French and African workers, unite!

first_imgThe working class of France has a proud history of struggle. The Paris Commune, established in March 1871 and brutally crushed by the capitalist state two months later, was the first example of the working class in power. In 1968, another French Revolution came close to bringing down the government. Since then, the labor movement has engaged in many powerful strikes.The words to the famous proletarian revolutionary anthem, “The Internationale,” were written in 1871 by a leader of the Communards, Eugène Pottier. The recent upsurge in France, from the Yellow Vest movement to the strike now in its second month, brings to mind this moving call to action – “Debout, les damnés de la terre!” (“Arise, ye wretched of the earth!”)This general strike has made its impact felt. French President Emmanuel Macron dropped a proposed law to raise the minimum retirement age. But the workers are still off the job and in the streets.The working class of France is part of a growing strike and protest wave around the world, including in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, Puerto Rico and most recently India. Even in the U.S., strikes are more frequent and involve larger numbers of workers.What is still needed is for the global proletariat to strike with coordination and in unison. Workers in the imperialist oppressor countries need to be in solidarity with workers of their home country’s former colonies and today’s neocolonies.At this time the role of French imperialism in suppressing the masses of its former African colonies is increasing. France has just sent more troops to augment its force of 4,500 who have been exerting imperialist control over the vast region known as the Sahel. It is in the interest of striking workers in France to come out unequivocally for the removal of French troops from Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Protests by the people in these former colonized countries are demanding just that. For the French working class to declare its solidarity with these protests would be a step toward building transnational class unity. It would demonstrate understanding of another very old union slogan: “An injury to one is an injury to all!”Victory to the French strike! Imperialism out of Africa!FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Big Boi Debuts New Music Video, Announces Dungeon Family Reunion Tour With Goodie Mob & More [Watch]

first_imgFollowing his high profile appearance during the Super Bowl LIII halftime show on Sunday night, Big Boi has announced a reunion tour with Atlanta hip-hop collective Dungeon Family.The April stretch will see Big Boi join up with fellow veteran Dungeon Family acts like Goodie Mob, Organized Noize, KP The Great, Sleepy Brown and more for stops in Chicago, Nashville, New Orleans, Dallas, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, and Asheville. As of now, there is no word on whether Big Boi’s Outkast counterpart, Andre 3000, will take part in the Dungeon Family reunion tour. You can listen to Dungeon Family’s sole album, 2001’s Even In Darkness, below:Dungeon Family – Even In DarknessIn addition to the Dungeon Family tour announcement and the Super Bowl appearance, Big Boi has released a video for new single, “Doin’ It”, which features Sleepy Brown. The “Doin It” single, originally released last week, also includes “Return of the Dope Boi” ft. Dungeon Family cohorts Killer Mike (Run The Jewels) and Backbone. Check out the video for “Doin It” below:Big Boi ft. Sleepy Brown – “Doin It” [Official Video][Video: Big Boi]New tracks and tours aren’t the only ventures Big Boi is pushing following his Super Bowl appearance. He also just launched a new clothing line. You can cop your own ATLiens satin jacket (as seen during the halftime show performance) via the Outkast website.See below for a full list of Dungeon Family tour dates. For more details and ticketing information for the upcoming tour, head to the tour website here.Dungeon Family 2019 Tour Dates04/14 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues04/16 – Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works04/17 – New Orleans, LA @ The Fillmore New Orleans04/18 – Dallas, TX @ Bomb Factory04/20 – Atlanta, GA @ Fox Theater04/22 – Washington, DC @ The Howard Theater04/23 – New York, NY @ Terminal 504/24 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore04/25 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues04/27 – Asheville, NC @ Salvage StationView Tour Dateslast_img read more

