Union Organizing Surged in 2022: Let’s Push for a Radical Labor Movement in 2023

More workers are forming independent unions, untethered from the AFL-CIO and other established labor groups.

Michael D. Yates

Truthout | December 29, 2022

Chris Smalls, a leader of the Amazon Labor Union, leads a march of Starbucks and Amazon workers and their allies to the homes of their CEOs to protest union busting on Labor Day, September 5, 2022, in New York City, New York.

The year 2022 saw a significant increase in working-class unrest in the United States. Millions of workers quit their jobs in 2021, and this trend has continued in 2022. Most moved on to different employment, while others continued their education or retired. Recently, many Twitter employees quit in response to the severe force reduction and intensification of work effort engineered by new owner Elon Musk. For those working, there has been a wave of what the media has dubbed “quiet quitting,” but which is really an old-fashioned labor strategy known as “working to rule,” or doing no more than what you have been ordered or contractually required to do. Those working from home have shown a reluctance to return to the office, an indication that, despite the problems of laboring where you live, offices are seen as worse.

Union organizing is on the rise, reflecting both the widespread disgust with workplace conditions and the now evidently positive public view of labor unions. The purchasing power of wages has stagnated for decades in the United States, while labor’s productivity has risen considerably. Unfortunately, the latter is partly the result of employer-initiated speed-ups, meaning that fewer workers must take up the slack created by a smaller workforce — again, management-created. According to Gallup, 71 percent of Americans now approve of unions, the highest favorable rating since 1965. This may help explain the surge in union recognition efforts. Between October 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 (fiscal year 2022), union certification petitions at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) were up 58 percent over the previous year. No doubt there were other such efforts, those that simply petitioned employers to bargain with a union or where workers struck to win bargaining rights. Because employers regularly violate the law by committing unfair labor practices (ULPs) such as firing union supporters, the NLRB has faced a heavy caseload of ULPs, which rose 16 percent over the same period.

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“Leftist Response to the War in Ukraine”

Farooque Chowdhury

Frontier | Vol 55, No. 28, Jan 8 – 14, 2023

The illuminating article in Frontier (Vol 55, No 24, December 11-17, 2022, also in Countercurents, November 1, 2022) by Mr Sumanta Banerjee, “Leftist response to the war in Ukraine” (https://www.frontierweekly. com) deserves discussion as it focuses on (1) the most burning issue of the moment–the Ukraine War, (2) the Indian Left’s position on the issue, and (3) a few observations on Stalin and Mao.

Mr Banerjee begins with a question:

“How is the Left facing the multi-dimensional complex challenges thrown up by the [Ukraine] war and the ravages that it is heaping upon its people?”

Then, he refers to Arundhati Roy: The “Left’s dilemma as ‘tortuous yoga asanas’–some pretty drastic seeing and unseeing–depending on where you have decided to place yourself.”

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The Impending World Recession

Prabhat Patnaik

IDEAs | January 16, 2023

The IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva has now openly admitted that the year 2023 will witness the slowing down of the world economy to a point where as much as one-third of it will see an actual contraction in gross domestic product. This is because all the three major economic powers in the world, the US, the European Union, and China, will witness slowdowns, the last of these because of the renewed Covid upsurge. Of the three, Georgieva believes, the US will perform relatively better than the other two because of the resilience of its labour market; indeed the greater resilience of the US labour market provides some hope for the world economy as a whole.

There are two ironical elements in Georgieva’s remarks. The first is that the best prospects for the world economy today, even the IMF concedes if only implicitly, lie in workers’ incomes in the US not falling greatly. For an institution that has systematically advocated cuts in wages, whether in the form of remunerations or of social wages, as an essential part of its stabilisation-cum-structural adjustment policies, this is a surprising, though welcome, admission. Of course Georgieva, many would argue, is seeing US labour market resilience only as the result of US’s economic performance and not as its cause. But her considering it a “blessing” (though not an unmixed one for reasons we shall soon see) leaves one in no doubt that the demand-sustaining role of workers’ incomes is also being recognised by her.

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Davos 23: going pear-shaped

Michael Roberts Blog | January 17, 2023

This week, the jamboree of the rich global elite of the World Economic Forum (WEF) has started again after the COVID interregnum.  Top political and business leaders have flown in on their private jets to discuss climate change and global warming, as well as the impending global economic slump, the cost of living crisis and the Ukraine war.

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Can Russia and India replace American dollar in bilateral trade?

Yevgeny Ivanov & Ashish Singh

Countercurrents | January 20, 2023

After the World War II, the role of the dollar has grown significantly in global trade. Since then, the American currency has been used not only for transactions in foreign markets but also for transactions within countries. The collapse of the USSR has made the dollar an informal tender (vs legal tender) across the territories of the former Soviet republics for many years. The similar situation happened in Zimbabwe when its national currency underwent severe inflation. Zimbabweans preferred the US dollar and other foreign currencies for their private purposes.

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Thierry Meyssan: The world order already changed in 2022

Thierry Meyssan

VOLTAIRENET.ORG | January 12, 2023

After long months of pulling her punches, Russia is finally letting Ukraine get a taste of what it has sown through fanaticism, nonstop lies and indecent, often brutal acts against civilians and Russian personnel.

It is a constant of History: changes are rare, but sudden. Those who bear the brunt of them are generally the last to see them coming. They perceive them only too late. Contrary to the static image that prevails in the West, international relations have been turned upside down in 2022, mainly to the detriment of the United States, the United Kingdom and France, often to the benefit of China and Russia. With their eyes riveted on Ukraine, Westerners do not perceive the redistribution of the cards.

