Most people living in the United States know little about the International Workers’ Day of May Day. For many others there is an assumption that it is a holiday celebrated in state communist countries like Cuba or the former Soviet Union. Most Americans don’t realize that May Day has its origins here in this country and is as “American” as baseball and apple pie, and stemmed from the pre-Christian holiday of Beltane, a celebration of rebirth and fertility.
In this episode of their program Geopolitical Economy Hour, economists Radhika Desai and Michael Hudson discuss Russia’s economic transition away from the neoliberal West and integration with what it calls the “World Majority” in the Global South.
“We have to come to terms with the fact that these transnational corporations globally and the empire for which the U.S is the capital of corporate Empire—they’re literally going to destroy the planet if we do not stop, interrupt, and transition. And to be clear, the window to do that is literally closing before our very eyes.” — David Cobb
For three days, 30,000 education workers struck the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second-largest in the nation. Bus drivers, special education assistants, custodians, food service workers, and gardeners stayed off the job, joined in solidarity by the 35,000 members of the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA). By Friday, March 24, the workers’ union, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 99, had attained a tentative agreement with the district, securing 30 percent wage or more increases for the lowest paid workers.
American workers are stuck in a prison, a prison that they’re kept in through the perpetual threat of homelessness. This isn’t truly a rhetorical point, it’s an empirically proven reality. Nearly two-thirds of the country’s workers are now living paycheck to paycheck, meaning this last year’s inflation has made them easier to coerce. That’s the directly stated goal of the capitalist ruling class at this stage. A Bank of America memo from last year said decreased worker living standards will represent greater leverage for employers. The consequences of this are the destruction of these people’s mental and physical wellbeing. They’re being strained, abused, and exploited while having to choose between this and living on the streets.
Western capitalism and its supposed democracy are in terminal crisis as increasing numbers of people reject the system’s abysmal economic failure: record levels of poverty, inequality and relentless militarism and warmongering.
After over a decade on Seattle City Council, socialist Kshama Sawant is launching a national coalition called Workers Strike Back to fight for wages, universal healthcare, LGBTQ rights, a clean energy transition, and more.
Ralph welcomes William Kleinknecht, author of States of Neglect: How Red-State Leaders Have Failed Their Citizens and Undermined America about how red state governors and legislatures fight culture wars while starving education and health care, empowering polluters, engaging in voter suppression, and neglecting their citizens’ well-being in the interest of cutting taxes for their wealthy donors.
The Communist Manifesto was a short but world-changing text that, despite being written in 1848, is a vital read for anyone who wants a better and more equal society. Brian Becker discusses the importance of the book, the historical context, and what it brought to the world.
When we conceptualize the power that maintains capitalism, violence and ideology readily come to mind. Despite the vast inequality, grotesque exploitation, contempt for life and the environment, chronic instability and the rebellions that repeatedly arise and sometimes take power, capitalism seems firmer in the saddle than ever, spreading its suffocating tentacles to virtually every place on Earth.