As Europe’s economic picture brightens, new threats emerge

first_imgA slow but robust economic recovery is well underway in Europe, but the European Union now faces serious new threats from both within and without, foreign policy experts warned at the daylong 2017 Summit on the Future of Europe at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies in early November.Daniel Gros, director of the Center for European Policy Studies think tank, said that sustained growth in domestic demand is a crucial element to economic recovery, and in Europe that has been increasing at a rate of about 2 percent a year since 2012. In addition, he said, while unemployment in much of Europe remains high, the labor force participation rate (the percentage of the working-age population either employed or actively looking for work) has grown steadily for many years — in contrast with the situation in the U.S., where the participation rate, initially higher than that of Europe, has fallen since the economic crisis began and shows no sign of bouncing back. The absence of a “discouraged worker” effect in Europe signals that a robust recovery is likely, Gros said.Gros added that worries about decreased investments in Europe are misplaced, because the drop occurred mainly in the construction sector, which bloated during the boom years. Non-construction investment has held steady. The danger of deflation has also been exaggerated, he said, because the growth rate of nominal gross domestic product is higher than the nominal interest rate, making a classical debt deflation scenario unlikely.Agnès Bénassy-Quéré, who chairs the French Council of Economic Analysis, was less sanguine, however. She said the crisis upended assumptions on which the Euro was based, no new consensus has emerged, and there has been no effective policy response to the crisis. In particular, she said fiscal tightening began too early and overshot its mark, especially in Germany, contributing to a double-dip recession.Germany’s persistently large current account surplus calls for demand stimulus there, while France needs structural reforms, which President Emmanuel Macron has initiated. Bénassy-Quéré said that in addition to coordinating these disparate policies, Europe may need to move toward true policy integration, such as Macron’s proposed tax harmonization.Kyriakos Pierrakakis, research director of the diaNEOsis Research and Policy Institute in Athens and a graduate of the Master in Public Policy program at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), put the focus on Greece, where persistent severe economic difficulties have resulted in significantly increased anti-EU sentiment since the 2015 referendum. Pierrakakis reported that despite media stories about the effects of the crisis on Greek pensioners, a diaNEOsis survey found the rate of extreme poverty among Greeks over 65 is considerably lower than in other age cohorts. However, Greece has lost population since the onset of the crisis, as better-educated young people emigrate for better jobs, he said. This brain drain indicates a deep structural problem not reflected in improving economic measures such as the government’s primary surplus. In a lunchtime conversation with Joseph Nye, former Spanish foreign minister Ana Palacio considered the threat of Catalonian secession from Spain and potential challenges to European integration stemming from separatist movements elsewhere.Ana Palacio (left) and Joseph Nye participate in a lunchtime seminar. © 2017 David ElmesEven where economic anxieties have waned in Europe, security threats loom increasingly large, Harvard experts said. Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, at HKS, and Ash Carter, director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and former U.S. Secretary of Defense, discussed the degradation of U.S.-Russian relations. Carter argued that bridges are harder to build and that the U.S. needs to stay “strong and balanced” and hold “the doors open” even though this may be conditional. Karen Donfried, president of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, said that America’s shifting international commitment puts Europe to the test, and the jury is out on whether Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel can carve out a strong role for Europe at the global level.Angela Stent, director of Georgetown’s Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies, addressed Russia’s wariness of the European Union. She noted Vladimir Putin’s belief that the EU is paralyzed by its divided sovereignty, and his preference for bilateral to multilateral negotiations in his dealings with Europe. Merkel, who came of age in a Communist regime and speaks fluent Russian, understands Russia better than other European leaders, Stent added.Lilia Shevtsova, an associate fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Program at Chatham House, an NGO based in London that analyzes and promotes understanding of major international issues and current affairs, agreed that Russia would much prefer to deal with Berlin and to a lesser extent Paris and London than with Brussels, which it views as a “retirement house” for end-of-career politicians. Nevertheless, she said, Russia recognizes that Europe is “an important engine” for its own economic development, indeed more essential than the U.S. She described as a “Putinesque” effort to reconcile tradition with globalization that would have Russia recognized as the center of a “greater Eurasian” pole as the U.S. retrenches.Finally, Rawi Abdelal, Joseph C. Wilson Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, focused on energy policy, drawing a distinction between interfirm and intergovernmental relations. Even in times of severe tension between Russia and western governments, energy sector firms have continued to cooperate to keep the gas flowing. He said that although Europeans have been “infuriated” by “extraterritorial” U.S. sanctions imposed on their firms for political reasons, the existence of “overlapping” firm-to-firm and government-to-government relations remains “incredibly valuable” for Europe and Russia.The conference was co-sponsored by the Berlin Social Science Center and the diaNEOsis Research and Policy Institute.last_img read more

US job cuts skyrocketed 231% in 2020: Survey

first_imgThe Labor Department later Thursday is set to announce the tally of new claims for unemployment benefits filed last week, a metric that saw an unprecedented spike starting in March when business shutdowns to stop the virus’s spread began.Around 27 million people continue to receive some form of government unemployment assistance, according to the latest Labor Department data, and the Challenger reports sheds further lights on the grim hiring situation in the world’s largest economy.Entertainment and leisure companies – like the bars and restaurants forced to close by social distancing orders – recorded the second-highest number of announced layoffs in August, and a stomach-churning 8,128 percent increase in cuts compared to the first eight months of 2019.States have started lifting lockdown restrictions in a bid to revitalize the economy, and the report indicated the pace of layoffs seemed to be slowing, with the August total of 115,762 down 56 percent from July.Topics : United States job cuts so far this year surged 231 percent compared to the same period of 2019 as the coronavirus wreaked havoc on the once-healthy economy, according to a new report Thursday.Though the pace of announced layoffs is slowing, the number of job cuts announced by US-based employers through August already surpassed the previous full-year record set in 2001, according to outplacement and coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.The data are the latest indication of the awful employment situation facing many American workers as the country weathers the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak. All told, employers have announced nearly two million cuts this year, and COVID-19 was cited as the reason for more than half.”The leading sector for job cuts last month was transportation, as airlines begin to make staffing decisions in the wake of decreased travel and uncertain federal intervention,” said Andrew Challenger, the firm’s senior vice president. “An increasing number of companies that initially had temporary job cuts or furloughs are now making them permanent.”Airlines have been badly hit by a slump in passenger demand caused by the pandemic, and transportation has cut 131,571 jobs this year, nearly 500 percent higher than 2019, the report said. And that was before United Airlines on Wednesday announced another 16,000 layoffs in October.last_img read more

Pelosi Prays Next to Trump at 68th Annual National Prayer Breakfast

first_img68th annual national prayer breakfast is going on now and just before the President’s address, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) just delivered “a prayer for the poor and persecuted,” she was literally three feet away from him. This after she ripped up his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night.The annual National Prayer Breakfast brings more than 3,000 people to Washington for a couple days of networking, prayer and meetings including the central event, the breakfast, at which the U.S. president always speaks.last_img