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Revisiting the causes & effects of Brexit – New Statesman video interview

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 24/06/2021 - 5:52pm in

Here I am conversing with New Statesman’s George Eaton, reflecting on five years since the EU referendum, Scottish independence, a UK progressive alliance, and whether the EU can stay relevant post Brexit.  Lest I be misunderstood, viz the New Statesman’s title: Given the EU’s post-2008 trajectory, & its behaviour more recently, if I were a Brit I wouldn’t want the UK to re-join. My dream is that those of us still in the EU succeed in transforming it into a Union the UK might want to join.

The post Revisiting the causes & effects of Brexit – New Statesman video interview appeared first on Yanis Varoufakis.

Debt as Power: Discussing the true nature & purpose of debt with Astra Taylor and Jayati Ghosh – LTIO & DiEM-TV

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 20/06/2021 - 4:28pm in

Debt is power. Extractive power over people and planet. Class societies ensure that the debts of the extractors are never paid while insisting that the debts of the exploited are sacrosanct. In this episode of LTIO we dissect debt and discuss how to overthrow its hold over the many.

The post Debt as Power: Discussing the true nature & purpose of debt with Astra Taylor and Jayati Ghosh – LTIO & DiEM-TV appeared first on Yanis Varoufakis.

The Truth About the U.S. Border-Industrial ComplexThe story...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 16/06/2021 - 8:30am in

The Truth About the U.S. Border-Industrial ComplexThe story you’ve heard about immigration, from politicians and the mainstream media alike, isn’t close to the full picture. Here’s the truth about how we got here and what we must do to fix it.

A desperate combination of factors are driving migrants and asylum seekers to our southern border, from Central America in particular: deep economic inequality, corruption, and high rates of povertyall worsened by COVID-19.

Many are also fleeing violence and instability, much of it tied to historic U.S. support for brutal authoritarian regimes, right-wing paramilitary groups, and corporate interests in Latin America

Some long-term consequences of this U.S. involvement have been the rise of violent transnational gangs and drug cartels, as well as the internal displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. 

And thanks to lax U.S. gun laws and export rules, a flood of firearms that regularly flows south makes this violence even worse.

In other words, the United States is very much part of the root of this problem. 

Meanwhile, climate change-fueled natural disasters like droughts and hurricanes have led to widespread food insecurity in Central America, forcing thousands to migrate or risk starvation

Some politicians want you to believe the way to address this humanitarian tragedy is to double down on border security and build walls to deter people from coming. 

They’re wrong.

Several administrations have tried this approach. It’s failed every time. A recent study found that  increased prosecutions and incarceration did not deter migration, but instead clogged courts, shifted resources from more serious cases and stripped people of due process.  

The expansion of this militarized border apparatus and the increased criminalization of crossings has forced immigrants and asylum seekers to take riskier routes where they face extortion, assault, and even death.

The true beneficiaries have been the corporations who profited from the militarization of the border

Between 2008 and 2020, the federal government doled out an astounding $55 billion in contracts to this border-industrial complex. Billions have been spent on everything from Predator drones to intrusive biometric security systems. Immigration enforcement budgets have more than doubled in the last 13 years, and since 1980, have increased by more than 6,000%.

Let’s be clear: What’s really out of control at the border is our spending on the border-industrial complex, which has done nothing but increase human suffering without dealing with the root causes of migration.

So what can we do?

Begin by acknowledging the role U.S. policies have played, and build a positive, sustained relationship with our Mexican and Central American neighbors to reduce economic inequality, uplift the marginalized, and uphold democratic ideals.

Donald Trump’s abrupt and arbitrary cancelling of crucial aid to the Northern Triangle nations of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador is the opposite of what we should be doing.

We must also ensure that aid doesn’t benefit transnational corporations and local oligarchs. Our goals must instead be aligned with the calls of local labor unions, environmental defenders, and agricultural movements to improve conditions so people are not forced to migrate in the first place.

And we should seek to reverse the militarization of borders in Central America, and instead help build a system that respects the human rights of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees.

