Wednesday May 25

PUBLISHER'S NOTE – 52.1

I’m confident you will enjoy this spring 2022 issue, the first of our 52nd year!

This is an interesting issue for so many reasons, the least of which is that it heralds the third year of the global coronavirus pandemic.  Which is not to say that this issue isn’t being published in the shadow of the pandemic.  Many of our subscribers will be receiving this number hard on the back of 51.4, because the US Postal Service was swamped with 40 million pieces of PPE, masks and test kits to fulfill all requests made.  The last issue hit the post office on January 14th and didn’t arrive at my house three miles away until March 4th.  Others were luckier, but some of our international subscribers are sending me messages about a “lost” issue, not realizing that the vaunted USPS was overwhelmed by the pandemic as well.

All that is perhaps both an apology and an explanation, but there is no apology necessary for this issue. 

We have been promising several reports on hospital pricing and co-operative representation, and finally we have them back-to-back to lead the issue.  David Thompson, the new research coordinator for our family of organizations including Local 100 United Labor Unions, ACORN International, and Social Policy’s parent, Labor Neighbor Research & Training Center, was able to knit all of the complex pieces together involving several years of work by our staff and intern volunteer team of several dozen that I had often only haphazardly steered until his arrival.  He gets a double-byline and all of our thanks, as you will soon read. 

The bottom line on the first report is that hospitals are largely just playing with the cost transparency rule, now over a year old.  On the second, we did a five-year follow-up to the 2016 expose, also published in Social Policy, and found not as much had changed in democratic and diverse representation in the twelve-state Southern array of rural electric cooperatives as we had demanded and as was needed.  What change that did occur was in inches not miles.  One change, not for the better, was that in reaction to our 2016 report more cooperatives hid the pictures of their board members, rather than actually doing what should be done to become more representative of their members, who are their customers.

Moise ben Asher continues his committed and comprehensive argument for neighborhood assemblies and tries, with perhaps mixed results, to anticipate reservations and disbelief.   Next, without missing a beat, you will come to our three excellent excerpts on solidarity economics that questions self-interest; drug patents and pricing which confronts privatization; and a plea that the SEC top stock buy-backs that thwart efforts to close the gap on inequality in the United States.

I had encouraged James Mumm to review Andreas Malms’s tactical arguments for the climate change movement in How to Blow Up a Pipeline, and luckily for all of our readers, he went deep, adding another tract on Malm’s thinking and the fascinating real-world sci-fi work, Ministry for the Future, one of the few books in that genre I had ever read.  Keeping your attention, we share moving photos of movements from Jay Youngdahl, labor lawyer, former publisher, and long-time comrade and friend, of marches he witnessed in Italy against modern fascism.  In a celebratory memorial to long-time contributor, inspiration and friend of Social Policy, I’m happy to have found and been able to share a piece he submitted in 2008, that was not published, that is an able commemoration of his life’s work and his passing last year at 99, in his own words, complete with his inimitable CAPITAL letters.

In this issue’s columns, such traditions are honored as always.  Phil Mattera, surgically cuts through the contradictions in Starbucks pronouncements about its labor polices as workers organize unions.  Drummond Pike, in what he terms a rant and what you will find is a gift, hits the rich where it hurts, on tax policy among other things.  John Anderson nails the question on all of our minds about the double standard of police facilitation of the Canadian blockades.  This issue, we welcome Gregory Squires and his new column on community development that will be appearing regularly, as he confronts the right on race.  In Backstory, I try to make the case for taking organizing and engagement on progressive issues and interests more widely and aggressively, including to the very rightwing base where Squires counted coup.

Now, if the mails just run-on time and the website obeys, I’m confident you will enjoy this spring 2022 issue, the first of our 52nd year!

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