Fight Extremism by Creating Jobs

It's not just work. We shouldn't dismiss the power of sheer tribalism, propaganda, and spite, for their own sakes. But a good discussion. - promoted by charley-on-the-mta

The roots of Islamic extremism and white nationalism are eerily similar. Unemployed and emasculated males attracted to a traditional worldview that denigrates women and homosexuality while also elevating one religious/racial worldview over another. Coincidentally a worldview that rejects a technologically connected global consumer culture. How to mitigate against both?

A new public works jobs program that intentionally hires unemployed males to rebuild their community and get reconnected to it. Make sure these units are racially integrated and also have a decent mix of LGBT and women serving in the unit as well as in positions of authority. We can bring together people from different regions of the country as well. The integration of the military was one of the single most effective ways to take down racial barriers and we now have women and LGBT serving openly and even in command. A revived CCC could be a civilian alternative to the solidarity the military creates. Also a way to bring infrastructure costs substantially down. Seems like a win-win for the country-any dissenters?

Recommended by christopher, jimc, fredrichlariccia.


40 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Dissent welcomed

    Please discuss this idea!

    • So you're telling me..

      …that we will engage in identity politics to fill employment positions and this will somehow convince out of work white males (and the white females in support of them) that we are a united community and that ones race/sexual identity matters not? Seems to me they will look at their W &G “supervisors” as getting there because of political correctness, and in part they are correct and this might just re-enforce their world view.

      I’d like to believe in this, but I don’t see it working in real life.

      I’m all for public works projects. Our roads are a mess. We have lousy Internet and an inefficient power grid.

      But we also have a surplus of labor in this country and a refusal to tax large collections of wealth. A public works program will put people to work, but how we gonna pay for that?

    • interesting

      2 questions

      1. what are you thinking in terms of pay/comp for a participant?

      2. if it were evaluated as a randomized control trial, what sort of effects would you hope to see after, say, a year or 2 after their service commitment had ended?

      for both – just some idea of ballparks you’re thinking…

      • Thanks GGW

        1. I’m honestly not sure, I know $15/hr is a near universal minimal living wage in the US. That would at least enable someone to move out of their parents and start saving, even in expensive housing markets like this one. So how expensive it would get if we scaled it and how to determine eligibility are further questions to study for this to be viable.

        2. My hope is that they have gained the skills to be employable in the private marketplace or enough experience to supplement poor grades to enter a community college vocational program or a state school for a liberal arts/professional track. And that we see rates of alienation drop, rates of male unemployment later in life drop, and see them form more stable relationships and families sooner. How to quantify these results and find the right duration for the program is another area to study.

  2. And yet...

    …the two recent Presidents with the best job-creation records were Clinton and Obama, but somehow that did not rub off enough on to Hillary, arguably the successor to both of them in different ways. I like the idea of direct federal hiring, but we can do it through existing agencies. For example, the National Park Service could use a lot more interpretive and maintenance staff.

    • We've got to get off of this "jobs" kick

      or at least include security. Most all of our poor in Massachusetts have jobs. Many of our homeless have jobs.

      • This 'jobs' kick elected Trump

        if you did a Word Bubble of the debates he mentioned Jobs most often and Hillary mentioned women. Which is why she lost the states she did to him. Since those states have higher than the national average unemployment-particularly among males. I am surprised you of all people are against this proposal since it’s resurrecting a New Deal idea and directly making an economic pitch disguised as a social one. Something Bernie bros and Clintonites can agree on.

        • And there will be no jobs

          And Democrats like Clinton will have no answer. It’s not “jobs”. As I said earlier today, most our poor in Massachusetts have jobs as do many of our homeless. In states where Trump did well, those jobs will not come back under his proposals or Clinton’s proposals.

          We can’t solve 21st century problems with “jobs programs”. We need labor policy changed as well as tax policy. We need Democrats who believe that the 35 year old woman at the drive up window who just handed them their large coffee with two sugars and a bagel with cream cheese is OWED a wage that will support her, her family, and allow her to save for a rainy day and retirement.

          We’re a long way from there and getting father away.

        • He mentioned jobs...

