Labor Law Loses Its Watchdog

Labor Law Loses Its Watchdog feature image
April 1, 2013
Employers are waking up to the fact that they are no longer required to follow the NLRB’s orders. Because of the Canning decision, Rhinehart explains, any employer can now go to a federal appeals court and be granted an indefinite delay in enforcement of any NLRB action taken in the last 14 months.
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The Methane Beneath Our Feet

The Methane Beneath Our Feet feature image
April 1, 2013
Gas Leakages beneath your feet - these leaks challenge some of the basic assumptions of current US energy policy, which has aggressively endorsed natural gas as a “clean” and climate-friendly alternative to oil and coal.
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Why We Tax: A Timely Reminder for Tax Day

 A Timely Reminder for Tax Day feature image
April 1, 2013
Media darling Rand Paul is doing his best to end progressive taxation in America. Randolph Paul, over a half-century ago, helped make progressive taxation a prime building block for America’s middle class golden age. To stop politicos like Rand, we need to remember insightful advocates like Randolph.
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Syria: A Multi-Sided Chess Match

 A Multi-Sided Chess Match feature image
April 1, 2013
In some ways the Syrian civil war resembles a proxy chess match between supporters of the Bashar al-Assad regime— Iran, Iraq, Russia and China—and its opponents— Turkey, the oil monarchies, the U.S., Britain and France. But the current conflict only resembles chess if the game is played with multiple sides, backstabbing allies, and conflicting agendas.
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Cruel and Unusual Punishment: Three Strikes

 Three Strikes  feature image
April 1, 2013
Despite the passage in late 2012 of a new state ballot initiative that prevents California from ever again giving out life sentences to anyone whose "third strike" is not a serious crime, thousands of people – the overwhelming majority of them poor and nonwhite – remain imprisoned for a variety of offenses so absurd that any list of the unluckiest offenders reads like a macabre joke, a surrealistic comedy routine.
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Undermining Economic Mobility in America

Undermining Economic Mobility in America feature image
March 31, 2013
A host of indicators show that the middle class is struggling-and worse, shrinking-and that upward mobility is elusive for many Americans. Meanwhile, evidence abounds that the U.S. political system is increasingly dominated by wealthy interests . . . What is less understood, though, is the interplay between these two problems-the way that a tilting of political life toward business and the wealthy has served to undermine economic mobility.
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Antibiotic Resistance: Livestock to Humans

 Livestock to Humans feature image
March 31, 2013
If the analysis is correct, then it represents several kinds of potential trouble. First, it reinforces the argument for animal-to-human transmission of resistant bacteria. Second, it emphasizes that such bacteria can be picked up and transmitted even by animals that are not routinely receiving antibiotics . . . And third, it raises the question of how much more resistant bacterial traffic is out there that we are not detecting.
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Food for Peace or Food for Profit?

Food for Peace or Food for Profit?  feature image
March 31, 2013
Food for Peace ends up looking a lot more like Food for Profit. The letter ends with one final truth, declaring that food aid programs are "some of our most effective, lowest-cost national security tools." By handicapping local food markets across the world, food aid keeps poor countries poor and compliant, and provides US-based companies with dependable markets for the dumping of surplus food commodities.
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Unions and Inevitability of Class Struggle

Unions and Inevitability of Class Struggle feature image
March 31, 2013
There are those who suggest that the current union movement cannot sustain itself and that out of its ashes will arise something new and better. Such views are at best wishful thinking and at worst irresponsible . . . Unions, as they are currently constituted, organized and theorized, are not up to the challenges of the 21st century. The existing union movement, however, can play a role in the building of that new labor movement for the not-so-new 21st century.
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Long-Term Health Risks Fester

Long-Term Health Risks Fester feature image
March 31, 2013
“If the cost of compliance to our rules outweighs the penalties for breaking them, companies just take a ‘catch me if you can’ approach to worker safety and health,” he said. And serious violations of the rules should not be misdemeanors, he said, but felonies, much like insider trading, tax crimes and antitrust violations. -- David Michaels, OSHA director
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Pages

Portside Culture

Suffer the Children, Forbid Them Not

J. David Cummings
portside
"a mirror/ if our eyes are strong enough," so the poet J. David Cummings evokes the death of children: at Hiroshima, on the Mediterranean today.