T. MEYSSAN


IT is rare for international relations to be shaken as they were in 2022. And it is not over. The process that has begun will not stop, even if events disrupt it and possibly interrupt it for a few years. The domination of the West, both the United States and the former colonial powers of Europe (mainly the United Kingdom, France and Spain) and Asia (Japan), is coming to an end. No one obeys a leader anymore, including the states that remain vassals of Washington. Everyone is now beginning to think for themselves. We are not yet in the multipolar world that Russia and China are trying to bring about, but we are seeing it being built.

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THE FOOLISH OLD MAN WHO REMOVED THE MOUNTAINS

Mao Tse-tung

June 11, 1945

We have had a very successful congress. We have done three things. First, we have decided on the line of our Party, which is boldly to mobilize the masses and expand the people’s forces so that, under the leadership of our Party, they will defeat the Japanese aggressors, liberate the whole people and build a new-democratic China. Second, we have adapted the new Party Constitution. Third, we have elected the leading body of the Party–the Central Committee. Henceforth our task is to lead the whole membership in carrying out the Party line. Ours has been a congress of victory, a congress of unity. The delegates have made excellent comments on the three reports. Many comrades have undertaken self-criticism; with unity as the objective unity has been achieved through self-criticism. This congress is a model of unity, of self-criticism and of inner-Party democracy.

When the congress closes, many comrades will be leaving for their posts and the various war fronts. Comrades, wherever you go, you should propagate the line of the congress and, through the members of the Party, explain it to the broad masses.

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End the U.S. empire!

Eric Zuesse

Currently, the U.S. has exactly 900 military bases in foreign countries, in addition to the 749 bases inside the U.S. itself. The U.S. Government minimizes and tries to hide this reality from the public. Furthermore, although the U.S. is officially estimated to spend around 36% of the entire world’s military expenditures, the actual figure is around 50% of the world’s military expenditures, and the added approximately 14% is being paid-out through federal U.S. Departments other than the ‘Defense’ Department, so as to make the total U.S. figure appear to be only 36% of the global total. Moreover: on November 15th, the U.S. Department of ‘Defense’ announced that “The results of the fifth annual DOD [Department Of Defense] wide financial audit will be a disclaimer of opinion for DOD” and used other such obtuse phraseology, so that the reality that — as one of the very few published news-reports that was based on it headlined optimistically — “Defense Department fails another audit, but makes progress”, and it opened:

The Defense Department has failed its fifth-ever audit, unable to account for more than half of its assets, but the effort is being viewed as a “teachable moment,” according to its chief financial officer. 

After 1,600 auditors combed through DOD’s $3.5 trillion in assets and $3.7 trillion in liabilities, officials found that the department couldn’t account for about 61 percent of its assets, Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord told reporters on Tuesday.

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Xi Jinping’s Visit to Saudi Arabia and the overthrow of Atlanticism

Matthew Ehret

As Atlanticists continue their commitment to a future shaped by energy scarcity, food scarcity, and war with their nuclear-capable neighbors, most states in the Persian Gulf that have long been trusted allies of the west have quickly come to realize that their interests are best assured by cooperating with Eurasian states like China and Russia who don’t think in those zero-sum terms.

With Chinese President Xi Jinping’s long-awaited three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, a powerful shift by the Persian Gulf’s most strategic Arab state toward the multipolar alliance is being consolidated. Depending on which side of the ideological fence you sit on, this consolidation is being viewed closely with great hope or rage.

Xi’s visit stands in stark contrast to US President Joe Biden’s underwhelming ‘fist bump’ meeting this summer, which saw the self-professed leader of the free world falling asleep at a conference table and demanding more Saudi oil production while offering nothing durable in return.

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China the Change Agent – Patreon Q&A #3

Michael Hudson | December 12, 2022

Each quarter, Patreon Plus supporters can ask Michael questions. Here is a transcript of the most recent one, just in time for our next Q&A this Thursday. Please support Michael’s work via his Patreon page.

Karl Fitzgerald: Alright, let’s get into it. We’ve got lots of good questions. Welcome, everyone. My name is Karl Fitzgerald. I’ve been Michael’s webmaster for over a decade now and yes, we’re so lucky to have Michael Hudson with us today. We’ve all read his books. We’ve all seen his whirlwind approach to unveiling the reality of economics so yes, Michael, great to have you here. I wanted to start off with just a nice easy one. I’m sure you could answer this in your sleep but for you, what are some of the guiding principles that listeners should really grasp in terms of just how rigged our economic system is today? What’s the handful of principles that you think are a useful barometer for people to grasp just how off-kilter our economic system is?

Michael Hudson: I’ve been working on a vocabulary to describe these principles. There are a number of seemingly opposing forces at work. I think we should call the inflation, The Biden Inflation, because the inflation that we’re seeing is almost entirely the result of Biden’s inaugurating a new 20- to 30-year cold war with Russia. He’s announced that it’s going to take 20 or 30 years. He said Ukraine is only the opening. His sanctioning of Russian oil, gas and food is pushed up by inflation by about at least 10% from Europe all the way to the United States. So, on the one hand, this inflation that people are saying is the problem has led the Federal Reserve to say, “Well, there’s a cure to that Biden inflation. Let’s have a depression and lower wage rates. If only we have more unemployment, we can cure the inflation.”

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