Every two weeks, we send out a summary and links to books, articles and papers that have caught our eye.
The topics are mainly organising, work, unions, technology, economics, superannuation and tax.
We needed a brief interlude from elections so this edition is an election-free zone.
Australia's leaders don't even try to understand the working poor
Instead they continue to believe that money measures worth and moral character – with the Covid income supplements a particularly telling demonstration of this.
How Sky News quietly became Australia’s biggest news channel on social media
It’s time to stop laughing about how few people watch Sky After Dark. It’s a digital juggernaut with a huge – and very engaged - online audience.
On union-busting in the reproductive and gender justice space.
Australia's biggest companies are being run by a 'directors' club'
Study confirms the boys club is alive and well with more than a third of vacancies on top 300 listed company boards filled by directors of other companies.
Journalism Serves Democracy. That’s Us.
A challenge (from a journalist) for journalists and media outlets to embrace and empathise with their audiences in order to better hold the powerful to account.
What is AI?
The answer is a little more complicated than you may think so the MIT Technology Review has drawn you a flowchart to work it out.
Nazi Hippies: When the New Age and Far Right Overlap
The odd overlap between the Far Right and the New Age around the 'plandemic' is not a new phenomenon.
Slowdown in productivity growth compounded by COVID-19
The pandemic is compounding the slowdown, with profound implications for development outcomes. A comprehensive broad-based approach is necessary to rekindle productivity.
After a bit of a hiatus, Reads is (finally!) back. Here are some of the articles, books, recordings and podcasts that have piqued our interests over the last little while.
Is a Job Guarantee the Answer?
ANU’s Adam Triggs looks at why this old idea has struggled to garner widespread support – and it’s not just the associated cost.
TL;DR probably not. (TL)
Thinking for the Long Term
Podcast on some really interesting thinking about how to set up for the future and not be captured by what is in front of you. (KC)
Netroots Nation goes online
Netroots Nation is the largest conference for progressives in the US. It took place online this year and a bunch of the panels and keynotes are now available to view online. There are some pretty interesting conversations happening in response to the current wild ride that is life in the US. (MH)
Persistence through Revolutions
Paper looking at inequality and socioeconomic status in China and the longer term impacts of the efforts to eradicate inequality.
TL;DR despite the Revolutions, the (families of the) old elites have become the new elites in China. (TL)
The Wilful Blindness of Reactionary Liberalism
The critics of progressive identity politics have got it all wrong: They’re the illiberal ones. (TL)
Disadvantage in Australia is more varied and complex than many people think
New research shows the importance of going beyond income to include factors such as education and health when looking at poverty and disadvantage in Australia. (TL)
The scariest thing about global warming (and Covid-19)
On the need to remember what we’ve lost in order to avoid “shifting baselines syndrome”. (KC)
Evangelicals are looking for answers online. They’re finding QAnon instead.
How the growing pro-Trump QAnon movement is capturing American Evangelicals. Interesting look at the latest version of the “Satanic panic” and how increased online engagement, the pandemic, and a US election campaign are combining to fuel wild conspiracy theories. (MH)
Tech companies and the smoke screen of progressive language
Workers are getting better at fighting the corporate gaslighting of supposedly “progressive” tech and gaming companies. (TL)
Carbon pricing works
Just in case it wasn’t already glaringly obvious, the largest ever study puts it beyond doubt. (TL)
The Challenge Civil Rights Giants Leave Us
An inspiring article - an obituary in effect – and so many reminders of why we can’t give up. And perhaps a reminder that whilst many of us think of the American Christian community only in terms of the conservative right wing of the Evangelicals - there remains a strong tranche of Christians who seek and who have always sought to make the world a better place for everyone. (KC)
State ownership will gain importance as a result of COVID-19
Wonky economic analysis looking at the impacts of increased state ownership stemming from government bailouts as a result of the pandemic. (TL)
THE EIGHTIES ARE BACK BABY! (OR ARE THEY?)
Are we in Accord?
In a week when various sensible centrist types got very excited about the prospect of some meetings between the unions, government and employers, there were some very bad pieces published. This from ANU’s Frank Bongiorno, is excellent on why we are in “Accord 2.0” territory.
Assessing the Accord and Labour’s Role in Neoliberalism
*Warning self-promotion!* Coincidentally, this week saw the release of the Roundtable Edition Of the Journal of Labour History on Dr Elizabeth Humphrys’ book How Labour Built Neoliberalism: Australia’s Accord, the Labour Movement and the Neoliberal Project. It includes an essay by Tim responding to Liz’s work. Full journal (paywall) here.
Universal Basic Income seems to improve employment and well-being
A study of Finland’s two year pilot of a UBI involving 2,000 unemployed people has concluded that it boosts recipients’ mental and financial well-being, as well as modestly improving employment.
