The Untapped Economic and Political Power of America's New Working Class
Author: Tamara Draut
Category: Business & Economics
There was a time when America’s working class was seen as the backbone of the American economy, having considerable political, economic, and moral authority. But the working class we have now—far more female and racially diverse and employed by the fast food, retail, health care, and other service industries—has been marginalized, if not ignored, by politicians and pundits. This is changing, swiftly and dramatically. Today’s working class is a sleeping giant. And as Tamara Draut makes abundantly clear, it is just now waking up to its untapped political power. Sleeping Giant is the first major examination of the new working class and the role it will play in our economic and political future. Blending moving individual narratives, historical background, and sophisticated analysis, Draut forcefully argues that this newly energized class is far along in the process of changing America for the better. Draut examines the legacy of exclusion based on race and gender that contributes to the invisibility of the new working class, despite their entwinement in everyone’s day-to-day life. No longer confined to the assembly line, today’s working class watches our children and cares for our parents. They park our cars, screen our luggage, clean our offices, and cook and serve our meals. They are us. With “Fight for $15” minimum-wage protests popping up throughout the country (and in some places winning) and economic inequality being recognized as one of the defining issues of our time, today’s working class will soon become impossible to ignore and foolish to dismiss. Sleeping Giant is the first book to tell the story of this extraordinary transformation in full and inspiring detail. From the Hardcover edition.
Today's political controversy over immigration highlights the plight of the working class in this country as perhaps no other issue has recently done. The political status of immigrants exposes the power dynamics of the 'new working class', which includes the former labor aristocracy, women, and people of color. This new working class suffers exploitation in advanced industrial countries as the social cost of capitalism's success in a neoliberal and globalized political economy. In this book, Kathleen Arnold analyzes the role of the state's 'prerogative power' in creating and sustaining this condition of severe inequality for the most marginalized sectors of our population in the United States
The United States is not a middle class society. Michael Zweig shows that the majority of Americans are actually working class and argues that recognizing this fact is essential if that majority is to achieve political influence and social strength. "Class," Zweig writes, "is primarily a matter of power, not income." He goes beyond old formulations of class to explore ways in which class interacts with race and gender.Defining "working class" as those who have little control over the pace and content of their work and who do not supervise others, Zweig warns that by allowing this class to disappear into categories of middle class or consumers, we also allow those with the dominant power, capitalists, to vanish among the rich. Economic relations then appear as comparisons of income or lifestyle rather than as what they truly are—contests of power, at work and in the larger society.Using personal interviews, solid research, and down-to-earth examples, Zweig looks at a number of important contemporary social problems: the growing inequality of income and wealth, welfare reform, globalization, the role of government, and the family values debate. He shows how, with class in mind, our understanding of these issues undergoes a radical shift.Believing that we must limit the power of capitalists to abuse workers, communities, and the environment, Zweig offers concrete ideas for the creation of a new working class politics in the United States.
"We put the working class, in all its varieties, at the center of our work. The new working-class studies is not only about the labor movement, or about workers of any particular kind, or workers in any particular place—even in the workplace. Instead, we ask questions about how class works for people at work, at home, and in the community. We explore how class both unites and divides working-class people, which highlights the importance of understanding how class shapes and is shaped by race, gender, ethnicity, and place. We reflect on the common interests as well as the divisions between the most commonly imagined version of the working class—industrial, blue-collar workers—and workers in the 'new economy' whose work and personal lives seem, at first glance, to place them solidly in the middle class."—from the Introduction In John Russo and Sherry Lee Linkon's book, contributors trace the origins of the new working-class studies, explore how it is being developed both within and across fields, and identify key themes and issues. Historians, economists, geographers, sociologists, and scholars of literature and cultural studies introduce many and varied aspects of this emerging field. Throughout, they consider how the study of working-class life transforms traditional disciplines and stress the importance of popular and artistic representations of working-class life.
A History of American Working-Class Literature sheds light not only on the lived experience of class but the enormously varied creativity of working-class people throughout the history of what is now the United States. By charting a chronology of working-class experience, as the conditions of work have changed over time, this volume shows how the practice of organizing, economic competition, place, and time shape opportunity and desire. The subjects range from transportation narratives and slave songs to the literature of deindustrialization and globalization. Among the literary forms discussed are memoir, journalism, film, drama, poetry, speeches, fiction, and song. Essays focus on plantation, prison, factory, and farm, as well as on labor unions, workers' theaters, and innovative publishing ventures. Chapters spotlight the intersections of class with race, gender, and place. The variety, depth, and many provocations of this History are certain to enrich the study and teaching of American literature.
Workers and Their Unions, World War I to the Present
Author: Randi Storch
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Working Hard for the American Dream examines the variouseconomic, social, and political developments that shaped laborhistory in the United States from World War I until the presentday. Presents an overview of labor history that also considers womenworkers, ethnic America, and post-World War II workers Incorporates the most recent scholarship in labor history Takes the story of labor up to the present day in a readableand accessible manner
Labor's Text charts how the worker has been portrayed and often misrepresented in American fiction. Laura Hapke offers hundreds of depictions of wage earners: from fiction on the early artisan "aristocrats" to the Gilded Age's union-busting novelists to the year 2000's marginalized, apolitical men and women. Whether the authors discussed are pro- or anti-labor, Hapke illuminates the literary, historical, and intellectual contexts in which their fiction was produced and read.
Alexis de Tocqueville once described the national character of Americans as one question insistently asked: "How much money will it bring in?" G.K. Chesterton, a century later, described America as a "nation with a soul of a church." At first glance, the two observations might appear to be diametrically opposed, but this volume shows the ways in which American religion and American business overlap and interact with one another, defining the US in terms of religion, and religion in terms of economics. Bringing together original contributions by leading experts and rising scholars from both America and Europe, the volume pushes this field of study forward by examining the ways religions and markets in relationship can provide powerful insights and open unseen aspects into both. In essays ranging from colonial American mercantilism to modern megachurches, from literary markets to popular festivals, the authors explore how religious behavior is shaped by commerce, and how commercial practices are informed by religion. By focusing on what historians often use off-handedly as a metaphor or analogy, the volume offers new insights into three varieties of relationships: religion and the marketplace, religion in the marketplace, and religion as the marketplace. Using these categories, the contributors test the assumptions scholars have come to hold, and offer deeper insights into religion and the marketplace in America.