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A New Deal to Save Europe

Yanis Varoufakis Project Syndicate
Until recently, any proposal to "save" Europe was regarded sympathetically, albeit with skepticism about its feasibility. Today, the skepticism is about whether Europe is worth saving. The European idea is being driven into retreat by the combined force of a denial, an insurgency, and a fallacy. progressives need to ask a straightforward question: Why is the European idea dying? The answers are clear: involuntary unemployment and involuntary intra-EU migration.

books

There's No Going Back

Sam Rosenfeld Democracy Journal, Spring 2016
The initiatives of the New Deal and FDR's Second Bill of Rights represented less a permanent triumph of the welfare state or a model for a progressive way forward than a unique combination of non replicable circumstances, including a temporary cessation of enduring tensions involving race, immigration, culture, class, and individualism, which served to sustain a pale social democratic reform for just a few decades. What followed instead was today's new Gilded Age.

books

Beware the Blue State Model: How the Democrats Created a "Liberalism of the Rich"

Thomas Frank Tom Dispatch
Reading Thomas Frank's new book, Listen, Liberal, or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?, I was reminded of the snapshot that Oxfam offered us early this year: 62 billionaires now have more wealth than the bottom 50% of the global population, while the richest 1% own more than the other 99% combined...In 2010, it took 388 of the super-rich to equal the holdings of that bottom 50%. At this rate...by 2030, just the top 10 billionaires might do the trick. [*]

5 Vital Lessons from American Labor's Rise and Fall

James M. Larkin The Nation
America's unions have been in retreat for decades - but can history point toward some fresh starts? Steve Fraser's book The Age of Acquiescence reminds us that America's worker movement-100 years ago-was a rather militant creature compared to today. Then, it was worker militias, "bread and roses," and unabashed class conflict; now, it's defense and dwindling membership, and disappointing Democrats. How did we get here? Is there still power in a union?

books

Where's the Outrage?

Rich Yeselson Dissent Summer 2015 issue
The book under review examines the rise of American capitalism, the visionary attempts by workers to resist and the housebreaking of a long-running anti-capitalist ethos from imaginative, frenzied opposition to diffuse, angry, but ultimate accommodation. While a residual 19th century fight-back culture built the CIO and defended the New Deal into the 1960s, it lacked the same emancipatory charge it had earlier, and unions shifted to cautious monitors of the working class

Culture Isn’t Free

Miranda Campbell Jacobin
Expecting artists to work for free hands the reins of cultural production to ruling elites.

books

How Long Have We Really Been `One Nation Under God'?

Molly Worthen The Nation, June 8, 2015 edition
With its numerous religious awakenings and repeated instances of religiosity as political theater, it's easy to forget US civic life is secular. Author Kevin Kruse argues that the effort to ground political rights in spiritual authority and not in democratic discussion and decision-making originated with a coterie of corporate heads, right-wing politicians, reactionary pastors and cultural icons as a bulwark against progressive politics and New Deal legislation.

Ai-jen Poo’s ‘The Age of Dignity’ Is a Wake-up Call for an Aging—and Unprepared—Nation

Joanna Scutts In These Times
Ai-jen Poo's 'The Age of Dignity' bridges the gap between the concrete political and practical challenges of an aging population—and the harder moral questions of how we ought to treat our elders and how we imagine our own aging and death. The book is part testimony from caregivers and recipients; part manifesto, urging us to see the new demographic reality in a positive light; and, more cautiously, part exploration of how we might do better by our senior citizens.

labor

The Worst Paying Fastest-Growing Job in America

Claire Zillman Fortune
Historical discrimination, demographics, and public funding have left home care workers at the very bottom of the American work hierarchy. The wages these workers earn are painfully low: the median salary for a personal care aide is $19,910 annually, or $9.57 an hour; a home health aide earns $20,820 or $10.01 per hour. On the Bureau of Labor Statistic's list of 30 fastest-growing jobs, personal and home care aides are the worst paid.

Tidbits - August 14, 2014

Portside
Reader Comments - Victory for Americans: Walgreens Won't "Invert"; Rosetta Comet Rendezvous; Reflections on My Seven Months in Israel; Incipient Inflation Freak-Out Could Wreck Economy; Jews Who Protest Israeli Policy; Academic Freedom Under Attack - The Firing of Steven Salaita; Anti-Semitism; Virgin America Flight Attendants Vote To Join Union; Healthcare - the NHS; Market Basket Srtike - Why Its So Important; On This Day in History - FDR Signs Social Security Act
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