By Tony Benn
Born into a family steeped in the tradition of Christian non-conformism, Tony Benn would later go on to become Britain’s best known socialist. Benn’s mother, Margaret Wedgwood Benn was a theologian and founder member of the League of the Church Militant, the predecessor organization to the Movement for the Ordination of Women.
An inspiring force in Benn’s life, Margaret would teach her young son that the story of the Bible was based on the struggle between “the Kings who had power, and the prophets who preached righteousness.”
Later in his life, Benn would assert that he was a “Christian agnostic,” unsure of the existence of God, but someone who believed in “Jesus the prophet, not Christ the King,” the historical Jesus — “the carpenter of Nazareth” — who preached social justice and egalitarianism. …
By Natalie Shure
The “women’s wage gap,” the 80 cents that American women make for every dollar made by men, has long been a subject of debate for feminists, with each proposed contributing factor begging its own set of policy fixes.
Those who argue that women’s lagging wages are rooted in gendered prejudice might support equal pay laws mandating salary parity or encourage women to negotiate aggressively. If the demands of motherhood are holding women back professionally, potential salves include subsidizing childcare, pushing fathers to assume a more active parenting role, or having more flexible, family-friendly workplaces. …
By Natalie Shure
A federal judge’s ruling last week striking down the Affordable Care Act has evoked a nearly uniform response. The decision, everyone notes, is “bananas,” “crazypants,” and unlikely to hold up on appeal in higher courts. Even the ACA-disliking Wall Street Journal editorial board slammed its reasoning; others have called it “lawless,” a “cruel mistake,” and “absurd.”
They aren’t wrong: the argument they’re skewering contends that by eliminating the financial penalty for not having health insurance coverage, the individual mandate went from being an exercise of taxing power to an exercise of illegal government coercion (even though the only conceivably coercive element to begin with was the tax penalty). According to Judge Reed O’Connor of North Texas, the individual mandate was also not severable from the rest of the health care law — and so when Congress removed the penalty in a bill last year, the body signaled its intent to repeal Obamacare entirely. …
By Joe Allen
It’s extremely rare that the working conditions of a freight company makes the national news outside of the usual industry media outlets, but that changed recently with an investigative podcast by the New York Times about XPO Logistics.
“The Human Toll of Instant Delivery” featured an extended interview with Memphis XPO warehouse worker Tasha Murrell. She described sweltering working conditions where warehouse temperatures frequently surpassed one hundred degrees, and shifts that regularly lasted fourteen to fifteen hours with few, if any, breaks. She and her coworkers spent their grueling shifts packing the products for many Fortune 500 companies, including Verizon, Nike, and Disney. …
By Miya Tokumitsu
I n 2014, the advertising firm MullenLowe launched a campaign, “World’s Toughest Job.” The ad firm listed a fake job, “Director of Operations,” in newspapers and online, and held interviews with a variety of hopefuls. The inter-viewer then went over an extensive roster of requirements: working on one’s feet for most of the day, no breaks, excellent negotiation skills, availability to work through the night, increased workload on holidays, and, the pièce de résistance, “the position is going to pay absolutely nothing.” The interviewees look appropriately eager, then surprised, then incredulous. Billions of people already do this job, the interviewer says: “Moms.” Cue the piano and strings. “Moms are awesome!” …
By Meagan Day
For years leading up to the financial crisis, investment banks bundled bad mortgage loans into bonds and sold them to investors. When those loans started to falter, the bonds did too, and the housing crisis became a financial crisis.
Millions of Americans lost their homes, their jobs, their savings, and their peace of mind. Some lost their lives to addiction and suicide. The United States is said to have recovered, but millions who had their dreams obliterated during the recession have not recouped their losses, financial or otherwise.
Luckily, the bank executives who played with fire to maximize their profits got their comeuppance. …
By Luke Savage
“In political activity . . . men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination. The enterprise is to keep afloat on an even keel.”
Probably no one of my generation and background will forget where they were on the evening of November 4, 2008. Outside my then-residence at the University of Toronto, people streamed into the quad with tears running down their faces. It was a moment like no other I have experienced. The seemingly impossible had happened: Barack Obama had been elected president of the United States. Within minutes of CNN projecting the result, a collective feeling that was equal parts euphoria and disbelief seemed to burst forth all over. …
By Meagan Day
I have no disagreement with the central contentions of Benjamin Y. Fong’s recent article “Log Off,” in which he details the ill effects of social media. It seems indisputable that social media enhances narcissism, encourages cruelty, erodes empathy, exacerbates social isolation and atomization, and presents enormous obstacles to left-wing political organizing. Effectively combating the single-minded forces of capital requires heroic feats of solidarity across personal and political differences. The behavioral habits encouraged by social media make this task infinitely more difficult.
My own experience can be summed up as follows: nothing that I’ve experienced in offline organizing spaces has ever made me feel as demoralized as the intra-left acrimony I’ve observed on Twitter and, to a lesser extent, Facebook. And nothing that has ever crossed my screen has made me feel as buoyant, as admiring of my comrades, or as optimistic about the future of our movement as listening to a rousing speech on a picket line or taking in the crowd at a well-attended socialist meeting or hitting the pavement with a big crew to knock on our neighbors’ doors. …
By Thomas M. Hanna
Socialism in the United States is making a comeback. Socialists are winning elections at the local, state, and federal levels; the membership of Democratic Socialists of America stands at a record fifty-five thousand; and polling consistently finds that younger Americans have relatively positive opinions of the concept.
While the term “socialism” means different things to different people, for the vast majority in the burgeoning movement it suggests the promise of a very different kind of system — one that is far more equitable, democratic, and ecologically sustainable than both capitalism and past experimentation with its alternatives. This system, though qualitatively different from the current order, won’t be conjured out of thin air. …
By Branko Marcetic
Why are people disillusioned with politics?
There are, of course, many answers to that question. But if you only need one, look no further than yesterday’s vote to keep the US government fueling the genocidal war in Yemen.