The Political Economy of Marijuana | Interview with Prof. Richard D. Wolff

11-06-18 08:10:00,

The Political Economy of Marijuana | Interview with Prof. Richard D. Wolff

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In this video we talk to Professor of Economics Emeritus (University of Massachusetts), Marxist economist and founder of Democracy at Work, Richard D. Wolff, about the history & political economy behind the legalisation of marijuana.

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VIDEO: The Political Economy of Marijuana

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Richard D. Wolff

Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University in New York. Wolff has also taught economics at Yale University, City University of New York, and the University of Paris I (Sorbonne).

He is a co-founder and contributor of Democracy at Work, a non-profit organization that promotes democratic workplaces as a key part of a transition to a better economic system. Wolff has published many books and articles, both scholarly and popular. Most recently, in 2012, he published the books Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism (Haymarket Books) and Contending Economic Theories: Neoclassical, Keynesian, and Marxian, with Stephen Resnick (Cambridge, MA, and London: MIT University Press).

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Why we founded new political party MeRA25 to challenge austerity in Greece – The New Statesman, 5 APR 2018

07-04-18 10:44:00,

After successfully quashing Greece’s 2015 debtor’s prison break, Europe’s deep establishment has embarked on a mission to declare the country’s economic and social crisis over. To recall Tacitus, “they make a desert and they call it peace”. Since 2015, the Greek state has paid its creditors a sum equal to the aggregate pre-tax revenues of all Greek businesses over an 18-month period. And as if these pounds of flesh were insufficient, between now and 2030, the state must pay the creditors almost twice that sum, and more than three times the same amount between 2030 and 2060. Meanwhile, a vicious class war lurks behind the infamous “reforms” that the “radical left” Syriza government is implementing.

Pensions, which had already been slashed by 40 per cent before 2015, have been cut by 10-20 per cent on average (and will be cut again in 2019); the small solidarity payment to the poorest pensioners was abolished; patients’ share of health bills has risen to more than 50 per cent; a third of working people are forced to do so part-time for monthly wages of €380; poor families’ income tax-free threshold has been reduced (and will be cut again in 2019); and the heating allowance for the poor was halved.

Income taxes on families earning €1,000 a month were increased; VAT was hiked to 24 per cent (the third-highest rate in the EU); home evictions accelerate daily; 700,000 workers on zero-hour contracts have been forced to pay higher taxes and, remarkably, to prepay their taxes a year in advance; the small business tax rate rose from 26 per cent to 29 per cent, and firms are also forced to prepay their taxes a year in advance.

Consequently, half a million young Greeks have now migrated (including half of our medical school graduates since 2015) with thousands more leaving every week. Tens of thousands of small and medium businesses have moved to Bulgaria, Cyprus and elsewhere in the European Union where they now pay their taxes.

As for public assets, the offensive fire sales are legion: 14 regional airports were sold to a German state company which paid not one euro of its own: it borrowed all the money from bailed-out Greek banks. The ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki were sold. The old Athens airport site,

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And the name of DiEM25’s Greek political party is…

14-02-18 01:43:00,

We have white smoke! DiEM25’s members overwhelmingly approved the name of our new Greek electoral wing – the political party with which DiEM25 will contest elections in Greece, returning the spirit of the Greek Spring to the place of its birth. As with all major DiEM25 decisions, members voted from across Europe, confirming once again that another Europe is not just possible – but that it is here, within DiEM25! This is the splendid innovation that DiEM25 has ushered into European and national politics, turning European Internationalism into a reality and a European Demos into a tangible possibility.

And the name of our Greek party?

Why ‘front’?

  • Because Greece is suffocating in a Europe that is deconstructing itself
  • Because, as long as countries like Greece are suffocating, Europe will be deconstructing itself, thus reinforcing the suffocation of Greece

Only a broad, unifying, pan-european front against our Oligarchy-Without-Borders, that is responsible for Greece’s debt-bondage, can ever give breathing space to Greece and relief to its citizens.

Why ‘European realist disobedience’?

  • Because the only way to be a responsible Greek citizen today is to disobey the ludicrous policies that are responsible for Greece’s dessertification
  • Because the only way of respecting Greece’s Parliamentarianism, Constitution and… common sense is to end the blind obedience to the directives of the troika and its domestic agents

Authentic Greek Europeanists, today, understand that they have a duty to disobey the incompetent pseudo-technocrats who, on the altar of narrow oligarchic interests, are sacrificing Greece while de-legitimising Europe.

Why MeRA?

Because ‘mera’ in Greek translates into ‘day’, or ‘diem’ in Latin. And because Greeks have had enough of the long night of debt bondage to which they have been condemned for so many consecutive years.

Over the next days and weeks, our members’ decision to create MeRA25 will lead to our new Greek party’s Manifesto. On Tuesday 20/2 a pre-inauguration public meetings will take place in Kalamata (Municipal Cultural Centre, at 7.30pm) while, on Monday 26/3, MeRA25’s inauguration will take place in Athens.

Until then, we call upon all European democrats who were cheered by the news of MeRA25’s impending birth, and who think this is a beginning worthy of their support,

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Political Correctness Serves Only The Ruling Elite

04-02-18 07:05:00,

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

No wonder the Ruling Elites loves political correctness: all those furiously signaling their virtue are zero threat to the asymmetric plunder of the status quo.

The Ruling Elites loves political correctness, for it serves the Elite so well. What is political correctness? Political correctness is the public pressure to conform to “progressive” speech acts by uttering the expected code words and phrases in public.

Note that no actual action is required. This is why the Ruling Elite loves political correctness: conformity is so cheap. All a functionary of the Ruling Elite need do is utter the code words (“hope and change,” “we honor diversity,” “thank you for your service,” etc.) and they get a free pass to continue their pillaging.

Those placated by politically correct utterances accept symbolic speech acts as substitutes for real changes in the power structure. This glorification of symbolic gestures–virtue signaling via social media, the parroting of progressive phrases, etc.–is as cheap as the mouthing of PC platitudes. Everybody gets to feel validated and respected at no cost to anyone: the progressives feel smugly superior because the Ruling Elite now feels compelled to parrot “progressive” speech acts in public, and the Ruling Elite is free to pillage without any demands for a radical restructuring of the incentives and distribution of the nation’s wealth and income.

The rise of “progressive” speech acts and political correctness parallels the decline of the fortunes and incomes of the bottom 90%. While the “progressives” focus on cheap symbolism, the laboring classes are being gutted by the centralized financialization that rewards the few at the expense of the many.

Here’s median family financial assets: back to the levels of 1995:

Here’s civilian participation in the work force–back to the levels of 1975:

Here’s the percentage of income going to the top 1% and the bottom 50%:

So while the “progressives” focus exclusively on their own ineffectual virtue-signaling and the empty “victories” of Ruling Elites mouthing the acceptable code words, our economy, society and the social contract are being shredded.

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