The powerful case for a participation income
Uni of Queensland Professor John Quiggin writes on the need to take JobSeeker and JobKeeper to their logical conclusion now that the pandemic has demonstrated the dead end of "workplace reform."
Don’t join, Organise: On the limits of employment law
As “any trade union activist will tell you, a law, or even a union card, is not always much protection without collective power.”
Covid Life and the Asset Economy
Many Covid frontline essential workers are amongst the lowest paid in Anglo-capitalist societies. Before the pandemic, these workers’ jobs were a means of survival. Now, these pay-cheque to pay-cheque survival jobs are also sites of danger. Piece explores how relationships to assets, and especially to residential property, are central in shaping how Covid lives can and are being lived.
“We Should Be Prepared for Incredible Waves of Mass Protest”
Longtime social movements scholar Frances Fox Piven on organising the unemployed under coronavirus, and why breaking rules and disrupting business as usual are central to making social change.
Economic dignity and financial capabilities
Brotherhood of St Laurence paper develops the concept of economic dignity as a guiding principle which can be used to understand financialisaton is impacting the economic, social, and political context which people must navigate.
Is the Pandemic China’s Sputnik Moment?
When the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite, in October 1957, Washington finally understood that the Soviet Union was a formidable also a technological and military rival. The COVID-19 pandemic may be China’s unlikely Sputnik moment.
Antitrust-Plus: Evaluating Additional Policies to Tackle Labor Monopsony
Labor market monopsony exists when firms can wield outsized power to offer lower wages. US Roosevelt Institute paper catalogues and evaluate the labour interventions policymakers could pursue to deal with it.
Online to Offline Organising Course - new dates
In partnership with United for Respect, Reveille is running another Online to Offline Organising training for progressive organisers and campaigners. This is a modified version of the UNITED for RESPECT Online to Offline war room trainings we have been running for the past two years, with great participant engagement and satisfaction.
Ok, we have been very, very slack with Reads, but we are back! And naturally enough, in the time of COVID-19, this edition focusses on the pandemic and the workplace impacts it’s having.
What History can tell us about Epidemics.
Can we learn from history about how diseases spread, and how we respond to them? (TL)
Bangladesh’s New Generation Of Women-Led Labor Unions Confronts The Pandemic
The solutions to the pandemic being found by the country’s 4 million garment workers. (KC)
Economics in the time of COVID-19: “central banks can’t come up with vaccines.”
A new eBook analyses the aggregate demand and an aggregate supply shock of the pandemic. Wonky. (TL)
Amazon sick-out Unites Tech and Warehouse Workers in Protest
More great work from our comrades at United for Respect. A coalition of groups organises workers to call in sick on Friday, weeks after Amazon fired two prominent activists. (TB)
It's just started: The Pandemic Means We Need Ongoing Stimulus.
“We'll need war bonds, and stimulus on a scale not seen in our lifetimes.” Excellent piece on the economic policy settings we will need for economic recovery from COVID-19. (TL)
Turning Worker Anger Into Worker Power
The pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of millions of workers to the nation—and to the workers themselves. But are unions seizing this opportunity to build a new kind of power? Article is part of a broader symposium “The Future of Labor” with some quality pieces. (KC & TL)
Coronavirus Has Caused More than 150 Strikes
Map of underpaid workers in impossible positions fighting back. (TB)
Coronavirus energizes the labor movement. Can it last?
Janitors, nurses, hotel workers, fast food workers and more striking and demonstrating in California.
Immigration In Australia.
Following Senator Keneally’s dog-whistling call to restrict immigration after the pandemic, two very good rejoinders: immigrants create jobs and why we need immigration to emerge from the crisis. (TL)
The Myth of the Progressive Boss
There has been some really interesting organising among digital media outlets in the US. But even the “progressive” bosses tend to react like any old boss when their staff try to unionise.
Does Trust in Government Increase Support for Redistribution?
Evidence from Randomized Survey Experiments. (TL;DR no) (TL)
These 8 non-union worker organisations are quietly leading the new labour movement
While the analysis is pretty superficial, this article is interesting for a couple of reasons – one of which being that it appears on the Australian Business Insiders website. (TB)
The Chicago Teachers Strike Was a Lesson in 21st-Century Organizing
Despite the Janus decision and years of labor losses, the Chicago Teachers Union has figured out how to organize—and win. (TL)
Finding Workers Where They Are: A New Business Model to Rebuild the Labor Movement
Some interesting content, but driven as if the question we are trying to answer is not "how do we get more working people to win", but more "how do we get more working people to give us money?” (TB)
What kind of labour organisations do US workers want?
