Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.
Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!
We’re re-sharing a relevant episode from last year in place of a new episode this week. Prof Wolff talks about the social effects of inflation and the lack of accountability on the part of employers. Capitalist employers set prices with the only motive of maximizing. Employees, the vast majority, must live with inflation but are excluded from decisions setting prices. Employers scream “labor shortage” to get the government to force workers back to work at low wages. Employers also recover from economic crashes while undercutting workers’ efforts to do the same - and that's how capitalism works.
Wolff: “It is not in our capitalist system the obligation or the responsibility of the employer to worry about the consequences of whatever prices he sets or she sets. And that's where they become like King George III who set all kinds of prices.”
Dr. Fraad speaks on the value of connection for our emotional, political, psychological and social lives as human beings. We’re seeing more and more disconnection as the pandemic draws on, remote work increases, and our state fails to take care of our needs. Connection is what separates us from other animals, and has always been what has allowed humans to survive throughout history. Yet, Fraad argues, our capitalist system is set on driving each and every one of us apart.
Fraad: “Leftists see that what interrupts that connectedness is capitalism, which benefits when they separate the races and they don't unite in unions, which gets people very busy hating people who use a bathroom, or hating people because of their gender, hating women and wanting to subordinate them and take away their reproductive rights, relegating women only to reproduction. Those things divide us and conquer us."
This episode of Cities After… is a conversation between Prof. Robles-Durán and Silvia Federici, feminist activist and scholar, which took place at the New School in New York City. Silvia Federici has been shaking Marxist traditions to their core since the 1960s by posing critical questions about the role of women’s reproductive labor in the development of our human environment and social conditions under capitalism. In this conversation, Robles-Durán and Federici weave through Federici’s life and work in Italy, the US, Nigeria, and Latin America to explore major themes of feminism, class struggle, reproductive labor, colonialism, neoliberalism, and more. Federici’s work is concerned largely with the power of communal spaces and land, welfare rights, reproductive rights and the role of women in social movements, collective memory, and the right to the city.
Federici: “The idea of a social factory was the idea that what we call the community, the schools, etc., etc., they are all restructured at a certain point of capitalist development. They are restructured in a way that functions for capitalism. What we added, and I think it was a breakthrough is yeah, but this begins in the home. It begins in the home and it begins with women's unpaid labor, begins with the family, sexuality. All of these are relations of production.”
The Federal Reserve raised interest rates to curb inflation in the U.S., but foreign countries are being hurt by the changes big time. Prof Wolff argues that our elections could have invited Americans to decide how to insulate our foreign partners from interest rate hikes and prevent instability and inequality.
Wolff: “If the point of the interest rate rise here is to constrain the inflation here, why should we allow victims all over the world from this? Aren't there some ways we could insulate developing countries that we want to help, to do something about the distance between rich and poor in the world that is so dangerous and destabilizing?”
An audience member of Ask Prof Wolff LIVE asks: "In a worker cooperative society, what would be the role or major functions of the state?" To learn how to ask your own questions to Prof Wolff, click here.
Wolff: “It's the society that builds the government whose needs and contradictions and tensions can make a government function. And I think the honest answer to your question is: it will be the worker co-ops, together with the residences (the democracy where you live) which will have to coordinate with [each other]… Those two democracies will decide what the state is there for, what we need it for, & what we no longer need it for.”
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