Background Briefing: September 17, 2023


The UAW and the Transition to EV: Avoiding the False Choice Between a Good Job and a Green Job

We begin with the UAW strike and the possibility that two of the Democratic party’s main constituencies, unions and environmentalists could be on different sides as the pro-union Biden administration finds itself at odds with the UAW over investments in the Inflation Reduction Act for EV batteries and EV vehicles since those policies have spurred worries among the 400,000-member UAW about losing tens of thousands of auto-assembly jobs, because producing an electric vehicle takes one-third fewer workers than producing a gas-powered one. Joining us is Steven Greenhouse, a Senior Fellow at The Century Foundation who was previously a reporter for The New York Times where he covered labor and the workplace for nineteen years. He is the author of The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker and Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor, and we discuss his article at The Atlantic, “Biden’s Labor-Climate Dilemma.”


After Trillions Wasted by the Military Industrial Complex, Cheap Drones and Robotic Vehicles Operating on AI Are the New Global Arms Race

Then we look into the trillions wasted by the Military Industrial Complex for big ticket items that has the Navy with fewer ships and the Air Force with fewer aircraft that are already proving to be obsolete since the war in Ukraine is dominated by cheap off-the shelf drones as a new global arms race has the U.S., China, Russia, Iran, Israel and others rushing to develop remote control vehicles operating with AI. Joining us is Roberto González, a cultural anthropologist at San Jose State University whose work focuses on science, technology, and society; militarization and culture; processes of social and cultural control; and ethics in social science. He has authored several books including American Counterinsurgency: Human Science and the Human Terrain, Militarizing Culture: Essays on the Warfare State, Connected: How a Mexican Village Built Its Own Cell Phone Network and War Virtually: The Quest to Automate Conflict, Militarize Data, and Predict the Future. We discuss his recent article at The Conversation, “Drones over Ukraine: What the war means for the future of remotely piloted aircraft in combat.”


The Tragic Loss of Life in Libya Already Riven by Civil War and Beset by Corruption

Then finally we investigate the tragic loss of life in Libya from dams that burst sending a 100 foot high tsunami that swept through the coastal city of Derna killing 11,000 with 10,000 missing. Joining us is Ali Abdullatif Ahmida, a professor and founding chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of New England whose scholarship focuses on power, agency, and anti-colonial resistance in North Africa, especially modern Libya. He is the author of The Making of Modern Libya, Forgotten Voices: Power and Agency in Colonial and Postcolonial Libya and Genocide in Libya: Shar, a Hidden Colonial History.