Retired child and adolescent psychiatrist and American expatriate in New Zealand. In 2002, I made the difficult decision to close my 25-year Seattle practice after 15 years of covert FBI harassment. I describe the unrelenting phone harassment, illegal break-ins and six attempts on my life in my 2010 book The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee.
As much of the country is under “shelter in place” orders to help flatten the curve, Amazon, Instacart and Whole Foods’ employees’ safety is in jeopardy. And many of them walked off the job yesterday to pressure the companies to step-up protections and pay.
While online shopping and grocery delivery is at an all-time high amid the coronavirus pandemic, the protests come as some employees are testing positive for the virus and neither Instacart nor Amazon are doing enough to keep employees safe.
“The richest man in the world can’t even provide basic protection for his workers during this pandemic crisis because it hurts his bottom line,” Ron T. Kim, New York Assembly member, tweeted about Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos. “I stand in solidarity with Amazon workers.”
Employees at Amazon’s Staten Island facility walked off the job yesterday in protest after “multiple people at the warehouse have been diagnosed with COVID-19,” NPR reported. The strike, which consisted of between 50 and 200 employees at the JFK8 warehouse, was organized to demand “that Amazon shut the warehouse down and ensure it is sanitized before requiring employees to work again,” Common Dreams reported.
“We know we’re not alone at JFK8 and that conditions are similar in Amazon facilities everywhere,” Phillip Ruiz, a warehouse employee, told New York Communities for Change. “Amazon’s actions do not match their statements that they are prioritizing our health or the health of the public.”
The JFK8 strike took place just a few days after employees walked off the job at an Amazon facility in Queens, New York because an employee tested positive for COVID-19 and the facility was not shut down for proper cleaning […]
Crozier’s hasty dismissal prompted immediate backlash from lawmakers in the House Armed Services committee . . .“Throwing the commanding officer overboard without a thorough investigation is not going to solve the growing crisis aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt,” the committee’s statement read. “What’s more, we are very concerned about the chilling effect this dismissal will have on commanders throughout the Department of Defense. Dismissing a commanding officer for speaking out on issues critical to the safety of those under their command discourages others from raising similar concerns.”
Navy officials announced Thursday that Capt. Brett Crozier, commanding officer of the sidelined aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, has been relieved of duty in the wake of aleaked letter he pennedpleading for U.S. intervention to stifle a COVID-19 outbreak on the 4,800-person ship.
Cozier’s letter, which was first published by the San Francisco Chronicle, was reportedly sent up the captain’s immediate chain of command in a “non-secure, unclassified” email that included “20 or 30” additional recipients, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told reporters Thursday.
“[The letter] misrepresented the facts of what was going on,” Modly said. “Okay, that’s just not acceptable. … When I have a commanding officer who’s responsible for a nuclear-powered…
Work Want Work: Labour and Desire at the End of Capitalism
By Mareile Pfannebecker and J.A. Smith
Zed Books (2020)
In this book, authors Pfannebecker and Smith summarize the current anti-work movement and literature. In view of rapid displacement of blue and white collar workers by robots and computers, coupled with the offshoring of most manufacturing jobs, there are growing calls for an end to waged work altogether.
The chorus has only increased following the 2008 global economic crisis, which has caused a large proportion of young people to face a lifetime of precarious low paid, part time, and temporary employment.
The economic shutdown accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic makes a examination of the role of work especially timely. With the forced closure of non-essential businesses – and resulting bankruptcies – many analysts are predicting unemployment levels as high as 33% – or higher.
The first half of Work Want Work looks at the big change in the nature of work over the past few decades. The authors start by providing numerous examples of the monetization of non-work activities (eg the collection and sale of our personal data by Facebook and Google to corporate advertisers). They also delineate how more and more workers are required to perform tasks outside their training and job description – for example teachers are asked to identify potential terrorists, university professors to guarantee jobs placements, and doctors to manage health promotion.
