Actually, patents discourage innovation

Readings: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/19/opinion/nocera-greed-and-the-wright-brothers.html?_r=0 http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2013/12/sewing_machine_patent_wars_of_the_1850s_what_they_tell_us_about_the_patent.single.html http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jul/31/local/me-hall31 https://washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/julyaugust-2013/estates-of-mind/ Capitalism is an economic system where the owner of capital is entitled to all profits derived from its use. We don’t often think of ideas as capital, but ideas become capital in the form of patents. Capitalists argue that patents are absolutely necessary. Without the ability to profit off of […]

Deep organizing, social media, and the left

Readings: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2018/11/log-off-facebook-twitter-social-media-addiction https://www.jacobinmag.com/2018/12/log-off-social-media-twitter-organizing-facebook https://www.currentaffairs.org/2018/12/dear-lobsters-there-is-a-better-way   Today, we heard from the Mutual Aid Working Group about their efforts to build community trust by meeting people where they are at. Mutual Aid WG doesn’t just say they care about public education; they demonstrate it by organizing supply drives. By proving they earnestly care about their community, they […]

Seattle’s “Amazon tax” and the capital strike

Readings: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/06/how-amazon-helped-kill-a-seattle-tax-on-business/562736/ https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/10/being-held-hostage-by-rich-people https://www.npr.org/2018/06/13/619444956/seattle-repeals-tax-on-big-business-after-opposition-from-amazon-starbucks   The capital strike is so powerful that it’s rare that we actually get to see it in action. Normally, the threat of a capital strike is enough to stop progressive movements dead in their tracks. A capital strike occurs when owners of large companies threaten to move their businesses elsewhere […]

Is Costa Rica a model for democratic socialism?

Readings: https://socialistproject.ca/2017/10/b1496/ https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/01/05/costa-rica-celebrate-70-years-no-army/977107001/   Costa Rican Socialism: Universal public healthcare system (“Caja”) The military has been abolished The police are kept to a minimum About 7,500 officers for the entire country For comparison: Chicago has over 11,000, MKE has about 6,800 Universal public education, k-college/trade school If you graduate from trade school, the government offers […]

The Supreme Court has no place in a democracy

Readings: https://blogs.findlaw.com/supreme_court/2015/10/13-worst-supreme-court-decisions-of-all-time.html https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/06/waiting-for-scotus/ https://www.currentaffairs.org/2018/10/court-packing-is-necessary There has rightly been enormous outcry over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. He was been credibly accused of sexual assault and lied about it repeatedly under oath. His right wing views will allow conservatives on the bench to inflict incredible suffering on ordinary people, unchecked for decades. While […]

Poverty

Readings: http://peoplespolicyproject.org/2017/09/12/who-was-in-poverty-in-2016/ http://www.demos.org/blog/12/2/15/why-education-does-not-fix-poverty Today’s topic is on poverty. Poverty is actually an extremely simple issue. In the reading for today, this was shown very compellingly in graphs. If you have a smartphone handy, you can take a look. First, nearly half of all Americans had no income whatsoever. This might seem to be impossible–how can […]

Codetermination

Readings: https://www.peoplespolicyproject.org/2017/09/08/models-for-worker-codetermination-in-europe/ https://www.currentaffairs.org/2018/08/some-illuminating-reactions-to-elizabeth-warrens-worker-rights-plan This topic had been on the schedule for today for some time, and, coincidentally Elizabeth Warren released a codetermination bill last week. Codetermination laws are very common in the developed world. A corporation is a creation of law; there’s nothing special or sacred about any of it. For example, American corporate law specifies […]

Is lobster fishing in Maine an example of democratic socialism?

Readings: http://www.mainelobsterfestival.com/blog/2016/09/02/maines-rules-keep-lobster-industry-sustainable/ Only the section “Management of the Maine Lobster Fishery”: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19425120.2014.984086 https://www.pressherald.com/2011/08/14/so-you-want-to-be-a-lobsterman_2011-08-14/   Our topic today is lobster fishing in Maine. Fundamentally, socialism is about democracy and workers being in control of their own working conditions. Small businesses give workers control over their own working conditions because they are both the worker and the owner […]

Prison abolition

Readings: https://www.vox.com/2014/6/27/5845484/prisons-are-terrible-and-there-is-finally-a-way-to-get-rid-of-them https://www.ttbook.org/interview/norways-unusual-approach-imprisonment https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/03/mass-incarceration-war-on-drugs/ https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/07/the-leader-of-the-unfree-world/374348/ Today’s topic is prison abolition Prisons are totally inhumane, full of terror, assault, sexual assault, and even murder. They are torture. We believe in universal human rights, and it is barbaric for us to put anyone in prison. Our first reading for today argued that our technology is sufficiently advanced […]

Capitalism’s Weeping Angels

Here’s a clip from a horror movie featuring a few terrifying monsters called “weeping angels”. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a single clip, so I had to post these three:     And watch this last one until 2:15     If you didn’t bother with the videos, the weeping angels are monsters that turn to […]