Heavy Rotation: May Day! May Day!

By Kate Sykes

Every year on May 1st, International Workers Day is celebrated in Europe with massive demonstrations that honor an American labor uprising: the Haymarket strike of 1886, when hundreds of thousands of American workers set down the tools of their trade and took to the streets for better wages and working conditions.

In Episode 33 of Season of the Bitch, writer and labor organizer Jane McAlevey talks about how working conditions leading up to the original May Day strike were remarkably similar to those faced by Amazon warehouse workers today, and how the real aim of labor organizing is building the kind of working class solidarity that makes formerly mild-mannered secretaries plot to abduct their boss and take over the company themselves…. because there’s a better life, and you think about it, don’t you?

What’s in your heavy rotation? Email your favorite listens to us at: DSA.PortlandMaine@gmail.com

Heavy Rotation: Labor in the Time of Trump

Southern Maine DSA recently presented Sinclair Lewis’s 1935 play “It Can’t Happen Here,” which asked audiences if European fascism could take hold in America. The question is still relevant today, but it contains another more practical question: What can we do to stop it?

California labor historian Fred Glass believes that labor history provides a doorway for ordinary working people who want to fight the rise of fascism in contemporary America. Sacramento DSA and the Sacramento Central Labor Council recently co-hosted Glass for this discussion about labor in the time of Trump.

Fred Glass is the author of  “From Mission to Microchip: A History of the California Labor Movement.”

Heavy Rotation: “A Change is Gonna Come”

As long as rich people are defining what’s good for the rest of us, it’s not going to be good for the rest of us.  – Peter Kellman

Side A – Interview with Peter Kellman

This week our A-side is a reflection of our A-game. Peter Kellman is a lifelong activist, labor historian and living legend of the Maine labor movement. At our December meeting, Peter, along with Maine AFL-CIO President Cynthia Phinney, led us in a thought-provoking discussion on how labor unions and socialists can work together to build solidarity for the coming revolution. In this December 14, 2017 interview on WMPG radio’s Community Voices for Change, Peter talks with host Richard Rudolf about the history of working class struggle in the United States and tells us what we can do now. So tune in, turn on, and join up!

Side B – Indomitable – Winner: Best Music Video, 2017 Native American Music Awards

Watch the official video for DJ Shrub’s “Indomitable” which features a sample from Northern Cree’s “Young and Free,” composed by Conan Yellowbird for the group’s Ewipihcihk album. Ewipihcihk was released by Canyon Records and “Young and Free” is published by DMG Arizona (ASCAP).

The Southern Maine DSA’s Heavy Rotation blog curates the best in leftist news, music, art, film and beyond.

What’s in your heavy rotation? Email your favorite listens to us at: DSA.PortlandMaine@gmail.com




Heavy Rotation: Don’t let the turkeys get you down.

Heavy Rotation is back from Turkey Town with some new links, listens, and even a video game to play while you’re on the treadmill working off that extra piece of pie.

Side A: 

The outpouring of #MeToo stories shared on social media have been hard for many of us to bear, not just because  they reveal the prevalence of sexual harassment and sexual violence in the workplace, but also because it feels like we’ve been here before. In this October 27th Belaboured Podcast Episode, labor reporter Michelle Chen speaks with Ariane Hegewisch of the Institute for Women’s Policy and Research about how the labor movement can turn up the volume on the “whisper network” so we don’t end up here again. The rest of the program delivers more hopeful messages about a bill to decriminalize sex work (and create more labor protections for sex workers) in Washington, DC, a vote by graduate student workers at the University of Chicago to unionize, and a beefy first strike by McDonald’s fast food workers in the UK.

Side B:

McDonald’s Video Game may put you off capitalism (and burgers) for good. And, like all of Molledindustria’s radical games, it’s in the public domain. What’s not to like?