          …more often than spouting something xenophobic? Also, pretty sure Hillary mentioned experience a lot more than women.

          • time to make the call

            Not going down the Hillary Clinton road anymore.

            So: Trump is a liar. There will be no more good jobs. There will be cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. He will collect a salary (already has). There will be no wall between the USA and Mexico.

            Moving forward, what will Democrats offer?

            Please don’t tell me “jobs”.

  3. FDR said it best.

    What do the people of America want more than anything else? To my mind, they want two things: work, with all the moral and spiritual values that go with it; and with work, a reasonable measure of security–security for themselves and for their wives and children. Work and security–these are more than words. They are more than facts. They are the spiritual values, the true goal toward which our efforts of reconstruction should lead. These are the values that this program is intended to gain; these are the values we have failed to achieve by the leadership we now have.

    FDR did not end the conversation at “jobs” as today’s Democrats do all too often.

  4. Quick replies

    To Christopher:

    We have an unemployment crisis with males aged 18-25 in inner city and rural communities alike. 30-40% in Chicago alone. Milwaukee and Detroit have even more appalling figures and these were the black males who stayed home and elected Trump in those states-precisely because they didn’t feel Clinton or Obama really made their lives better.

    These males are either dropping out of society like the black males I described above, or are attracted to Trump, attracted to Islamism, or attracted to outright racism.

    In Britain an ex-Islamist offers a job training program that brings together poor whites attracted to the EDL and poor Muslims attracted to ISIL and turns them into productive members of society. I think it’s an important program we can model in this country. And fortunately our hero FDR already shows us the way.

    Put a shovel in their hand and put these unskilled men to work and they will quickly form a bond to their community and to one another they didn’t have, which is precisely what the CCC offered during the heights of the Depression when radical causes like communism and fascism were gaining popularity.

    To John:

    I am sick and tired of the identity politics vs. class politics divide and debate. This is a smart policy that bridges that divide and helps black males avoid gangs, white males avoid racism, and Muslim males avoid ISIL. And it puts ALL of them to work at living wages rebuilding our crumbling country and taking our infrastructure from the 19th to the 21st century. This is a win-win-win politically, economically, and socially.

    Turmp voters want jobs, as much as you oddly demean this desire. That’s what they voted for. They want good jobs at fair wages. I say give them good jobs at fair wages and an opportunity to work with the people they villify. Racial integration in the military was a vital first step at ending racial segregation in society. Racial integration in a civilian oriented service corps will have the same effect-and rebuild our country at half the cost by putting these unemployed males-white and black-back to work in masculine jobs that provide them with the skills they need to go to the future.

    • I don't care if you're sick of it.

      I was at an event last evening. A current Massachusetts office holder with (I assume) aspirations for higher office had a representative there to pitch for that campaign. There were buttons available that read “WOMEN for XXXX”

      I asked, “Do you have any for men?” No, they did not, but I was free to wear one in support.

      I’ve seen this movie. I know how it ends. Identity based politics/policy is a killer for Democrats running for office,

      Turmp voters want jobs, as much as you oddly demean this desire. That’s what they voted for.

      They have jobs, as do I. What none of us have is economic security. Trump is not offering that and neither do the neoliberal Democrats.

      • to be honest...

        There were buttons available that read “WOMEN for XXXX”

        I asked, “Do you have any for men?” No, they did not, but I was free to wear one in support.

        I’ve seen this movie. I know how it ends. Identity based politics/policy is a killer for Democrats running for office,

        … this, very much, reads like “MEN for XXX” is not identity politics whereas “WOMEN for XXXX” very much is…

        I think you have some unexamined assumptions about what “identity” and “identity politics” means to you. You should examine them.

        • As I see it

          “Identity” politics assumes that people of the same physical appearance all think alike, or should think alike.

          I know “Identity” politics when it excludes people.

          “Plumbers for Smith” means I can be a plumber and I can be for Smith. Anyone can be a plumber. Anyone can be for Smith.

          “Left Handed People for Smith” excludes me as no matter how much I try, I cannot be left handed.

