Tag: labor

Prison Labor is Slavery by Another Name

Across the country the largest prison strike is taking place, vowing to “finally end slavery in 2016.”

Right now there’s a national movement mobilizing to raise the federal minimum wage to a living wage of $15 an hour. But imagine if instead of earning even that much, you could only earn a few cents an hour.

If that sounds like something from the developing world, think again. The reality is our prisons are perpetuating slave labor.

Every day, incarcerated people work long hours for barely any money. Meanwhile, prisons charge inmates for everything from telephone calls, to extra food and convenience items, to occupying a bed.

All India Strike Largest Labor Strike in History

The All India Strike, conducted across India, is likely the largest labor strike in human history, with some estimates putting the figure of striking workers at 150 million. Occurring during the fanfare of the United State’s Labor Day holiday, a long weekend mostly known in American culture as a time to drink beer and grill hot dogs, the All India Strike has disrupted many public sector industries and brought Indian workers into the international spotlight.

The strike began after talks between the representatives of ten major public sector unions and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley failed to reach a compromise. The unions have accused the national government, currently run by the majority National Democratic Alliance, of institutions “anti-worker, anti-national, and anti-worker” policies.

Protectionism Is Not the Answer

Since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency, he has ridden a wave of right-wing populism to become the Republican presidential nominee. Throughout this entire process, he has adopted a protectionist, anti-immigration, and nativist political platform. While Trump’s success in politics has shocked the American public, his rise is only part of a global trend towards protectionism as political parties like UKIP in the UK, the National Front in France, and AfD in Germany have steadily gained in the polls. All of these protectionist political parties claim that their policies will “make their country great again.” However, there is no economic basis to these claims and implementing these protectionist policies will cause severe damage to the global economy.

Since the end of World War II, the world has rapidly become more globalized and connected. However, since the 2008 Financial Crisis, the world has experienced a period of unprecedented economic stagnation, leaving hundreds of millions of people impoverished and facing a bleak future. Unfortunately, this has fostered political discontent and extremism throughout the world. Like previous times of economic hardship, this has encouraged the rise of nationalistic, right-wing political forces that have rejected globalization. The rise of the Brexit movement in the UK and Euroskeptic political parties reflect this trend.

Interview With John Paul Wright

John Carico: What got you involved in social justice and labor organizing? John Paul Wright: I got involved in social justice activism as a result of my mother going to college late in life. In my teens my mother went…