While many environmental advocates celebrate the Senate Democrats’ climate deal this week, frontline activists and more critical voices continue to note that the legislation, whatever its promises and upsides, remains an inadequate response to the global emergency that will likely further harm communities already affected by fossil fuel pollution.
The Senate approved the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in a party-line vote Sunday and it is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled House as soon as Friday.
Writing for Jacobin in the wake of the Senate vote, Branko Marcetic called for being “clear-eyed” about the package, adding that “the urge to smooth over the IRA’s serious flaws was understandable when its prospects of passing sat on a knife edge. But after passing the Senate, it’s now overcome its biggest hurdle.”
Matthew Hoh is a disabled Marine combat veteran, a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, and a member of the Eisenhower Media Initiative whom we have interviewed numerous times before on The Marc Steiner Show. Now he is the North Carolina Green Party’s first-ever nominated candidate to run for the US Senate. “We keep witnessing, undeniably, the brutal reality of a changing world, and a threatened future, from a worsening economic reality for the majority of us, and from the climate crisis for all of us,” Hoh states in his campaign launch video. “This is made possible by a two party political arrangement of War and Wall Street beholden to corporate interests and a law making system of legalized bribery.”
In this segment of The Marc Steiner Show, Marc welcomes Hoh back on the show to discuss his campaign, why he’s running as a Green Party candidate, what opportunities and barriers that presents, and how the struggles for democracy and for economic and social justice depend on breaking the stranglehold the two major parties have on our political system.
The US Senate has passed its National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) military spending bill for the fiscal year of 2022, setting the budget at an astronomical $778 billion by a vote of 89 to 10. The bill has already been passed by the House, now requiring only the president’s signature. An amendment to cease facilitating Saudi Arabia’s atrocities in Yemen was stripped from the bill.
“The most controversial parts of the 2,100-page military spending bill were negotiated behind closed doors and passed the House mere hours after it was made public, meaning members of Congress couldn’t possibly have read the whole thing before casting their votes,” reads a Politico article on the bill’s passage by Lindsay Koshgarian, William Barber II and Liz Theoharis.
The US military had a budget of $14 billion for its scaled-down Afghanistan operations in the fiscal year of 2021, down from $17 billion in 2020. If the US military budget behaved normally, you’d expect it to come down by at least $14 billion in 2022 following the withdrawal of US troops and official end of the war in Afghanistan. Instead, this new $778 billion total budget is a five percent increase from the previous year.
“Months after US President Joe Biden’s administration pulled the last American troops out of Afghanistan as part of his promise to end the country’s ‘forever wars’, the United States Congress approved a $777.7bn defence budget, a five percent increase from last year,” Al Jazeera reports.
“For the last 20 years, we heard that the terrorist threat justified an ever-expanding budget for the Pentagon,” Win Without War executive director Stephen Miles told Al Jazeera. “As the war in Afghanistan has ended and attention has shifted towards China, we’re now hearing that that threat justifies it.”
With election season coming up, we’re re-launching our Working People series “Working-Class Politics,” where we talk to working-class people running for elected office at all levels—in their unions, in local, state, and national government, etc.—as well as candidates fighting with and for the working class. In the latest installment of this ongoing series, we talk to Paul Prescod (aka “Labor Paul”), a socialist, high school teacher, and member of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. Listeners may know Prescod as the co-host of The Jacobin Show, but he is now running for Pennsylvania State Senate in its 8th district, pledging to make organizing around working-class issues and legislating universal programs his top priorities. We talk to Prescod about the importance of building working-class coalitions, earning the trust of organized labor, and what it will take to serve the needs of working people in his district.
“Democracy versus autocracy is the battle of our time,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II.
Beginning with a “massive national call-in to every U.S. senator,” the Poor People’s Campaign on Monday launched a monthlong campaign to push Congress to eliminate the 60-vote filibuster, pass the For the People Act, restore the gutted Voting Rights Act, and raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour—progressive goals that have been thwarted by a combination of Republican obstructionism and Democratic acquiescence.
“Democracy versus autocracy is the battle of our time,” Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, said Monday during an address that kicked off a “season of nonviolent moral direct action to save our democracy.”
“We must engage and escalate the nonviolent moral struggle and direct action for a Third Reconstruction,” Barber said, calling for the reinvigoration of an egalitarian movement to secure liberty and justice for all by building a true political democracy as well as a social and economic democracy that benefits and empowers the nation’s vast working-class majority.
Some academics and pundits have been postulating that the campaign finance, gerrymandering, and other reform provisions of S. 1, the For the People Act, should be dropped, and the Senate should proceed to try to pass only the voting rights provisions of the bill.
This approach makes zero strategic sense.
There is nothing to indicate that taking out key democracy reforms from the bill will improve the chances of passing S. 1.
There is a powerful case, however, for why this should not be done.