Ralph Nader Radio Hour
Ralph Nader Radio Hour
The Hammer
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-1:34:27

The Hammer

51

Ralph welcomes labor journalist Hamilton Nolan to discuss his latest book, "The Hammer: Power, Inequality, and the Struggle for the Soul of Labor". They'll get into why some of the biggest names in organized labor have gotten so bad at organizing labor, and they'll highlight the labor organizers who are effectively wielding power. Then, Ralph is joined by child advocate and original Nader's Raider Robert Fellmeth to discuss the dangers of online anonymity. Plus, a creative call to action from Ralph!

Hamilton Nolan | Hachette Book Group

Hamilton Nolan is a labor journalist who writes regularly for In These Times magazine and The Guardian. He has written about labor, politics, and class war for The New York Times, the Washington Post, Gawker, Splinter, and other publications. He was the longest-serving writer in Gawker’s history, and was a leader in unionizing Gawker Media in 2015. His new book is The Hammer: Power, Inequality, and the Struggle for the Soul of Labor.

A quality of the labor movement that I think makes the labor movement special and distinct from other movements and other political parties is that the labor movement acts to give people power. The labor movement does not necessarily tell people what to do. The labor movement instills people with power. 

Hamilton Nolan

More and more non-unionized workers know that a lot of what they get positively in the workplace is due to the few workers who are unionized. And the companies—wanting to avoid being unionized—up the wages, improve the working conditions, maybe fulfill more of the pension reserve requirements. So the second–order effects of unionism—which has been so long misunderstood, largely due to propaganda— has been sinking in the minds of more and more non-union workers, and the approval of unions and the number of American workers who want to join unions has resurged. 

Ralph Nader

You know, it turns out that a half century of rising inequality does in fact piss people off at a certain point. And causes tens of millions of American workers to say that they want something better—that they want what the labor movement has to offer.

Hamilton Nolan

For many, many years, organized labor has had a very unhealthy relationship with electoral politics. You're in a two-party system and the [Republican] Party wants to destroy unions and crush them off the face of the earth. And the Democratic Party's attitude has basically been—we're the only game in town and so give us money, and we won't try to kill you, but we won't really do too much to help you either. 

Hamilton Nolan

Another thing unions can do with their money is— instead of sending it to Joe Biden's campaign—use it to organize workers. The choice is not just between Democrats and Republicans. We can take those resources and use it to organize workers, which will increase our political power in its own right.

Hamilton Nolan


Robert Fellmeth is the Price Professor of Public Interest Law at the University of San Diego and the Executive Director of the Center for Public Interest Law. He is also Executive Director of the Children's Advocacy Institute, which authored The Fleecing of Foster Children: How We Confiscate Their Assets and Undermine Their Financial Security.

The First Amendment is not just the right of the speaker to belch whatever…the audience has some rights there. The audience has a right to hear, to listen, to understand, and to know something about the speaker, because the idea behind speech is not simply making noise. It's to advance understanding, to advance knowledge. And therefore there should be a requirement that speakers identify who they are. And that allows the audience who are listening to decide whether they want to listen. 

Robert Fellmeth

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Ralph Nader Radio Hour
Ralph Nader Radio Hour
Ralph Nader talks about what’s happening in America, what’s happening around the world, and most importantly what’s happening underneath it all.