Category: Essays & Letters

How Unions Could Do Much Better

unionmarch

By Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer The International Association of Machinists just succeeded in negotiating a humiliating defeat with Caterpillar after a 15-week strike. Workers lost considerable money by striking, and then lost even more with the new contract, accepting almost every concession the company demanded despite the fact that the company was sitting on…

What Does “Independence” Mean for Labor?

AFL-CIO

By Mark Vorpahl The unions remain the only organizations in this country built by and for workers to be a collective fighting force to defend and improve the members’ standard of living. While only a minority belong to unions, all workers’ fate depends on their strength. Unfortunately they have been taking a serious beating. How…

Progressives Must Occupy

By Shawn Fleek This article is written in response to the Cynthia Alvarez piece, “Progressives Must Move Beyond Occupy”. It has been a year since the first cries of “We are the 99%” rang out in Portland, followed by much commotion, ropes strung between trees, pepper spray, large assemblies, a kitchen full of food and…

Progressives Must Move Beyond Occupy

By Cynthia Alvarez Average citizens evaluate political organizations based on how those organizations actually function. They know a political organization is a microcosm of the society it wishes to create. So after ten months of heavy involvement in Occupy, I have this question for Occupiers: would you honestly want to live in a society that…

Tax the Rich or Privatize the State?

Photo by Sarah Mirk/Portland Mercury

By Shamus Cooke   The Great Recession and its possible continuance has brought the issue of privatization to the forefront of American politics. But most Americans aren’t even aware that this debate is happening, because the media and politicians aren’t using the word “privatization”. Instead, less threatening substitutes are used to ram through a corporate…

Workers Must Take Control

Photo by John Wood

By Mark Vorpahl Many of the social expectations and political outlooks of today’s Labor Movement, and workers in general, were formed during the post-World War II economic expansion. With a growing economy and steady job supply, many people seemed content to focus on improving their immediate community or individual union with the expectation that, if…

Howard Zinn: Life and Legacy

Photo by Hillary via Flickr

This story originally appeared over at The Boston Occupier. By Doug Enaa Greene Although Howard Zinn died over two years ago at the age of eighty-seven, his legacy lives on through popular education initiatives and struggles for social justice. Howard Zinn was a pioneer in combining the roles of academic and activist. Not only was…

Fluoridation VS. A Junk Food Tax

fluoridation

By elona trogub In this twisted world of ours, the solutions that most often move forward are those that end up creating a whole new set of problems. Dr. Robert Kehoe, the scientist who convinced the world that the use of leaded gasoline was safe (which has since been phased out of use due to…

In Which I Describe the Non-Voter

occupyelection_fleek

By Shawn Fleek Excerpted from Shawn Fleek’s “Certain About Everything, Except What To Do” The person I’m referring to would spend ten minutes describing rampant government corruption, the lack of participation, societal apathy, the cesspool of campaign finance, corporate power, and more. But they will not register to vote and participate in the official rule-making…

Inequalities, Taxes, and More Inequalities

Photo by Bruce Couch

By Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer Thanks to Occupy, most working people are well aware of the growing inequalities in wealth. But for those who lack the specifics, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich provides a useful overview: “…the rich have been getting a larger and larger portion of total income. From 9 percent in…