Weekly Roundup: May 18, 2022

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.

New this week: Economic Update, Capitalism Hits Home, Cities After..., Global Capitalism, Ask Prof Wolff & Wolff Responds...


Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!


Economic Update: Jobs Driving Us Mad

Prof. Wolff presents updates on the unionization of Grinnell College student-workers; US GDP drops 1.4% in Q1 of 2022; food inflation versus rationing; Germany's refugee shame; small US businesses to plan price inflation; and western corporations leaving Russia replaced by eager corporations from China, India, Turkey, Brazil etc. In the second half of the show, Wolff interviews Emily Guendelsberger, author of On the Clock, on how badly paid, insanely stressful jobs are the workplace future facing the US.

Guendelsberger: "​People need to be hungry or in some sort of terrible circumstance to really want to risk something. And America is not really hungry, but I do think that the way that these things have developed, the constant stress metrics put people into a state of mind that is somewhat similar to hunger and the desperation that drives people to rise up and actually do something."

Capitalism Hits Home: The Right vs. Gender Freedom

With rising inflation rates, mass resignations, poor working conditions, and expensive housing, it’s clear that capitalism in the US is falling apart. To counter this, the right wing is working hard to repress each and every marginalized group in order to keep the working class divided. In this episode of Capitalism Hits Home, Dr. Fraad looks at that fascist push to maintain a hierarchy in family, faith, morality, and nationalism. One way the Right does this is by attacking women and LGBTQ+ rights with abortion bans and anti-trans bills. In this legal stage of early fascism in the US, we need to take cues from other countries that successfully countered right-wing attacks on body autonomy by creating coalitions and unified fronts.

Fraad: "Indigenous people, women, poor people, socialists and climate activists uniting. The United States has all those groups, but we haven't united which is one of the reasons that the right wing is gaining, and we are not gaining as we should. We need a socialist coalition here in order to win all our rights back.”

Cities After…Miodrag Mitrašinović on Public Space, Oligarchy and Urbanization - Pt. 4

Prof. Robles-Durán speaks with Miodrag Mitrašinović, one of the world’s foremost researchers on public space. Robles-Durán and Mitrašinović consider differing definitions of "public space," contrast Hudson Yards in Manhattan with Corona Plaza in Queens as distinct public investments with vastly different impacts on New York City’s residents, and speculate about a more equitable future in which communities can reappropriate the means of production of urban space away from oligarchs and philanthropists in order to build spaces that serve larger cultural, social, and political processes.

Mitrašinović: “Class struggle is with us more than ever. And I think it's more important than ever to address it head on. What is the process of production of urban space? What conditions underlie it? And how can it be reappropriated?”

Global Capitalism: Marxism: From Critique of Capitalism to Alternative System 

Richard Wolff is here with a new lecture to guide you through what you need to know about Marxism- what it is fundamentally, and how a new generation of Marxists are returning to the central focus of Marx: the workplace. Other updates on student debt, labor uprisings, chaotic markets and the unity of the French left.

Wolff: “Marx's original work focusing on the workplace organization tells us what we need to do now. The critique of capitalism but that critique focused on the organization of the enterprise and the solution to capitalism again focused on the democratization of that enterprise. That's a strategy. That's a focus. That is an approach to what the critique of capitalism means and what the solution is.”

Ask Prof Wolff: How Marx Defines Capital and Why It Matters

A Patron of Economic Update asks: "Do you think that it might be worthwhile disambiguating the differences (and general confusion) among assets, capital, and capitalism as defined by Thomas Picketty in 'Capitalism in the 21st Century' vs Marx?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “Capital is a relationship: a set of processes that something can go through to become more than that which it was at the beginning. It is a relationship that makes that happen. There has to be some relationship that transforms what you have into something more than what you have, so that your whatever you call value grows over time.”

Ask Prof Wolff: The Stock Market Is Rigged

A Patron of Economic Update asks: "How rigged is the stock market against working people? How does the stock market create more inequality?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “I​​t's a system that is set up to serve the richest people, as so much in capitalism always has been.”

Wolff Responds: Taking Positions on Ukraine

Prof. Wolff speaks about the ongoing war in Ukraine. Rather than using black and white language to enforce a “good vs evil” lens, Prof. Wolff explains how we don’t need to accept the choices we are given. This situation is deeply complex and in order to look closely at the grey area, we cannot fall victim to a reductionist lens. We can critique all powers involved—Russia, Ukraine, and the United States—while at the same time disavowing war as a tactic to deal with power struggles and standing with the Ukrainian people whose safety should never have been compromised amidst this conflict. 

Wolff: “We don't have to choose among Putin, Biden and Zelensky. We can endorse as we should the values of peace of self-determination for every nation, including the Ukrainian people. And we can be against invasions, as we should; that's no way to resolve political ideological differences. But we ought to uphold the values and not allow anyone to force us into a choice where all of the options contradict the values that we hold dear.”

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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