The book introduces new terminology to help explain categorize these changes in the nature of work:
malemployment – refers to work that fails to provide sufficient income to live on, precarious employment, work in healthy or unsafe environments, work falsely categorized as self-employment (eg the “gig economy”), and “workfare” (where recipients are forced to work at a sub-minimum wage to receive unemployment, sickness, and disability benefits).
disemployment – refers to workers expelled from the economy (and society) when they cease to qualify for benefits.
young-girlification – refers to the complex phenomenon enabling corporations to profit from the bigger-than-life persona people cultivate on social media and reality TV (eg YouTube and Instagram “influencers,” the Kardashians, and the Pope).
Examining what a post-work world might look like, the last third of the book asks what people will do with their new-found leisure time. Obviously we don’t want a system in which government and/or experts decide the best way for us to spend our time. At the same time nearly all have us have been conditioned by advertising and government/corporate propaganda to desire stuff that probably isn’t good for us.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kaylianna Genier
The commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, which was forced into port in Guam due to a coronavirus outbreak, wrote a letter to the Navy on Monday warning that the “the spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating.”
“Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors,” Capt. Brett Crozier, the carrier’s CO, wrote in the letter exclusively obtained by The San Francisco Chronicle. He called on the Navy to find rooms off-ship to isolate almost the entire crew, a drastic measure the captain feels is necessary to achieve…
Poorer Americans are more likely to have lost their job or be forced to work as usual amid the coronavirus epidemic. But those in the upper classes can work remotely while stressing out about the crisis.
At least that’s the indication of an Axios/Ipsos poll about the working status and emotional wellbeing of people in the US. Almost half of upper middle class Americans have switched to working from home amid the health crisis. The same is true for 39 percent of the upper class.
In contrast, only three percent of lower economic strata had the same luxury. Between 26 and 34 percent of lower-to-middle class Americans are working the same way as they did before the outbreak, exposing themselves to a greater risk of being infected. And 15 to 20 percent have lost their jobs.
But the Americans who are better off tend to be more upset about the situation than their economically struggling compatriots, according to the poll. Almost half of the rich (47 percent) said their emotional well-being has gotten worse, compared to 34 percent on the other side of the socioeconomic scale […]
It would be ironic if Amazon’s fall were to come about due to the failure of its third-party sellers, given that Amazon has received so much criticism for pushing smaller retailers and brands out of business. Yet it remains a possibility.
Over 50% of Amazon sales are made through third-party sellers, and they are the foundation of Amazon’s meteoric growth in the last few years. However, Amazon has been slowly selling them out, and COVID-19 could finally push them under.
For many vendors, Amazon is their only point of contact with customers, but now Amazon is turning away shipments of “non-essentials” to FBA (Fulfilled By Amazon) warehouses, in order to support smooth flow of “essentials.” This decision has affected approximately 53% of Amazon sellers, preventing them from shipping products to their customers.
Germany says the three European signatories to the 2015 Iran deal have registered the first transaction under a trade system set up last year to protect companies doing business with Iran from US sanctions, delivering medical supplies to the Islamic Republic amid the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, Berlin’s Foreign Ministry said Germany, France and Britain “confirm that INSTEX (trade system) has successfully concluded its first transaction, facilitating the export of medical goods from Europe to Iran.”
“These goods are now in Iran,” it said in a statement, giving no further details.
The German Foreign Ministry added that Berlin hopes to enhance the mechanism and carry out more transactions with Tehran.
“Now the first transaction is complete, INSTEX and its Iranian counterpart STFI (Special Trade and Finance Instrument) will work on more transactions and enhancing the mechanism,” the German Foreign Ministry said.
Iranian authorities have not commented on the news so far.
The transaction comes over a year after the European trio announced the creation of INSTEX — a non-dollar direct payment channel officially called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges — in an effort to keep Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers alive.
The apparatus was designed to circumvent the sanctions that the United States re-imposed against Iran after leaving a nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic, the trio, plus Russia and China.
However, the Europeans have not been able to operationalize the non-dollar trade mechanism under pressure from the US […]