Who Lost the White Working Class?

From Robert Reich:  http://robertreich.org/post/137631700920

Robert Reich
Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Why did the white working class abandon the Democrats?

The conventional answer is Republicans skillfully played the race card.

In the wake of the Civil Rights Act, segregationists like Alabama Governor George C. Wallace led southern whites out of the Democratic Party.

Later, Republicans charged Democrats with coddling black “welfare queens,“ being soft on black crime (“Willie Horton”), and trying to give jobs to less-qualified blacks over more-qualified whites (the battle over affirmative action).

The bigotry now spewing forth from Donald Trump and several of his Republican rivals is an extension of this old race card, now applied to Mexicans and Muslims – with much the same effect on the white working class voters, who don’t trust Democrats to be as “tough.”

All true, but this isn’t the whole story. Democrats also abandoned the white working class.

Democrats have occupied the White House for sixteen of the last twenty-four years, and in that time scored some important victories for working families – the Affordable Care Act, an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Family and Medical Leave Act, for example.

But they’ve done nothing to change the vicious cycle of wealth and power that has rigged the economy for the benefit of those at the top, and undermined the working class. In some respects, Democrats have been complicit in it.

Both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama ardently pushed for free trade agreements, for example, without providing the millions of blue-collar workers who thereby lost their jobs any means of getting new ones that paid at least as well.

They also stood by as corporations hammered trade unions, the backbone of the white working class. Clinton and Obama failed to reform labor laws to impose meaningful penalties on companies that violated them, or enable workers to form unions with a simple up-or-down votes.

I was there. In 1992, Bill Clinton promised such reform but once elected didn’t want to spend political capital on it. In 2008, Barack Obama made the same promise (remember the Employee Free Choice Act?) but never acted on it.

Partly as a result, union membership sunk from 22 percent of all workers when Bill Clinton was elected president to fewer than 12 percent today, and the working class lost bargaining leverage to get a share of the economy’s gains.

Continue reading at:  http://robertreich.org/post/137631700920

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BDS and the Rising Danger of ‘Intersectionality’

From Forward:  http://forward.com/opinion/328585/bds-and-the-rising-danger-of-intersectionality/

(JTA) — If you want to understand why the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, or BDS, has gained so much ground in the past two years, look no further than intersectionality, the study of related systems of oppression.

Intersectionality holds that various forms of oppression — racism, sexism, classism, ableism, and homophobia — constitute an intersecting system of oppression. In this worldview, a transcendent white, male, heterosexual power structure keeps down marginalized groups. Uniting oppressed groups, the theory goes, strengthens them against the dominant power structure.

As you might have guessed, the BDS movement has successfully injected the anti-Israel cause into these intersecting forms of oppression and itself into the interlocking communities of people who hold by them. So it’s increasingly likely that if a group sees itself as oppressed, it will see Israel as part of the dominant power structure doing the oppressing and Palestinians as fellow victims. That oppressed group will be susceptible to joining forces with the BDS movement.

At Columbia University, Students for Justice in Palestine managed to form an alliance with No Red Tape, a student group fighting sexual violence. What does opposing sexual violence have to do with Israel and the Palestinians?

“The way that No Red Tape conceives of sexual violence is a form of oppression that is related…to other forms of oppression,” said one group member.

“Sexual violence is a deeper political issue, and it cannot be divorced or separated from other oppressed identities,” said another No Red Tape member.

Intersectionality with the anti-Israel cause, unfortunately, has not been limited to groups working against sexual violence at Columbia. The anti-Israel website Mondoweiss recently declared that “since Mike Brown was shot by police in Ferguson … solidarity between the Black Lives Matter and Palestine movements has become an increasingly central tenet of both struggles.”

Other examples of groups and causes intersecting with BDS supporters abound, both on and off campus.

While anti-Israelism has long found a sympathetic ear among segments of the far left, it has not, until recently, enjoyed much popularity among ethnic minorities. Moreover, until recently, BDS supporters probably weren’t organized enough to do the necessary outreach to and stewardship of fellow marginalized groups. Now, evidently, they are.

