Friday, December 11, 2015

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Les Leopold rightly argues that financial and political elites won't offer a more fair distribution of wealth or power unless they're forced to do so:
Right now, we lack a robust mass movement with the power to reclaim our economy and our democracy to make it work for the 99 percent.

Instead, we have thousands of individual groups working on every issue from racking to a living wage. We have unions fighting for their members and worker centers fighting for immigrant rights. We have protests ranging from Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter to climate justice. We have hundreds of progressive websites and jour nals to cover all this activity. But we do not have a coherent national movement with a clear and bold agenda that links us together.

We will show that runaway inequality is at the root of many of the problems we face, including the meteoric and disastrous rise of the financial sector, defunding of the public sector, environmental destruction, increased racial discrimination, the gender gap in wages and the rise of our mammoth prison population. And we will posit that if we share a clear understanding of runaway inequality - and the basic economic situation we face - we can begin to build a common, broad-based movement for fundamental economic justice that will take on America's economic elites.

The political system will not move unless we organize on a mass level like the Populists did over a hundred years ago, like the trade union movement did in the 1930s and like the Civil Rights movement did in the 1950s and 1960s.

Some liberal economists and politicians appeal to the self-interest of the super-rich. They argue that the rich would be (even) better off if they would just allow a fairer distribution of income and wealth. We disagree. Expecting the wealthy to help us secure basic fairness is a losing proposition.

Economic elites will only give up power and wealth when they're forced to do so by a powerful social movement.
- And Luke Savage notes that part of the problem lies in our acceptance of a withered conception of rights - as the economic and social rights recognized through much of the 20th century have never been given effect, and are now seldom treated as such.

- Philip Cohen and Jeff Spross both respond to a patronizing attempt to complicate the issue of poverty - Cohen by focusing on the ability to provide enough income to wipe out poverty at the source, and Spross by highlighting the potential effect of full-employment policies as well. And Bill Tieleman argues that we shouldn't have to rely on food banks and other charities to meet basic needs, especially on a systemic basis.

- Finally, the Star decries the misuse of cabinet secrecy to hide government operations from the public. And Claire Wahlen reports on the years of work required to identify and reverse the attacks on Canadian privacy implemented by the Harper Cons.

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