Weekly Roundup: January 18, 2023

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.

New this week: Capitalism is like a human body, lawyers for cooperative society, socialist solutions to oil prices, labor union corruption

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!

Economic Update: "American Midnight" Democracy's Forgotten Crisis

Prof. Wolff presents updates on the French School of Economic Warfare and sanctions against Russia; how asset price declines threaten US pensions, electric replace fossil fuel private cars because of profit motive, instead of for a rational transportation policy; US police in elementary schools: bad for students, parents, teachers and even police; honoring Staughton Lynd, US radical academic and labor organizer who died on 11/18/22. In the second half of the show, Wolff interviews Adam Hochschild, author of "American Midnight" how 1917-1921 was a US rehearsal for a parallel right-wing surge of recent years.

Hochschild: “In the four years that stretched from April 1917 when the United States entered the First World War until the end of Woodrow Wilson's presidency in March 1921, we saw in this country the greatest assault on civil liberties since the end of slavery.”

Anti-Capitalist Chronicles: Capital in Motion

Welcome to Season 5! Prof. Harvey discusses the ever-expanding circulatory systems of capital. He shares a diagram, designed by fellow d@w host Miguel Robles-Duran (Cities After…), which illustrates capital in motion. Like the human body, capital has many circulatory processes that can be analyzed both individually as well as part of the larger structure. This diagram is a useful way to picture the capitalist mode of production and its place in the capitalist social formation in order to make sense of how and where crises and contradictions show up within the system.

Harvey: "The totality of the formation of capital is made up of different circulatory processes. There's a tendency within Marxism to say everything really rests on the question of production. That is, the central part here is the creation of surplus value in production. I think that is a very important role. But on the other hand, the surplus value produced in production means nothing unless it's also all these other features are engaged.”

All Things Co-op: Law for Cooperative Movements

Kevin talks to movement lawyer and Clinical Law Professor Julian Hill. Julian’s research and teaching focuses on how law can be used as a tool to support the solidarity economy and social movements. Kevin and Julian discuss Julian’s background and how they got involved in cooperatives and the solidarity economy, what a movement lawyer is, the many contradictions of laws and lawyering, what the solidarity economy needs in order to grow, some resources around co-ops and movement lawyering for interested listeners to explore, and more.

Hill: “In my opinion I think there could be a little bit more scrutiny with respect to certain types of lawyers in those sorts of spaces because when you dig into the material suffering that a lot of communities are facing, lawyers are aren't non-existent, somebody's drafting these policies, someone's putting together these contracts that are allowing for the developers to displace this community.”

Global Capitalism: The Second War in Ukraine

Prof. Wolff discusses the historical aspects of the ongoing war in Ukraine, and how it reveals how far along we are into a second, economic war between the U.S. and China. Wolff explains what he sees are the impacts of this second war on the US, Europe, and China.

Wolff: “China offers the world an alternative. You can disagree with the United States. You can fashion your own economic strategic plan. You can clash with the United States because there's somewhere else to go: China, India, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the growing allies the BRICS group and the new members of that coming down the pike. It's a new world.”

Ask Prof Wolff: A Socialist Solution to Oil Prices and Sanctions

A Patron of Democracy at Work asks: "Hello Professor Wolff, here in Germany, gas prices are very high due to the sanctions policy with Russia. It is typical of a market economy that the gas that has become scarce is priced higher in order to alleviate the shortage. In this way, the scarce gas is distributed to the rich who can make monetary inquiries. How should allocation of goods (let's say gas/oil to take today's shortage) work in a socialist mode of production?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response. To learn how to ask your own questions to Prof Wolff, click here.

Wolff: “A rational, democratically-arrived-at decision about how to distribute scarcity was made, and that was kept separate from the decision of how to build up more supply so the issue wouldn't arise. That's a socialist solution.”

Ask Prof Wolff: Labor Unions, Leadership Corruption, and Co-ops

A Patron of Democracy at Work asks: "Can you please address the previous and current systemic collusion/connivance between the union leadership [of possibly every labor union] and the corporate management? And not just the fairly recent scandal of UAW/FCA regarding eroding solidarity and diminished worker benefits. Although, the technical question was how the US DOJ found evidence for it and management motives behind it, this might help make the case to democratize the enterprise." This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response. To learn how to ask your own questions to Prof Wolff, click here.

Wolff: “I think a worker co-op from the beginning would be less vulnerable to the kind of corruption that traditionally has beleaguered so many unions. The second thing about a worker co-op is that I believe it's becoming slowly- I wish it were faster- a demand of a new generation of workers. They are not used to the old leadership.”

Learn more about d@w latest book, Stuck Nation: Can the United States Change Course on Our History of Choosing Profits Over People?

by Bob Hennelly





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