Terror in the French Revolution and Today

Samuel Farber
International Socialist Review
The author argues that the Terror of the French Revolution was a price worth paying, and that the lessons from overthrowing the old regime should temper today's trend of maligning oppressed people's resort to violence as itself a rationale for ongoing class injustices. The reviewer, no critic of revolutionary struggle, argues that the author overemphasizes the pursuit of vengeance then and now involved at the expense of politics and a weighing of class forces.

The Book Beneath the Noise

Jennifer Helinek
Open Letters Monthly
In these early days of the Age of Trump, there is an upsurge of interest in Margaret Atwood's 1985 harrowing dystopian novel. Jennifer Helinek reminds us why this book has become a modern classic.

The Superfood Gold Rush

JAMIE LAUREN KEILES
New York Times Magazine
The latest entrant to the superfood contest is Brazilian açaí, a purplish, antioxidant-rich stone fruit — though most call it a berry — foraged from trees in the Amazon River basin.Surprising parties become heroes and scoundrels as the coveted berry changes hands in different ways. Global consumption has further increased demand, but because of the high value of good vibes, some superfood exporters have an incentive to hew to best practices.

Portside Labor

In Grim Times, Brazil Young Workers Take Charge of Future

Tula Connell
Solidarity Center
U.S. and Brazilian union activists joined May Day celebrations in São Paulo. More than 14.2 million Brazilians were without a job in March. With young workers and workers of color especially hard hit by rising unemployment and proposed legislation that would undermine fundamental worker rights, they are standing up for the their future by mobilizing in the streets, through their unions and other associations.

Mothers Are Paid Less Than Fathers in Every State and at Every Education Level

Dayna Evans
New York Magazine
Mothers who work full-time and have a high-school degree make 67 cents for every dollar made by a dad with a high-school degree. More staggering is that mothers have to earn a bachelor’s degree or more in order for their earnings to outpace fathers with only high-school degrees. At every education level and in every state, mothers are paid less than fathers. On average, a mother makes about 71 cents to a father’s dollar.

AT&T Workers Start 3-Day Strike in Contract Impasse

Noam Scheiber
N.Y.Times
Workers are also frustrated that they are being asked to pay more of their health-insurance costs, he added, and that changes in retail workers’ commissions have limited or reduced their take-home pay. As part of its next contract, the union wants to bar AT&T from changing its commission structure unilaterally.

Reactionary Working Class?

Asbjørn Wahl
Spectrezine
That millions of workers worldwide become "losers" in the process of globalization, should not surprise anyone. Nor that many react with mistrust and blind rebellion. That part of the working class – lacking left political parties with strategies to address this crisis -- are attracted by the extreme right’s verbal anti-establishment rhetoric, is against this background understandable. To understand, however, is not the same as to accept, let alone support.

White Working-Class Voters and the Future of Progressive Politics

Michael Zweig
New Labor Forum Blog
The working class constitutes roughly 63 percent of the U.S. labor force. Crucially, it consists of both men and women and is multiracial and multiethnic.2 White people are, of course, a big part of the working class, but if we settle on “the white working class” as a class in itself, and with the force of white supremacy, even a class for itself, we lose track of the role blacks, Native Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and other non-whites play in the working class.

Friday Nite Videos

Posted by Portside on May 26, 2017

Stephen's stance on the White House's proposed slashing of the food stamp program and children's health insurance program is somehow radical in 2017.

Posted by Portside on May 26, 2017

What does it sound like when three guitar greats "take a break"? Epic, as you can experience in this outtake from the movie Hail Hail Rock n Roll. 

Posted by Portside on May 26, 2017

The former president of Mexico, Vincente Fox, explains what it means to be president and why Donald Trump is doing it wrong.

Posted by Portside on May 26, 2017

A true story of resistance to Nazism based on the diaries of Antonina Żabiński, now in theaters. A review and comment on its relevance to Israel/Palestine here.

Posted by Portside on May 26, 2017

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu powerfully explains why the Confederate statues had to go. 

Posted by Portside on May 19, 2017

The Trump-Russia probe gets a special prosecutor, and Fox News downplays a purported memo from James Comey suggesting Donald Trump may have committed obstruction of justice.

Posted by Portside on May 19, 2017

Political satirists like Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, and Seth Meyers have demonstrated why comedy can be such a powerful antidote to bullshit