May Day 2014

group arrives

The group that had assembled at Bartram High School arrives at Elmwood Park to commence our May Day celebration (that was actually held on the 3rd). We had a pleasant, warm, sunny day.

Reflections on Oligarchy

Social science has advanced somewhat since the 19th century so today we have clear evidence the sepsis of plutocracy that effected the Gilded Age has flared up again. A study by Princeton University demonstrates thoroughly that the US has become a de facto oligarchy while field experiments confirm that donors rather than voters have the power. All this while the Supreme Court, a body ruled by nine lawyers who have never successfully run for public office, continues to gut restraints on money in politics.

lining up for food

Veterans For Peace #31 donated food and barbecuing.

China's Labor Movement

A new report on China’s labor movement, covering about 1,170 strikes and other labor actions from mid-2011 through 2013, illuminates how what is arguably the world’s biggest proletariat is growing more agitated and polarized.

Despite China's seemingly miraculous economic boom, in many ways, its emergent labor struggles are strikingly similar to those experienced by workers in more developed economies: weak-to-zero collective bargaining rights, a lack of social and health protections, the poverty and instability facing interregional migrant labor, global economic volatility and consequent job insecurity. And of course, that’s all in a fractious atmosphere of breakneck national growth rates, greater economic ambitions among the working class and soaring inequality.


Exotic dancers sue strip club for labor law violations

Are exotic dancers independent contractors, free to determine how and when their work will be done, but guaranteed nothing by the Fair Labor Standards Act? Or are they employees, entitled to a minimum wage, overtime pay and other workers’ rights?

In the coming months, this question will likely be heard before the Illinois Southern District Court.


And yes *sigh,* there are still people who think the current minimum wage is too generous!

But Seattle is raising its minimum wage to $15 anyway!


Standing on either side of our speaker here are organizers Jim Moran and Paul Grubb.

An employee for Amazon details several dodgy, unfair labor practices there. Doesn't sound to me like a good place to work.


Philly IAC conducted a march on May 1st itself. IAC says: “Philly May 1st march bigger (250 marchers), younger and protested at corporate sites. We have to take this out of a park into the Center City streets.” (Facebook link to their flyer)

young fellow

Gee, why doe the tech industry love “Common Core” so much?

A teacher sent the following comment in reference to the requirement that all Common Core testing must be done online. Schools will lay off teachers and cut programs and services to pay for technology for testing:

“My campus has 1200 students and 32 computers in the lab. You do the math. We have to buy HUNDREDS of new computers, so that our primary-aged kids can take a test in the spring. Our district has frozen our salaries, cut staff, and cut our benefits…because our funding was also cut by our state…but we still have to come up with the $10 million that these computers will cost our district.”

Jill Stein

Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, speaks.

Teach For America, an initially good idea, is being abused to hurt teachers.

Whereas TFA began with the promise of placing its inexperienced young teachers–fresh college graduates with only five weeks of training–where they were needed most, TFA is now sending its recruits to districts where they are not needed at all, where there are no teacher shortages, where experienced teachers are being laid off and replaced by the cheap labor of TFA.

hip-hop group

In the second essay of this post, Paul Krugman composes a deepthink piece about why politicians appear to ignore economics.

And the diagnosis of our troubles as stemming from inadequate demand had clear policy implications: as long as lack of demand was the problem, we would be living in a world in which the usual rules didn’t apply. In particular, this was no time to worry about budget deficits and cut spending, which would only deepen the depression. When John Boehner, then the House minority leader, declared in early 2009 that since American families were having to tighten their belts, the government should tighten its belt, too, people like me cringed; his remarks betrayed his economic ignorance. We needed more government spending, not less, to fill the hole left by inadequate private demand.