Category Archives: Healthcare

Retail Rebellion

Reinventing Organized Labor in the Walmart Economy

January 15, 2013

First published at The Neoprogressive. Also published at Counterpunch and Common Dreams.

In 1962, Arkansas businessman Sam Walton opened the first Walmart discount store, setting in motion the rapid ascendance of a corporate giant that would redefine markets around the world. With its focus on competitive prices and vast distribution networks that revolutionized the industry, Walmart grew over the course of the 20th century to become the world’s largest company.

Today, its retail empire covers 15 countries with over 8,900 stores employing 2.2 million people. Like all empires, its success is built on contradictions and exploitation. Read the rest of this entry

Labor Needs a Different Kind of “Ground Game”

November 20, 2012

Published at Common Dreams and CounterPunch.

After suffering almost two years of ramped up union-busting, the labor movement came out swinging in the recent elections. It swung its hardest in swing states like Ohio, delivering the 2012 presidential election to President Obama and propelling other labor-endorsed candidates to office.

Labor’s decisive role in reelecting Obama and boosting dozens of other Democrats in key races was acknowledged in the national press. And it was acknowledged by labor. Read the rest of this entry

Decision 2012: Austerity vs. Austerity

November 6, 2012

As this year’s election finally reaches its conclusion, working-class people will soon know who will drive the agenda of austerity over the next four years. Whether it’s Obama or Romney, the underlying priorities remain the same, and at the center of those priorities is a commitment to cut the deficit on the backs of workers and the poor.

Up to this point, the campaigning on either side has sought to lead voters into a state of mind in which substance and style bleed together as one. Because beyond style, both Obama and Romney share more in common on policy than they disagree. Even if Democrats and Republicans differ on how to get there, the goal is the same: safeguard the dominance of corporate power and point to the deficit as reason enough to march forward with the assault on the working class.  Read the rest of this entry

Solidarity Strikes, a DREAM Decree and “Obamacare” – June in Review

June 28, 2012

A new writing job in the labor movement has kept me from writing my own material more frequently both here at Subterranean Dispatches and other publications. 

While I hope to produce a new piece in the near future, for now I’d like to feature some outside anaylsis on important developments in the month of June - including inspiring solidarity pickets that spread around the country among Teamster sanitation workers and some insights on Obama’s recent executive order protecting 800,000 undocumented youth from the threat of deportation.

But first my take on healthcare reform…

Stepping Away from Single-Payer

In one of the most high-profile Supreme Court cases in recent history and a fever-pitched media event, the country’s highest court closed out the month of June with a decision on the Obama administration’s healthcare reform law. The decision is understood as being hugely historic on both the right and the left. But there was a lot of confusion about the substance of the verdict that the Supreme Court finally handed down on the Affordable Care Act. Read the rest of this entry

Labor Politics and the Captive Electorate of 2012

March 14, 2012 

Published at Common Dreams and CounterPunch.

Back in 2010, Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.5 million-member American Federation of Teachers (AFT), lashed out at President Obama who she said was part of the “blame the teacher crowd” of education reform.

“I never thought I’d see a Democratic president, whom we helped elect, and his education secretary applaud the mass firing of 89 teachers and staff,” she said – referring to the firing of all teachers at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island earlier that year.

Last month, the AFT executive council unanimously voted to endorse Obama for reelection. Read the rest of this entry

Remembering Pittston: 99 Strikers who Occupied before Occupy

December 15, 2011

Published at Counterpunch, Common Dreams and Socialist Worker.

After a year of revolutions, strikes, and protest occupations, a new era of struggle has shifted the political landscape. Workers and the poor have taken to the streets, occupying public squares and striking across the globe – from Egypt to Greece to cities across the U.S.

In particular, the Occupy movement in the U.S. has helped to mainstream radical critiques of the capitalist system. The movement’s bold tactics have terrified the ruling one percent, which has lashed out violently to protect its power and wealth from the fury of the 99 percent.

When it comes to breaking the rules of the one percent, a natural yet complicated alliance between Occupy and the labor movement offers today’s new struggle against economic inequality historical lessons written by the organized working class. Long before Occupy, the labor movement shaped a tradition of militancy in the United States – a tradition of factory occupations and civil disobedience in the fight for justice and workers power. Read the rest of this entry