June Jobs Report: More of the Same

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The labor market remained sluggish in May.  Unemployment rose from 7.5 percent to 7.6 percent, while the nonfarm payroll increased by 175,000.  Much of the job growth was concentrated in retail, food services, drinking places and temporary help.  Manufacturing fell slightly.

The growth in employment is at about the same rate as it has been over the last year.  This rate is simply not enough to make headway against the huge damage done by the financial panic and recession that started in late 2007.  The key measure of labor market health, the employment-to-population ratio, remains stuck at 58.6 percent.  That ratio has been at this level since 2010.  On the eve of the recession the employment-to-population ratio was over 63 percent.  In the 2001 recession this measure never fell below 62 percent. 

The economy remains in deep trouble.  We are treading water.  Growth is barely covering population increases.  The human cost of the recession continues.  The simple logic of the numbers is that we have made no progress. 

While the stock market reaches new highs, the labor market is stuck.  While corporation profits continue to rise, millions of workers are caught in unemployment or a part-time job.

In recent months, the continuing employment crisis has impacted not only the unemployed and discouraged workers; it also has impacted the rest of us, in the form of lower wages.  On Wed., June 5 the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its revised report on productivity and hourly labor compensation for the first quarter of 2013.  In the first three months of the year, hourly labor compensation actually fell at an annual rate of 3.8 percent.  This is the largest quarterly drop since records began in 1947.  In real terms the decline is 5.2 percent at an annual rate. 

Faced with this continuing challenge, what policies are being followed by the national government?  Unable to move out of Congressional deadlock and caught in the dead end of sequestration, the federal government is now actually making the problem worse.  The latest job report shows an actual decline of 14,000 federal jobs in the last month, a decline of over 50,000 jobs in the last year.  At a time when the federal government should be mounting an aggressive jobs program to put millions back to work, it is instead destroying jobs.  The logic is baffling.  It is time for a change.

The Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act (HR 1000) now has 36 co-sponsors. Is your representative one of them?   

Joe Persky teaches economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago and is the president of the faculty union there.  Cartoon courtesy of Carol Simpson http://www.cartoonwork.com

Film Discussion: The Price We Pay

January 30, 2017
· 51 rsvps
The Price We Pay blows the lid off the dirty world of corporate malfeasance — the dark history and dire present-day reality of big-business tax avoidance, tax havens - and what we need to do to stop this.  DSA member Bill Barclay, who has a cameo role in the film, will facilitate the discussion. Watch the film prior to the discussion.

Full film available on Vimeo.

How to Plug in New Members

February 01, 2017
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Is your DSA chapter growing quickly and you're trying desperately to find ways to plug new members into your chapter's work? Never fear! On this conference call an experienced DSA organizer will go over the basics of new member outreach and developing a plan for plugging new members into your chapter's work. Most of the call will be devoted to troubleshooting specific issues you're facing, so please brainstorm some issues beforehand that you want to bring up on the call.  8 PM ET; 7 PM CT; 7 PM MT; 7 PM PT.

Film Discussion: Salt of the Earth

February 05, 2017
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Join DSA members Shelby Murphy and Deborah Rosenfelt in discussing Salt of the Earth, a captivating film made in 1954 by blacklisted writers and actors about a strike at a New Mexico zinc mine. Well before the resurgence of feminism in the 1960s, these filmmakers were exploring gender inequality and solidarity. Available on Netflix.

Shelby Murphy is a Latina from Texas and former Young Democratic Socialists co-chair. Professor Emerita of Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, Deborah Rosenfelt researched the making of the film and its aftermath for the reissued screenplay. Here is her blogpost about the film.

 

Film Discussion: Documentaries of People's History in Texas

April 02, 2017
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Join DSA members Glenn Scott and Richard Croxdale to discuss videos produced by People’s History in Texas (PHIT), a project that brings to life the stories of ordinary people in significant socio-political movements in Texas. They will discuss The Rag, their newest documentary, which tells the story of an influential underground paper based in Austin, Texas, from 1966-77. Click here to view Part I (the early years as an all-volunteer paper covering the student, anti-Vietnam and Civil Rights movements), Part II (the impact of Women’s Liberation on the paper) and Part III (building community: covering local politics, nukes, co-ops, feminist institutions). But also check out the video on the Stand-Ins about a group of university students who led a movement to desegregate Austin’s movie theaters in 1961.

Film Discussion: Rosa [Luxemburg]

May 31, 2017
· 12 rsvps

Join DSA member Jason Schulman to discuss the film Rosa, directed by feminist filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta. View it here at no cost before the discussion. Marxist theorist and economist Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) played a key role in German socialist politics. Jason edited Rosa Luxemburg: Her Life and Legacy and has a chapter in Rosa Remix.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 4 rsvps

Join Victoria Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Texas State University, San Marcos, to discuss The Free State of Jones. STX Entertainment bought the film rights to Bynum's book of the same title. She also served as a consultant and appears in a cameo scene. What was the Free State of Jones? During the Civil War, an armed band of deserters led by Newt Knight, a non-slaveholding white farmer, took to the swamps of southeastern Mississippi and battled against the Confederacy in an uprising popularly known as “The Free State of Jones.” Joining Newt in this rebellion was Rachel, a slave. From their relationship, there developed a controversial mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended. View the film here for $6 before the discussion.