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█ Beneath The Surface
Sunday, December 5, 2021 10:00 am 1:00:12
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█ Beneath The Surface
Sunday, November 28, 2021 10:00 am 1:00:12
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█ Beneath The Surface
Sunday, November 21, 2021 10:00 am 1:00:12
Guests:
Crystal Hopkins, Nelson Lichtenstein
Topics
IATSE Ratification vote; Labor militancy
Crystal Hopkins just stepped down as President of IATSE Local 871 on the eve of the ratification vote, citing personal obligations and frustration over the ratification process that has deeply divided the membership. The 3 year contract or Basic Agreement with studios and streaming services squeaked by thanks to a delegate voting system many compare to the electoral college: 50.4% of the popular vote rejected the deal, but the agreement was ratified with 256 delegates voting yes and 88 voting no. That has left a lot of hard feelings and there is mounting criticism of President Matthew Loeb’s leadership of the union. We get the story of the deal, what lay behind it, and Crystal’s reasons for stepping down.
UCSB labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein has an article in the WaPo and another in Dissent that address the current enormous churn in the workplace: some call it “The Big Quit,” others a strike wave. Record numbers of workers are quitting their jobs, but there is also rising labor militancy and strikes, increasing wages and accelerating inflation. The employer response is to pay more but remain vigorously anti-union – and, as Nelson Lichtenstein says, getting millions of new workers unionized is what is required.
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█ Beneath The Surface
Sunday, November 14, 2021 10:00 am 1:00:11
Guests:
Chloe Watlington, Oscar Mendoza
Topics
The Big Quit; Chilean Election
Chloe Watlington has a new piece in L.A. TACO called "The Big Quit of 2021 – as told by women of color in Los Angeles." Chloe talked to four women about their experiences. The backdrop is what has happened to work during the pandemic. Month after month workers have been quitting jobs at unprecedented levels -- for a variety of reasons including lack of childcare, burnout from toxic working conditions and more. We talk to Chloe to get the big picture – who is quitting, which jobs are they quitting, why are they quitting – and what are the long term implications for the future of work and working conditions.
Oscar Ricardo Mendoza joins us to explain the Chilean Presidential election taking place on November 21. The massive social protest movement of October 2019 accomplished what decades of center-left rule could not: the end of the Pinochet Constitution, the right to develop a new one based on the guarantee of universal social rights and the recognition of Chile as a plurinational, multilingual society. The election for the constituents wiped out the right and the center. The next step was the formation of new electoral coalitions to select their presidential candidate. That brought more surprises, with the collapse of the traditional right. Gabriel Boric, the candidate of the left Apruebo Dignidad coalition, is now being challenged from the very far right pro-Pinochetista José Antonio Kast, and polls show the fascist Kast gaining on the young leftist Boric – but Oscar Ricardo Mendoza cautions that the polls have been more wrong that right. We get the story.
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█ Beneath The Surface
Sunday, November 7, 2021 9:00 am 1:00:12
Guests:
Suzi Weissman, Billy Bragg
Topics
Russian Revolution at 104; Bragg's The Internationale
On the anniversary of the Russian revolution, Suzi Weissman switches seats with Robert Brenner: she is the guest and he does the interviewing. The program begins with Suzi on "One Hundred Years Since October: When the Russian Working Class Opened the Possibilities For Humanity." Robert and Suzi then discuss the significance of October 1917, when workers took power with profoundly democratic institutions of popular control from below in the Russian empire, creating the Soviet Union.
The program ends with the song that revolutionaries around the world sing: the Internationale. Billy Bragg wrote new lyrics for the song that was first written in 1871 at the time of the Paris Commune. On May 3, 2020, Billy Bragg joined a live stream celebration of Pete Seeger's 101st birthday. Bragg explains how he came to write his striking version of the 'Internationale' and Pete Seeger's role in the evolution of this song. And he sings it acapella! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBgfNy7dk4I...
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█ Beneath The Surface
Sunday, October 31, 2021 10:00 am 1:00:12
Guest:
Caitlin Petre
Topics
All the News That's Fit to Click
We talk to Caitlin Petre, media sociologist at Rutgers University, about her new book "All the News That’s Fit to Click," a critical look at how performance analytics are transforming the work of profit-driven journalism. She exposes how newsroom metrics that measure and gauge reader engagement with digital news content represent a new form of intensified commercial pressure. Journalists are driven to optimize their content for clicks in ways that end up reshaping the newsroom power dynamics and their own working conditions. Journalism, after all is a form of labor — and one that has become increasingly casualized and precarious. Caitlin Petre’s eye-opening account is also an important preview of how the metrics revolution may transform other professions with far-reaching implications.
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█ Beneath The Surface
Sunday, October 24, 2021 10:00 am 1:00:12
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█ Beneath The Surface
Sunday, October 17, 2021 10:00 am 1:00:12
Guests:
Crystal Hopkins, Alex Press
Topics
IATSE strike talks; US workers in a militant mood
Crystal Hopkins, President of IATSE Local 871 joined us just hours before a tentative agreement was reached late Saturday afternoon -- ahead of the October 18 strike deadline. The contract still has to be ratified by union members. Crystal Hopkins describes the conditions and demands that are at the center of the negotiations: long working hours, low wages and not being fairly compensated for the success of streaming service content they contribute to, with IATSE workers recounting stories like falling asleep while driving, working 17-hour days and being unable to take time off. Listen in, we cover the issues at stake.

Alex Press, staff writer at Jacobin and labor podcaster, has been tracking the current strike wave that some are calling Strike-tober. 10,000 John Deere UAW workers are on strike for the first time since first since 1986. 2000 nurses are on strike at a Catholic Health hospital in New York, 1400 workers at Kellogg’s cereal plants across the country, 1100 coal miners at Warrior Met in Alabama, and 420 United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) members at Heaven Hill Distillery in Kentucky. Sixty thousand workers at IATSE may still strike; Instacart workers have an Oct 18 work action; 24,000 workers at Kaiser Permanente are poised to walk out, and there are organizing drives at Amazon, and now Starbucks. So how do we characterize and explain this militancy? Alex’s latest article, "US Workers are in a Militant Mood" looks at these strikes and campaigns now underway and we get her take on the big picture for labor.
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