Commentary

Union Defeat at Amazon in Alabama Points to Need for More Organizing

After months of campaigning and weeks of voting, workers at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama recently voted by more than 2-1 against joining a union. First, we must recognize that the overwhelming vote against the union marks a decisive defeat, not to be underestimated.  It will undoubtedly have a [...]

By |2021-04-15T19:55:46-04:00Apr 15, 2021|

Thinking About Regulatory Extractive Instruments as Capitalist Violence

Imagined solutions to extractive sector injustices are limited by circumscribed regimes of policy "solutions" - and at times "transparency" is a fetish that results on documentation on paper and far too little meaningful change.

By |2021-04-14T10:22:54-04:00Apr 14, 2021|

Heterodox Economics and Crypto-Marxism

Marx’s influence extends well beyond the self-identified Marxian school to several other important heterodox traditions within economics, though this often passes unrecognised on both sides. Consequently, the proper boundaries of the Marxian school of economics are much wider than either many self-identified Marxists, or indeed crypto-Marxists, generally consider. Each of the Minskian, post-Keynesian, Sraffian, institutional, feminist and social ecological (dominant) schools/branches of heterodox economics make a significant contribution in developing effectively Marxist themes and theory. Self-identified Marxists, as well as crypto-Marxists, stand to benefit intellectually and practically from a mutual recognition of this implicit division of hererodox economics labour.

By |2021-04-09T04:29:24-04:00Apr 7, 2021|

Don’t Forget the Political Earthquake in Georgia

While all eyes have turned to Trump’s fascist coup attempt in Washington, and rightly so, the political earthquake that has occurred in Georgia since November should not be forgotten. Not only did Joe Biden eke out a victory in the November presidential election, but the January Senate runoff elected two [...]

By |2021-02-06T08:00:37-05:00Feb 5, 2021|

For the People? Right-Wing Populism and Employment Standards in Ontario, Canada

Doug Ford’s right-wing populism emerged in relation to the material conditions of precariousness that had escalated in the years following the 2008 financial crisis. It tapped into the insecurities of working-class and middle-class voters generated through years of growing inequality, stagnant wages, declining unionization, and the deterioration of public services and institutions. Invoking an old neoliberal trope, its solution to the crisis included measures that would make Ontario “open for business,” including employment standards reforms that undermined basic employment protections for workers in the province. While proclaiming intentions to protect “the people” from “the elite,” Ford’s populism served to sustain and enhance capitalist interests by legitimating legislation that undermines the security of an already precarious workforce.

By |2021-01-20T15:21:07-05:00Jan 20, 2021|

Political Education During the Pandemic

The current moment of overlapping public health, social, economic, political, and environmental crises has shaken the world system. How we understand this moment and its relationship to short, medium, and long-term goals for transformative social change is more important than ever.

By |2020-12-16T10:11:18-05:00Dec 16, 2020|

Revisiting Braverman on the Division of Labor: What About Job Turf?

Job design is indeed important for understanding worker bargaining power and workplace-level inequality.  It really matters how organizations assemble tasks into jobs.  But, it is trickier than Braverman's classic theory implies.  Less complex jobs are exposed to more competition.  But jobs that are more unique within a workplace also accumulate leverage.  The workplace division of labor affects bargaining power by reducing job complexity but increasing job turf.  These effects typically impact different jobs, which drives workplace-based inequality.

By |2020-12-09T10:11:14-05:00Dec 9, 2020|

Kanye, Record Contracts and Copyright Enclosure

On Sept 16, 2020, Kanye West opened up a conversation about the exploitive nature of record contracts. While Kanye is an imperfect messenger, he is the latest in a long line of recording artists who demonstrate the harmful effects of these contracts. My favorite example is the metaphor of recording [...]

By |2020-12-04T13:31:05-05:00Dec 4, 2020|
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