Using marketing methodology to try to figure out what a union is. Depressingly and regrettably resonant of some current Australian thinking. (TB)
A much more inspiring perspective on the path forward. Favourite line: “The quickest way to change someone’s opinion on unions is to drop them into a bargaining session with the boss to see exactly how the sausage is made; much like Soylent Green, the main ingredient is people.” (TB)
No, a ‘complex’ system is not to blame for corporate wage theft
An excellent response to the corporate spin on wage theft. (TL)
Belligerent unions are a sign of economic health
“Strikes are neither a bad omen nor entirely unwelcome.” We couldn’t agree more. (TL)
Please, no more projections. What we need are predictions, and they’re harder
On the analysis and expert evidence we actually need. (TL)
New Organising Manual from Blueprints for Change
A collaborative warehouse of tools, techniques and methodology for mobilising and campaign management. (TB)
Progressive and collective social struggle is the path out of neoliberalim
Great piece from John Falzon on collective action as the only real driver of progressive social change. (TL)
The new dot com bubble is here: it’s called online advertising
Why the tech giants may not be as all-knowing as we think – and the implications for online advertising. (MH)
The 2020s are set to be an economic turning point, says global banking giant
One of the biggest banks in the world is predicting a decade of change and the reversal of trends including ‘peak inequality’ and ‘peak globalisation’. (MH)
The SoftBank Effect: How $100 Billion Left Workers in a Hole
How the biggest venture capital fund in history has upended the lives of workers all over the world. (TL)
Amazon's worldwide worker walkout is just the tip of employee activism
Worker movements have grown across the tech industry, with at least half a dozen taking hold at the world's biggest online store. (TB)
'Go back to work': outcry over deaths on Amazon's warehouse floor
Yet more shocking stories from Amazon’s warehouses that have led to Amazon’s inclusion on the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health’s 2019 Dirty Dozen list of the most dangerous employers in the United States. (TL)
The Ensuring Integrity Bill and the chimera of ‘regulating unions just like companies’
Anthony Forsyth on Morrison’s push to restrict union’s ability to represent their members. (TL)
What’s in a name? From minimum wages to living wages in Europe
Article on further developments in support of a European minimum wage policy.
Hat tip to @mattcowgill
Gig Workers Are Forming the World’s First Food Delivery App Unions
Food delivery workers in Norway and Japan have had recent organising wins. (MH)
Unsystematic and Unsettled: A map of the legal dimensions of workplace investigations in Australia
Wonky study examining the key intersections between employer workplace investigations and Australian law. (TL)
Protests are erupting around the world, but what's sparking them?
A brief summary of recent protests around the world including Lebanon, Chile and Catalonia. (MH)
Macroeconomic and Financial Policies for Climate Change Mitigation: A Review of the Literature
This IMF paper provides an overview of the rapidly growing literature on the role of macroeconomic and financial policy tools in enabling the transition to a low-carbon economy. (TL)
US Democratic Candidates Grow Bolder on Labor, and Not Just Bernie Sanders
Ambitious moves to shift power to workers are being embraced by several Democratic presidential contenders. (TB)
Why You Never See Your Friends Anymore
Being busy is eliminating the joys of shared free time. (KC)
Not ‘reads’ but recommended nonetheless…
Dear Walmart documentary
Preview of Dear Walmart documentary. Reveille will be hosting some local screenings of this documentary, followed by talks with United for Respect at Walmart co-founder Dan Schlademan, in December. Keep an eye on our website for details. (TB)
Podcast: Brave New Words
Everyone’s favourite messaging guru Anat Shenker Osorio has a podcast where she shares stories of progressive wins from around the world with a focus on great messaging. Highly recommended if you haven’t yet checked this out. (MH)
Chilean protestors singing Victor Jara
This is a pretty amazing moment with protestor’s singing Victor Jara’s song “The right to live in peace" at the recent protests in Santiago. (MH)
KickStarter Campaign: Hero Hours Contract - Stand up for magical workers' rights!
Would 100% play this game. (TB)
Beyond the Waterfront
Excellent review of a new book examining the comparative histories of two groups of dockworkers in the US and South Africa with insights as to how workers can continue to build on their power.
There’s an obvious reason wages aren’t growing, but you won’t hear it from Treasury or the Reserve Bank
No prize for guessing the answer here.
Ask Labor Jane: How Can We Build Industrial Unionism in Education and Health Care?
Jane McAlevey argues against craft unions in favour of a united approach to organising workers with different roles and classifications in common worksites.
Minimum Wage Impacts along the New York-Pennsylvania Border
Yet more evidence of the positive impact of raising the minimum wage.
GM strike articles
50,000 GM workers across the US are on strike and there are a bunch of interesting articles on the situation:
Richard Hunsinger argues that migrant detention centres represent a descent into fascist barbarism and are related to the inherent tendencies of capitalism.
California Bill Makes App-Based Companies Treat Workers as Employees
At least one million California workers must be designated as employees instead of contractors from Jan 1 with more states likely to follow.
Norway Is Far More Socialist Than Venezuela
A side by side comparison from earlier this year.
