This and that for your Sunday reading.
– Saqib Bhatti and Stephen Lerner point out that the struggle for power between labour and capital is far from over, and that the next step may be to engage on wider questions of economic control:
For too long most unions defined their mission narrowly as winning higher wages and benefits for unionized workers without challenging how companies were managed or how capital was invested and controlled. Unions accepted that it was management’s job to run companies and the broader economy, and that the unions’ primary job was to get as much as possible for their members.
This still dominates labor’s thinking: we focus on income inequality but not wealth inequality; we focus on how to raise the bottom, but not how to stop wealth from concentrating at the top; we deal with our direct employers, but not those who really control the broader socioeconomic conditions in which our members work and their families live.
We have bought into the notion that the boss is entitled to endless profits and should be allowed to have control of the business and the economy as long as our members win incremental improvements in every contract. But that bargain no longer works.
(U)nions don’t typically enter into negotiations with the investors. They deal with their direct employer, even though in many major companies investors, even the CEOs, are ultimately constrained by the pressures put on them by investors.
Unions need to start looking to these actors higher up the food chain, to the people who control the money in the public sector as well as the private sector.
In the public sector, state and local officials accurately decry the fact that there is not enough money in public coffers to properly fund public services. However, the reason why there isn’t enough money is that corporations and the wealthy have waged a sustained war on taxes over the past forty years to avoid paying more.
Increasingly, these corporations are owned by Wall Street investors seeking to cut taxes in order to increase their return on investment. These wealthy few have a large part of their wealth tied up in the financial sector.
By trying to squeeze pennies out of public officials while letting the billionaires and bankers off the hook, public-sector unions are fighting with one hand tied behind their back.
– Gabriel Winant also offers a noteworthy look at the state of the U.S.’ labour movement. And Tom Parkin points out how a larger self-identified working class may be an increasingly important force in Canadian politics, while Sid Ryan comments on the state of the relationship between Canadian labour and the NDP.
– Mersiha Gadzo identifies plenty of the ways in which Justin Trudeau has combined a sunny disposition with the same dark actions we’d expect from the Harper Cons. But Nora Loreto argues that progressive activists will need to develop new strategies to address Trudeau rather than Harper.
– Finally, Sir Michael Marmot discusses the social causes of economic inequality, while pointing out the need to ensure a greater focus on all social determinants of health. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links
The Panama Papers starkly revealed that Britain’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies have become the venues of choice for the anonymous corporations that facilitate tax evasion, organised crime, and terrorist financing. Indeed, more than half … . . . → Read More: Akaash Maharaj – Practical Idealism: Huffington Post: An Open Letter from the World’s MPs to David Cameron
The Panama Papers starkly revealed that Britain’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies have become the venues of choice for the anonymous corporations that facilitate tax evasion, organised crime, and terrorist financing. Indeed, more than ha… . . . → Read More: Akaash Maharaj – Practical Idealism: An Open Letter from the World’s MPs to David Cameron
In response to the following editorial on the mess that is Syria:
I wrote the following:
I will politely disagree with a couple of points at the end:
the U.S. is also undermining its own role and influence, not to mention the reputation of all those associated with its ramshackle coalition against IS.
US (and Western) credibility in the Middle East has been dubious to non-existent since Bush II decided to invade both Afghanistan and then Iraq. Our own country’s decade of “loudspeaker support for Israel” wasn’t exactly helpful either. Fundamentally Western interventions in the region have repeatedly created the adversaries we find ourselves facing a decade later. In Afghanistan during the 1980s, western powers funded the Mujahideen, which ultimately gave rise to the Taliban and then al Qaeda. The shadows of war in Iraq (in particular), the unwillingness to call out Israel’s use of white phosphorous against the Palestinians, and the heavy-handed way the Americans conducted themselves in both Iraq and Afghanistan gave rise to ISIS.
The second point that the article alludes to, but quietly sidesteps is the reality that Russia in general has long standing social, cultural and economic ties with the Persian Gulf region in particular, and the Middle East in general. Russia has always been a more natural ally for the Arab states than the western european powers. There are long (as in centuries old) standing ties and connections at all levels. I might personally think Putin is a rather nasty piece of work, but in terms of credibility and understanding of the region, Russia has long had a far more subtle, nuanced understanding than Western powers.
I’ve argued this before, and I will continue to do so. Western interests in the region are purely trade related. We would do well to focus on those issues, and step out of direct military intervention. Provocations from the likes of ISIS are like a teenager trying to poke an adult into giving a reaction. If we react, they win – their propaganda machine makes huge gains from the heavy handed interventions we’ve used in the past. It’s much harder for them to use the Russian interventions in the same way simply because of the connections into Russia that go back centuries. The Western powers represent the “unknown”, and thus easily demonized, factors. To date, ISIS’ provocations amount to rendering unstable the puppet government that Bush II set up in Iraq and capitalizing on the “Arab Spring” destabilization of Syria.
Putin will be a pain to deal with, but in some ways, Russian leadership represents the bridge between western interests and Arab interests from a diplomatic perspective. Russia has strong cross-cultural connections with both regions. It is perhaps time to work with Russia, and use that to develop a trade-centred approach to the region instead of trying to intervene militarily in the geopolitical mess.
