The Fight Against Austerity Started Here: Excerpt at The Nation

The excellent folks at The Nation (who published my first-ever piece of labor journalism) have an excerpt from Necessary Trouble up, as the book continues to roll on.

The [Teaching Assistants’ Association] had already planned a rally for Valentine’s Day, in a preemptive strike against likely cuts to the university, and Hanna was deluged with emails asking her to come home. She was observing the popular revolution that had begun in Egypt in the winter of 2011, part of what came to be known as the Arab Spring. But the attacks on the union and the university were serious enough that she returned just in time for the February 14 action. The TAA led a crowd of marchers up State Street from the university campus to deliver a thousand valentines protesting Act 10 to Walker at the Capitol. It was an impressive showing, but marches were common enough in Madison that few expected this one to be different. Jenni Dye, a lawyer based in Madison, was downtown eating brunch and saw the protesters. “I thought, ‘Oh look, another Madison protest.’”

Read the rest at The Nation.


Red Scares and Radical Imagination: Excerpt at Moyers & Company

The wonderful folks at Moyers & Company have excerpted my chapter on one of my greatest obsessions, the Red Scare.

To Sawant, the victory showed that her message, and its appeal to the working class of a wealthy city, had resonance. “People don’t need some kind of detailed graduate-level economics lesson; they understand that the market is not working for them. The market is making them homeless. The market is making them cityless. And they’re fed up, and they’re angry.” Angry enough, it seemed, to take a leap of faith and support a candidate whose ideas had only recently been presumed to be unthinkable.

Read the rest at Moyers & Company


Are We Still Suffering the Fallout of the “New Deal”? Excerpt at Dame

The wonderful people at Dame magazine (including Lisa Butterworth, who I go back to Bust days with) have run an excerpt from Necessary Trouble and I’m really pleased in particular that this chunk of the book made it online–it was a bunch of points that needed making, dots that needed connecting and I was happy with the way I did it. Check it out

The nuclear family that has been the focus of so much handwringing and moralizing in recent years was not a product of human nature but rather of a particular period in U.S capitalism. The family wage, designed to allow a male breadwinner to support a wife and children, was bargained for by the labor movement and accepted, though uneasily, by business leaders during the New Deal period. It allowed many working-class women, as well as their wealthier sisters, to stay home with their children; it built the middle class. The family wage—that is, material conditions—shaped our ideas of the male and female role in the workplace and in the home, in public and in private.

Read the rest at Dame!


Why Walmart Matters to 21st Century Working-Class Struggle: Excerpt at Truthout

Another excerpt at another of my favorite outlets to write for: the folks at Truthout pulled from my chapter on OUR Walmart and chose yet another section about the intersectional working class. A theme, perhaps? Necessary Trouble is also a Progressive Pick there this week, meaning you can buy the book and make a donation to Truthout to support independent journalism (including my own) in the future.

The image conjured by the term “working class” in the United States has been one of mostly white men toiling in a factory, wearing hard hats and those oft-evoked blue collars. Our labor policy was shaped around those men and the assumption that workers get health insurance from their jobs, have a pension on which to retire, and make a “family wage” that allows them to support a wife, who stays home to take care of the kids and the cooking and cleaning.

Read the rest at Truthout!


Whose Homes? Excerpt at Dissent Magazine

The folks at Dissent, the lovely people who bring you Belabored, ran an excerpt from Necessary Trouble. 

“I tried for many, many years to be ‘Mrs. All America.’” Nancy Daniel said, sitting in a coffee shop in a northern suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. “I married a guy in the military and divorced him. Had two kids. Tried to do everything right, or what I was being taught was right. And it didn’t work that way. It just didn’t.” She’d greeted me with an embrace, telling me, “I’m a hugger,” although we were there to talk about a sobering subject. Daniel, like millions of other Americans, had been struggling since 2009 to keep her home.

Read the rest at Dissent.