How Hong Kong’s Leaderless Protest Army Gets Things Done
Fascinating piece on how technology is powering the decentralised model of leadership in Hong Kong's protest movement. (TL)
The shift in private sector union participation: Explanations and effects
This paper looks at the causes of declining union membership but also examines options to reverse the trend. (TL)
“Unions for all”: the new plan to save the American labor movement
Sectoral bargaining is the future of American unions. (TL)
High Schoolers Are Using TikTok To Organize A Strike In Solidarity With Their Teachers
The kids are alright. …And quite good at using social media to organise themselves. (MH)
Yes, America Is Rigged Against Workers
No other industrial country treats its working class so badly. And there’s one big reason for that. (KC)
Name, age, and Local 19: Why Philly men list their unions on Tinder
Hat tip to Georgia Choveaux for this heart warmer on union identity. (MH)
Kaiser Hospital Workers Mobilize for Largest Strike in Two Decades
Over 80,000 Kaiser workers are threatening to walk out next month, which would be the largest labour action since 1997 and a complete turnaround for a company that was a model of labour-management relations (people even wrote books about its culture). (TL)
The Voluntarism Fantasy
Conservatives dream of returning to a world where private charity fulfilled all public needs. But that world never existed, and we’re better for it. (TL)
Democracy or dictatorship: which works better?
Quite the question… (TL)
I was a fast-food worker. Let me tell you about burnout.
As technology ratchets up the stress, low-wage jobs have become some of the hardest. (TL)
The legal crusader fighting cyber stalkers, trolls, and revenge porn
On the Attorney on a mission to eradicate the law that gave rise to the modern internet—and which enables stalking, revenge porn, and more. (TL)
A new clothing line confuses automated license plate readers
Hot on the heels of HK protesters using laser pointers to confuse facilitated cameras, a fashion line that can fool licence plate readers. (TL)
Agitators and organisers: untold histories of Chinese migrant workers in Australia
Osmond Chiu on the history of Chinese workers in Australia which is far more complex than the cultivated image of compliance and exploitation. (TL)
Workers Seize the Shipyard That Built the Titanic, Plan to Make Renewable Energy There
Shipbuilders in Belfast are occupying their workplace and calling for nationalisation to prevent the last shipbuilding yard in the city from closure. (MH)
Peaceful march was change of strategy for Hong Kong protesters
Interesting article on the strategy decisions behind the Hong Kong protests and how the protest movement is bridging the differences in tactics between its different parts. Hat tip to Amanda Tattersall and the @ChangeMakersPodcast for thoughtful coverage and commentary on the protests. (MH)
SEIU has an ambitious new plan for workers’ rights. Democratic candidates should take notice.
Central tenants include industry bargaining and government procurement. And Democratic candidates aren’t going to get SEIU support unless they sign on to the plan. It appears Bernie Sanders is listening… (MH)
Bernie Sanders Unveils Sweeping Labor Plan With Sectorwide Bargaining
Sanders this week unveiled his plan to overhaul U.S. labor law by expanding workers’ rights to organise and strike and establishing a new system of sectorwide bargaining. (TL)
Labor’s Bill of Rights (US)
Long piece from 2017 on US labor laws and the need to move on from the National Labor Relations Act to a Labor Bill of Rights. (TL)
Rising capital share and transmission into higher interpersonal inequality
This paper argues that policies to share income from capital more equally would decrease overall inequality. We have the tools to do this, but policymakers lack the political will. Wonky. (TL)
The YouTubers Union is demanding change. That's nothing new for Google
Old dog tries new tricks. (TB)
Frank Luntz, the GOP’s message master, calls for climate action
The evil genius behind “death taxes” and “border security” turns his attention to climate action. His advice isn’t bad. (MH)
This summer as you hurry into the airport, know that it's a workplace war-zone—and labor is winning
Union gains in the airline industry are symptomatic of a resurgent labor movement. Does capitalism have a sense of irony? (TB)
Sara Nelson: “People Are Ready to Fight”
More from the US airline industry. The Flight Attendants union providing leadership - and an effective model of building and exercising power – for the rest of the US labour movement. (MH)
Making Technology Work for Workers
Coping with the rapid technology-driven transformation of labour markets, without sacrificing dignity, autonomy, or ambition, will require a combination of economic mobility and financial security that can be delivered through a new kind of social safety net. (TL)
Hong Kong Protests: Leader Warns of ‘Crisis’ as Strike Disrupts Subways and Leads to Cancelled Flights
Unions step up their participation in the Hong Kong protests with strikes across the city. (MH)
Grattan rolls: “Australia now running a low-skilled migrant visa system”
Interesting analysis on migration and labour market impacts. (TB)
Discriminating algorithms: 5 times AI showed prejudice
Artificial intelligence is supposed to make life easier for us all – but it is also prone to amplify sexist and racist biases from the real world. (TL)
Building up the bundle of sticks: new ideas for union organising
A series of blogs presenting new ideas for how unions can organise and engage with the workforce. (MH)
Trump Hired Robert Lighthizer to Win a Trade War. He Lost
The Trump administration’s obsession with trade threats, tariffs, and bullying both allies and rivals into submission was based on an ambitious theory. It turned out to be a fallacy. (TL)
Jo Grady: the miner’s daughter preparing for university picket lines
The incoming general secretary of the UK University and College Union warns of autumn strikes over pensions, pay and job security. (TL)
How Germany closed its coal industry without sacking a single miner
A look at how Germany shut down its black coal industry while investing in former coal-mining towns and retraining and redeploying its workforce. (MH)
The Fight for $15 has created a road map for change
Hat tip to Karma Lord for this analysis of how the Fight for $15 (and a union) has gone from fringe idea to reality for many US workers.