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Why women over 50 can’t find jobs

From PBS News Hour:  http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/women-over-50-face-cant-find-jobs/

BY Teresa Ghilarducci 
January 14, 2016

If you’re a woman over the age of 50, finding work has statistically gotten harder since 2008.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis recently published a study that showed that half of the long-term unemployed are now women over 50. So what’s going on?

Economics correspondent Paul Solman sat down with Teresa Ghilarducci, a labor economist and the author of the new book, “How to Retire with Enough Money,” to talk about how age discrimination and assumptions about the worth of women’s labor affect the job and retirement prospects of “older” women workers.

For more on the topic, tune in to tonight’s Making Sen$e segment, which airs every Thursday on the PBS NewsHour. The following text has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.

Kristen Doerer, Making Sen$e Editor


Paul Solman: What explains discrimination against older women in the workplace?

Teresa Ghilarducci: So this is a really interesting finding, because we’ve all known about age discrimination, but I don’t think any of us thought that men were exempt. The fact that women are the ones that don’t get the jobs when they’re over 50 and looking for work does though, on second thought, make sense.

Paul Solman: Why does it make sense?

Teresa Ghilarducci: Well, a lot of what women do in their lives is punctuated by time outside of the labor market — taking care of family, taking care of children — and women’s labor has always been devalued. So if you have an older woman coming to you and applying for a job, you’re going to think about what kind of experiences she had, what kind of skills she might have. And rightly or wrongly, but probably unfairly, you’re going to assume that she had some time out of the labor market and that she was doing something that was basically worthless, because she wasn’t being paid for it.

The fact that caring labor is devalued in our society is something we’re going to have to confront when more and more people have to be cared for as they get older. But what it does right now is that it hits a woman really, really hard when she’s trying to get hired.

Continue reading at:  http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/women-over-50-face-cant-find-jobs/

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National LGBTQ Task Force Condemns Anti-Semitism

Launches review of Creating Change Conference.

Chicago, IL, January 25, 2016 — The following statement is being released by Rea Carey, National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director, at the close of this year’s Creating Change Conference in Chicago, Illinois.

“I want to make this crystal clear: the National LGBTQ Task Force wholeheartedly condemns anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic statements made at any Task Force event including our Creating Change Conference. It is unacceptable. Hate speech of any kind is unacceptable whether it’s directed at Jewish or Muslim people. Let me also be clear regarding a reception planned and hosted by the group A Wider Bridge with guests from Jerusalem Open House that happened after the annual Shabbat service and a protest of that reception. We are deeply concerned about how the events of the evening unfolded — and have already initiated a review of our conference practices.

“The last couple of weeks leading-up to Creating Change have been rough. The events leading up to and during it have been extremely hurtful to many — and for really different reasons. What we all are experiencing is complicated and messy. We know that many people at Creating Change share our belief in the self-determination of all people. And for many we have failed to live up to the ideals of our mission or values. We are leaning into the struggle. As Creating Change has grown to over 4,000 people, we are experiencing some of what happens when we ask people to be their full selves, to bring their whole selves to Creating Change… and those whole selves come into conflict.

“There have been many protests over the 28 years of the conference — and peaceful protest has been a hallmark of the pursuit of civil rights in our country. Receptions have never been protested at Creating Change in all its history. We acted to defuse the situation to the best of our ability. Without consulting us, hotel security called the police.

“This year’s conference revealed a variety of needed improvements to the systems and infrastructure we have built over the years for a smaller conference — that now need to be evolved to meet the challenges of a growing attendance. In light of all that has happened, I have already started a review of the Conference so we can make needed changes in the future. Among them are: inclusiveness and program content review; safety and security; and promoting conversation and peaceful protest.

“We know we have much to learn and many to learn from. As we work hard to improve the Creating Change Conference experience over the next year, we will include in that review process consulting widely with leaders in different communities, supporters and stakeholders.

“The Creating Change Conference, for the past 28 years, has been both a family reunion, a home for activists, a movement town hall and a place for movement building, for wrestling with the hard issues, and to energize activists to press on. It has always been a special place and will continue to be as it evolves and grows. If not the Task Force, who? If not Creating Change, where?”

