Bringing forth the basic operations of capitalist economies, it reveals what is driving many of today’s most urgent and vexing problems: the common origins of the inequalities of income, wealth, and power; environmental devastation; militarism; racism and white supremacy; patriarchy and male chauvinism; periodic economic crises; and the cultural conflicts that are tearing at US life.
Michael Zweig illuminates all propositions with specific examples from US history, from the first settlement of the New World to current life, including his own lived experiences as an activist, educator, and organizer over the past six decades. As such, the book is an urgently needed resource for activists and organizers seeking structural and moral transformation of life in the US. Building on his analysis, Zweig also presents strategies for political action in electoral and movement-building work.
Author: Michael Zweig • Foreword by Rev. William J. Barber, II
Publisher: PM Press
Published: January 2024
Size: 6 x 9
Subjects: Activism & Social Justice / Class & Labour
“Michael Zweig has produced an important educational resource for young labor, racial justice, and environmental activists by providing a clearly written, well documented account of the economic, political, and historical forces driving social events. His explanation of the interrelationships of class and race is especially welcome.”
—Bill Fletcher, Jr., past president, TransAfrica; former education director of the AFL-CIO; consultant to union and racial justice strategic campaigns; co-author of Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and A New Path Toward Social Justice
“A new wave of activists against inequality, racism, patriarchy, environmental destruction, and homophobia is arising in America. But when mainstream economics informs these struggles, the cupboard is often bare, the issues seen, if at all, as exceptions. Michael Zweig presents the problems as parts of a whole that recognizes the centrality of the productive system and the reality of social class. Folks across the progressive spectrum should read this book.”
—Everett Ehrlich, U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs from 1994 to 1997
“In this deep and rich study, Michael Zweig shows how the capitalist class maintains power by seeding and exploiting division along lines of race, gender, nationality, religion and belief. In examining movements of the past and present, this work challenges us to understand how only radical liberation and solidarity can help us overcome the forces that treat us as “human capital stock” to achieve a truly just future.”
—Sara Nelson, president Association of Flight Attendants, Communications Workers of America
“Class, Race and Gender is an excellent primer for new and young activists. It makes difficult concepts accessible and will be a great addition to the body of information available to folks trying to make sense of the world we live in and how they can change it.”
—Roz Pelles, senior strategic advisor to the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival and vice president of Repairers of the Breach
“Class, Race and Gender addresses fundamental questions that have emerged front and center at this historic moment as thousands of young activists are constructing strategies to dramatically reshape our world. Michael Zweig’s personal touch and extensive research combine with his decades of experience to produce an accessible and engaging reference book for radical social transformation.”
—Gene Bruskin, strategic consultant to union campaigns
“This book has an accessible narrative style that will make it a valuable resource for movement makers. The book speaks to a need for intergenerational learning amongst the Left. It will go a long way as a very useful primer for grounding young activists.”
—Heidi Hoechst, education lead National Nurses United
“Michael Zweig brings decades of social struggle and teaching experiences to his remarkable book Class, Race and Gender. This is a work that distills rich lessons from the past so that new generations can go forward and carry on the struggle for democratic socialism.”
—Peter Olney, Democratic Socialists of America National Labor Commission Steering Committee
About the Contributors
Michael Zweig, emeritus professor of economics and founding director of the Center for Study of Working Class Life at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. His past books include Religion and Economic Justice; The Working Class Majority: America’s Best Kept Secret; and What’s Class Got to Do with It? American Society in the Twenty-First Century. From 2005 to 2006, he served as executive producer of the documentary Meeting Face to Face: The Iraq-U.S. Labor Solidarity Tour. In 2009 he wrote, produced, and directed the film Why Are We in Afghanistan? which won the Working Class Studies Association Studs Terkel Award for media and journalism. In 2014 he received their award for lifetime contributions to the field of working-class studies.
Rev. William J. Barber II was elected president of the local NAACP youth council in 1978 at the age of 15. He then enrolled at North Carolina Central University and became student government president at age 19. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from NCCU, cum laude, in 1985; a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University in 1989; and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Drew University, with a concentration in public policy and pastoral care, in 2003. He is the author of We Are Called to Be a Movement, Revive Us Again: Vision and Action in Moral Organizing and The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear. He is national co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and director of the Center for Public Theology and Public Policy at Yale Divinity School.
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