Latest WEAP Updates

19

Crafting a Charter for the “Precariat”: How to Build an Economy That Works for Everyone

Development economist Guy Standing, of the University of London, has popularized the term “precariat” to describe a global social class whose most salient characteristic is precariousness. Standing blames neoliberal economic policies, globalization, automation, and outsourcing for the rising number of precariats, who, if not completely locked out of the economy, must increasingly compete for temporary employment at low wages — to the point that they can’t pay off student loans or consumer debt, qualify for mortgages, save for retirement, or make plans for the future. Many are essentially one paycheck away from destitution.

Standing’s solution is a 29-plank platform of policy changes he calls “the Precariat Charter.” Some are as basic as redefining work to include all productive labor, paid or unpaid, while others are as “revolutionary” as unconditional basic income (UBI), which would pay a basic, livable stipend to every man, woman, and child who is a legal resident of a country. Although to capitalist ears this sounds like a recipe for apathy and a reward for laziness, in the places it has been implemented it has, instead, unleashed creativity. Freed from concerns about basic survival, people have used their unconditional basic income to care for children or aging parents, volunteer for favorite causes, pursue creative work or other passions, and start their own businesses. Recipients have also been able to take low-paying temporary jobs offered by employers — knowing that the wages, added to their basic income, will be adequate to make ends meet. Guaranteed income has boosted productivity and happiness, not dampened it.  Click here to learn more.

 

20

How Trump Signed a Global Death Warrant for Women

9

Oakland’s ‘mega-evictor’, the landlord who filed over 3,000 eviction notices

Leketha Williams was out of options. When the Oakland, California, mother was evicted and became homeless in May of 2010, she had just enough money to book a hotel for her and her two sons, then aged seven and 12.

In the following weeks, she worked to get her children to school on time each morning before carrying all of their belongings from one temporary home to the next, often forced to make dinners for the family out of hotel microwaves.

Williams had fallen behind on rent during a difficult financial period and had begged her landlords for mercy, writing in one handwritten letter: “Please let us stay for at least a week because my boys do not have anywhere to go … Do it for the sake of my boys.”

But records show the sheriff ultimately forced her to surrender her apartment.

Click here to read more.

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6

Episcopal Church formally asserts its support of pipeline protestors

At its most recent meeting last week, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church adopted a resolution calling on government leaders at the national, state and local levels to “de-escalate military and police provocation” at the site of the protests, staged by groups naming themselves Water Protectors, against the Dakota Access Pipeline the territory of the Standing Rock Sioux nation.

Click HERE to read more.

8

Langston Hughes- “Let America be America Again”

With the presidential election just days away, it’s important to know that more than 80 years ago, in 1935, the great African American poet Langston Hughes answered those who were proclaiming “Make America Great Again” in the midst of the Great Depression. His powerful “Let America be America Again” includes these verses:
It never was America to me . . .
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.
I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!
I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.
6

Separate and Unequal Justice

America’s wealth gap has corrupted its justice. That’s the conclusion in investigative reporter Matt Taibbi’s best-selling book, “The Divide, American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap,” Why has America’s prison population more than doubled over the past 20 years, skewing heavily dark skinned and poor, while Wall Street’s epidemic of white-collar crime over the same period goes almost entirely unpunished? Blame the wealth gap. Taibbi says it has produced a hypocritical double standard of justice that harshly prosecutes the poor but lets the wealthy walk away untouched. His book, “The Divide,” is a gripping explanation of why that is. Click HERE  to see Taibbi interviewed by Bill Maher. Read a Washington Post review of his book HERE.

 

7

“We Are All Greeks Now”

Greece may be the clearest example yet of where the U.S. working class is headed. Greek workers voted NO on austerity and their will – like the will of U.S. workers – is being completely ignored. The Greek working class is being screwed because it does not have the political power to fight the big European banks and financial institutions that are using their governments to insist repayment of their loans is more important than the welfare of the Greek people. It doesn’t matter that they made predatory and usurious loans which Greece could not repay. It doesn’t matter whether there are food shortages, shortages of oil and gas, shortages of medicine and medical care. It doesn’t matter if unemployment rises until Greek workers scream for mercy. The global money managers make sure they get theirs first.

In the U.S., with the 2008 recession that was engineered by big banks and financial interests still strangling working families, workers face the same enemies the Greek people face. As we saw in the Big Bank Bailouts of 2008, we have laws that protect the ability of corporations to make profits. Huge corporations like Apple and Google are allowed to evade taxes, offshore profits and enrich themselves rather than enriching the society. No such luck for workers, who get only a broken social contract and a tattered safety net. For a stinging look at how “capitalism  . . turns everything, including human beings and the natural world, into commodities to be exploited until exhaustion or collapse,” CLICK HERE to read Chris Hedges on how “We Are All Greeks Now.”