          The “Woman’s March” regarding Trump assumes, incorrectly, that all women are, or should be against Trump. It claimed to welcome men, but only men who were in support of issues that mattered to women who were opposed to Trump.

          • Bingo!


          • How about we unpack that...?

            “Identity” politics assumes that people of the same physical appearance all think alike, or should think alike.

            I certainly think that all people should be against racism… but especially black people. By your definition black people shouldn’t axiomatically be against racism because it would mean they think alike…

            I certainly think that all women should think alike in the face of demonstrated oppression *against women.* Do you disagree with this?

            I know “Identity” politics when it excludes people.

            I think you’ve *identified* party politics. I’m a Democrat because the Democratic party excludes, deliberately, Republicans.

            The issue is the default: anything not explicitly designated a womens issue implicitly derives from a male centric point of view… So your refusal to allow women to choose their identity forces upon them your notions of identity. So you’re not arguing against ‘identity’ politics…. you are merely bemoaning the fact of your favored identity slipping and faltering in its hegemony.

            The “Woman’s March” regarding Trump assumes, incorrectly, that all women are, or should be against Trump.

            I certainly think everybody ought to be against Trump… but, just as certainly, I know that women have the most to lose from Trump’s ascendancy: It is the oppression of Trump, and the GOP, who have a problem with women, that is forcing women to assert their identity and not, as you would wish it to be, that assertion of identity that is the problem.

            • So how do you justify...

              …the last minute exclusion of prolife women from the march?

              • I mean, strictly speaking...

                the pro-life movement seeks to take away women’s agency, by definition.

              • by hoisting you...

                So how do you justify…(0+ / 0-) View voters

                …the last minute exclusion of prolife women from the march?

                … on your own petard in pointing out that any justification for the inclusion of pro-life women rests upon ‘identity’ in a manner you claim to deplore. So I don’t actually take it all that seriously as a question. Decidedly, it is more serious as an attempted wedge that rests exactly upon the assumptions of a certain, increasingly more fragile, patriarchal mandate that is at the heart of the proffer.

                And yes, that means exactly what you think it means: a ‘pro-life women’ is little more than a patriarch in drag.

              • An analogy

                “Prolife” women asking to join the women’s march is like a group of “pro-Jim Crow” blacks asking to join a civil rights march.

                As stomv notes above, the tenets of the “pro-life” movement are exactly antithetic to the purposes of the women’s march.

  5. This is a future strategy

    Certainly job creation is necessary, but there’s not much we can do right now, and I think we should keep expectations low or face severe backlash.

    “Making government work” is a good start. The current GOP leadership is obsessed with the budget and unwilling to take bold steps. Maybe we work with them on little steps, and then say we could do more if we had more seats.

    • I like that

      “Making government work”

      I would add “Making Our Government Work for Us”

    • Government works fine

      Our government works fine when rabidly partisan GOP hacks (which is pretty much all of them) aren’t throwing sand in the gears.

      The current GOP “leadership” spent the last eight years doing everything in their power to make government NOT work. I have no interest in cooperating with them AT ALL.

      They’ve fucked it up, royally, and it’s in the middle of crashing and burning. I certainly think we should keep expectations low.

      I think the right approach is to do nothing AT ALL to abet the GOP agenda. We are watching the GOP agenda crash and burn — with “Trumpcare” right out in front.

      Millions of Americans thought they wanted this shit. I want to make sure they know exactly what it tastes and smells like.

  6. I think you're not cracking just the right nut

    It’s absolutely true that there are pockets of high un/under-employment and high job insecurity. Black neighborhoods in cities. Rural white Appalachian and Rust Belt areas. Office workers aged 55 and up. Women without a 4 year college degree. ESL communities.

    One program to employ them all may not be the right way to do it. For a government job to make sense, you need an employee with the right skills and located in the right place. Some of the folks in the above groups meet those criteria, but many do not. A major barrier to white men in Appalachia is a lack of blue collar jobs due to stagnant or shrinking economic activity in their communities. The major barrier to women without a 4 year degree is a lack of good, affordable child care options. Want to help those 55+ stop getting squeezed out? Let them join Medicare with an employer contribution lower than the private insurance contribution. Different challenges, different approaches.

