On the Road with Michael and Karen
As some of you know, my wife and I retired from the world of regular wage labor in the Spring of 2001. Since then we have lived in many places, the last being Portland, Oregon. We spent fourteen months in Portland, along with our twin sons. We were attracted to this city because we wanted to see the Northwest and because of the publicity it has received as an environmentally conscious urban area with a very liberal politics. While the city is surrounded by a green belt of parks, fine for hiking, and while great trees and beautiful flowers abound, Portland’s reputation for liberal politics is mostly myth. Unemployment is very high, wages are low, and workers are treated poorly. One of my sons, a talented chef, was paid a wage much less than half of what he had earned in Pittsburgh and is now earning in Washington, DC., which included several one-day strikes with mass picketing He seldom worked full-time, and the manager of his last employer routinely went on the company com puter and stole hours from workers, a practice which I have come to learn is commonplace in the United States. Working people are almost never mentioned in the local newspapers or discussed by leading politicians. A valiant struggle by unionized workers at the famous Powell’s bookstore, which featured several one-day strikes and mass picketing, got no publicity at all. The labor movement, such as it is, is all but invisible.… [Parts 1-5]
William H. Hinton (1919 –2004)
William H. Hinton died in the early morning of Saturday, 15th of May. 2004. He was born in Chicago in 1919. At the age of 17 he worked his way to the Far East. Without money, he supported himself by washing dishes, and then got a job for six months as a reporter on an English language newspaper in Japan. He continued his travels by way of Japanese occupied Korea and Northeast China, then through the USSR to Poland and Germany, and finally returned to the United States by working as a deckhand on an American freighter
Can the Working Class Change the World?
Radicals of every stripe believe that capitalist economies are incompatible with human liberation. That is, while human beings have enormous capacities to think and to do, capitalism prevents the vast majority of people from developing these capacities. Therefore if we want a society in which the full flowering of human competencies can become a reality, we will have to bring capitalism to an end and replace it with something radically different
Memorial Service for Paul Marlor Sweezy (1910-2004)
Referred to by The Wall Street Journal in 1972 as “the ‘dean’ of radical economists,” Paul M. Sweezy was, in the words of John Kenneth Galbraith, “the most noted American Marxist scholar” of the second half of the twentieth century.1 Sweezy’s intellectual influence, which was global in its reach, lay chiefly in two areas: as a leading radical economist (and sociologist), and as the principal originator of a distinct North American brand of socialist thought in his position as co-founder and co-editor of Monthly Review magazine. Like both Marx and Schumpeter, to whose thought his work was closely related, Sweezy provided a historical analysis and crtique of capitalist economic development, encompassing a theory of the origins, development and eventual decline of the system.