479 posts categorized "Activism" Feed

By Howard Bryant | Americans have shown they can only discuss race within two frameworks: Things are better than they were or Get over it. So what exactly happened to the Heritage in the 1970s that began a nearly half-century slide into dormancy, when protest was transformed from noble to toxic? O. J. Simpson happened to it. Read more →


By Jonathan Rosenblum | Three years of rank-and-file Starbucks worker organizing has produced a historic union breakthrough: a commitment by the implacably anti-union company to bargain a national contract for 10,000 workers and negotiate a process for additional workers to organize. Remarkably, though, this victory came about in part because of a serendipitous boost from the Palestine justice movement. It’s proof of the power—and indeed, necessity—of international working-class solidarity in taking on today’s leading fights against the giants of capitalism. Read more →


A Q&A with Yashica Dutt | The research process for the book was fairly typical. I spent a ton of time in libraries and archives, extracting material around the historical details that have gone into shaping this book. I was most surprised to learn how different those details were from the narrative of history that we have been given for decades. Read more →


By Jonathan Rosenblum | Imagine it’s the evening of April 30, 2028. The nation is roiling as millions of workers coast to coast prepare to walk off the job in an unprecedented May Day national strike. Workers in manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, grocery, high tech, hospitality, and public services have mobilized and committed to bring the economy to a halt unless their bold demands are met: Medicare for All, a $30/hour minimum wage, and a tax on billionaires to massively increase public education funding. Read more →


By Kavita Das | I remember a conversation I had with an editor at a literary magazine soon after I had transitioned from working in social change to becoming a writer close to ten years ago. I had shared with the editor that I was committed to developing my craft as a writer but that I was also committed to continuing to lift up social issues, even if I now would focus on addressing them on the page rather than in real life settings. I was floored by the editor’s response. Read more →


By Jonathan Rosenblum | There’s a whole truckload of things to celebrate in the new tentative agreements won by the United Auto Workers (UAW) at Ford, Stellantis, and General Motors (GM). The deals were wrested from the Big Three companies after 46 days of expanding strike action—what new UAW President Shawn Fain dubbed the “Stand Up Strike,” in which workers incrementally extended picket lines to more plants, slowing turning the vise tighter on the companies. By the time the last holdout, GM, settled this past weekend, close to 50,000 of the UAW’s 146,000 autoworker members had walked off the job. Read more →


By Jonathan Rosenblum | It’s not just actors, writers, and autoworkers powering this year’s strike wave in the United States. Healthcare workers, too, are flexing their collective muscles in greater numbers. And for good reason. Read more →


By Christian Coleman | When Latinx workers across the US came together for International Workers’ Day on May 1, 2006, their strike sent more than one message. As historian Paul Ortiz writes in An African American and Latinx History of the United States, they protested immigration restrictions that threatened their families, their livelihoods, and their dignity. The protested to pass national legislation for a living wage. Shutting down meat packing, garment manufacturing, port transportation, trucking and food services in many parts of the country was an act of resistance to neoliberalism, mass incarceration, militarism, and imperialism. Latinx workers from numerous cultures were all in. Read more →


By Charles Euchner | On August 28, the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, we celebrate the power of words. On this day, Martin Luther Dr. King, Jr. delivered his immortal “I Have a Dream” oration before 400,000 souls at the National Mall. Dr. King was joined by countless others whose words should be remembered for the ages. Fred Shuttlesworth charged the throng to “walk together, stand together, sing together, moan together, groan together.” Read more →


By Ben Mattlin | When you’ve grown up in a world not quite made for you or are forced into one from an accident or illness, and when you feel you should be able to do what everybody else seems to do, when you feel as if you’ve been inexplicably singled out for punishment, it can be utterly, achingly soul sinking. Worse still, it’s hard to shake. “Internalized ableism” is believing the prejudicial assumptions and expectations thrust on you by society, believing you’re inferior, undesirable, burdensome, don’t fit in, and/or in need of repairing or healing or fixing or curing. Read more →