How poverty in modern Britain echoes the past
With 4 million British workers living in poverty, this analysis finds that the extent and causes of poverty are much the same now as in 1900. (TL)
A Nobel Prize-winning economist thinks we’re asking all the wrong questions about inequality
Interesting – unfairness or inequality? (KC)
NDWA and Sen. Kamala Harris Introduce Bill To Protect Domestic Workers
The excellent National Domestic Workers Alliance has teamed up with Democrat representatives to introduce a Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights in Congress which would give US domestic workers basic labour protections for the first time ever including a guaranteed minimum wage. (MH)
Dissecting Australian media's Trump moment
Interesting analysis of how the media got it so wrong in the lead up to the 2019 Federal Election. (TL)
Onward! Another #GoogleWalkout Goodbye
Really interesting post by one of the organisers of the Google Walkout. (TL)
The Catholic Case for Communism
What Catholics (still) don’t understand about communism. (TL)
101 Notes on the LA Tenants Union
You can’t do politics alone. (TL)
Amazing ‘Prime Day’ brings out wave of protests and activism against Amazon
Demonstrations happened in Minnesota, New York, Seattle and San Francisco, as well as across Europe. (TB)
Adani’s silent partners
Inside Story on what is happening with Adani a month after it received final approvals for the Carmichael mine. (TL)
Temporary skilled migration has not undercut Australian jobs or conditions
CEDA report finds that temporary skilled working visas, have not had a negative impact on either the wages or participation rates of Australian-born workers. Full report is available here. (MH)
How to Change the World
A cracking read on cults, Overton’s window and changing minds. (TB)
Human Nature Is Created, Not Discovered
A fascinating, slightly off topic read by the same author ^. "It’s not the economy that shapes how we understand the world, it’s how we understand the world and ourselves that shapes our thinking about economy." (TB)
The 3.5% Rule: How a small minority can change the world
Research confirms that civil disobedience is not only the moral choice; it is also the most powerful way of shaping world politics – by a long way. (TL)
A Religion of Unity
For black meatpacking workers, multiracial class politics was the path to economic and social advancement. (TL)
Minimum wage study: a $15 federal minimum wage won’t trigger job losses
Here’s what might happen if the US Congress doubles the minimum wage.
Full paper (wonky) here. (TL)
Unions Go Digital: What It Means for Labor to Embrace the Internet
Organising online is no longer a choice, but a necessity. (TB)
How the 1999 World Cup champions' biggest win came at the bargaining table
In an extract from a new book on the US women’s national team, the author explains how the 1999 squad’s victory tour changed the relationship between the team and their ‘boss’ forever. (TL)
A hospital introduced a robot to help nurses. They didn’t expect it to be so popular
And so it begins in caring industries! Meet Moxi, a robotic nurse assistant with heart eyes. (KC)
Does Apologizing Work? An Empirical Test of the Conventional Wisdom
TL;DR Never apologise is scientifically proven. (TL)
Time – article by an NZ union member
Who says workers only care about their own job? A great read by a E tū delegate in New Zealand who’s been involved in Just Transition Taranaki 2050 and whose work is directly linked to oil & gas (petrochemicals). Kudos to organisers at E tū who have taken the time to engage their members in the politics of a debate that is predictably skewed towards benefiting the few over the many. Thanks for sharing Sean and Jen. (KC)
A Progressive Approach to Movement Tech
Why tools like Action Network and Strive Digital stand out from those built by Silicon Valley and other outside entities. (MH)
The strange and elusive life of trade union community organising
A thoughtful examination of trade union community organising. (TL)
The Green New Deal is fracturing a critical base for Democrats: unions National US labor leaders oppose the Green New Deal but some state unions endorse it. That’s a challenge for unions and presidential contenders. (MH)
Letting go of Technochauvinism
The idea that computers are superior to people, or that a technological solution is superior to any other, is one that needs to go. (TL)
Millions to lose benefits under Trump’s proposal to change how poverty is defined, new study shows
Trump’s bold new solution to poverty… change the definition. (TL)
Uber’s Path of Destruction
An examination of Uber’s unsustainable economics and the lopsided business model it uses to kill off competitors. (TL)
NY Union Protest Can Keep Using 'Scabby'
For those following the ongoing saga of Scabby the rat… Scabby lives to fight another day ($) (TL)
First, the result of our web poll on best Hot Take about the Federal election result. The winner was Frank Bongiorno for Inside Story for the piece “Clearing the Scrub – Labor’s next leader faces the job of rebuilding the party in a low-growth world.” The pieces by Shaun Ratcliff, Godfrey Moase and Eleanor Glenn deserve notable mentions.
