Jane McAlevey

What #MeToo Can Teach the Labor Movement

My first #MeToo memory is from the kitchen of the Red Eagle Diner on Route 59 in Rockland County, N.Y. I was 16 years old, had moved out of my home, and was financially on my own. The senior waitresses in this classic Greek-owned diner schooled me fast. They explained that my best route to maximum cash was the weekend graveyard shift. “People are hungry and drunk after the bars close, and the tips are great,” one said.

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The Distractor-in-Chief: Trump Counts on Media Falling for His Off-the-Wall Tweets and Failing to Focus on What Matters

One of Donald Trump’s leading roles in his new regime is to play the part of Distractor-in-Chief. And judging from the Sunday morning talk shows' ridiculous preoccupation, with his fantasy of being wiretapped by President Obama, Trump is being highly successful in steering the media away from the real story.

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We've Got Some Big Lessons to Learn from Recent Political Victories

One of the first things Adolf Hitler did after his electoral victory in 1933 was ban the trade unions. He understood power dynamics and saw that unions were a threat to his influence over the working masses. Workers with good unions have good jobs and good lives; people with good lives don’t listen to demagogues.

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Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age: There Are No Shortcuts

The following is an adapted excerpt from the new book No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age by Jane F. McAlevey (Oxford University Press, 2016): 

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Warning Signs: Fear, Fascists and Hate Win in Britain - Heads Up, USA

Waking up in the Hackney neighborhood of Britain, a neighborhood heavily populated by Jews and immigrants, the mood on the streets this morning is shock and fear. London, and basically any wee corner of England that has an immigrant population, voted for the “remain” position. The entire British countryside, largely devoid of immigrants, voted to “leave.”

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The Big Difference Between Organizing and Mobilizing: How Unions Can Win in the Future

When it comes to the American labor movement, coverage is often either cynically dismissive or so optimistic one could be forgiven for wondering whether the last few decades of decline, confusion, and infighting had happened at all.

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Important Lessons from the Vietnam Anti-War Movement

A new book examining working class opposition to the Vietnam War, Hardhats, Hippies and Hawks (Cornell University Press, 2013), by Penny Lewis, is a timely and important book filled with lessons for today’s labor, peace and especially, environmental movements. She unpacks the myth that working class Americans supported the Vietnam War. A fiction created by Nixon and the Republicans in service to the industrial military complex. The book’s subhead, "The Vietnam Antiwar Movement as Myth and Memory," challenges the constructed narrative of the antiwar movement and focuses our attention on the motivations of those who created the false storyline. Though the research for and origins of her book were the subject of her doctoral dissertation, the book is a good read, accessible to all. She argues that in the early years of the antiwar movement, the formal organizations that opposed the war were dominated by middle class and often college students, but that shifts dramatically in the later years. And, had the early activists reached out to broader audiences, like workers, the movement could have been more successful, much sooner. She examines the many characters and films about Vietnam, from Gump to Platoon and everything in between, and compares Hollywood to reality. The book documents the particularly important contribution to end the war made by Chicano and Black movements.

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Is SCOTUS's Harris v. Quinn Ruling on a New Version of the Infamous Dred Scott Decision?

It’d be more than alarming and resoundingly condemned if any institution in the U.S. tried to take our country back to the days before Dred Scott, when people of color in this country fell under the racist and dehumanizing “three fifths rule.” But  the Supreme Court’s decision in Harris v Quinn smacks of a new three fifths rule by declaring the fastest growing occupation in the nation, an occupation dominated by people of color and women, as “partial” or “quasi” public employees.

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What Angelina Jolie Didn't Tell You About Breast Cancer and That Gene

Last month, I lost my too-young-to-die sister to a BRCA#1 breast cancer. When I was a toddler not yet in kindergarten, breast cancer robbed me of my mother. I am a BRCA#1 gene carrier, and recently wrote about it in my memoir, Raising Expectations and Raising Hell. Neither my sister nor my mother’s premature deaths, nor my own writing could possibly have turned BRCA#1 (and #2) into a household conversation the way a beautiful movie star could. Like millions of women, I have been reading the praise, the misogynist “jokes,” and the criticism being lobbed at Angelina Jolie.

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Happy Holidays!