Weekly Roundup: June 8, 2022

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.

New this week: Economic Update, Anti-Capitalist Chronicles, All Things Co-op, Ask Prof Wolff & Wolff Responds...

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!


Economic Update: The System is the Problem

In this week's show, Prof. Wolff talks about insurers defrauding pensions, record highway deaths, inflation and risk, interest rate rises, Massachusetts to vote on millionaires tax, Starbucks CEO as dictator, and Mitt Romney's sudden concern with "fairness" exposed.

Wolff: "Workers don't have control over prices. Employers do, employers who are 1% of the population (if that) have the power to raise the prices that the other 99% have to pay without having any role in deciding what they are. There's nothing democratic about an inflation. The only thing you might call democratic is who suffers the most from it." 

Anti-Capitalist Chronicles: The Evolution of Capitalism

In this episode of David Harvey's Anti-Capitalist Chronicles, Prof. Harvey offers his perspective on two questions being debated in leftist circles: are we entering a new kind of capitalism? Is the current capitalism a type of new feudalism? In order to approach these questions, Harvey looks to capitalism’s past and present—at the rentier class, evolving roles and relationships between industrial, market, and finance capitalists, the creation of the stock market, monopsonies, and more. Capitalism is in constant flux and always evolving. Instead of wondering if we are entering a new feudalism or not, Harvey argues we must analyze the current, unique conditions and then consider how we can be anti-capitalist towards this contemporary type of capitalism.

Harvey: "What we've seen since the 1980s, because of the neoliberal way in which the neoliberal door was opened to all kinds of financial operations, we find a situation in which more often than not finance capital becomes the master, not the servant."

All Things Co-op: Federation of Southern Cooperatives with Terence Courtney

In this episode of All Things Co-op, Cinar, Larry, and Kevin talk with Terence Courtney, the Director of Cooperative Development & Strategic Initiatives at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, an organization focused on land retention, cooperative development, and advocacy for small black-owned farms in the Southern United States. Terence and the ATC guys discuss the unique history of black farming in the south, institutional and ideological barriers to growth, and what cooperative associations can mean for historically marginalized communities.

Terence Courtney: "Since Africans were brought here to United States, folks have always had to organize themselves for mutual aid. The context of their lives required that. Being enslaved people, provided with meager resources to sustain themselves, collectivizing economics was essential and that continued on through the 18th century, 19th century, even during the Jim Crow era. Again, it was critical that people work together under segregation. There weren't many options elsewhere, and even more so in rural places."

Ask Prof Wolff: How To Build A Strong Left Movement

A Patron of Economic Update asks: "The Australian people have just voted to remove the authoritarian conservative government, which recorded its worst election result in 70 years. The Greens (our main left-of-centre option in Aus) recorded it's highest vote in its 30-year history and will hold the balance of power in the Senate. With the combined third-party vote now roughly equal to either major party, many are now realizing for the first time that there is an alternative to the two-party elite consensus. For many young people this is the first win for the left they have ever experienced and their energy this week is inspiring. I do fear, however, that the elite backlash (particularly given our right-wing media bias) will be severe over the next three years. Many of us here would greatly appreciate your advice on how a movement can withstand that push-back and continue to offer optimism."

This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “The first thing I would urge is to be bold, clear, and courageous about how and why you are different from the traditional parties. And in particular to make clear that you are able to be critical of capitalism, you are not a party that is a cheerleader for that particular economic system, that you favor a debate about capitalism's strengths and weaknesses in comparison to alternative systems that you are willing to explore and deal with.”


Ask Prof Wolff: Capitalism Doesn’t Care About You

A Patron of Economic Update asks: "I see so many young people that are highly qualified and educated and hard working yet they struggle to find work in their respective fields. Could there be a greater underlying economic or systemic issue behind all this and if so, what are some good solutions?"

A Supporter of Democracy at Work asks: "In co-op format, the people who run the business naturally have different skills and contributions to their organization so there would be expectation that each person to be compensated based on his/her work value. How is this issue handled?"

This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “You only get a job if that someone makes a profit hiring you. And they want that profit to be maximized and they don't care or want you distracted by all the other things that a rich, diverse life involves. That's a problem of the system.”

Wolff Responds: Great Replacement Theory - A Critique

In this Wolff Responds, Prof. Wolff critiques the “Great Replacement” Theory that is becoming more mainstream in right-wing ideology. Wolff argues that Republicans are partially correct—there has been a replacement—but they have the wrong targets. Since the 1970s, capitalists have been replacing expensive white, christian male workers in order to maximize profits by automating, moving production overseas, and exploiting immigrant workers. The right-wing, in order to protect capitalism, have made immigrants, women, people of color, and any minority group into scapegoats for white Americans’ anger. Both Democrats and Republicans need to stand up against capitalist interests and speak out about what’s really going on.

Wolff: “Here's the replacement that actually happened over the last half centuries roughly from the 1970s to now: big, capitalist corporations have decided that their best strategy for making money under these current conditions is to replace expensive workers with alternatives to expensive workers… The right wing arrives to prevent the bitterness and anger of the replaced white male christian workers from turning against the capitalists who did all this to them, whose profit is what drives the whole process. So you got to give them a scapegoat.”

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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