Say My Name: On the Importance of Taking Up Space and Making Noise
Thanks to Chanda Parmar Bonta for this article on being an Asian American woman.
UK Union Membership is Rising.
The Resolution Foundation paper asks if the trend will last. (TL)
Surprise! Trump’s Tax Cut Didn’t Help the Economy
A devastating analysis of the tax cut by the Congressional Research Service shows it’s done virtually no economic good. Full paper here. (TL)
The shock of the financial crisis is still being felt
Poor children have poor outcomes — but income is only half the story. (TL)
There is still social mobility, it’s just that most of it is downward.
In the UK, the post-war decades saw a remarkable degree of upward social mobility, with large numbers of people getting higher-status jobs than their parents. Not anymore. (TL)
Brahmin Left vs Merchant Right: Polical Allegiance and Inequality
Fascinating paper by Thomas Pikkety. Using post-electoral surveys from France, Britain and the US, the paper documents a striking long-run evolution in the structure of political cleavages – in particular the rise of left voting by educated elites. (TL)
I work in the environmental movement. I don’t care if you recycle.
Keep cups are fine but individual choices aren't going to fix this. Stop obsessing over your environmental sins. Fight the companies responsible instead. (MH)
Tesla Suppressing Workplace Complaints
Blind is an anonymous social network that has been used by tech workers to speak freely about grievances related to the workplace, among other concerns. Thousands of Tesla employees have signed up for the service, but now the company is trying to suppress its workers from joining the network. (TL)
Briefing Note from the Resolution Foundation in the UK on housing costs and labour market mobility. (TL)
Fair Work Ombudsman Says Uber Drivers not Employees
Unlike courts overseas, the Fair Work Ombudsman has found the Uber drivers are contractors. FWO saying employment means "obligation for an employee to perform work when it is demanded by the employer" is odd given their own website notes that "a casual employee also does not commit to all work an employer might offer." (MH / TL)
Monopsony in the UK
The growing prominence of giant companies in advanced economies has raised concerns about the increase in monopoly power when selling. But it’s also a factor when they buy labour. Wonky. (TL)
Women’s Soccer Inequality
The US women’s soccer team’s fight for equal pay. (MH)
Better Schools Won’t Fix America
Many well-off people think educational investment could heal the (US’s) ills. But fighting inequality must come first. (TL)
Why Truth Doesn’t Change People’s Minds (and What Does)
An interesting poke around in the psychological imperatives of group think. Anti-intellectualism, fake news, and how to actually change your mind. (TB)
Why the UAW lost again in Tennessee
For anyone interested in distracting themselves from sifting through the ashes of our own recent efforts, here's a hot take on who is to blame for a symbolic, depressing defeat from somewhere else. (TB)
Red and Green Coalition
How unions and climate organisers learned to work together in New York. (TB)
The Bright Side of Unionization: The Case of Stock Price Crash Risk
Study examines whether and how labor unionisation influences stock price crash risk. Finds that unions constrain managerial resource diversion and over-investment, demand less risk-taking, and facilitate transparent information flow, which in turn reduces crash risk. Wonky. (TL)
Welcome to the Post-Election Wash-up Edition of Reads for Radicals.
Thank you to everyone who sent in nominations for their best and/or worst takes of the 2019 election including: Elizabeth Humphreys, Nick Crowther, Tim Dymond, @econodel, Eleanor Glenn, Emma Dawson, Ahri Tallon, @Dan_Gerr, Paul Harders, Godfrey Moase and @redrabbleroz.
Once you’ve had a look through the list below, you can vote for your best take here.
And for those who are sick of the election analysis, there are a couple of good, non-election Reads below.
Labor’s bitter lesson: change is hard to come by in this country
Sean Kelly in the SMH received a few nominations.
It's a myth that Aussie battlers handed the Coalition its election victory
Shaun Ratcliff unpacks the data in The Guardian. Another that received quite a few nominations.
Retired NSW coal miner: The seeds of Labor's shock Hunter vote last weekend were sown long ago
From the Illawarra Mercury.
A Landslide of the Political Imagination
The Piping Shrike for Meanjin.
The eight charts that help explain why the Coalition won the 2019 Australian election
Nick Evershed in the Guardian.
We live in anti-political times
Elizabeth Humphreys in Overland.