6

Corporate Dictatorship In Oakland?

Corporate dictatorship may look like business as usual. But at its heart, it’s pressuring government officials to do what benefits business, not what benefits “we the people.”

Take Oakland CA, for example, where the city’s corporate voice, the Chamber of Commerce, has long been wary of public protests by environmentalists, Black Lives Matter demonstrators, labor union members, OurWalmart protestors, advocates for a higher minimum wage and other activists for social justice. Demonstrators have been active in Oakland’s streets and government buildings since long before Oscar Grant was shot in the back and killed by a transit policeman as he lay face down on the Fruitvale station BART platform on New Year’s Day, 2009.

CLICK HERE to see a powerful protest video, “Don’t Let Them Get Away With Murder.”

Earlier this year, after violent individuals took advantage of peaceful protest demonstrations to smash store and car windows along Broadway Auto Row, Oakland’s new mayor, Libby Schaaf, issued an order banning demonstrations after 10 p.m.

There is a federal 9th Circuit Court decision saying when unlawful conduct mixes with First Amendment activity, the proper thing is to punish the unlawful conduct, not prevent the First Amendment activity from occurring. The ACLU sued. Mayor Schaaf has not publicly rescinded her order, but has since allowed a few nighttime demonstrations. As Dr. Martin Luther King said in his last speech, made on April 3, 1968, to striking garbage workers in Memphis TN, “The greatness of America lies in the right to protest for right.”

Before the mayor’s ban on nighttime protests, Oakland closed a City Council chamber balcony after affordable housing activists shut down a Council meeting to protest the planned sale of public land to a luxury housing developer, despite city and state policies favoring affordable housing on public land.

The closed balcony meant the Council was turning away people who wanted to attend its public meetings. A union representing some city workers sued, charging that it violated city and state open meeting laws. It took an order from an Alameda Superior Court Judge for the public to regain access to what by law is a public proceeding.

In Alameda County, where Oakland is located, the district attorney’s office is keeping mum about its plans to acquire a half-million-dollar device capable of locating and tracking your cellphone. The East Bay Express reports that the DA has signed a non-disclosure agreement with the manufacturer, and there is no guarantee that the tracking device works as claimed. CLICK HERE to read the East Bay Express article, “Alameda County DA Seeks Controversial Surveillance Device.”

0

What About The Kids?

With more than 1% of U.S. adults in prison or jail, what happens to their children? A recent meeting of the Alameda County Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership (ACCIPP) discussed issues growing out of the staggering number of arrested parents.

As Michelle Alexander points out in her book, “The New Jim Crow,” nearly a third of black men are likely to spend some time in prison, only to find themselves permanently stigmatized second-class citizens after they are released. Her book argues that the “War on Drugs” which filled America’s prisons with disproportionate numbers of African Americans and low income people, was really a continuation of a race war by other means, a social control program aimed at pushing back the gains of the Civil Rights Movement.

The Chronicle of Social Change reported that in a survey of 100 children of incarcerated parents conducted in San Francisco by Project WHAT!, 43 percent of the children had witnessed their parent’s arrest, and of those, 51 percent witnessed violence or abuse by an officer against their parent at the time of arrest.

“Because their parents are often stigmatized and demonized, it prevents people from understanding that these kids are like all kids in many ways, and they’re unlike all kids in many ways,” said Carol Burton in an interview with The Chronicle of Social Change. Burton is co-chair and coordinator of ACCIPP.

To read the Chronicle of Social Change story on the meeting, CLICK HERE

 

0

How Corporate Dictatorship Works

It Ruined Greece, Now It’s Ruining The U.S. Economy for Workers

WEAP stands in solidarity with the Greek attempt to support the needs of human beings, not the profits of rich corporations. When the world’s global money managers forced Greece to impose austerity on the Greek people, they were just making sure that rich elites and international corporations could profit from pushing the Greek economy into failure. Calls for austerity and privatization in the U.S. are doing the same thing, making sure that corporations benefit at the expense of the rest of us. Click HERE to read how a tiny handful of super-wealthy financial corporations dictated the ruin of the Greek economy. In the U.S., the corporate dictatorship that has captured the allegiance of both major political parties is pushing similar austerity measures on U.S. workers. Why? Because the microchips and algorithms of the electronic revolution allow them to produce goods – and increasingly services – with less and less human labor. They don’t need workers anymore, so they don’t want to feed, clothe, educate, house or provide benefits for workers they don’t need. The Greek people are saying no more, we’ve had enough, we will not accept this trashing of our workers and our families by Global money managers intent on enriching global corporations. The question is whether U.S. workers will continue to enrich a tiny clique, and continue to fuel the corporate dictatorship, or use the power of the robot revolution to meet human needs for the good of the entire society.  Read more details here: Greece-What You are not Being Told by the Media.

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