Weekly Roundup: August 18th, 2021

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.

New this week: Economic Update, Cities After..., Ask Prof Wolff & Wolff Responds...

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!


Economic Update: A US Left Rises to Remake the World

Prof. Wolff presents updates on the "Friends" reunion and what it teaches, how China outmaneuvers US tariffs, etc., and how Yellow Vests plus French unions defeated Macron "reforms." On the second half of the program, Wolff interviews Astra Taylor, filmmaker and debt rebellion activist.

Astra Taylor: "Our insight at The Debt Collective is basically that just like workers come together and form a labor union to fight the boss for higher wages and benefits, debtors can also exercise economic power because our debts are somebody else's assets. Our obligations, though they feel very oppressive, can be turned into a source of power when we come together in solidarity."

Economic Update: Chile's Feminist Social Revolution

On this week's show, Prof. Wolff discusses the election of a socialist, African-American woman as new mayor in Buffalo, NY; US unemployment insurance's meager support for jobless; Teamsters target Amazon workers for union drive; veterans' suicides and the costs of US wars. On the second half of the show, Wolff interviews Rodrigo Roa Fernandez, Chilean revolutionary activist on his country's new feminist movement, Constituent Assembly, and new Constitution.

Rodrigo Roa Fernandez: "The post-pandemic era requests, as I said, women to be first in line, to bring with them this collaborative spirit they have, this gender, to transform the whole. Because if we don't collaborate, we don't help to each other, we don't overcome the selfishness, the greediness that is in us (mainly men) dominating for our own benefit, we will not make it. We are facing difficulties globally. We need them to be active."

Cities After... Dr. Andy Merrifield on the Dogma of Inter-Urban Competition

In this episode, Prof. Robles-Duran is joined by the famed Marxist Urban Theorist Andy Merrifield to have a conversation about inter-urban competition, the socio-spatial consequences of late neoliberalism and the pervasive privatization of urban societies.

Merrifield: “There's a void of political will. There's a void of political courage. There's a void of representative democracy… There needs to be somebody that can go out on a limb and can actually have a conviction about something that might be about again, defending the public realm that might be progressive. And we could start at the city level.”

Ask Prof Wolff:  Tribalism - How Capitalism Divides Us

A patron of Economic Update asks: "I have a suggestion for a topic you might want to explore in one of your videos: alienation, contemporary tribalism, and Capitalism. I've been reading several articles on American tribalism, but they all fail to make the connections to our Capitalist structures. Many of these articles only connect tribalism with Trump's extreme right followers, without referencing the general tribalism found in U.S. history and consumer culture." This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “It helps capitalism reproduce itself by blocking the awareness that: “No, all those little tribes don't matter as much.” They're important. They have their role to play, but they don't matter as much as the big tribes: the employer and the employee.”

Ask Prof Wolff: What's the Story in Cuba?

A patron of Economic Update asks: "Hey Prof. Wolff, could you speak to the recent protests in Cuba? Specifically, could you speak to the U.S. embargo that economically squeezes Cuba and, if relevant, how it relates to these protests? I’m not super familiar with the details but I find it frustrating that all these pundits say 'Cuba wants freedom and their economy sucks cause they’re commies.' It’s pretty clear that there’s more to the story and they purposefully omit that." This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “[Cuba] labored under the embargo of the United States, the threat of the United States. And that makes it particularly tasteless and invalid to hear sleazy U.S. politicians denouncing Cuba as if the problems of that society are something for which the United States bears no responsibility, as if the United States was merely a spectator [rather] than an interested party trying every which away to smash the regime in Cuba and failing to do that, over and over again.”

Wolff Responds: The Curse of Billionaires

In this Wolff Responds, Prof. Wolff comments on Jeff Bezos' space travels and on a broken capitalist system that rewards billionaires instead of all the people that are helped create the wealth.

Wolff: “It's selfish. It's ugly, and it's unjust. And those are perfectly good words to describe the very existence of billionaires like Mr. Bezos who came up in a system that rewards them when it really shouldn't.”

Wolff Responds: Reform and Revolution

In this Wolff Responds, Prof. Wolff draws parallels between the reform and revolution conversations/movements that emerged in a slave system and those emerging now in a declining capitalist economic system.

Wolff: If you don't get rid of the system, even when you get a reform, the employer can take it away from you. History is full of examples where masters took away what they might have given earlier to slaves and employers took it away from employees... Those are the different ways people react to systems when they become intolerable to growing numbers of people. You have the movement towards reform and revolution.”

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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