Aussie Rules: Trade Unions and Capitalist Realism
Godfrey Moase in the Social Review (and for the record, he didn’t nominate his own article).
2019 Federal Election Debrief: Where next for Australia’s unions and the ‘change the rules’ campaign?
Anthony Forsyth in Labour Law Down Under.
Clearing the Scrub – Labor’s next leader faces the job of rebuilding the party in a low-growth world
Frank Bongiorno for Inside Story.
ScoMo wins the 'Trump Australians'
‘Interesting data but the headline is wrong IMO’, by Bo Seo in the AFR.
Making Sense of the Election + What’s Next
By Eleanor Glenn from Common Cause with a focus on framing and values.
Australian Labor’s Shock defeat
Osmond Chiu in Policy Network.
Surprise: the status quo election (podcast)
George Megalogenis on the new Schwartz Media podcast, 7am. This was nominated for both best and worst take so is probably worth a listen on that basis alone!
The Queensland articles warrant their own section:
It's easy to dismiss Queenslanders as coal-addicted bogans, but it's more complex than that
Dr Amanda Cahill on moving beyond calls for a #Quexit.
Don't denigrate rational regional Queensland
Kate Galloway in Eureka Street
North Queensland is just at the sharp end of what’s happening across Australia
Why Taxing The Ultra-Rich Is Having a Moment
Interesting US perspective on tax policy debate. Might be timely in the shadow of our election loss, for all those contemplating whether a tax conversation has any useful place in civil discourse. (TB)
Why High-Class People Get Away With Incompetence
Dunning-Kruger but for class… People who come from a higher social class are more likely to have an inflated sense of their skills — even when tests proved that they were average. This unmerited overconfidence is interpreted by strangers as competence. (TL)
When employees are ideological misfits
Both conservative and liberal misfits report being marginalised, but they react differently. (TL)
Walmart workers invited a special guest to crash the company’s annual meeting: Bernie Sanders
Some more cheeky goodness from our comrades at United for Respect. (TB)
Tech Companies Love Pretending to Save the Planet
Aside from the weird little personal wealth fantasy about a third of the way in, this is a pretty good take down. (TB)
The Wealth Detective Who Finds the Hidden Money of the Super Rich
A bit of a profile piece on some economists doing some heavy lifting on not just quantifying and explaining inequality trends, but also addressing them. (TB)
Working hard to make work fairer
University of Melbourne researchers have developed a model that helps the Fair Work Ombudsman find unscrupulous employers exploiting or underpaying workers. (TL)
How the 'rebel women' of Broken Hill helped shape the early union movement
From leading marches on horseback, to insulting police officers and starting their own hospitals, 'rebel women' in Broken Hill helped shape the mining town and the union movement in Australia. (TL)
Uber drivers strike and the future of labor: 4 essential reads
A handy little collection and exec summary of four recent future of union think pieces. (TB)
Federal Election Primer, Part 2: Enterprise Bargaining
This is the second in a series of postsdiscussing the major aspects of workplace relations policy in the lead-up to the election. (TL)
If Labor wins the 2019 federal election, what role will unions play?
Part of an election serieson wages, industrial relations, Labor and the union movement ahead of the 2019 federal election. (TL)
The Dutch East India Company was richer than Apple, Google and Facebook combined
How rich was the Dutch East India Company? This old Dutch company was the first ever to do business in a modern way and get filthy rich with it. (TL)
The impact of precarious employment on mental health: The case of Italy
Large study investigating the link between precarious employment and mental health. TL;DR precarious work significantly increases the probability of mental health problems. (TL)
Building Tech for Progressive Power, Not Profit
Action Network’s partner-driven not for profit tech model is creating powerful organising tools for progressives. (TB)
How railways aided early democratic social movements
Rail transport enabled the movement of individuals and the ideas they carry. (TL)
Financial crisis 'scarred' younger workers
A generation has been left scarredby joining the workforce just as the financial crisis hit. (TL)
Samuel Brittan (1980): Hayek, the New Right, and the Crisis of Social Democracy: Weekend Reading
This—written forty years ago—is still the best short summary of left-neoliberalism. (TL)
This river in New Zealand is a legal person. How will it use its voice?
Probably a bit of an abstract point- but I love the idea that a more holistic approach to our views can bring justice and opportunities for stronger community. (KC)
Discrimination in hiring based on presence of children or perceived “risk” of pregnancy
Not surprising but disappointing nonetheless. (TL)
Tennessee Governor Leads Anti-Union Captive Audience Meeting at VW
When the Governor gets directly involved in VW's union-busting. (TL)
How women are transforming (US) organised labour
Maybe not the deepest analysis, but an encouraging read. A gendered saunter across the US labour activist landscape. (TB)
Companies track staff emails to monitor dissent and predict unrest
Firms are using linguistic algorithms to analyse staff emails to “uncover social networks.” Some fairly obvious anti-union potential here. (TL)
The world's largest hedge fund breaks down how the US workforce got screwed
When even the hedge funds are pointing to the decline in the labour share of income and the decline of union power, you know we have a problem. (TL)
Brexit and the Misremembered Empire
Both the left and right of British politics have built up an imaginary idea of what the UK used to be. (TL)
What’s the school cleaner’s name?
