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by Editors — last modified Nov 16, 2014 01:32 PM
Contributors: Faiz Ahmed, JBB, Graham H. Cox, R. Dubois, JA Cox

People-based economy at stake in battle over Uber-like services | What's Left

by Editors (What's Left) last modified Jul 06, 2015 11:22 AM
While private financiers and apolitical, middle-class thirty-somethings love to take Uber cabs because there's lots of cool buzz, governments and workers are not so enamoured. While it can sometimes cost less and seem more convenient, the "disruptive" (illegal) practices of Uber have been shown to undermine regulation, eliminate wage floors for cab drivers, and encourage other exploitive and unregulated services.

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One of the the service's main goals is to push licensed drivers out of the market by driving down wages.

Recently in France, Uber management were arrested for allegedly purposefully breaking laws regulating the taxi industry, and were forced to shut-down the UberPOP service in that country. Following a judge's ruling that Uber doesn't seem to operate as a "dispatcher" and is only a phone application, Toronto taxi drivers have threatened to protest during the PanAm Games.

The pressure from progressives needs to be directed at governments to strengthen regulation and eliminate rent-seeking by for-profit multi-license holders. Companies that exploit mass ownership of taxi medallions have had a downwards pressure on the wages of drivers while acting as a drag on the quality of service. Municipalities and taxi driver cooperatives struggling with these aggressive free market entrepreneurs can find some answers by consulting taxi-driver unions who have been asking for reforms for decades.

While it is easy to see benefits from technology (like using an app to hail a cab), it is important for socialists to remind each other about the need for a just and planned transition for workers, especially since apps exist for most cab companies. Disruption cannot be used as an excuse to drive working people into poverty wages and promote deregulation.

More: Uber wins court battle against Toronto

More: Uber suspends UberPOP in France

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Greeks show they have not forgotten they invented democracy, vote "No" to austerity | What's Left

by Editors (What's Left) last modified Jul 06, 2015 11:19 AM
The Greek people sent a strong message to the powers of Europe along with a stinging defeat to capital, finance and liberals pushing for more cuts and suffering. A total of 61.5% voted against economic blackmail and creditor imposed austerity. This was driven by a massive turnout of youth, nearly 70% of whom voted Oxi ("No"). This resounding vote – in the country that invented Western democracy – will bring interesting weeks and months ahead. In many ways, the vote was the easy part.

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European liberals have a history of violent and unprofessional behaviour when they do not get their way. It will not be easy going – especially if the European Central Bank stops providing support to those in Greece.

Many predict vindictive actions from the leaders of Europe's "centrist" governing parties, many of whom made antidemocratic statements in the lead-up to, and moments immediately following the referendum. The German government went so far as to suggest that this act of democracy represented the end of any possibility of productive working relationships between the two countries and did not know how they could find common ground again. Centre-right and old Social Democratic parties will be looking to vilify the Syriza leadership further since its success may lead to similar mobilizations elsewhere in Europe. Unfortunately, forcing financial hardship has been an easy tactic to employ. This vote shows it has failed in this circumstance, but that doesn't mean neoliberals won't double-down on this policy.

Greeks must now unite to develop an alternative vision for their country, one that continues the transformation of their economy so that it meets the needs of all people, and not just the rich.

More: How Europe Played Greece

More: Greeks defy Europe with overwhelming referendum 'No'

More: Greece Contemplates Nuclear Options: May Print Euros, Launch Parallel Currency, Nationalize Banks

More: What Comes After Oxi?

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The New Health and Social Care Economy | Dexter Whitfield

by Graham H. Cox last modified Jul 06, 2015 11:07 AM
This ground-breaking report puts the health and social care sector at the centre of importance to achieve sustainable economic growth. Commissioned by New Directions, the definitive analysis covers Sefton MBC, Liverpool and Greater Manchester City Regions and the North West regional economy. It demonstrates the economic importance of the health and social care economy; sets out the terrain on which the integration of health and social care must take place including privatisation, inequalities, austerity, demographic change and quality jobs; and makes local and national 40 recommendations.

The link address is: http://www.european-services-strategy.org.uk/publications/public-bodies/health-and-social-care/the-new-health-and-social-care-economy-dexte/

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Canadian activists turn to UN with challenge to controversial anti-terror bill | The Guardian

by Faiz Ahmed last modified Jul 06, 2015 10:55 AM
"It is the first time in a decade the UN committee has had a chance to look at whether Canada is meeting its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, one of the UN’s core international rights treaties. Canada is one of 168 countries that are party to the covenant. The UN scrutiny comes just as Canadian federal political parties ramp up for a general election expected in October, in which national security is expected to play a prominent role."

The link address is: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/06/canada-anti-terror-bill-united-nations-amnesty-international

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Egypt Set to Ban Independent Media Coverage of Militant Attacks | Bloomberg

by Faiz Ahmed last modified Jul 06, 2015 10:25 AM
"Journalists would risk at least two years in prison for publishing reports on militant attacks that deviate from the government narrative ... Critics in Egypt and abroad have assailed the government’s crackdown on opponents, which has led to the deaths of hundreds of Islamists and the imprisonment of thousands more"

The link address is: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-05/egypt-set-to-ban-independent-media-coverage-of-militant-attacks

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Banners of protest

by JBB last modified Jul 05, 2015 09:56 PM
Christian liberation theology and Islamic fundamentalism both protest and contest social and political conditions in their host societies. But they don’t want the same changes. | by Gilbert Achcar | Le Monde diplomatique

The link address is: http://mondediplo.com/2015/07/13religion

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The Tragedy of Harper’s Canada

by JBB last modified Jul 05, 2015 09:48 PM
by Michael Welton | CounterPunch

The link address is: http://beta.counterpunch.org/2015/07/03/the-tragedy-of-harpers-canada/

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What Comes After Oxi?

by JBB last modified Jul 05, 2015 09:44 PM
Five possible scenarios after today’s referendum in Greece. | by Nantina Vgontzas | Jacobin

The link address is: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/07/tsipras-default-euro-syriza-merkel/

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Yanis Varoufakis: Why we recommend a NO in the referendum – in 6 short bullet points

by Faiz Ahmed last modified Jul 03, 2015 01:35 PM
"Greece will stay in the euro. ... Greece’s place in the Eurozone and in the European Union is non-negotiable."

The link address is: http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2015/07/01/why-we-recommend-a-no-in-the-referendum-in-6-short-bullet-points/

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Syria military resists major rebel assault in Aleppo | BBC

by Faiz Ahmed last modified Jul 03, 2015 10:37 AM
"Aleppo, once Syria's commercial and industrial hub, has been divided roughly in half between government-held areas in the west and rebel-controlled eastern quarters for the past three years. Fighting [has] destroyed more than 60% of the Old City, a Unesco World Heritage site."

The link address is: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-33373410

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