of Coca-Cola workers are camping out at a major bottling plant until they get a raise. More than 8,000 Walmart employees were prepared to walk off the job, until management met some of their demands.And 30,000 striking factory workers have finally returned to work after a month-long strike.
Workers are organizing at unprecedented rates along the border — in Mexico.
The streets of Matamoros’s Ciudad Industrial were alive with activity. The northeastern border city sits on the banks of the Rio Grande, directly across from Brownsville, Texas. Outside the gates of dozens of maquiladora factories arranged in grid-like fashion in this industrial zone, workers crowded in front of white banners with the numbers “20/32” scrawled in black marker, representing the strikers’ demands for a 20% pay hike and an annual $32,000 peso (about $1,578 USD) bonus. Their bodies blocked would-be strikebreakers from entering the factory. Nearby, workers took shelter from the cold, huddling over wood fires beneath tarps rigged to form temporary encampments. Many leaders I spoke with when I visited on February 14 said they hadn’t been home since the work stoppage began a week earlier. Often, they’d slept in their cars.
The US Neocon-led strategy is increasingly clear: establish a ‘beach-head’ on the Colombian-Venezuelan (and Venezuelan-Brazilian) border under the guise of providing humanitarian aid. Use the aid to get Venezuelans on the border to welcome the US proxy forces to cross over. Set up political and military structures thereafter just inside the Venezuelan borders with Colombia and Brazil, from which to launch further similar efforts deeper into Venezuela. Repeat this province by province, step by step, penetrating Venezuela space until enough local units of the Venezuelan military change sides and convince one or more of the Venezuelan military hierarchy to join them.
At 10 am, February 6, 1919, Seattle’s workers struck, all of them. In doing so they literally took control of the city. The strike was in support of shipyard workers, some 35,000, then in conflict with the city’s shipyards owners and the federal government’s US Shipping Board, the latter still enforcing wartime wage agreements.
Seattle’s Central Labor Council (CLC), representing 110 unions, all affiliated with the American Federation of Labor (AFL), called the strike. The CLC’s Union Record reported 65,000 union members on strike. Perhaps as many as 100,000 working people participated; the strikers were joined by unorganized workers, unemployed workers and family members. Silence settled on the city’s streets and waterfront, “nothing moved but the tide.”
Casual dockworkers in the Port of Valparaíso, one of the largest ports in Chile, in December ended a 36-day strike.
The majority of Chile’s fruit exports pass through this port. The strike came at the beginning of summer in the southern hemisphere—the height of the season for fruit, one of the biggest export industries in the country.
The Green New Deal narrative risks reproducing the hegemonic ideology of capitalist growth, which has created the problem of climate change in the first place.
The ITUC wants to believe that a “democratic governance” integrating the “just transition” would open up “new opportunities,” that it would create massively “green jobs,” good and “decent.” This is wishful thinking. Capital invested in the “energy transition” in no way derogates from the ruthless capitalist offensive against wages, working conditions and trade unions. Germany is at the forefront of both renewable energy and expanding an underclass of poor workers. In many countries, governments use ecology to dismantle union strongholds in traditional sectors.
Developing a genuine trade union alternative to the class collaboration policy of the ITUC leadership is of strategic importance. The working class occupies a decisive position in industry and services. Without its active participation, an anti-productivist transformation of the economy will remain impossible. But how to win workers to the struggle for the defence of the environment? That is the question. The answer is difficult. All the more difficult because the balance of power is deteriorating and the poison of division is spreading in the working class.
There is an old saying that the economy is too simple for economists to understand. There is plenty of evidence of this all around. After all, almost no economists could see the $8 trillion housing bubble, the collapse of which gave us the great recession. Back in the stock bubble days of the late 1990s, leading economists in both political parties wanted to put Social Security money in the stock market based on assumptions of returns which were at the least incredibly implausible, if not altogether impossible.