. . . → Read More: The Cracked Crystal Ball II: On Syria and Western Involvement
In response to the following editorial on the mess that is Syria: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/by-giving-up-on-syria-us-hands-kingmaker-role-to-putin/article28747502/I wrote the following:I will politely disagree with a couple of points at th… . . . → Read More: The Cracked Crystal Ball II: On Syria and Western Involvement
The lessons of Afghanistan were purchased at a bitter cost: the war claimed more lives, more years, and more money than any other campaign in NATO’s history. Unless the alliance takes those lessons to heart, a war in Syria and Iraq to extinguish D… . . . → Read More: Akaash Maharaj – Practical Idealism: National Post: NATO and the Judgement of Paris
Being at the table during deliberations on war, peace, and the fate of nations was an extraordinary experience. I remember seeing the Berlin Wall fall, and hoping that the age of global warfare might be over. That moment now feels far away. We are clearly facing terrible risks, and it will take great statesmanship . . . → Read More: Akaash Maharaj – Practical Idealism: Addressing the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
This and that for your Thursday reading.
– Rosemary Barton discusses why it’s in Canada’s best interest on the global stage to work on building strong multilateral institutions (including the UN) rather than counting on bluster to make a difference. But Gus van Harten notes that we’re instead signing onto trade deals including the TPP . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links
Assorted content to start your week.
– Robert Reich writes that the most important source of growing inequality in the U.S. is a political system torqued to further enrich those who already had the most: The underlying problem, then, is not just globalization and technological changes that have made most American workers less competitive. Nor . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links
This and that for your Sunday reading.
– Jennifer Wells writes about the drastic difference in pay between CEOs and everybody else. And Henry Farrell interviews Lauren Rivera about the advantage privileged children have in being able to rely on parents’ social networks and funding rather than needing to learn or work for themselves: One . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links
Addressing the United Nations was one of the more intimidating experiences of my life. I spoke on behalf of GOPAC’s global alliance of parliamentarians, on our work to bring kleptocrats to justice.
. . . → Read More: Akaash Maharaj – Practical Idealism: Addressing the United Nations – Akaash Maharaj Podcast
Political corruption kills more people than war and famine combined. I addressed the United Nations on how the international community can and must act to bring kleptocrats to justice.
Stephen Harper’s dictatorship-style PMO forced John Baird to resign as Canada’s foreign affairs minister and chicken out of the 2015 federal election.
The post John Baird was tossed overboard by Harper’s dictatorship-style PMO appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
Assorted content to end your week.
– Manuel Perez-Rocha writes about the corrosive effect of allowing businesses to dictate public policy through trade agreements: (C)orporations are increasingly using investment and trade agreements — specifically, the investor-state dispute settlement provisions in them — to bring opportunistic cases in arbitral courts, circumventing decisions states deem in their . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
– Martha Friendly highlights how families at all income levels can benefit from a strong child care system: Isn’t it the Canadian way to include people from diverse groups and social classes in community institutions like public schools, community recreation facilities, public colleges and universities so all can . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
– The Star criticizes the Harper Cons’ selective interest in international cooperation – with war and oil interests apparently ranking as the only areas where the Cons can be bothered to work with other countries. And Catherine Porter reports that the Cons have demonstrated their actual attitude toward global . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links
Ready, Aye, Ready! Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird whips up the War Party in the House of Commons. Below: Stephen Harper, the prime minister, and Edmonton Centre MP Laurie Hawn.
Stephen Harper, John Baird, Laurie Hawn and the rest of the boys yesterday finally got the war in Iraq they’ve been pining for . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Ten Questions about the Harper Government’s embrace of war with ISIS-ISIL-IS
Having earlier dealt with Stephen Harper’s attempt to justify war by building up hatred and hype toward ISIS, I’ll note the other main rationale on offer from the Cons – which can generally be described as government by wrong answer to a rhetorical question: If Canada wants to keep its voice in the world…and we . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On consensus-breaking
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
– Linda Tirado writes about life in poverty – and the real prospect that anybody short of the extremely wealthy can wind up there: I haven’t had it worse than anyone else, and actually, that’s kind of the point. This is just what life is for roughly one-third of . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links
Miscellaneous material for your weekend reading.
– Lana Payne examines the Cons’ economic record and finds it very much wanting: Inequality has deepened under Mr. Harper’s watch, job quality has declined, wages have stagnated, economic growth has been anemic, social protections have been reduced while corporate profits and CEO pay soar.…(E)mployment and labour force participation . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links
This and that for your Thursday reading.
– Linda McQuaig discusses how a politically-oriented audit of the CCPA fits with the shock-and-awe part of the right’s war against independent (and public-minded) though: In the conservative quest to shape public debate in recent years, no tool has proved more useful than the think tank. Nobody understood . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links
This and that for your weekend reading.
– Andrew Jackson writes that public investment is needed as part of a healthy economy, particularly when it’s clear that the private sector isn’t going to put massive accumulated savings to use. Bob McDonald notes that we’d be far better off using public money to fund basic research . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links
Here, questioning whether Canadians share Stephen Harper’s newly-professed aspiration to spend tens of billions of dollars more every year to prop up U.S. and U.K. military contractors.
For further reading…– David Pugliese reported on this week’s NATO summit. – NATO’s most recent spending calculations are here (see PDF link), showing that Canada currently spends . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: New column day