    There’s room around the edges. Subcontracted custodial staff often has low job security, low wages, and unsafe working conditions. Governments could either bring those jobs into the fold or contractually mandate better wages and working conditions. But our infrastructure needs repair, but it is where it is, and the fact is that most of those jobs both (a) require skills, and (b) are subcontracted to private companies, not employed directly by a government — so it’s not so easy to use infrastructure upgrades to target more/better jobs in specific areas.

    And look, the Democrats are the minority party. There’s not much we can do right now but oppose.

    • Good responses stomv

      This would likely need to be a targeted program rather than a universal one. And maybe means tested for eligibility. But I absolutely see severe employment and infrastructure needs in Chicago. Just demolishing abandoned houses and planting grass on abandoned lots would create a lot of work within the potential employees own community. And then planting more trees, creating more green space, solar panels, rebuilding and retrofitting schools, etc. And these are the kind of basic investments that would make this areas more attractive to business owners and real estate buyers.

      Similarly, a big challenge in Appalachia is basic infrastructure. My wife used to go on UMC mission trips to Kentucky and W. Virginia and encountered whites living without indoor plumbing for the first time. Jarring since she grew up without it in the Philippines but assumed a ‘first world’ country wouldn’t have people like that. Lack of paved roads too.

      Many of these communities could benefit directly from eco tourism, but they would need the roads and public utilities to make that kind of program viable. And it’s still not a salvation for the region-it would definitely help some communities already suited to attract the creative class (college towns like Bowling Green or Huntington) more than the communities deindustrializing as coal production tapers off. But certainly public investment in more infrastructure and educational opportunities is one way to do this.

      I still like a UBI as well, and that would dovetail with your Social Security expansion idea (we already have de facto expansion there with the higher than possible SSD payments going to those regions). But how generous we do a UBI is a separate question and one that arguably undercuts this CCC style policy.

      • Only because I like and respect you...

        I’ve got too much work to do, but here’ goes..

        > maybe means tested for eligibility.

        This seems troublesome, for two reasons: Firstly, if you’re unemployed, you’ll pass the means test. If you’re not, you won’t. If your spouse is employed but you’re not… that gets tricky, because your household has some means but if you’ve got kids, probably not enough.

        > Just demolishing abandoned houses and planting grass on abandoned lots would create a lot of work within the potential employees own community.

        Sure, but this isn’t so easy. You’ve got to test for hazmat — asbestos, lead paint, etc. If it’s there, even in an abandoned house, it’s not cheap to remove and requires expertise. Then, you’ve got to demo and remove the debris — a mix of laborers, equipment, and equipment operators. You’ve got to do site remediation and planting, which requires equipment, equipment operators, laborers, and the vegetation. And, of course, you’ve got to do something about the deed or title — are we spending money that the owner should be spending? What if the owner wants to build a house on this land right when we’ve finished — shouldn’t he have paid for this? Etc. I’m not opposed, I just think it’s both (a) more costly, and (b) employs fewer people from your pool than you imagine. Ironically, a few good unemployed ol’ boys from the mines could operate the equipment in your decayed Chicago neighborhood, but they live 100s of miles away.

        > Similarly, a big challenge in Appalachia is basic infrastructure.

        Sure, except that once the mines have shut down, there’s much less reason for the infrastructure in the first place. I don’t just mean that it was dump trucks carting tailings or coal or God knows what from the mine using the infrastructure. I mean that the town exists because the mine existed; now that it doesn’t any more, the town’s population and economic activity is naturally shrinking. I’m not arguing that it’s OK to allow for health or safety risks (e.g. outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, bridge falling down), but I’m not interested in building Bridges to Nowhere when we’ve got areas of high use, high population, high economic productivity that have infrastructure needs not being met.