How kids, not just cleaners, are paying the price of outsourcing. (TL)
Sacked by the Algorithm
Amazon's warehouse-worker tracking system can automatically fire people without a human supervisor's involvement. (TL)
Groceries & Gadgets.
The Robots Coming To A Supermarket Near You - something to listen to and read - can’t help thinking of my own reaction to Marty…… (KC)
Where Do Good Jobs Come From?
Many regard the falloff in the creation of high-wage jobs as the inevitable result of advances in artificial intelligence and robotics. It isn’t. Technology can be used either to displace labor or to enhance worker productivity. (TL)
The economics of suicide reduction
Write up of new research that finds increasing minimum wages and the Earned Income Tax Credit reduces the incidence of suicide. Full wonky paper here. H/T Matt Cowgill. (TL)
Unions and the Rise of Workplace Technology
Most businesses are oblivious to employees’ increasing worries about tech. But workers are their unions are pushing back. (TL)
In Praise of a Higher Minimum Wage
Raising the minimum wage helps low-paid workers without damaging the broader economy, the authors of two new research papers find. (TL)
A new social contract: expert report on digitalization of labour markets
A new report which argues that the European social model needs to be updated to ensure workers are protected in the new labour market, including changes to social insurance and the introduction of portable benefits. (TL)
Why the labour movement has failed and how to fix it
More analysis from the US on the failures of the labour movement but also the growing number of green shoots. (MH)
Facebook is redesigning its core app around the parts people actually like
For those interested in Facebook’s organising potential, details of some significant changes currently being rolled out. (MH)
Our ‘culture of underpayment’ must be eradicated
Law Professor Anthony Forsyth argues for a zero tolerance approach to wage theft. Forsyth also has a terrific blog on labour law here. (TL)
From the Union Hall to the Church
A slightly terrifying analysis of Brazilian political context. Bolsonaro's election marked the decline of trade unions as the primary site of working-class organization; and the rise of Evangelical churches in their place. (TB)
Worker exploitation a core issue for super funds
Katie Hepworth and the NUW’s Tim Kennedy on why workers' rights need to be core business for super funds. (MH)
The Effect of Minimum Wages on Low-Wage Jobs
What do minimum wages do? *Wonk warning* New paper quantifying the overall effect of US minimum wages on low-wage jobs. TL;DR increasing minimum wages does not cost jobs. (TL)
After the Supreme Court Said Unions Can’t Force Non-Members to Pay Dues, Almost All of Them Stopped
A hostile, anti-union take on the impact of the Janus decision on SEIU and AFSCME. Commentary is interesting in understanding counter arguments, and figures are interesting in and of themselves. (TB)
Red is the new black: Support for and attitudes towards socialism in Australia and the United States
Socialism is back. Comparison of attitudes to socialism by age groups and between the US and Australia. (TL)
Prostitution Law and the Death of Whores
An amazing essay on sex work that is really about class and race as well. (TL)
How the French rose up against a huge Amazon logistics centre
The yellow vest protestors turn their attention to Amazon… and get results with the French Government announcing a new tax on tech companies. (MH)
Climate Chaos Is Coming — and the Pinkertons Are Ready
The firm that once protected stage coaches in the American West is ready to capitalise on climate chaos and lawlessness. (TL)
Before we ossify: on forgetting, radical histories and the Anthropocene
Challenging piece on the need to remobilise ‘radical histories’ in order to generate the grieving and hope necessary for survival in the face of climate change. (TL)
The Highlander Idea
For decades, the Highlander School in the South of the US has nurtured some of the most important radical movements by pushing a simple idea: ordinary people can act as agents of change. This idea continues to threaten the Right. (TL)
New trade union targets overworked junior lawyers
A new trade union branch for legal sector workers in the UK has been launched and wants solicitors and barristers in training to sign up and help fight oppression and inequality. (TB)
Longer working hours do not mean higher profits, say economists
As campaigns in the UK and US push for shorter working hours, economists agree that working people to the bone is bad for business as well as workers. (TL)
Your income tax questions answered in three easy charts
Labor and Coalition proposals side by side. (TL)
Models of Worker Owned Enterprises
Policy paper with proposals for new ways to support worker owned enterprises. Includes polling showing very high levels of public support for workers having first right of refusal to take control of a firm / site slated for closure. (TL)
Superannuation and ESG Issues
Debates in Australia about superannuation funds raising labour practices at BHP are 15 years behind much of the world. (TL)
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