Business interests foil Worker Bill of Rights

December 2015

A volunteer for the Worker Bill of Rights campaign distributes flyers calling for desperately needed raises in Spokane. Photo: Courtesy of Sagi Bresgal Spokane, Wash., the second largest city in the state, saw a fight this year for a first-in-the-nation initiative guaranteeing basic worker rights. Despite being outspent by 12-to-1, the Worker Bill of Rights… Read more »

In defense of rent control

December 2015

Boston residents protesting housing conditions march along Charles St. in Fields Corner. Photo: Wendy Maeda / Globe staff From San Francisco to cosmopolitan New York City, urban tenants are beleaguered by soaring rents and the anxiety of how to keep a roof over their heads. Several generations pack into one apartment or house trying to… Read more »

How Wall Street and US colonialism created Puerto Rico’s debt crisis

December 2015

Thousands of government workers protested proposed cuts to education and freezing of public union wages and hiring in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Sept. 11, 2015. Photo: Alvin Baez / Reuters Most tourists see Puerto Rico as a care-free island paradise. But while visiting in 2014, this author heard from workers what life was really… Read more »

New course needed to deliver change for Nepal’s poor

Summer/Autumn 2010

As 2009 drew to a close, the class struggle in Nepal continued to escalate. Several General Strikes – including a 3-day strike in the capital, Kathmandu, starting on 20 December – closed factories and markets and kept vehicles off the streets. Thousands of supporters of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) marched in torch-lit… Read more »

Workers and young people paying for Australia’s economic slump

Winter/Spring 2009

Now into its third year, the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) shows no sign of abating. In fact the World Bank recently revised an already gloomy forecast downwards. It now predicts a 2.9% contraction in the global economy and a 10% reduction in planet-wide trade in 2009. The news is not much better for 2010, either,… Read more »

Wage increases do not cause inflation!

Winter/Spring 2008

For months, the Rudd government has been repeating the same economic message: the “inflation genie,” it tells us is, “out of the bottle” and so a “wages breakout” must be avoided at all costs to stem inflation. But this argument is bogus. Demands that wages be held down, coupled with pressure on the Fair Pay… Read more »

Big trouble for workers as crisis hits world’s largest economy

Winter/Spring 2008

Forget the glitzy façade and look at the United States from an average person’s perspective. Setbacks, catastrophe, and ruin are hitting working people from every direction. The economy has been worsening since 2001, but the first half of 2008 brought enormous price increases, accelerated loss of homes, floods, massive layoffs, and spiking unemployment. The government’s… Read more »

Housing: soaring costs hit home

Winter/Spring 2008

There’s a monumental housing crisis in Australia. Rents are skyrocketing and vacancy rates are the lowest on record, pushing desperate tenants to resort to unofficial rent auctions. In 1996 the cost of buying a house was four times the average wage. By 2007 it had jumped to seven times. Three hundred thousand households are currently… Read more »

Red Earth: Don’t forget the cities!

Summer/Autumn 2008

Hands up who hasn’t had a gripe about one or more of the following, lately: roads, public transport, schools, hospitals, housing, water shortages, power/gas supplies, telecommunications? A lot of raised hands, I guess! All of these are examples of the essential infrastructure that keeps our cities and towns going. Their failure is an important environmental… Read more »