Weekly Roundup: March 29, 2023

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.

New this week: Lula’s Brazil, whistleblowers, Biden’s spending bills, women labor leaders

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!

Economic Update: Why the US Constitution is an Obstacle to Change

Prof. Wolff presents updates on the US banking crisis, plant closing injustice, growing child labor in the US, Biden's budget's tax "proposals," and a new book that shows US homelessness is an economic problem. In the second half of the show, Wolff interviews Prof. Robert Ovetz on how and why the US Constitution blocks social change.

Ovetz: “It's something that anyone who's involved in political change has to confront, that our system was designed to constrain political democracy and prevent economic democracy. And until we confront that problem in our system of governance, we're not going to be able to make the big changes we need to solve the huge global crises that we face right now.”

Anti-Capitalist Chronicles: Daniel Ellsberg, Government Dishonesty & Nuclear Weapons

Prof. Harvey explores the contributions made by Daniel Ellsberg, the political activist known for releasing the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Ellsberg gave the public a look into the ways in which the US government was lying about the Vietnam war with the Pentagon Papers, and offered a look into how the US military thinks about military policy with respect to nuclear weapons in his book The Doomsday Machine. Ellsberg’s contributions are deeply relevant today with the Russian/Ukraine war and the ever-growing number of nuclear weapons around the globe.

Harvey: “What Ellsberg showed, and I think that actually this was a key point in American history, was the degree to which the U.S. government was lying”

All Things Co-op: Lula's Brazil & The Landless Workers Movement

Larry, Cinar, and Kevin talk to Marcelo Netto, a Brazilian journalist and activist with the Landless Workers Movement in Brazil. They discuss Lula 3, the third term for Brazil's president Lula De Silva, the history of Brazil's development and the unique working class make up, the landless workers movement and their relationship with Lula, the impacts of the Bolsonaro presidency, and more.

Netto: “If we could see Lula having a role as a leftist actor, it’s in his external policy...I think his aim is to project Brazil as a global actor from the Global South.”

Global Capitalism: Women: The Leading Force for Growing Militant Unions

Prof Wolff describes how women have not only become a large part of the labor force, but also a leading factor for progressive change in the face of inequality.

Wolff: “Women have become more militant. They've understood badly and painfully the failure of this society to support its working class. They are discovering through the dense fog of ideology that they need unions and that they need change. And that's why they're becoming leaders."

Ask Prof Wolff: What Europe Got Wrong about Sanctions on Russia

A supporter of Democracy at Work asks: "Why, in your opinion, did European countries go along with the USA on sanctions on Russia after the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year? Did European leaders miscalculate negative impacts that these sanctions will have on Europe or counted on some benefits that will be worth the losses? Are any benefits present?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response. To learn how to ask your own questions to Prof Wolff, click here.

Wolff: “It's crystal clear to me that they miscalculated badly. The costs are huge. The first one comes from the fact that they misunderstood, and in all likelihood the United States led them in that misunderstanding, that Russia would fold and collapse overnight.”

Ask Prof Wolff: Why Democratic Workplaces Are Better for Work-Life Balance

A supporter of Democracy at Work asks: "Are Americans ready for Democracy (at work or anywhere else)? I have been a volunteer in a non-profit for decades. We are a 12 step program and have plenty of participation in our weekly meetings. We are nominally democratic in that we ideally hold a monthly group conscience in which we can make simple decisions like whether to make a donation or purchase supplies or some of both. When such a meeting is announced, members scatter like roaches when the light goes on. They 'don't want to get involved.’ I have heard it is typical in non-profits that 5% do 90% of the work. Is that also true of worker co-ops?." This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response. To learn how to ask your own questions to Prof Wolff, click here.

Wolff: “It's part of a larger issue that's always a serious issue. You might call it work life balance. That's what the Europeans call it. How to organize your work life so it's in a proper balance with your personal and home life. This is crucial. Capitalists are only interested in you for the work you can do to enhance the profit of the employer in the business. Hopefully a worker co-op, a democratic one, doesn't have so narrow a set of objectives.”

Wolff Responds: Biden’s Big Spending Bills

Prof. Wolff discusses the Biden administration's large spending bills—infrastructure, recovery, and microchip production—and where the hundreds of billions of dollars are actually going. 

Wolff: “The question that ought to be debated is not just whether the government should spend that money (I think it should) and whether it's spending it on important issues (putting aside the chip subsidies I think they are) but whether it should be done by putting the money in the hands of our mega-corporations. I don't think so.”

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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