SLU professor Frances Fox Piven has been no stranger to press in her 86 years — many of which have been spent as a rabble-rousing leftist activist and respected leftist intellectual. Last week, Prof. Piven got yet one more feature to add to the list: a NYTimes profile by Alex Traub that describes her role in an evolving left, and the leadership she’s providing to a new generation of activists:
“She’s someone whose body of work shows that you don’t have to drift off into this La-La Land of intellectualism,” [Jacobin editor Micah] Uetricht said. “People should be going on strike. People should be withdrawing their labor power or causing chaos in society. That’s where their power comes from.”
Probably the most influential vector for Ms. Piven’s ideas is the social-justice incubator Momentum, a training program for progressives that formed in 2014.
Trainees include members of the Sunrise Movement, whose occupation of Ms. Pelosi’s office with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sparked conversation about the Green New Deal. It was just the sort of disruption Ms. Piven advocates.
“What tactics we use is exactly the question that Piven is addressing,” said Lissy Romanow, 35, Momentum’s executive director. Part of Ms. Piven’s appeal, she said, came from her view that social movements are required for big left-wing victories — a perspective suited to a generation disillusioned with liberal business as usual.
The Times article focuses on Dr. Piven’s reverential status among labor organizers and activists, and how she has influenced the current progressive movement — which it says is “full of Pivenites.” In July, she will be headlining the Socialism2019 Conference “No Borders, No Bosses, No Binaries”, to be held in Chicago.
Check out the rest of the article here.
The CUNY/New York Times in Education 2016 calendar was just released. Called “Working People,” it’s a beautiful and informative document that lifts up work and workers, serving as a piece of art, journey through history, and useful calendar all-in-one.
From CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken’s introduction to the calendar:
Work. It’s what most of us have to do to earn the money we need to live. Ideally, it’s also what we enjoy doing. For some of us, it defines who we are and aspire to become.
The poets, lyricists, authors and union leaders you’ll find in the 2016 CUNY/ New York Times in Education calendar and website expand upon the changing interpretations of work throughout the history of the United States.
Working People is the 13th such collaboration between The City University of New York and The New York Times in Education. This year we’re pleased to welcome a new partner, the New York City Central Labor Council, whose president, Vincent Alvarez, and policy associate, Alexander Gleason, enthusiastically joined in developing this project.
There’s a good deal of practical wisdom in these pages, whose under lying theme is that all workers need to be valued, respected and treated with dignity.
Read the full introduction and check out the calendar here.
In “Millennials May Turn the Tide Toward Unionization,” featured in yesterday’s New York Times, Murphy Professor Ruth Milkman offers tempered optimism about Gawker Media staffers’ recent unionization and the potential for new labor organizing campaigns:
“…in the “new economy,” young workers are less likely to be unionized than their older counterparts. But that doesn’t seem to reflect workers’ own preferences. In fact recent surveys show that millennials — the dominant demographic at Gawker and other digital media companies — are far more often pro-union than their baby boomer counterparts.”
“To make a real difference in today’s economy, unions need to meet the needs of young, college-educated workers like those at Gawker as well as workers struggling at the bottom of the labor market, in industries like fast-food and retail. As inequality between the haves and have-nots continues to widen, organized labor is the one surviving institution that systematically pushes in the other direction.”
For the full column, visit the New York Times.
On Labor Day this year, Murphy faculty members Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce were quoted in a New York Times article entitled Study Suggests a Rebound for Union Jobs in New York. The article describes the pair’s research findings around trends in union membership in New York City, referencing their recent “State of the Unions” report — which notes a “pretty healthy uptick” in the number of union workers in New York City.
Read the full report here.