Here at home, this means shifting away from the wasteful and violent militarization of our own borders, and ending the corporate profiteering it enables. 

We need more asylum specialists, social workers, lawyers, and doctors at the border — not soldiers and walls.

And we must never again allow the inhumane and ineffective policies that resulted in the separation and detention of families and their children. 

We must embrace the values we claim as our own, and never again allow a presidential administration to arbitrarily shrink the number of refugees accepted into the U.S. each year to almost none. 

Congress should expand legal avenues of immigration, along with a roadmap to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already here — a policy with broad public support.

It’s not enough to roll back the cruel and xenophobic policies of our past. Most of us now living in America are the descendants of refugees, asylum-seekers, and immigrants. This new generation should be treated in ways that are consistent with our most cherished ideals.

Now is the time to act.

Economic Update: The Center Cannot Hold

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 14/06/2021 - 11:51pm in



A weekly show focusing on the economic dimensions of everyday life and alternative ways to organize our economy and politics, with Prof. Richard D. Wolff.

7 Lessons We Need to Learn From Covid-19Maybe it’s wishful...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 10/06/2021 - 6:31am in

7 Lessons We Need to Learn From Covid-19

Maybe it’s wishful thinking to declare the pandemic over in the US, and presumptuous to conclude what lessons we’ve learned. So consider this a first draft.

1. Workers are always essential

We couldn’t have survived without millions of warehouse, delivery, grocery and hospital workers literally risking their lives. Yet most of these workers are paid squat. Amazon touts its $15 minimum wage but it totals only about $30,000 a year. Many essential workers don’t have health insurance or paid leave.
Lesson: Essential workers deserve far better.

2. Healthcare is a basic right

You know how you got your vaccine without paying a dime? That’s how all healthcare could be. Yet too many Americans who contracted Covid-19 got walloped with humongous hospital bills. People with chronic disease, Black Americans and low-income children were most likely to have delayed or foregone care during the pandemic.Lesson: The U.S. must join the rest of the industrialized world and provide universal health coverage.

3. Conspiracy theories can be deadly

Last June, about one in four Americans believed the pandemic was “definitely” or “probably” created intentionally. Other conspiracy theories have caused some people to avoid wearing masks or getting vaccinated, resulting in unnecessary illness or death. Lesson: An informed public is essential. Some of the responsibility falls on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms that allowed misinformation to flourish — and on the government for enabling them.

4. Wages are too low to get by on

Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck. So once the pandemic hit, many didn’t have any savings to fall back on. Conservative lawmakers complain that the extra $300 a week unemployment benefit Congress enacted in March discourages people from working. What’s really discouraging them is lack of childcare and lousy wages. Lesson: Raise the minimum wage, provide universal childcare, strengthen labor unions and push companies to share profits with their workers.

5. Remote work is now baked into the economy

The percentage of workers punching in from home hit a high of 70% in April 2020. A majority still work remotely. Some 40% want to continue working from home. Two lessons: Companies will have to adjust. And much commercial real estate will remain vacant. Why not convert it into affordable housing?

6. It’s past time for a wealth tax.

The combined wealth of America’s 657 billionaires grew by $1.3 trillion – or 44.6% – during the pandemic. Yet billionaires’ taxes are lower than ever. Wealthy Americans today pay one-sixth the rate of taxes their counterparts paid in 1953. Lesson: To afford everything the nation needs, raise taxes at the top.

7. Government can be the solution

Ronald Reagan’s famous quip – “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem” – can now officially be retired. Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” succeeded in readying vaccines faster than most experts thought possible. Biden got them into more arms more quickly than any vaccination program in history.

Furthermore, the $1.9 trillion Democrats pushed through in March will help the US achieve something it failed to achieve after the 2008-09 recession: a robust recovery. Lesson: The federal government did not just help beat the pandemic. It also did more to keep the nation afloat than in any previous recession. It must be prepared to do so again.