        > Many of these communities could benefit directly from eco tourism

        Tourism sucks. OK, everybody, I know we’re generally white, upper middle class folks around here who go down Cape or visit Berlin from time to time or at least take the kids to Disney World. But hear me out. When tourism is one industry of many, like in Chicago or Boston, you get a nice jobs boost, you get some diversity in the economy and labor market, it’s a good thing. But when tourism is your jobs base, you’re… Las Vegas, Atlantic City, or New Orleans. And it’s shit. It’s terrible wages, terrible hours, often physically demanding work, no job security, and your customers are assholes. Doubly so if, unlike Vegas and AC but like NOLA (and Appalachia), the folks visiting are from distinctly other cultures and aren’t there to celebrate or enjoy yours. I love New Orleans. Tourists come to get wasted and gawk at French and Spanish architecture, eat a beignet, and maybe to go over to the lower 9th on a bus and feel good about themselves for giving a shit a decade later. Very few tourists come to learn to dance zydeco at Tipitinas, to see Rebirth or Stooges or Dirty Dozen at Maple Leaf, or go hear some new young jazz at the Spotted Cat while sipping an Abita. And the tourists sure as hell don’t bother learning about the folks who work in the tourism industry — by and large black, poor, with no prospects, no savings, and no plans for what they’ll do when they’re too old to make beds or mop floors or drive the tourism bus. You think it would be any different in Hazzard County Kentucky? You think folks flying in to bird watch or white water raft or whatever it is people do out of doors will think of Kentucky as anything other than bourbon, horse racing, and basketball? Think they’ll be interested in Loretta Lynn, W.C. Handy, Wilson Pickett, or contemporary Christian music? And I haven’t even mentioned the all-too-common holier/smarter/better-than-thou attitude that emanates from tourists in NOLA that you can be damn sure would also emanate from the same tourists in Appalachia (it’s at least as much about education and class as it is race). I’m not arguing against individual enterprising folks creating tourism destinations and finding employees to work there (subject to fair labor laws). I am suggesting that tourism, as a major regional industry, creates exactly the kinds of jobs that folks like johntmay have rightfully been railing against — they’re just too much of unsafe, underpaid, and insecure.


        I think we need to make it easier for people to move. Yes, there be dragons here. We don’t want a policy that targets cultures and eviscerates them, much like George W Bush’s response to Katrina more than decimated New Orleans (net population reduction of over 1/3 of black citizens in NOLA 2000 — 2010. Fewer than 1 in 6 white citizen net population reduction). We do want to preserve culture, and we don’t want to force people to move. And it’s hard to move, to leave behind a support network and comfort to strike out and find your fortune. But the saying is that America is the land of opportunity, not that every city and town in America is the land of opportunity at every moment. And in many ways, its easier to relocate than ever before — cell phones mean you can keep contact regardless of location. Better, faster, and cheaper (in real dollars) transportation means getting there and back is easier. Internet means you can more easily find out about the new locality, including customs and cultures and laws and jobs and housing and any number of other things. It’s not rational to think we can bring hundreds of jobs each small Appalachian town that’s had a mine close. Manufacturing is a non-starter due to transportation costs alone. There simply aren’t enough CCC-style projects locally. And if we’re going to have a CCC-style program that requires folks travel with the projects (as was the case the first time around), why not just facilitate the relocating and build the infrastructure where it makes sense for a forward looking 21st century, not based on where people happen to have had better prospects a half century ago?

        Check out population change 2000 — 2010 (a bit dated, but the best we got):

        Check out Appalachian Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Virginia: quite purple. Now look at Indianapolis, Columbus, Charlotte, Loudoun County, and the Atlanta metro — hint, they’re very green. The distribution of population across America has always been tied to economic opportunity. I don’t think we should ignore that, but rather harness it. Make the economic transition in Appalachia easier by ensuring that there is safe, affordable housing in Indianapolis and Charlotte. Make sure the college recruiters for tOSU, UC, Kent State, OU, Akron, UofToledo, Miami U (OH), Cleveland State, Bowling Green, and Wright State all get way over to the Ohio River when looking for applicants and scholarship recipients. Make sure that contracting communities don’t have failing budgets because of the contraction — if that means the Feds buy and dismantle/re-purpose some things (think: too many school buildings in a shrinking urban area, or housing that’s become an attractive nuisance), that’s totally reasonable. Making sure that the folks who remain have access to education and health care is important.

