Jack Rasmus welcomes grass roots organizers, Emmelle Israel of the AFL-CIO and Kali Gochmanofsky of Citizenstrade, who are helping to organize opposition to the pending passage in Congress of ‘fast track’ and the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade agreement. Emmelle and Kali describe what’s going on with today’s (Saturday April 18) national day of actions against the free trade agreement and where listeners can go to participate today, Saturday, April 18, and in days to follow.
Jack Rasmus interviews long time union representative, Jerry Gordon, and co-organizer of the upcoming Labor Fightback Network conference, to be held May 15-17, at Rutgers, New Brunswick, New Jersey. (For information on the conference, go to: www.laborfightback.org/conference/ Gordon explains the objectives of the conference, where leading local union and community leaders from across the country are gathering to develop a plan of action for forthcoming labor-community struggles this summer—from the Carolinas’ fight against police violence with the People’s Organization for Progress, to union fightbacks against Koch brothers-financed right to work legislation in Ohio-Wisconsin, to support for the fight to stop the TPP and ‘fast track’, to defend against current efforts in Congress to make seniors pay more for Medicare, and other attacks on union workers benefits. Gordon explains the 3 objectives of the LFN and conference: 1. To get unions and community organizations to launch a ‘national mobilization’ in the streets to stop the attacks, to get local union and community leaders to initiate real independent political action (of the two parties) and run candidates outside the Democratic party, and to forge closer organizational ties between labor and social movements (like opposition to police brutality) now beginning to emerge nationwide.
Dr. Jack Rasmus turns the focus of today’s show from the global economy to the USA economy specifically. Is the USA economy ‘exceptional’, i.e. growing robustly while the rest of the global economy slows or stagnates? Rasmus explains that assumption of US Economic Exceptionalism is a myth. The myth is based on US GDP growth last summer 2014 of 4-5% in GDP terms and the creation of more than 200,000 jobs a month throughout last year. Rasmus looks at the data and economic forces behind the two arguments of exceptionalism—2014 GDP and jobs—to show the arguments were based on temporary factors which have already come to an end: GDP growth in fourth quarter 2014 already fell to 2.2%, and Rasmus predicts it will decline to well less than 1% GDP when first quarter 2015 GDP numbers are reported in May. Today’s latest jobs report for March is also a return to a sub-par 126,000 jobs created, when forecasts by economists were for 248,000. Rasmus explains that 2014 temporary economic effects from manufacturing exports, government defense spending before elections, another business false inventory buildup, the shale industrial boom, and household retail and auto sales have dissipated in the past three months,
A two part show re-launches Alternative Visions today. In the first part, Jack interviews long time progressive activist, writer, journalist and educator, Michael Albert, of the ‘Z Collective’ to explain the new radical political online school being launched starting next week, called ‘Z School’.