Monday, August 21, 2017

Renegotiating NAFTA Will Only Serve the Rich -- Just Like It Always Has

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
Monday, August 21, 2017
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect at midnight on January  1,1994. That night, thousands of Indigenous Mayans rose up in arms in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, seizing at least five towns and declaring NAFTA a "death certificate" for people like themselves. This was just the beginning of Mexico's troubles in a year that brought countless protests, hotly disputed elections and the assassinations of two of the then-ruling party's leaders. 1994 ended with a sudden devaluation of the peso, the start of an economic collapse from which the country didn't recover fully for years.

NAFTA is back in the news this month: On August 16, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer met with his counterparts from Canada and Mexico, the other two NAFTA nations, to open talks on renegotiating the pact.

While it's true that NAFTA was just one of the many problems Mexico had in the 1990s, we have to wonder, given the renewed focus on the trade accord, why US mainstream media have carried so little discussion of the events that accompanied NAFTA's rollout in Mexico.[…]

Read the full article:


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Are liberals having second thoughts about immigration?

For Democratic politicians and pundits this resistance to Trump might at first have seemed like a good thing, but Beinart’s article and the reaction to it suggest that liberals are starting to have second thoughts.
Anti-Trump Protesters in New York. Photo: Marty Goodma
By David L. Wilson, MRonline
July 3, 2017
On June 20 The Atlantic posted an article by Peter Beinart claiming that the Democrats had “lost their way on immigration.”

Beinart is a respected liberal centrist—of the sort that supported the 2003 Iraq invasion until it started going bad—so the article created a stir among opinion makers. Rightwingers at Breitbart and National Review gloated. Liberals took Beinart’s thesis to heart: Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum endorsed the article, and Thomas Edsall quoted it in the New York Times. A Chicago Tribune columnist cited it as an “important essay.”

It’s true that Beinart makes some good points.[…]

Read the full article:

Friday, March 3, 2017

What Do ICE Raids Mean for the Rest of Us?

By David L. Wilson, MR Online
March 2, 2017 

The national sweeps by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in the second week of February drew a great deal of media attention. Some of the coverage was devoted to analyzing whether the arrests of about 680 immigrants marked the start of a massive deportation campaign by the Trump administration. Some focused on the impact the raids had on the immigrants themselves and on their families, which often include U.S. citizens and green card holders. But there wasn’t much discussion about the impact of the raids on other working people—on citizens without immigrant friends or relatives.

For example, how much did these raids cost taxpayers?[...]

Read the full article:
https://mronline.org/2017/03/02/what-do-ice-raids-mean-for-the-rest-of-us/


Monday, January 23, 2017

Labor Organizing in 2017: Looking Beyond Trump's Lies on Jobs

If we think of manufacturing as a source of good jobs now, it's only because working people made it that way -- angry, militant working people who united to fight the bosses and the politicians.

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
January 22, 2017

Donald Trump's well-publicized deal with the Carrier Corporation last fall was "wildly popular" with US voters, according to Politico. A survey by Politico/Morning Consult on December 1 and 2, 2016, found 60 percent of respondents viewing Trump more favorably because of the November 30 agreement, which the real estate mogul claimed would save 1,100 jobs that the air-conditioner manufacturer had been planning to move from Indiana to a facility in Mexico.

As so often is the case, reality didn't match up with the president's assertions. The actual number of jobs saved turned out to be more like 730, and the deal involved a $7 million tax break for Carrier, a brand of United Technologies Corporation. Chuck Jones, the president of the Steelworkers local at the affected plant, told The Washington Post that Trump "lied his ass off." More recent claims that Trump has already started saving US jobs are equally questionable. But Trump's duplicity is nothing new; there's a more important problem with the popularity of Trump's Carrier deal. The focus on trade and offshored jobs is distracting us from the main issue: the jobs we still have.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/39102-labor-organizing-in-2017-looking-beyond-trump-s-lies-on-jobs

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Moving Beyond Bernie Sanders' "Political Revolution"

Just as the Sanders campaign didn't arise in a vacuum, there's no reason to expect it will leave a vacuum behind it.

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
June 29, 2016

It's been an astonishing year for the US left. Issues that mainstream politicians would have declared "off the table" just 12 months ago -- free public higher education, universal health care, the $15 minimum wage, a national ban on fracking -- are now acceptable topics for public discussion. A US politician who declared himself a socialist won more than 12 million votes, and even dared to advocate equitable treatment for Palestinians.

Bernie Sanders' campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination has accomplished more than most of us could have imagined a year ago. But what happens now that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are almost certain to be our "choices" in the fall?[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/36602-moving-beyond-bernie-sanders-political-revolution

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Textile Workers Mobilize in Haiti for Minimum Wage Adjustment — Press Conference

By PLASIT, via Workers Struggle
April 19, 2016

Press Conference on April 14, 2016

Greetings to all our media friends, print as well as television, that come to provide coverage for the conference that PLASIT, which is Textile Plants Union Platform, to launch the mobilization for the minimum wage adjustment for the year 2015-2016. In PLASIT, we notice that 8 months following the beginning of the fiscal year, the Supreme Salary Council finally made recommendations to the government just as it did for the past 2 years. Thus, the Council has adopted a bad habit of not respecting what is stated in Article 4.1 in the Law of 2009 on the minimum wage.

In the Supreme Salary Council, it’s mainly delaying tactics and plots going on. Management and the two so-called union representatives in the Council are dragging their feet so that management may continue to steal several months of workers’ wages. So, management will have more leeway to continue to pay workers measly wages.[...]

Read full press release:
http://www.workersstruggle.org/textile-workers-mobilize-haiti-minimum-wage-adjustment/
Watch video (in Creole):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oka6qxkqSI

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Are Sanders and Fair Trade a Threat to the Global Poor?

By David L. Wilson, MRzine
April 13, 2016

On April 24, 2013, some 1,134 people died in the collapse of the Rana Plaza complex outside Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. The building housed factories where low-wage workers, largely women, stitched garments for the U.S. and European markets.

For several years before the disaster a number of U.S. opinion makers -- notably New York Times columnists Thomas Friedman and Nicholas Kristof -- had been arguing that assembly plants like those at Rana Plaza were crucial to the development of economies in the Global South and therefore a boon to the world's most impoverished. The media's efforts to promote sweatshops suddenly slowed down after the collapse in Bangladesh, but they seem to be reviving now, just as we approach the third anniversary of the disaster.

The occasion for the new pro-sweatshop campaign is Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' opposition to trade pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).[...]

Read the full article:
http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2016/wilson130416.html