Episode

8/30 New Era For Unions & From Blackwater To Wagner w/ Ibrahim Al-Marashi & Harold Meyerson

August 30, 2023

It’s Hump Day! Sam speaks with Ibrahim Al-Marashi, Associate Professor of History at the California State University San Marcos, to discuss his recent writing on the Wagner Group and Blackwater. Then, he is joined by Harold Meyerson, editor-at-large at The American Prospect, to discuss the recent decisions made at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). First, Sam runs through updates on the Department of Labor’s overtime change, the delay of the Proud Boys’ sentencing, the labor market, Hurricane Idalia, and other natural disaster and climate updates, before parsing through Biden’s Medicare and student debt agenda. Ibrahim Al-Marashi then dives right into Blackwater’s blueprint for the Wagner Group, and the role of South Africa’s Executive Outcomes in setting the stage for them both, exploring how these three groups were the outcome of their nations capitalizing on the demobilization of state military by funding independent mercenary groups that largely work outside of any accountability apparatus, be it international of public. Expanding on this, Al-Marashi walks through the immense role Blackwater played in US involvement in Iraq, helping commit atrocities in the US’ name without requiring a greater loss of US soldiers, before expanding on the Wagner Group’s relationship to Russia beyond its role in Ukraine, with its operations largely located in Africa, where they’ve spent time warlording and extracting from local communities, all while Russia denied operations in the region. Wrapping up, Sam and Ibrahim walk through the conflict between state militaries and contracted forces, and explore the role that has, and will continue to play in Russia’s floundering invasion of Ukraine. Harold Meyerson then joins, contextualizing the NLRB’s recent Cemex ruling as one of the most empowering labor developments in a half-century of dwindling organizing, and why Jennifer Abruzzo’s Board has chosen now as their moment to be active. Next, he and Sam parse through the actual details of the Cemex decision, why it’s a great first step back towards the Joy-Silk doctrine of the NLRB, and how it aids in both forcing bargaining and punishing union busting. Wrapping up, Meyerson expands on the necessity of labor unions to capitalize on this moment, as they finally have both leverage and public opinion on their side, as well as touching on the role the Supreme Court and Senate have yet to play.

And in the Fun Half: Sam watches the Right meltdown over Oliver Anthony not being a Republican, Nick from St. Louis calls in with a Prigozhin conspiracy, Okajic in NY relays Vivek’s newest freestyle, and Tim Pool accidentally reveals a pattern about his programming. Graham from Maine expands on the evolution of Blackwater, and Mitch McConnell stares into the void, plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Ibrahim’s writing here: https://www.pacificcouncil.online/commentary/putin-prigozhin-perils-of-privatizing-political-violence-via-proxy

https://www.aljazeera.com/author/ibrahim_al_marashi_2014617113651720669

Check out Harold’s writing here: https://prospect.org/topics/harold-meyerson/

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