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All Worked Up and Nowhere to Go | Amber A’Lee Frost
It’s true that many traditional labor unions are backward or weak; some will need an overhaul. After a notoriously failed strike effort, the Communications Workers of America cleaned house, replaced an incompetent leadership, assessed their failure, and regrouped. (It led to a successful strike against Verizon in 2016, one that yielded 1,300 new jobs and a 10.5 percent raise over four years.) Other unions, like the aforementioned Machinists, must be gutted entirely, their membership reorganized into new institutions. Mostly, though, we need to start organizing the unorganized (i.e., most workers) and focus heavily on strategic points of employment. As much as it would flatter my ego to believe otherwise, I am not at a particularly strategic point; I’m an adjunct professor at a private university, and even when we all strike, it’s only a problem for our little university microcosm.

But take heart, fellow atomized and expendable neoliberal subjects: there is a place for us in the coming wars! The microcosms still need to be organized (every bit helps), and established unions can be refreshed and steered toward radical ends. Nevertheless, I regret to inform you that much of this endeavor will be quite dull. Organizing is not usually as invigorating as rallying; it’s mostly meetings, planning, phone calls, emails, spreadsheets—you know, women’s work. There are a lot of tedious administrative tasks that go into forming and maintaining a union, and the work is rarely as romantic or cinematic as a bunch of taxi drivers locking down JFK. But those moments do happen. They’re sustaining, and they compound one another. Only labor can make it happen. Only workers can shut down production. Only workers can close the ports. Only workers can take capital hostage and make the whole world stand still.
politics  activism  WomensStrike  FisherMark  EtVC  TrumpDonald  travel  ban  airport  NewYork  taxis  NYTWA  strike  Uber  tradeUnions 
july 2017 by petej
Terrifying Trump | by Elizabeth Drew | The New York Review of Books
In fact, Trump’s hold on power may be more tenuous than it appears. It’s not just that his hubristic dismissal of valid ethical concerns could produce a scandal at any time; he took office under the cloud of at least one investigation into possible underhanded if not illegal dealings with Russia on his part and continuing questions about the relations of some of his political associates with Putin or his associates. The ambiguity of Trump’s election victory complicates his presidency: having lost the popular vote by nearly three million, he started out as a minority president with a large mass of people feeling they’d been cheated and motivated to arise against him. This partly explains Trump’s fixation on the electoral vote and his and his associates’ insistence—incorrect—that he’d won an electoral vote “landslide.”

Trump’s possible mental deficiencies are also a troubling question: serious medical professionals suspect he has narcissistic personality disorder, and also oncoming dementia, judging from his limited vocabulary. (If one compares his earlier appearances on YouTube, for example a 1988 interview with Larry King, it appears that Trump used to speak more fluently and coherently than he does now, especially in some of his recent rambling presentations.) His perseverating about such matters as the size of his inauguration crowd, or the fantasy that three to five million illegal voters denied him a popular vote victory (he got these estimates from a dodgy source who has yet to offer documentation), or, as he told CIA employees, the number of times he’s been on the cover of Time (sometimes inflating the actual number) has become a joke, but it also suggests that there may be something troubling about his mental state. Numerous eminent psychologists and psychiatrists have written about or expressed their concerns about Trump’s mental stability.
TrumpDonald  USA  politics  PenceMike  SessionsJeff  BannonStephen  MillerStephen  tax  deregulation  business  environment  Obamacare  Mexico  immigration  refugees  travel  ban  Muslims  foreignPolicy  Iran  media  journalism  YatesSally  judiciary  authoritarianism  mentalHealth  power 
february 2017 by petej
Eliot A. Cohen Responds to Donald Trump's First Week - The Atlantic
We were right. And friends who urged us to tone it down, to make our peace with him, to stop saying as loudly as we could “this is abnormal,” to accommodate him, to show loyalty to the Republican Party, to think that he and his advisers could be tamed, were wrong. In an epic week beginning with a dark and divisive inaugural speech, extraordinary attacks on a free press, a visit to the CIA that dishonored a monument to anonymous heroes who paid the ultimate price, and now an attempt to ban selected groups of Muslims (including interpreters who served with our forces in Iraq and those with green cards, though not those from countries with Trump hotels, or from really indispensable states like Saudi Arabia), he has lived down to expectations.

Precisely because the problem is one of temperament and character, it will not get better. It will get worse, as power intoxicates Trump and those around him. It will probably end in calamity—substantial domestic protest and violence, a breakdown of international economic relationships, the collapse of major alliances, or perhaps one or more new wars (even with China) on top of the ones we already have. It will not be surprising in the slightest if his term ends not in four or in eight years, but sooner, with impeachment or removal under the 25th Amendment. The sooner Americans get used to these likelihoods, the better.
TrumpDonald  USA  politics  Mexico  immigration  travel  ban  Muslims  refugees  authoritarianism  nationalism  ignorance  temperament 
january 2017 by petej
Changing The Weather On Immigration Via Legitimate Concerns On Donald Trump – Medium
I think it is useful to point out this glaring contradiction, but it is more useful to use this as a moment in which this dominant frame can be broken or at least, loosened. The move is not “how can you be concerned about refugees one day, then return to business as usual migrant bashing the next?”, though this has its uses. It is rather to get inside why people are capable of being appalled by this case and then to push outwards. People feel sympathy for the plight of these people trapped in airports, or unable to see loved ones. The border is seen as a negative thing, highly rare in public debates. The point is extend the reach of their sympathy to the general immigration debate. All migrants are people who, like the people trapped in the Trump case, are rounded human beings much like yourself, attempting to seek a better life for themselves, driven by forces that do violence to the possibilities of their happiness and flourishing. There will be attempts to divide between “good” refugees and “bad” economic migrants, which must be resisted. Once you have begun to think the border is wrong in this case, this view can be overturned or at least softened by centring the migrant in articulating a new overall “story” about borders and migration. This will be tough going, as anyone who has can these conversation in real life before will attest. There will be some who do not sit in this moment of moral contradiction and instead think Trump’s measure legitimate. But it is wholly worthwhile to make some ground.

Chances to change the public imaginary on migration from that of nameless (racialised) hordes crossing borders to do damage to “our” country to something other come very few and far between. Moments when the national press are in a mode that can be opened up on this issue are rare. The last moment was arguably the publication of the horrible photo of Aylan Kurdi. Psychologists Steve Reicher and Alex Haslam analysed public reaction to this image in a very interesting (but in my mind not entirely correct) blog post. The image troubled the categories of the migrant that had hitherto been common and allowed them to be seen differently. It allowed at least some space to open up around the issue.

There must be not return to “concerns on immigration” as usual after the condemnation of Trump’s border policies. There is an opportunity to change the weather on this issue while providing the necessary solidarity to those effected by it. It must be grasped with both hands.
UK  politics  immigration  borders  USA  TrumpDonald  Muslims  travel  refugees  ban  MayTheresa  LabourParty 
january 2017 by petej
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