Cartoon: Pros and cons of the new Supreme Court

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 17/07/2018 - 9:50pm in

As usual, the news cycle has shifted under my feet as I work on a cartoon. This time, it's Trump's nausea-inducing summit with Putin bumping the nausea-inducing radicalization of the Supreme Court out of the headlines. But thinking in terms of evaporating news cycles is part of our problem, so I'm not going to worry about it.

While I applaud the efforts to block Kavanaugh from joining the Court, I can't help but feel that particular pooch was screwed a long time ago. To mix metaphors horribly: the ship of judicial extremism has sailed, the horse of market fundamentalism has left the barn. There isn't even a barn anymore -- it's now a big box store. I keep thinking of this dude I met when I was in Wisconsin in September of 2016. He was determined to vote for Jill Stein to "send a message." I pleaded with him for half an hour, citing the Supreme Court over and over, but in the end he seemed unconvinced.

If you want to feel alarmed, read this diary about Kavanaugh and the environment and this column about the Court's evisceration of voting rights.

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Follow me on Twitter at @JenSorensen

Albanese shows he’s not to the left of Shorten

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 15/07/2018 - 4:15pm in



Labor left MP Anthony Albanese has used a major speech to position himself as alternative Labor leader and in the process of doing so, made a point of criticising Bill Shorten from the right.

The speech came in the context of Shorten’s effort to tap into community anger at Turnbull’s proposed tax cuts for big business and the rich, which has led the Murdoch media to accuse Shorten of “waging class warfare”. In this context Albanese’s claim that, “our job is not to sow discord, it is to bring people together in the service of the national interest” distanced him from Shorten’s approach.

To draw a contrast to Shorten’s populist pitch, Albanese held up the reformist approach of the Hawke and Keating governments, which, he claims showed that, “Successful Labor Governments collaborate with unions, the business sector and civil society to achieve positive outcomes in the national interest”. But Hawke and Keating were responsible for restricting the right to strike, holding down wages, jacking up university fees and privatising government services as part of massive neo-liberal economic “reform”. These economic reforms, sold as being in the national interest, ended up benefiting capitalists at the sole expense of the working class.

Albanese stood as the Labor Left’s candidate against the Right’s Bill Shorten in the leadership contest to lead the Labor Party in 2014. His speech indicates how small the ideological differences are between him and Shorten. Other leading left MPs like Tanya Plibersek, Mark Butler, Penny Wong and Jenny Macklin have also shown themselves to be prepared to jettison a principled stand in the interests of taking up positions on Labor’s front bench. As back benchers, Albanese and Plibersek were willing to speak at refugee rallies but have since made a determined effort to defend the Labor leadership’s position.

The Turnbull government has to go. A Labor win at the next election would bring some changes over workplace laws, such overturning cuts to penalty rates, and tax increases on the rich, such as taxing family trusts.

But this won’t be enough to deliver the change we need. Over refugees, union rights and many other issues we will need to keep up the fight under a Labor government.

Whoever ends up as Labor leader, it is by generating pressure from below that we can force serious change.

By Steven Kwon

The post Albanese shows he’s not to the left of Shorten appeared first on Solidarity Online.

Belabored Podcast #155: The Future of Collective Action

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 14/07/2018 - 7:29am in


Blog, Labor

Organizers representing teachers, housekeepers, graduate students, and airline workers discuss union power in the wake of the Janus decision.

A Call Center Coup: Ex-Teamster Boots Riley Tackles Telemarketing And its Discontents

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 11/07/2018 - 1:06pm in



When I was a union rep, one of my most challenging assignments was assisting a Communications Workers of America (CWA) bargaining unit at a Boston-area telemarketing firm. Most CWA members in New England had call center jobs at the phone company, with good pensions, health insurance, and full-time salaries. As service reps, they fielded in-coming calls from customers with problems, questions, or new orders to place. In contrast, the telemarketing staff only interacted with the public, on behalf of various clients, via out-bound calling. Like the workers depicted in Boots Riley’s hilarious new film, Sorry to Bother You, they made cold calls to people who did not want to bothered, at dinner time or anytime, with a pitch for a new product, service, or donation to a political cause.

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Walkouts teach U.S. labor a new grammar for struggle

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 10/07/2018 - 9:06am in

This article will appear in the Summer 2018 issue of New Politics.         



front page

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Fresh audio product

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 06/07/2018 - 4:50am in

Just posted to my radio archive (click on date for link):

July 5, 2018 Chris Maisano, author of this article, on the effect of the Supreme Court’s Janus decision on public employee unions • Forrest Hylton, co-author of this article, on Colombian politics after the June presidential election

Belabored Podcast #154: After Janus, with Charlotte Garden

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 30/06/2018 - 8:37am in

The day labor has been dreading is here: the Janus v AFSCME case was decided by the Supreme Court, and the public sector is now “right-to-work.” But what does this actually mean for workers?

Barnaby Joyce To Hand Out Condoms At Parliament’s Mid-Winter Ball

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 29/06/2018 - 8:05am in


Politics, Labor

Former deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has announced that he will be attending this year’s Mid-Winter Ball to hand out condoms to all attendees.

“Normally what happens at the Mid-Winter ball stays at the Mid-Winter ball but as we saw in my case things tend to pop out after 9 months or so,” said the former Leader of the Nationals. “So this year I’ll be handing out the frangers and advising my colleagues to suit up.”

“Unless of course they are after a $150K pay day in which case, stick to bareback.”

Not everyone was as enthusiastic as Mr Joyce to attend the Mid-Winter ball with North Queensland MP Bob Katter saying of the ball: “How can we get all dressed up to dance when every three months someone in North Queensland is ripped apart by a crocodile.”

“Bloody condoms let’s make croc skin condoms. Ribbed for my pleasure.”

Mark Williamson

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#FreeRider and #Freeloader obscure labor’s challenges post-Janus

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 29/06/2018 - 3:27am in

ImageThe Supreme Court’s long-anticipated – and feared by progressives – decision outlawing the collection of fees in public employee unions equivalent to costs of collective bargaining was met with indignant or defiant words, rightly decrying this attack on organized labor. The response, though, has mirrored what has been missing in labor’s understanding of how we got to this point and what we need to climb out – and win.



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On the Mass Protests in Iran, Revolutionary Socialism, and International Solidarity

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 19/06/2018 - 11:48am in



Below is the text of Frieda Afary’s presentation to a group of international labor activists on June 10, 2018.

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