Friday, May 01, 2015

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Bill McKibben argues that Bernie Sanders' run for the presidency should have massive positive impacts extending far beyond both Sanders' central theme of inequality, and international borders to boot. And Salon interviews Joseph Stiglitz as to how inequality and the economy will affect the 2016 presidential campaign.

- Hannah Giorgis writes that a more fair economic system is a must in order to address historical racial inequities in the U.S.:
To stifle a community slowly, without the decisive replay value of a chokehold, you criminalize poverty while withholding the resources needed to escape it. There are many quiet ways to rob someone of breath.

Across the US, racial and ethnic wealth gaps continue to increase, climbing to record highs even as the economy slowly churns out of a recession. In 2013, the poverty rate among white Americans was 9.6%; among black Americans the number jumped to a whopping 27.2%. The wealth of white American households in 2010 was eight times the median wealth of black households; by 2013 it had risen to 13 times greater.

And that gap grows in no small part because of the intertwining forms of economic discrimination that target black communities – a complex web of racist housing policy that creates intergenerational poverty, education practices that funnel black students into prisons and out of classrooms and an economic climate that offers primarily low-wage jobs in lieu of better-paying work.
Addressing economic discrimination is a multi-pronged struggle that affects every arena of black life; our lives are informed by the complex, violent circumstances that shape black oppression. There is no racial justice without economic justice: we can’t breathe if we can’t eat.
- Of course, Canada has its own shameful divide which demands immediate action. On that front, Dene Moore reports on the glaring gap between the Cons' international spin and their utter disregard for First Nations at home. But Chinta Puxley's report on the plight of the Shoal Lake First Nation - which has no means of bringing in food or water now that its lone ferry has failed an inspection - offers a stark reminder of how far there is left to go. And the cynical attempts of governments to buy off First Nations on the condition that they'll cheerlead for the tar sands (rather than ensuring sustainable development and sharing of resources) can only make matters worse.

- Meanwhile, Roderick Benns interviews Hugh Segal as to why a basic income makes sense to combat poverty and ensure a fair level of dignity for all regardless of one's ideological leanings.

- Finally, Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig notes that younger workers are more supportive of unions than earlier generations, suggesting that opinion may be shifting back in favour of organized labour even as laws are regularly torqued to undermine it. Duncan Cameron addresses the pushback from Canada's public sector unions against the latest round of attacks. And Hugh MacKenzie and Richard Shillington study the importance of unions in ensuring broad prosperity.

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