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Multi MediaSex & GenderSocialismThe LeftVideo

Clean In

How Hotel Workers Fought For a Union -- And Won

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Cubicles © Michael Lokner | Flickr
EssaysFeature

Who’s Afraid of Workplace Democracy?

Research indicates cooperatives manage resources just as efficiently

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Nuit Debout Paris © Nicolas Vigier |Flickr
EssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in QuestionThe Left

Paris Spring? Social Media And The Spread Of European Solidarity Protests

June marks the fifth month of Nuit Debout (Standing Night) a movement that sprung from earlier protests by young people against the French government’s labor law reform. On March 31, 2016, an informal group of a dozen citizens from Fakir, a left-wing activist magazine, used the #mars40 Twitter hashtag to launch a public demonstration in and subsequent occupation of Place de la République in Paris. Since its debut, a crowd has gathered every evening on the square. Participants and activists come together to share their discontents, proposals, and ideals for a new society. Nuit Debout has now become an international movement, with gatherings in more than 266 cities in France and 130 other cities in Europe.

Focusing on this movement, our aim here is twofold: first, …

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Unemployed  ©  Rob Milsom |Flickr
EssaysFeature

May Unemployment Report for Workers Over 55

Without the Choice to Retire, Unemployment Exacts High Psychological Costs on Older Workers

The Department of Labor’s monthly unemployment report released today shows  an unemployment rate of 3.4% for workers over the age of 55. The unemployment rate has decreased from 3.6% last month to 3.4%, a decrease of 0.2 percentage points.

In addition to imposing a financial cost on older workers, unemployment can also impose a psychological cost. The unemployed are not unemployed by choice. And being deprived of choice creates a feeling of helplessness. According to the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a nationally representative study of older Americans, unemployed respondents were more likely than both workers and retirees their same age to report a general feeling of helplessness. Among 55 to 64-year-olds, 40% of the unemployed agreed with the statement, …

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Binoculars Building, Venice, 2015 © Steve Boland | Flickr
EssaysFeature

Restoring Security by (Re)discovering the Culture of Flexible Work

By the early 1990s, Jay Chiat had reached the pinnacle of the advertising world thanks to his firm’s iconic campaigns, especially the Absolut Vodka bottle print ads and Apple’s “Think Different” and “1984” spots. Flush with cash, Chiat commissioned the architect Frank Gehry to design “the office of the future.” Gehry produced the iconic (if mystifying) “Binoculars Building” in Venice, California. The structure’s whimsical exterior, however, clashed with the staid, cubicled ways of work going on inside. And so Chiat soon embarked on a mission to reorganize the ways employees worked at the Chiat/Day offices. His “virtual office,” a phrase Chiat popularized, would be as radical as the building’s shell. The quirky interiors would stimulate creativity and foster equality through open, non-hierarchical communal spaces sure to inspire imagination, collaboration, and flexibility — even playfulness. 

The firm chose associate media director Monika Miller to test-drive the office, which meant she was freed of her desk, chair, and personal office space. Each morning,  …

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Rana Plaza Building Collapse, Bangladesh, 2013 © Rahul Talukder | Wikimedia Commons
CapitalismEssaysFeature

Global Sweatshops, Solidarity and the Bangladesh Breakthrough

The global apparel industry is a notorious sweatshop employer, with millions of workers laboring under terrible conditions in dozens of developing countries, making products sold in the Global North. This is an industry that was among the first to undergo the globalization of production. The vast majority of workers are young women. Thus this industry combines issues of international trade, race, gender and labor in a confluence of misery and oppression.

The reasons for sweatshop working …

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