The High Cost of Low Wages


The Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California at Berkeley has produced the first report to examine the cost to the 50 states of public assistance programs for working families. It turns out that we spend nearly $153 billion dollars a year to subsidize the low wages at McDonald’s, Wal-Mart and the like.

Read More: The High Public Cost of Low Wages | UC Berkeley Labor Center

Download a PDF of the Briefing.


Ten Ways to Fight Hate – Community Guide

All over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices.

This guide from the Southern Poverty Law Center sets out 10 principles for fighting hate, along with a collection of inspiring stories of people who worked to push hate out of their communities.

Read More: Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide | Southern Poverty Law Center.

Download the PDF.

Nativism on the Rise in Europe

Giovanni Tiso describes a 50,000 strong racist march in Milan last fall. This is a harbinger of things to come, I fear.

Milan is the historic capital of the Italian bourgeoisie, and has long since harboured the racism of the well-off even as it drew upon – from the Italian south or overseas – the labour force ­it needed to be productive and grow. The appearance of the marchers reflect the folklore of the local racist: a narrow cross-section of the mid- to upper middle class, the embodiment of comfort and belonging.

Manufactured symbols, legends and traditions were also a hallmark of Fascism and a key to its popular appeal. Speaking of which, the march was notable for the scheduled, welcome participation of neofascist organization Forza Nuova and the Casa Pound social centres.

Read the article: The invention of racism | Overland literary journal.

Turnaround Means Go Backwards

According to a study by Illinois Economic Policy Institute and University of Illinois, if the six counties surrounding Chicago passed right to work laws, “The economy would shrink by 1.3 billion, state and local tax revenues would be reduced by $80 million… racial and gender inequality would both increase, and the number of workplace injuries and fatalities would rise.”

Read More: A Response to Governor Rauner’s Flawed “Turnaround Agenda” by David Madsen (Presented to The Naperville City Council on April 21st, 2015).

Stratfor on the US Empire

Here’s an interesting article on American imperialism written by George Friedman for Stratfor’s Geopolitical Weekly. It was republished on the Committees of Correspondence site.

The United States found itself with an extraordinary empire, which it also intended to abandon. This was a genuine wish and not mere propaganda. First, the United States was the first anti-imperial project in modernity. It opposed empire in principle. More important, this empire was a drain on American resources and not a source of wealth. World War II had shattered both Japan and Western Europe. The United States gained little or no economic advantage in holding on to these countries. Finally, the United States ended World War II largely untouched by war and as perhaps one of the few countries that profited from it. The money was to be made in the United States, not in the empire. The troops and the generals wanted to go home.

But unlike after World War I, the Americans couldn’t let go.

Read the full article: The Bashful Imperialists: An Elite Intelligence Group on US Empire : Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.

Congratulations, America

Along with Latvia, Lithuania and Romania, you rank lowest for the material well-being of children in all of the developed world.

As Paul Buchheit reports, the callousness of America’s political and business leaders is shocking once you start looking at the numbers.

Read more: The Numbers Are Staggering: U.S. Is ‘World Leader’ in Child Poverty | Alternet.

Read the UNICEF Report on child well-being in rich countries.

The Military Indoctrination of Our Children

Middle school military programs are younger cousins of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC), a Pentagon program taught by retired military officers and present in more than 3,500 high schools nationwide. There are strong similarities with JROTC— military-style uniforms, close-order drills, a curriculum that emphasizes patriotism and military history.

A review of programs in more than a dozen states found that there are at least 97 public middle schools currently offering military-style education.

Read more: America’s Tween Soldiers – In These Times.

We Shall See What Will Become Of His Dreams

“There are people who have come to see the moral imperative of equality, but who cannot yet see the moral imperative of world brotherhood. I would like to see the fervor of the civil-rights movement imbued into the peace movement to instill it with greater strength. And I believe everyone has a duty to be in both the civil-rights and peace movements. But for those who presently choose but one, I would hope they will finally come to see the moral roots common to both.”

– The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.