“Making money in a corporation like McDonald’s is not simple at all! Behind every sandwich there is a complex process you must learn to manage: from the creation of pastures to the slaughter, from the restaurant management to the branding. You’ll discover all the dirty secrets that made us one of the biggest [companies in] the world.”

What’s in your heavy rotation? Email your favorite listens to us at: DSA.PortlandMaine@gmail.com

Heavy Rotation: Solidarity economics is happening in Jackson, Mississippi

“There is nobody coming to save us. We’ve got to do the work of transforming our own communities ourselves.” – Kali Akuno

In this episode, we highlight a recent This is Hell interview with Kali Akuno and Ajamu Nangwaya about Cooperation Jackson, a decades-long project to build a cooperative economic and social movement in Jackson, Mississippi. Their book, Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi describes the history, principles and tactics of the radical economic and social transformation now taking place in this city.

Cooperation Jackson’s success builds upon a longstanding tradition of collective action in the face of systemic oppression, and the legacy of Civil Rights Movement. It implements many of the principles of the Mondragón Corporation, a collectivist economic project based in the Basque region of Spain that has been successful in taking back power for the historically marginalized Basque people.

Cooperatives are a reaction to the exploitative conditions of capitalism, and a direct way to build power, even where authoritarian and neoliberal economic forces control the reins of government, business and finance. For those of us still in analysis paralysis about how make the next move in reclaiming our democracy, it might be time to take a page out of Jackson’s book.

What’s in your heavy rotation? Email your favorite listens to us at: DSA.PortlandMaine@gmail.com


Heavy Rotation: Field of Schemes

This week on Heavy Rotation we turn to sports talk radio genius, Dave Zirin, whose September 12, 2017 episode of his Edge of Sports Podcast exposes the billion-dollar grift that is pro-sports team stadiums. Zirin interviews Neil De Mause, author of Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit.

“Taxpayer-subsidized stadiums have long become a substitute for anything resembling urban policy in the 21st century,” Zirin writes. “And now as roads, bridges, and humanitarian shelters decay, they stand exposed as neoliberal Trojan horses that take public dollars and magically transform them into private profit for billionaire sports owners.” Since 1990, owners in the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL sports leagues have received almost $20 billion in taxpayer subsidies to build stadiums that economists have shown time and again to have no positive economic impact on cities.

Dave Zirin writes about the politics of sports for the Nation Magazine. He is their first sports writer in 150 years of existence, according to Zirin’s website.

Bonus Track!

In a related labor news, the National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981) announced yesterday that they have reached an agreement with The Nation over a contract that covers freelancers for the publication’s print magazine and website. The contract is one of the first of its kind for freelance digital writers, who have so far been left out of the recent surge in organizing among staff writers of digital publications. If you’re a freelancer, consider joining the National Writers Union today!

What’s in your heavy rotation? Email your favorite listens to us at: DSA.PortlandMaine@gmail.com

Heavy Rotation: What’s love got to do with it?

Hello and welcome to the inaugural edition of Heavy Rotation, the blog that curates the best of the Left in new media, brought to you by the Southern Maine DSA.

This week we’re spinning two radio interviews by author and Left Business Observer founder Doug Henwood that demand to be heard side-by-side:


Especially in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, VA, this June 8, 2017 interview with Angela Nagle on her book, Kill All Normies, offers chilling insight into the psychology of the alt-right, suggesting that male sexual competition under capitalism, and the resulting sexual inequality that parallels the wealth gap in the US may account for the rise in the alt-right movement’s popularity among young white men. Nagle’s interview begins about 20 minutes in.


Doug’s August 17, 2017 discussion uncovers new findings about sex under socialism. Guest Kristin Ghodsee, talks about her Opinion Piece in the New York Times, which looks at social relationships in the former Soviet block, specifically sexual ones. Nagle’s research suggests that state investments in education, generous maternity leave allowances, and free child care gave women more sexual freedom than their capitalist contemporaries.

What’s in your heavy rotation? Email your favorite listens to us at: DSA.PortlandMaine@gmail.com