A Q&A with Annelise Orleck | It felt right, and urgent, to return to the story of “Storming Caesars Palace” in these times, precisely because this political moment feels both so different and so similar to the time when the book was first published in 2005. Back then, our country was still living in the shadow of 9/11 and the militarist backlash that followed. Read more →


By Jonathan Rosenblum | More than 1 million US workers are employed at Amazon today—the majority at its vast network of more than 1,300 warehouses and logistics centers, with tens of thousands in tech centers around the country. That’s more workers than UPS and FedEx combined, more than the entire US auto manufacturing industry. Another 600,000 work internationally for the company. Read more →


By Brandon Johnson | In 2012 the CTU went on strike for the first time in twenty-five years. We prepared our members to take this step by, first, making the case that we could better protect our profession by defending public education and our children. Second, we put forward a real plan for what schools needed to look like, and we effectively identified those people, including the mayor, who stood in the way. Finally, we began to raise awareness of the inequities that many people said couldn’t be fixed but we refused to accept. As a result, our members realized that we needed to withhold our labor in order to beat back the mayor’s proposal that would hurt both teachers and students. Read more →


By Brandon Johnson | The moment you sign up to become a teacher in the Chicago public school system you become an advocate, because you’re always searching for opportunities to meet the needs of your students. The system often falls short—from classroom materials, to reading and math support, to social and emotional development. Most schools don’t have social workers and counselors, for example, even though there is an overwhelming need for them. Read more →


By Kristen Joiner | “So, you’ve been a feminist and worked in human rights your whole career?” Judy Heumann asked me the first time we met to discuss the possibility of writing her memoir. “Right.” “And you never knew disability was a civil rights issue?” Since I’d already owned up to this, I nodded again. “So, what makes you think you can write my story?” Read more →


By Gayatri Patnaik and Christian Coleman | In her compelling Boston Globe article “Celebrating Black History Month as Black History Is Being Erased,” Renée Graham writes that Black History Month this year has a specific purpose and burden, “and that burden is not for Black people to bear alone.” The challenge, Graham notes, “is to save this crucial American history from being eroded book by book, law by law, and state by state.” We couldn’t agree more. Read more →


By Martin Luther King, Jr. | This, as you know, is what has traditionally been known in the Christian church as Palm Sunday. And ordinarily the preacher is expected to preach a sermon on the Lordship or the Kingship of Christ—the triumphal entry, or something that relates to this great event as Jesus entered Jerusalem, for it was after this that Jesus was crucified. And I remember, the other day, at about seven or eight days ago, standing on the Mount of Olives and looking across just a few feet and noticing that gate that still stands there in Jerusalem, and through which Christ passed into Jerusalem, into the old city. Read more →


By Edward McClelland | The heat wave begins on the Great Plains, in the Dust Bowl, that dead, dry land whose barren fields have transformed it into a furnace. The summer of 1936 is the hottest anyone can remember. After killing the meager yield of crops in the farm states, the dome of heat spreads north and east, smothering the Great Lakes. In the second week of July, every afternoon, workers preparing for second shift at the General Motors plants in Flint, Michigan, look out the kitchen windows of their company-built Cape Cods and slope-roofed bungalows, at the thermometers bolted to the walls. Read more →


You don’t know Rosa Parks. Not really. Not the way you know about Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. Unless you have read Jeanne Theoharis’s NAACP Image Award-winning “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks,” you are familiar with Parks’s Cliff Notes claim to civil rights fame taught in school and not much else. Until Theoharis’s biography was published in 2013, there was no serious footnote or book about her. Let that sink in. Six decades of activism, and not a single book! And more recently, there hadn’t been a feature documentary made about her either. Until now. Read more →


Who’s your favorite people’s historian, and why is it Howard Zinn? He’s ours, too, and today, August 24, he would have turned one hundred. He wore many hats: social activist, professor, author, and playwright. He meant so much to us here at Beacon Press. Going through the books we published of his, including his memoir, “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train,” we get a little misty eyed. To celebrate his hundredth birthday, we pulled some beloved quotes that showcase his life’s worth of wisdom and insights on hope, the politics of writing history, the power of social movements, nonviolence, class, race, education, and much more. Read more →