“Now we’re finally seeing these victories and we should not discount them at all, but we have to remember the real principle of worker organizing is building worker power, that the workers have to be the ones who decide and take the initiative. That’s not happening at all; this is very much stage managed.”
– Arun Gupta, journalist and a founding editor of New York City’s Indypendent newspaper, on “Fight for 15” minimum wage efforts and the larger issues to consider in building a true workers’ movement.
Listen to the entire program using these links, or to individual interviews via the links appearing prior to each segment description below.
It’s been almost three years since the movement for a living wage burst into protest, first in New York City and then in dozens of other cities and towns across the U.S. In its short life span, the national campaign for a hike in the minimum wage has seen significant victories, including announcements from fast-food giant McDonald’s and America’s largest retailers, Walmart and Target, announcing they would increase the base pay for their lowest paid employees. Elsewhere, 11 states have legislated minimum wage increases and major cities, including Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles have passed measures that will phase in a $15 hourly wage. Story continues
Connecticut recently made headlines when the state Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to carry out the death sentences of 11 men on death row after the state abolished the death penalty in 2012. When the legislature passed and the governor signed a bill that banned capital punishment in 2012, the measure exempted those inmates already sentenced to death. But on Aug. 13, the state’s highest court ruled that the death penalty was “cruel and unusual punishment” and the 11 men awaiting execution will have their sentences converted to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Story continues
While world attention understandably has been focused on the bloody wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen that have produced a massive wave of immigration to Europe not seen in many decades, the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict goes on. Flashpoints of violence between Israelis and Palestinians rise to the surface on a regular basis, symbolizing the failure of multiple international efforts to resolve this conflict since the founding of Israel as a nation-state in 1948. Story continues
This week’s summary of under-reported news
Compiled by Bob Nixon
- Despite warnings issued by the British Labour Party establishment, veteran backbencher and Socialist Jeremy Corbyn is the top contender to lead the Labour Party on a strong anti-austerity agenda and skepticism of foreign military intervention. (“What is Jeremy Corbyn’s programme for government,” BBC News, Aug. 15, 2015; “Corbynites: Labour’s chorus of no,” Huffington Post UK, Sept. 1, 2015; “Jeremy Corbyn: Labour membership will determine policy, not me,” Guardian, Aug. 27, 2015)
- Florida’s entire Republican establishment, from Gov. Rick Scott to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush, all dismiss the threat of manmade climate change to the Sunshine State. Yet, Eric Carpenter, head of the Miami Beach Department of Public Works is paying close attention to tidal surge. (“Holding back the Sea,” Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 9, 2015)
- Resistance from heavy industry and Republicans in Congress has led to a standoff in implementing new occupational health standards, which could endanger the lives of thousands of workers. (“The campaign to weaken worker protections,” Center for Public Integrity, June 29, 2015)