“Behind Every Jane Jacobs Comes Giuliani with his Nightstick.”

Mueller's painting with too broad a brush. Not so much a broad brush, even: a flamethrower.

The Privilege of Doing What You Love

The aphorism of "Do what you love" (DWYL) is the work mantra of our time, but the ability to pursue work out of love and not economic necessity is also a privilege.

Not Everyone is Fond of the Rolling Jubilee

But there has been some criticism as well, or at least, some questions about what the Rolling Jubilee will actually be able to accomplish in the grand scheme of things (it won't for example, actually get the banks to change any of their unfair lending practices).

Canadian Health Care Awesomeness: Is It As Awesome As It Seems?

We’re all jealous of the Canadian health care system, unless we’re Canadian ourselves, in which case we spend our time eating poutine and watching hockey and politely marveling at the idiocy of Americans. But is the universal, public, accessible, single-payer health care that folks north of the border enjoy REALLY as great as it seems? Jacobin investigates:

The two largest holes in Canada’s health care system are the lack of universal coverage for dental care and the inadequate defraying of optical and prescription drug costs. As of 2012, an estimated one in five Canadians — disproportionately women, the unemployed, and freelancers — did not have the supplementary private health insurance that foots the bill for these services.

Uh. 20% of Canadians might have to pay for some dental and vision out of pocket, and these are your biggest problems? Here is the world’s tiniest violin, and here is me smashing it with a hammer made out of solidified resentment.

Universal health care is not just being eroded via underfunding. The federal government has been unwilling to enforce the Canada Health Act, which makes funding contingent on meeting certain standards. The lax regulatory environment has led to a proliferation of private clinics across Canada and inequitable access to some medical services.

OK now we’re getting somewhere. Maybe. It’s still hard for me to get worked up over the kinks in what seems like, overall, still a vastly preferable system to the one we’re stuck with down here, but pain is relative. And it does suck that abortions are hard to come by on Prince Edward Island.

On “Militancy” and Fast Food Strikes

In Jacobin, Trish Kahle writes about the low-wage strike movement, about how her own experience with striking got her better pay, and why the Left should move beyond their conceptualizing labor unions like the SEIU as "monoliths incapable of change."

Our Feelings Aside, Sex Work Is a Labor Issue

Melissa Gira Grant is a writer and freelance journalist covering sex, politics, and the internet. In past lives she has worked at a feminist foundation, been a member of the Exotic Dancers’ Union, and co-edited a book with me back in 2010. Her latest book, Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work, is not a juicy memoir, and it is not a debate about whether sex work should or shouldn't exist. Instead it challenges the myths we perpetuate about sex work, and examines how our 'feelings talk' and theoretical debate can be a distraction from the more immediate labor and human rights issues that sex workers are actually dealing with, and dying from, all the time.

‘It’s a sordid business, temping.’

I have temped on and off for about six years, utilizing the services of three different agencies. From two-day gigs moving office furniture to six-month trudges through thousands of digitized invoices, I have known intimately the feeling of temp-hood and have even emitted that sigh of resignation I now warn against: “A temp job is better than no job, right?” That’s how you know you’re hooked.

For cash-strapped millennials like myself, temp work is easy to fall into. You start off temping on summer breaks from college to earn some extra spending money, you work a part-time gig after graduation as a receptionist for a Japanese ad agency on the days when you’re not stuffing envelopes at your unpaid internship, and next thing you know you’re four years out of school calling your temp agency connect and pleading for whatever she’s got left: “It’s for a week? Ten dollars an hour? You bet I’m comfortable with Excel!” It’s a sordid business, temping.

In Jacobin, Rob Bryan discusses the problem with temp jobs, an industry that Bryan describes as being “fueled by desperation”—a “I’ll take what I can get” viewpoint that he says is the dominant ethos in the American labor market. Cobbling together temp jobs is increasingly becoming a way for people to earn a living in a tight job market, when it’s really meant for people to make some money to pay their bills while between jobs.

Photo: Sonny Abesamis