December 8, 2016

The December 10 issue of In These Times will feature a photo essay with less of an accompanying text than convocation (from the Latin convocare, “to come together,” hence the video below) from Frances Fox Piven (selected bibliography at the bottom). The preview posted yesterday is short and I’ll post it in its entirety below, though I encourage you to support In These Times and buy some of them Piven books.

The current assemblage of the Trump Cabinet has deepened the conviction of my cynical observations from last week. Once all the King’s horses are in place I’ll have to produce an overview of just how each member truly seems to have been picked to undermine the missions of the departments they’ll be leading.

Also, I’m working on a reference of sorts to help you find your way through the thicket of thickness we’ll be facing. So, you may read that Kris Kobach is Kansas’ Secretary of State, but you may not know that he has a long history with voter suppression and anti-immigrant action that doesn’t so much flirt with white supremacy as it does leave his phone number above the glory hole. Most news articles don’t really have the time — or the need, frankly — to run through a person’s history everytime they’re mentioned. I’m hoping I can provide a resource that’ll be quicker and more direct in providing context than entries found by Googling or consulting Wikipedia, Right Wing Watch, etc.

Scenes from the Front Lines

The big and victorious movements of our history have done more than communicate. They have mobilized the most fundamental source of power of ordinary people: the power to refuse to cooperate with the institutionalized routines upon which social life depends. If factory workers walk out, the factory comes to a halt; but if nannies stay home, so do the parents whose children they mind; if urbanites block highways, traffic stops; if debtors refuse, lenders are at risk—and so is a financial system anchored to massive debt.

We’ve seen the disruptive potential of masses of defiant people before. It produced the big reforms of American history, from electoral representative government to the end of chattel slavery, to curbs on monopoly, to legal protection of unions, to legislated civil rights for African Americans. But sadly, there are no permanent victories in political life. This is why we have to rise again.

Books by Frances Fox Piven