        I’m all for substantially increased federal spending on capital projects (infrastructure) and operations budgets (school teachers). I’m all for substantially increased federal spending on job training and education (community colleges, tuition forgiving, literacy programs, and hey even national universities, but I digress). I do not think it’s reasonable to spend money in a part of America simply because those particular people are waiting around for the jobs to come back. Those jobs aren’t coming back, and while this country is built around opportunity, it’s not built to serve it up at the place and time of each person’s choosing.

        • So would you favorl...

          How about the state building a lot of housing in the Boston area which it could then use to house the homeless population of the state and anyone else who is currently on public assistance? Move them to Boston, so that they can find jobs?

          • I do favor more housing in Boston

            I favor more emergency social services housing — shelters — in Boston and any area where there are folks who need emergency housing.

            I favor more affordable housing in Boston — but do keep in mind that, unlike most communities in the state, Boston and Cambridge both exceed the 10 percent minimum. But yes, I favor more.

            I favor more lower-cost (and smaller!) market rate housing in Boston, to allow working class folks with working class jobs in the city the ability to live in the city.

            I also favor that if a state or federal policy goes this route that it also pays for (at least more of) the infrastructure capital projects that the increased population requires: schools, police and fire, and transportation, to say nothing of upgrades to parks and playgrounds.

        • Great analysis

          And little I disagree with. I think the genius of the CCC was building projects people wanted and getting its members to go to other parts of their state or country to work on them. And that’s definitely something I favor. Young men from Harlan County and Englewood working together in affordable housing and new transit in Indianapolis is exactly what I’m talking about. In general-we need more regionalization and regional planning anyway. Metro areas are more important than states as boundaries for this kind of project.

          • So let's say you're building transit in Indianapolis

            Let’s ignore that the current US Government’s President and Legislature don’t support it, but let’s play along…

            You’ve got a big job. Need lots of equipment operators, in and around Indianapolis. You can either (a) require that the subcontractors employ labor from locations X, Y, and Z, (b) give them a bonus for doing so, or (c) just know that the mere act of building in Indianapolis will result in a tightening of the labor market there for those occupations, and hope that folks from Harlan County and Englewood go to fill in the gaps, or (d) do letter c, but also actively recruit/encourage folks from Harlan County and Englewood to apply for jobs in Indianapolis.

            Given that, at least in post-WW II era big construction, the US government doesn’t actually build it but instead hires others to do it… how do you get an outcome where a non-trivial percent of the people building the Indianapolis transit system are from the Harlan Counties or the Englewoods of the world? What’s the mechanism?


    during the Great Depression building bridges like the one over the Cape Cod canal, roads and trails for the National Park Service, water works like the one in my home town that is still functional. They built libraries and schools and hospitals.

    He was only a kid and sent his modest pay check home to his parents. He learned valuable work skills in the Civilian Conservation Corps. And discipline. And when WW II broke out he enlisted in the Marine Corps to kill Fascists and save liberal democracy.

    Fred Rich LaRiccia

    • So did my great uncle

      And it had the benefit of introducing him to people outside his close knit Italian American social circle (he married an Irish woman) as well as the sense of service to country that got him to enlist before we entered the war in 39′.


    our 21st century New Deal to put American’s back to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.

    Fred Rich LaRiccia

    • Work, Jobs,...

      Unemployment is under 5% nationally and under 3% in Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, where the forced mandate was implemented years before Obamacare, unemployment is well below the national average and yet, Republicans call the forced mandate a “job killer”.

      Why Democrats in office do not push this is a mystery. Then again, why Democrats keep pushing for “jobs and the economy” while wealth/income disparity is an embarrassment in Massachusetts is yet another mystery.

      We need TAXES on the rich. We need TAXES on corporations. We do not need more jobs. We have jobs, lots of them.


    why does it have to be either or ?

    We need to raise the minimum wage to a livable wage. infrastructure jobs, AND the millionaire tax on the rich.

    We’re Democrats. We can walk and chew gum at the same time.

    Fred Rich LaRiccia

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Tue 25 Apr 8:19 PM