Episode 9: Interview With Robert Reich

March 7th 2017

ATTN: Staff

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This week on "Got Your Attention" we feature an interview between Editor in Chief Matthew Segal and former Labor Secretary under President Bill Clinton Robert Reich. The two discussed President Donald Trump and the difference between the economic inequality of today and the 1950s.

And speaking of labor and inequality, March 8 was International Women's Day.

It's also a A Day Without A Woman — or the "Women's Strike" — (the organizers of the successful Women's March joined forces with grassroots organizers who began planning an international women's strike back in October). The idea is for women to strike from paid and unpaid labor, and if they cannot do so, wear red in solidarity and take part in some other form of action.

At Slate, writer Ruth Graham points out that a women's strike on International Women's Day brings the holiday back to its more radical roots.

"The first official National Woman’s Day was declared in 1909 by the Socialist Party of America, which held several large events on a single day in New York City. Organizers chose a Sunday, Feb. 28, so working women could participate. It worked: The events attracted thousands of people, including both suffragists and socialists, who had sometimes clashed in the past over priorities and strategies."

Following that, "women's days" were associated with labor movements across Europe. (The day was mainly a communist holiday up until the 1960s, Graham points out.) In 1975 the United Nations recognized March 8 as International Women's Day. If successful, the women's strike on March 8, 2017, Graham says it could steer the holiday away from "soft-focus feminism" (to borrow from The Daily Beast's Erin Ryan Gloria) and consumerism, where you buy treats for your lady friends, but don't necessarily move the ball forward for all women.

"There’s nothing fuzzy and pink about the Women’s Strike," Graham writes. "Its official color is red, the color of revolution, of communism, of the flag that flew outside the radical Paris Commune in 1871." Organizers of the women's strike echoed a more radical, labor-oriented mission in several essays published on The Nation.

Women have long used striking as a means for better labor practices and treatment in society, as Katie McDonough points out at Fusion. In the early 1900s "a 23-year-old Ukrainian immigrant named Clara Lemlich incited what would become the Uprising of 20,000, a strike of an estimated 20,000 to 40,000 garment workers that stretched out for more than two months in New York City."

Several decades prior to Lemlich's organizing efforts, black women organized a strike in the South: "3,000 black women laundry workers in Atlanta, just two decades after the Civil War and under the racism of Jim Crow, organized a strike for better wages and control over where and how they worked," McDonough explains.

Still the strike is not without its share of controversy: Several writers including Sady Doyle (writing for Elle), Maureen Shaw (writing for Quartz), and Meghan Daum (writing for the Los Angeles Times) have called the movement "privileged," because mainly those with means will be able to take off work without potential repercussions, which is a fair critique. (The organizers have pushed back against this notion.)

This final argument over privilege became a heated topic on this week's "Got Your Attnetion." The staff also discuss President Donald Trump's Saturday morning Tweets, where he accuses (without evidence) President Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower, the controversy around Disney's first LGBT character, and why we like "un-woke" things. 

Podcast notes:

Read more about the stories we did (and didn't) talk about this week on "Got Your Attention."

  • In the Los Angeles Times, Meghan Daum wrote an op-ed calling the Day Without Women strike "privileged," as many working women cannot afford to take the time off. (FYI, Sarah really enjoyed Daum's book "Unspeakable," which helped her make the difficult move from New York to Los Angeles.)
  • Over at The Nation, the organizers of the strike wrote two pieces — one in response to Daum and Maureen Shaw and one in response to Sady Doyle — countering this very issue. They write, "Women across the country have already shown us: Striking is not a privilege. Privilege is not having to strike."
  • (ATTN: staff Danielle DeCourcey and Sarah Gray took their argument off the podcast and onto Twitter.)
  • The U.S. Marine Corps needs to get it’s shit together when it comes to protecting female Marines and other female service members from this type of large-scale invasion of privacy and sexual harassment.
  • The National Park Service just put an end to the argument over whether people did or did not show up for Trump's inauguration.
  • Jimmy Buffet is opening a retirement home in Florida inspired by Maragarita-ville.
  • Welcome to the de-regulation state: Everyone will be impacted now that Wall Street, gun companies, and non-green energy companies have free reign, the New York Times reports.
  • Lupita Nyong'o had a "Coming to America" themed birthday. The film has been criticized for having bad African accents and stereotypes — but it is also "hilarious and fun," in Danielle DeCourcey's words. Are there things you know are problematic in social justice terms but you like them anyway?
  • Chance the Rapper met with the Gov. of Illinois last week to talk about public education. This week he announced he’d donate $1 million to Chicago public schools.
  • Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.) was called out at town hall for "blocking" constituents on social media.
  • Teen Vogue makes the argument that LeFou isn't the LGBT representation that the community needs.
  • Law enforcement in an Ohio city is fighting the opioid epidemic in a controversial way.
  • A donation was made to settle elementary school children's school lunch debt.
  • President Donald Trump made some wild accusations on Twitter Saturday morning. The Washington Post explains.

What is the "Got Your Attention" podcast?

If you've ever wondered how the staff pitch and select the stories that you read or watch at ATTN:, we're giving you an inside listen. ATTN: Media is excited to announce "Got Your Attention," a podcast where ATTN: staffers compete to have their pitches accepted by our host — while also unpacking some of the week's most important headlines.

The game is simple: Three ATTN: staff members — Senior Social Trends Editor Omri Rolan, Staff Writer Danielle DeCourcey, and Senior Editor Sarah Gray — pitch their best stories to our host and Head of Editorial Mike Vainisi. If Mike picks their story, they get a point, and the four discuss the story.