Showing posts with label justice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label justice. Show all posts

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Oh What, We're Not Gonna Strike?

You know me. Why would I ever pass up the opportunity right? It should probably come as no surprise that I am asking my fellow workers in the City University of New York to vote 'no' on the proposed pay cut and power grab from Governor Cuomo, Bill De Blasio, and Chancellor Milliken.

So a union is supposed to fight for worker power, right? To get a better living standard, worker control, and worker democracy, that's not happening right now. The union leadership tell us that this was the best they could get.

CUNY workers should have their suspicions.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Full Amnesty

This week, I wrote a post on the New School Economic Review blog advocating for a complete abolition of immigration restrictions. Here's a sample:

From my interactions with Branko both in person and online, I'm fairly certain that he has absolutely no desire to embrace racism and would likely rebuke it at any opportunity. However, the geopolitical paradigm he crafts here makes such a result nearly inevitable. By essentializing historically fluid categories such as national culture and language, Milanovic sets up a framework in which migration is an invasive force. By treating geographic income disparities as historically neutral and sacrosanct, he sets up a Paretian world in which changes are only permissible insofar as they are immediately beneficial to everyone involved. In other words, Milanovic's assessment of migration creates a paradigm in which only the wealthy should be allowed to migrate.

For Milanovic, migrants bring nothing but their monetary endowments to their new host countries. Anyone migrating without her own wealth, according to this reasoning, will merely drain the system. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, studies show that more often than not, migrants end up in forms of employment that create the opportunity for the creation of new higher-skill job in complementary sectors. All of this amounts to the strengthening of the very systems which Milanovic claims they will destroy.

Far from being idle surplus population, migrants provide an overwhelming economic boon where institutional systems support it. Historically, this institutional support has not led to the destruction of national culture and language, but rather its expansion. When flocks of Jewish and Slavic migrants fled the Ottoman and Austrian persecution in Milanovic's native Serbia in the latter part of the 19th century, they brought with them cultural and linguistic traditions that have since become so sewn into the fabric of this country as to go without notice.

Read the full post here

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Why 'Expert Hackers' Can't Write the Code

In a recent letter to the Financial Times, associate professor of the University of Hong Kong John Ure asked why if Apple could theoretically write code to bypass the iPhone message encryption service for the FBI why the expert hackers Apple warns of couldn’t do so as well. This speaks to a fundamental misunderstanding of how end-to-end encryption works.

This misunderstanding is completely understandable. Admittedly, before switching to Whisper (an open-source encryption service put out by the makers of Twitter) and doing some research, I probably would have had the same misunderstanding. While the actual workings of encryption itself are fairly complex, I think I can make them understandable by means of an analogy.

Friday, November 27, 2015

This Whole Terrorist Thing

For whatever reason, the word "terrorist" still has currency across the spectrum of the broad left. Perhaps it should be of little surprise that anyone would want to immediately translate their feelings of moral indignation into the language of the state. However, the more curious matter is the way in which the left employs the word "terrorist" to eclipse some possibly more useful & illuminating signifiers.

I had personally hoped that the lampooning of Giuliani's campaign for the 2008 presidential elections spelled the death knell for the use of "terrorism" to end conversations on the ideological and organizations intricacies of political mass violence. Instead, the opposite has appeared to happen. The left, in an attempt to race-bait the right, has eagerly applied the appellation to every mass murderer who cannot immediately be identified as marginalized.

Of course, the right-wing media doesn't really care if it's race-baited and is perfectly happy to differentially apply the term "terrorist." In the Current Year™, the implication of one's endorsement of racism just doesn't have the same earth-shattering consequences as it did in the few decades following desegregation and the Civil Rights Act. In an era of #cuckservatives and armed white nationalist "protesters," it's becoming increasingly less dangerous to be a neo-Nazi than it is to oppose them.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Welcome to The Jungle

In the mess of the hours-long attacks in Paris resulting in over a hundred deaths, a certain well-meaning tweet captured the hearts of well-meaning Anglophone liberals:

From our Eurocentric perspective, this tweet is a slam-dunk for the champions of liberal hospitality. Certainly, it would be naïve -- worse, dangerous -- to assert that this attack is the mere consequence of immigration. Of course those seeking refuge in France from the Middle East and North Africa have done so out of fear for their lives and livelihoods. But for all that this tweet (unlikely) illuminates to reactionaries, it still succeeds in obscuring for liberals.