Economic Update: A “Living Wage”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/06/2021 - 12:46am in



A weekly show focusing on the economic dimensions of everyday life and alternative ways to organize our economy and politics, with Prof. Richard D. Wolff.

The Unchecked Power of Police UnionsPolice unions abuse...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 03/06/2021 - 6:05am in


Police, Video

The Unchecked Power of Police Unions

Police unions abuse collective bargaining to shield their members from accountability for the killings of unarmed Black people and other heinous misconduct. No progress can be made without reining in the unchecked power of police unions.

Look, I was Secretary of Labor. I’m in favor of unions. But police unionizing can have deadly consequences.

One study found that extending collective bargaining rights to Florida sheriffs’ offices led to an estimated 40 percent increase in violent police misconduct. 

Another study found that the protections built into the police union contracts in America’s 100 largest cities were significantly correlated with the killing of unarmed civilians. 

Another study suggests that the increase in police unionization from the 1950s through the 1980s resulted in “about 60 to 70” additional civilians killed by police each year — the majority of whom were people of color.

Experts believe the protections in police union contracts give too many officers the sense they can abuse their power. 

Police contracts often have provisions allowing departments to erase disciplinary records within a few years, enabling officers with histories of misconduct to clear their records. 

Others allow accused officers to access their investigative files before being questioned, letting them manipulate their story. Others set strict time limits for citizens to file complaints about officers; some prevent anonymous complaints from being investigated at all. 

All these provisions allow officers with histories of misconduct to stay on the force. 

Derek Chauvin, for instance, had at least 17 complaints lodged against him, and never faced any discipline beyond two letters of reprimand. Needless to say, other public sector employees are not afforded these extraordinary protections.

Even if an officer is fired, there’s an extensive appeals process that usually works out in their favor. 

In Philadelphia, 62 percent of officers fired from 2006 to 2017 were reinstated. In San Antonio, 70 percent were. When New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo was finally fired, five years after choking Eric Garner to death, the NYPD’s largest union responded by threatening a work slowdown.

Police unions fight cities that enact even mild reforms, like establishing civilian review boards. The result? Review boards are notoriously ineffective by design

Some police union contracts with cities forbid them even creating a review board. In the tragic case of Breonna Taylor, Louisville’s review board could not start an investigation, take complaints from citizens, or recommend discipline for the officers. All it could do was make recommendations for policy or training changes. 

It’s the same in other cities: oversight boards have no investigative power, no subpoena power, and no discipline power. 

Police unions also wield enormous political clout. A Guardian investigation found police unions spent about $87 million influencing state and local legislation over the past two decades, and at least $47.3 million on campaign contributions and lobbying at the federal level. In 2017, police unions spent $2 million to influence legislation in California alone.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Stopping the abuses of police unions must not become a stalking horse for attacking public sector unions generally. But the unchecked powers of police unions urgently need to be addressed. 

To start, lawmakers must change state labor laws to restrict the subjects police unions can bargain over

They should limit negotiations to pay and benefits, not how police do their jobs, how and when they use force, and how and when they are disciplined.

For decades, police unions have shielded officers from accountability, bullied cities into doing their bidding, and attacked lawmakers who took them on. It’s past time to ensure they can no longer block accountability under the guise of collective bargaining.

Where is Global Capitalism Going? My discussion with Ammar Ali Jan on the occasion of the 1st Anniversary of the Progressive International

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 27/05/2021 - 8:31pm in


English, Video

Honouring the one-year anniversary of the Progressive International, Council members Yanis Varoufakis and Ammar Ali Jan engage in a wide-ranging debate about the direction of global capitalism in a turbulent age of crisis, pandemic, and political unrest.
Ammar Ali Jan is a historian and member of Haqooq-e-Khalq Movement in Pakistan.
Yanis Varoufakis is Member of the Hellenic Parliament, General Secretary of MeRA25, and co-founder of DiEM25.

The post Where is Global Capitalism Going? My discussion with Ammar Ali Jan on the occasion of the 1st Anniversary of the Progressive International appeared first on Yanis Varoufakis.