Christopher Bosso on Food Assistance, Barbara Briggs on Workplace Disasters

This week on CounterSpin: Government-supplied food assistance has been around in various forms since at least the Great Depression, but never with the straightforward goal of easing hunger. 1930s posters about food stamps declare, “We are helping the farmers of America move surplus foods”; that link between agriculture industry support and nutrition assistance continues to this day—which partly explains why the primary food aid program, SNAP, while the constant target of the anti-poor, racist, drown-government-in-the-bathtub crowd, keeps on keeping on. We talk with Christopher Bosso, professor of public policy and politics at Northeastern University, the author of a new book on that history, called Why SNAP Works: A Political History—and Defense—of the Food Stamp Program.

 Also on the show: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911, in which 146 mainly immigrant women and girls died, many leaping from windows to escape the flames, horrified New Yorkers and galvanized the workers’ rights movement. The October 11 unveiling of a monument to those who didn’t just die, but were killed that day, put many in mind of how much still needs to change before we can think of things like Triangle Shirtwaist as relics of a crueler past.

In 2015, CounterSpin spoke with Barbara Briggs of the Institute for Global Labor and Human Rights about Rana Plaza, the 2013 catastrophe that killed more than a thousand workers in Bangladesh, in circumstances that in some ways echoed those of 102 years earlier. We’ll hear that interview again today.

Transcript: ‘Workers Are the Best Guarantors of Their Own Safety When They’re Organized’

 Plus Janine Jackson takes a quick look at some recent press coverage of Net Neutrality.

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