The sentiment of this tweet is predicated fundamentally on two falsehoods. The first is that this event is not unprecedented. The second is that the narrative this tweet presents is largely false.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Community Post on Feministing: Kinda Forget; Maybe Again

A little over a week ago, a piece of mine appeared on Feministing. In it, I review Donald Trump's habit of offending everyone...well, almost everyone. While he has no problem offending various ethnic groups and women, Trump is very hesitant to rebuke his more radical followers:

When pressed about his endorsement from David Duke, Trump gave only a lukewarm repudiation, doing so “if it would make you feel better.” When asked of his opinion on his name being invoked in a racist beating, he remarked, “the people who are following me are very passionate.” When asked when the US is going to get rid of Muslims, Trump responded, “We’re going to be looking at that and plenty of other things.”
Read the rest here

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Hate Unchecked

Yesterday and today, there were and are protests happening at mosques across the US to counter-pose Louis Farrakhan's "Justice Or Else" rally happening today. In response, MPOWER - a Muslim racial & economic justice organization - started a "Twitter storm" under the hashtag #HateUnchecked. In keeping with the theme, I've written a piece over on Medium about why these anti-Muslim protests are happening now (as opposed to say, the immediate aftermath of 9/11) and why they aren't merely an election year flash in the pan.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11 there was only one public protest of a mosque which became that accidentally. In Chicago, there was a “patriotism” protest on 9/13 that ended up going past a mosque, and the crowd stopped there and rallied outside the mosque. Since then, there were incidents of vandalism of mosques and hate crimes against Muslims (and other brown people), but no organized protests explicitly against Islam until 2010. In the intervening years, two major things happened.
Read the rest at Medium

Sunday, September 27, 2015

When Animal Rights Trumps Human Rights

One time I was in the Lower East Side and a homeless man with a dog told me that he had just moved to the city for a job that didn't start until the following Monday and he was looking for help feeding his dog, crying that he didn't eat unless his dog ate. He asked for a hot dog from the 7-11 we were in front of. I insisted that if he was going to feed his dog that I would buy him two, one for him and one for his dog. I came out with two hot dogs, and he gave them both to his dog right there.

Needless to say, I was pretty pissed off when I came across this video yesterday. In it, members of a French animal rights group Cause Animale Nord wrestle a dog from a homeless man and run off with it. According to HuffPo, they have put the stolen dog up for adoption.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Workers, Women, and Revolution: From Inequality to Solidarity

Today, I published a recap of Julie Matthaei's excellent talk at the New School for Social Research last Tuesday. You can read the whole thing at the New School Economic Review. Here's a sample:

In 1973, the URPE women founded a Marxist-feminist reading group which due to growing interest over the years blossomed into multiple reading groups. Some of the early selections were Women and Revolution by Lydia Sargent and Capitalist Patriarchy and the Case for Socialist Feminism edited by Zillah R. Eisenstein. The groups investigated complex questions such as "What is the relationship between capitalism and patriarchy?" since on the one hand capitalism appeared to break down certain "traditional" gender roles but on the other hand led to the increasing proletarianization of women without providing much accommodation for their needs as women. Additionally, these reading groups discussed whether women's liberation could be left until after the revolution and whether a concern for women's liberation could stand to divide the working class as so many male socialists at the time asserted. The answer was a resounding no.

Simmering below the surface was the question of "womanhood" itself. It soon became clear that an approach that considered only capitalism and patriarchy was insufficient to explain the experience of women of color and queer women (much less queer women of color). After some internal struggle, complemented by changes in the wider feminist movement, URPE embraced an approach that analyzed the intersections of all sorts of oppression and exploitation. As Matthaei said, they concluded, "There is no universal experience of womanhood."

Read the full article at the New School Economic Review

Friday, September 18, 2015

That's Dr. Nazi to You

The National Press Club is run by journalists from news outlets as prestigious as Bloomberg and Al-Jazeera. This October it will host a conference of neo-Nazis.

The National Policy Institute’s biennial conference serves as a meet and greet for an array of well-funded affiliates of this ideological bridge going from mass murderers like Dylann Roof and Rusty Houser to windbags like Donald Trump and Ann Coulter.

While the National Press Club defends its decision to host the conference by standing behind its “108 year history representing the values of freedom of speech, freedom of the press,” they seem to ignore that fascism as an ideological position has a 93 year history of opposing freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Read more at Medium.com

Monday, August 31, 2015

FedEx Packages

In keeping with the GOP's attempt to keep up with Donald Trump's fascist appeal, Chris Christie proposed a technocratic "solution" to undocumented immigration. I put solution in scare quotes not because his policy plan is ridiculous, but because I remain unconvinced that undocumented immigration is a problem to be solved. By and large, immigration is a boon for the economy - it tends to positively impact citizens' earnings, has minimal impact on domestic unemployment, and are comparatively less likely to be violent criminals than citizens.