-30-

CONTACTS:
Jorge Amaro, Media Relations Director, 213.842.7564, jamaro@thetaskforce.org
Mark Daley, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer, 202.379.8318, mdaley@thetaskforce.org

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How Intersectionality Makes You Stupid

From Tablet http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/196754/intersectionality-makes-you-stupid

A gay-rights group, caving to anti-Israel extremists, decides to cancel an ‘intensely divisive’ Jewish event—and then, under opposite pressure, decides to include it. The flawed lesson? The victim who shouts the loudest gets what they want in today’s hyper-politicized cultural climate.

January 21, 2016

As I write this, ISIS is hunting gay men to toss from the rooftops of Raqaa, and nearly 80 countries proscribe homosexuality. Yet for a 36-hour period earlier this week, the National LGBTQ Task Force chose to ally itself not with the one country in the Middle East that guarantees and protects the human rights of LGBTQ people, but with those who hang them from construction cranes.

On Sunday, the Task Force announced that it had canceled a post-Shabbat service reception at its annual Creating Change conference organized by the San Francisco-based nonprofit A Wider Bridge, which builds connections between LGBT communities in North America and Israel. Headlining the evening were representatives from Jerusalem Open House, an LGBT community center that serves a diverse array of constituencies, Palestinians and Israeli Arabs among them. Caving to pressure from a handful of anti-Israel extremists, the Task Force withdrew its sponsorship and kicked A Wider Bridge off its program.

“We canceled the reception when it became clear to us it would be intensely divisive rather than the community-building, social atmosphere which is the norm for Friday night at the conference,” Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey said in an emailed statement. Tyler Gregory, Deputy Director of A Wider Bridge, told the Washington Blade that the Task Force “recommended we either cancel [the] event, or ensure that our event speakers condemn the Israeli government in their remarks,” though which aspects of Israel’s government the Task Force expected A Wider Bridge—which receives no Israeli government funding—to “condemn” were left vague. Refusing to comply with either demand, A Wider Bridge was forced to move its event to a different hotel.

Carey’s contention that the happening—announced months ago—would be “intensely divisive” appears to rest on complaints registered by just three people: Dean Spade, a transgender professor at the Seattle University School of Law and a self-described “trans south Asian performance art duo” named Dark Matter. These, at least, were the only individuals named in the Blade story as having made public statements egging on the Task Force to engage in what is effectively an act of anti-Semitic prejudice and segregation.

And let there be no confusion: A non-compulsory Shabbat dinner and discussion of the Israeli LGBT experience is “divisive” in the way that the presence of a gay man in a locker room is “divisive.” It only “offends” the sensibilities of bigots. When a white person refuses to sit at a lunch counter next to a black person, or a straight football player refuses to play alongside a gay one, we have a word for that: discrimination. Nonetheless, a group ostensibly committed to fighting discrimination and that holds a conference so inclusive of the world’s many diversities that it provides “scent-free” areas for individuals highly sensitive to smell, bowed to those wanting to make it Jew-free as well.

Fortunately, after complaints by grassroots activists and high-profile gay Jews like Congressman Jared Polis and Robbie Kaplan, the lawyer who successfully argued the landmark marriage equality case United States vs. Windsor, the Task Force came to its senses, and announced Tuesday morning that it had reversed its decision to cancel the Israel-themed evening. What she had just hours earlier described as an “intensely divisive” program, Carey now says is integral to “our core value of inclusion.”

This is an edifying moment for gays, Jews, and the broader left. Were they to let this act of blatant discrimination stand, the leaders of the Task Force would have betrayed all these communities by succumbing to the heckler’s veto. In the loftier precincts of progressive journalism, higher education, and the non-profit world, those hecklers tend to be proponents of “intersectionality,” a voguish theory purporting that power is inextricably linked to aspects of identity like race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation, and that an individual’s “marginalization” is thus determined by their accumulation of various traits. Across the country, pseudo-intellectual totalitarians posing as outcasts regularly intimidate earnest but spineless liberals into capitulation. From the Oscar red carpet to Yale University quads, whoever shouts the loudest and claims victimization on account of more facets of their identity can expect to get what they demand, regardless of the quality or even logic of what they have to say.

Continue reading at:  http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/196754/intersectionality-makes-you-stupid