Ava DuVernay’s film Selma has generated yet another wave of mass mediated debate over cinematic representation of black Americans’ historical experience of racial injustice. The controversy’s logic is at this point familiar, nearly clichéd. DuVernay and others have responded to complaints about the film’s historical accuracy, particularly in its portrayal of Lyndon Johnson, with invocations of artistic license and assertions that the film is not intended as historical scholarship.
For the last 20 years, unions in the U.S. and internationally have generally accepted the dominant discourse on climate policy, one that is grounded in assumptions that private markets will lead the “green transition,” reduce emissions, and stabilize the climate over the longer term. Indeed, unions began attending the climate negotiations convened by the UN in the early 1990s, a time when the “triumph of the market” went unchallenged and the climate debate was awash with neoliberal ideas. Unions therefore focused on articulating the need for “Just Transition” policies.
For a long time, labor and progressives have had essentially one electoral strategy: elect Democrats, and hope for the best. Every cycle, prominent progressives issue statements that somehow, this time, things will be different. Somehow, they never are. A prominent labor movement strategist recently put the matter bluntly: “in election after election the labor movement and other progressives have been arguing that . . . the Democrats must run on an aggressive, populist, economic message.
Sex worker activists have long argued that sex work is work like any other work. But what are the prospects for sex worker collective action inspired by the labor movement? The labor of sex falls outside the purview of the traditional trade union: sex workers are partly criminalized, often with no fixed “employer” with whom to negotiate, and operate through a range of often contingent work arrangements, from gift-based relationships with a few long-term partners to highly organized brothel work.
When I entered graduate school in English literature in 2007, like many others I did so under the impression that anything could pass as “studying literature,” and that I was secretly training to be an intellectual. To study literature in the 2000s obviously meant different things at different universities. But there is no doubt that the reputation of English departments, in places like the New York Times, invariably meant that they were hothouses of what is called “Theory,” a politicized blend of philosophy from German and French (mostly left-wing) thinkers of the 1960s and 1970s.
Why has the new Greek government failed to accomplish so much of what it had promised? And where does that leave the Greek labor movement? The government’s and the labor movement’s problems stem from the same fact, which has endured since the February 2012 signing of the second bailout agreement: Greece is no longer a sovereign nation state. It cannot implement any fiscal policy without the troika’s support, backed principally by the German government, and since the terms of Greece’s bailout agreement require austerity, any deviation threatens the financial assistance that enables Greece to avoid defaulting on its debts.