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OFF-KILTER with Rebecca Vallas

Feb 23, 2018

“Many people are angered by the cruelties of the twenty-first-century economy. And their fury has fueled worldwide protest. Simultaneously, and almost everywhere, low-wage workers and small farmers began to revolt: in New York City restaurants, laundries, and warehouses, in Western Cape wineries and the garment shops of Phnom Penh, in Southern California Walmarts, and the big hotels of Providence, Oslo, Karachi, and Abuja. As capital has globalized, so has the labor movement. Marches, strikes, protests, and sit-ins from Tampa to Mali have changed the global conversation about workers’ rights.” So writes Annelise Orleck in her new book We Are All Fast Food Workers Now: The Global Uprising Against Poverty Wages—which, as she explains on this week’s episode of Off-Kilter, tells the story behind the growing global labor movement through workers’ eyes.

Next, earlier this month, leaked documents revealed that the Trump administration is preparing to go nuclear on immigration by ending the U.S.’s family-based immigration system as we know it, and effectively imposing an income test to keep out low-income and working-class immigrants. Draft rules underway would massively expand a wonky-sounding provision in immigration law which is used to deny legal status to immigrants considered likely to become a so-called “public charge” (read: one of Mitt Romney’s 47%). To cut through the jargon, Rebecca talks with Shawn Fremstad, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress—and a huge nerd when it comes to the intersection of immigration and public benefits—and Hidetaka Hirota, a professor of history at City College of New York and author of Expelling the Poor, which looks at the US’s long history of keeping out immigrants who come from poverty.