What Christie proposed was a bit silly in its phrasing. Par for the course for Christie. According to Christie 40% of undocumented immigrants are here on expired visas. He proposed that we use FedEx's expertise with tracking packages in order to track human beings. The video is under the cut.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

#tbt ICPH 2013 An Election Primer on New York City’s Homeless Families: The Public Policies of Four Mayors, 1978–2013

So in preparing for a job interview today, I am reading this report by the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness. It's a fascinating tale of the increasingly terrible policies for homeless families since the Reagan counterrevolution. Prior to the mayorship of Ed Koch, New York City had no official emergency shelter system, and relied on a loose network of private landlords and non-profits to fill the gap. Koch implemented a more formalized public shelter system that often found itself underfunded, overcrowded, and in violation of the law. As the wave of privatization and means testing kicked in in the 90's, the shelter system was drawn down by contracting services and refusing requests for housing. When Bloomberg took office, he did everything in his power to take the burden of solving homelessness off of the city government by outsourcing services to private for-profit companies, most without any sort of contract.

The report does a really great job with telling the story of the Department of Housing Services and the city's battle with the law requiring that the homeless be taken care of. It does, in my opinion have two blind spots. The first is that it largely fails to present these events in the political and social context of their time. As such, it often presents the actions taken by certain mayors as merely bad decisions rather than ideologically driven decisions. Second, in its narrow scope to focus on just the provision of housing (and just emergency family housing at that), it fails to take into account the effect that policies around policing, public transfers, and public employment programs had on exacerbating the crisis of homelessness that the city has faced for at least the past 45 years.

Download the full report here

Monday, July 20, 2015

Why the #NoFlagginChallenge Is Actually Really Important

Since Bree Newsome's spiderwoman takedown of the South Carolina statehouse's confederate flag and its subsequent removal through official legislation, a wave of anti-flagging vigilantism has begun.

If you haven't yet seen the #NoFlagginChallenge, the videos below will get you up to speed.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

#tbt Shapley & Shubik 1964 Ownership and the Production Function

Before the modern era of competitive game theory -- what one of my mentors refers to as the "neoclassical bicycle repair shop" -- game theory was a tool with which to challenge neoclassical dogma about how individuals behaved at the microeconomic level. Lloyd Shapley, in particular, revolutionized cooperative game theory with what came to be known as the Shapley value -- a quantitative measure of whether or not to take a particular role in a game. This form of game theory -- what might by today's standards of competitive game theory resemble a sort of meta-game theory -- sought to investigate the structural outcomes of certain incentive structures and resource constraints.

This paper by Shapley and Martin Shubik builds upon this by calling into question ownership structures themselves. Drawing in part on stylized facts about certain modes of production and resource distribution, Shapley and Shubik derive explanations for emergent ownership structures from tribal communism, feudalism, industrialism, etc. on the basis of labor and capital productivity. It's a really clever model, and provides some pretty decent inspiration with regards to modeling alternative economic systems outside of the paradigm of competition.

Download the paper here

Thursday, June 18, 2015

I'm Willing to Bet Anything

From the second the story broke, I knew this was RaHoWa. Racial Holy War. This was a term coined by Ben Klassen who started the White Nationalist and antisemitic Church of the Creator. This was a thing endorsed by William Luther Pierce under the pen name Andrew MacDonald in his books The Turner Diaries and Hunter. This is a tactic endorsed by White Aryan Resistance founder Tom Metzger in his calls for The Lone Wolf strategy.

At this point, prior to the police interrogation, I am fairly confident that what Dylann Storm Roof carried out was not simply an arbitrary spree killing, but a calculated political assassination. There are a couple reasons I believe this. First, arbitrary spree shootings at black churches just aren't the White Nationalist M.O. If a White Nationalist carries out a spree killing, it's going to be in a place at a time where they can inflict the most casualties. A Wednesday night is not that time. Second, if your aim is to take out a Black church, you don't do it with a gun at 9pm on a Wednesday; you do it with fire and an accelerant on a Sunday. Third, White Nationalists, by and large, see Black folks as merely a pawn in an international Jewish conspiracy (often referred to as the Z.O.G. - Zionist Occupation Government).

The missing piece that folks appear to be missing in all this is that one of the nine dead was a Black state senator. This was a small gathering at which Roof knew the senator would be present, in close proximity, and would leave few if any witnesses. This was not a random shooting spree, this was a calculated assassination plot. I'm willing to bet anything.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

There Is No Law; There Is Only Enforcement

This past weekend, Rand Paul led a filibuster on the Senate floor to delay certain provisions of the Patriot Act. As of noon at night on Monday, the NSA "couldn't" collect massive amounts of domestic phone call metadata in three month intervals. Technically, they "couldn't" do that about a month before, but appeals courts?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kyle K. Moore on Racial Retirement Inequity

My friend and colleague Kyle Moore has been keeping busy producing some really jarring statistics about retirement inequality. Listen to Kyle talk about the facts and some possible remedies below the cut.