In the world of labor and work, the phrase “disposable life” refers to a new wrinkle in neoliberal capitalism. And that wrinkle is that it’s cheaper to dispose of workers in Europe and America than it’s ever been in the past.
I personally think that we need to move beyond this sort of grow or die motivation that exists within the current economy. And I think that the cooperative model is suited to addressing those concerns, especially because the co-op model is geared toward serving member needs and not driven by profit at the end of the day. That is something that bodes well for the model in terms of sustainability.
The reality is we have been so busy calling people names, obsessing over borders and walls, and spreading misinformation that we haven’t even asked hard questions like why do people move? What does US foreign policy and US trade agreements have to do with migration patterns? Remember when those children started walking from Central America to here, and CBS News and a lot of organizations called them “illegal immigrant” children instead of calling them the refugees that they are? What did we do to Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala so that their countries got so violent that they have to come here? Who started the drug war? What did NAFTA do not only to the United States but to Mexicans, right?
Neoliberalism is broken. The economic model of the last thirty years. It worked for a bit, dragged the bottom two thirds of the world’s population up the income scale dramatically, facilitated the tech revolution. But it’s stopped working.
The United States needs a stronger labor movement. It needs something to organize workers as workers, just for the sake of acting as a political counterbalance to corporation and to large formations of capital. I think a lot of our problems right now are directly traced back to the decline of unions.