Today marks my first post for the NYC-based, Hot Indie News megablog, curated by award-winning independent media producer and Green Party/Black Lives Matter activist James Lane.
It’s a recap of a Left Forum talk by Jane McAlevey, who everyone should know about!
Jane McAlevey puts the “movement” in “labor movement”. She worked for unions for a decade, including four years in a “right to work” state (aka “right to work for less”) helping hospital workers win victories for themselves and their patients in an era characterized by concessions to the bosses. McAlevey’s memoir/gonzo case study anthology Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell) (Verso) was reissued in paperback just over a year ago this past May, and she participated in a panel a couple of weeks ago at the annual Left Forum conference where she outlined a recent paper for the Socialist Register and announced the working title of her next book — No Shortcuts.
If you are not familiar with McAlevey’s work, over the last few years she has become one of the Left’s most incisive commentators on labor and grassroots struggles. By pursuing a PhD and publishing her memoir, McAlevey has translated her credibility and experiences as a field organizer into respect as a scholar and strategist from both academia and popular Left media outlets (Behind The News on Pacifica radio, GritTV with Laura Flanders, The Real News, In These Times, The Nation). Listening to or reading McAlevey is exciting because she talks about the Left “building power” and “winning” in ways that are ambitious but not at all sentimental or sounding like bravado. McAlevey talks fast, thinks sharp and is relentless in her mission to stop the Left from repeating the same mistakes of the last 35 years.
Read more at HotIndieNews.com…
As the teachers walked the picket lines, this profession dominated by women was demonized (and continues to be, with the anti-teachers-union movie Won’t Back Down in theaters as I write). Both major political parties supported wage cuts and “accountability” in the form of standardized testing and less job security. There was no public outcry as there was when, for example, Susan G. Komen for the Cure™ yanked its funding from Planned Parenthood. This, despite the fact that some 81 percent of elementary and middle-school teachers are women. Gloria Steinem did send a glowing endorsement of the strike, identifying herself as a co-founder of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, but prominent feminist blogs gave little or no space to the strike specifics.
On September 30, California governor Jerry Brown vetoed a historic bill, the second in the country after New York, that would have given domestic workers labor protections similar to those enjoyed by most other workers. Domestic work has long been a site of feminist analysis as well as organizing, yet even in 2012, the year of the “war on women” as Democratic politicians reminded us in fundraising emails, a Democratic governor felt safe vetoing protections for mostly-women workers. “What will be the economic and human impact on the disabled or elderly person and their family of requiring overtime, rest and meal periods for attendants who provide 24 hour care?” Brown’s statement asked, after he lauded their “noble endeavor.” “What would be the additional costs and what is the financial capacity of those taking care of loved ones in the last years of life?”
Domestic workers, Brown seemed to say, are less important than the people they care for. Feminists know that story all too well.
via Trickle-Down Feminism | Dissent Magazine. Tip from Doug Henwood’s Facebook feed.
BAR: “Fletcherism and Fakery: Guarding Obama’s Left Flank”
The great fallacy, here, is that Democratic presidents in general, and Obama in particular, somehow create “space” for progressive activism. Movements create space for themselves, by acting. Only charlatans preach that progressive movements must install preferred personalities from the menus of the ruling circles before they can find space to move.