Books for changing the world
Organizing for Power
Building a 21st Century Labor Movement in Boston

Boston 's economy has become defined by a disconcerting trend that has intensified throughout much of the United States since the 2008 recession. Economic growth now delivers remarkably few benefits to large sectors of the working class -- a phenomenon that is particularly severe for immigrants, people of color, and women. Organizing for Power explores this nation-wide phenomenon of "unshared growth" by focusing on Boston, a city that is famously liberal, relatively wealthy, and increasingly difficult for working people (who service the city 's needs) to actually live in.

Organizing for Power is the only comprehensive analysis of labor and popular mobilizing in Boston today, the volume contributes to a growing body of academic and popular literature that examines urban America, racial and economic inequality, labor and immigration, and the right-wing assault on working people.

  • "What an excellent look at the significance of class struggle and progressive social movements in the Boston metropolitan area!  This is a book that goes beyond examining the institution of unions, but instead focuses on the multifarious efforts to re-found a genuine labor movement.  Though this book focuses on the Greater Boston area, the examples explored and the lessons learned have a value throughout the country,  In fact, that the book focuses so clearly on one geographic site of struggle helps the book to avoid a level of generality that frequently undermines other analyses." —Bill Fletcher, Jr., author of Solidarity Divided and They're Bankrupting Us! and Twenty Other Myths about Unions

    "These fresh, wide-ranging perspectives on recent labor struggles in the greater Boston area shed light on a surprisingly understudied region of the U.S. Taken together, they offer a sobering, yet hopeful portrait of organizing efforts among increasingly precaiour working people - including immigrants, women, and people of color - to challenge and transform the neoliberal order." —Ruth Milkman, Immigrant Labor and the New Precariat

    "As America has ineluctably transformed into a post-industrial economy, so has the character and nature of its working class. Organizing For Power: Building a Twenty-First Century Labor Movement in Boston is a comprehensive guide to understand the formative changes in the American class structure and how organized labor can regain relevance to a chaotic spectrum of contemporary workers. Drawing on the shifting landscape of Boston, Chomsky and Striffler’s book is essential reading for grasping the opportunities and challenges of trade unions in the U.S. today."Immanuel Ness, Organizing Insurgency: Workers Movements in the Global South

    "Organizing for Power offers an uncommonly comprehensive yet granular view of a single city labor movement’s attempt to cope with structural and demographic change in the early twenty- first century.  Striffler and Chomsky have convened an impressive array of postindustrial Boston’s labor braintrust— including academic activists, union leaders and alt-labor strategists —to sketch a path forward on both the organizational and political fronts." —Leon Fink The Long Gilded Age: American Capitalism and the Lessons of a New World Order

    "With political polarization and legislative paralysis forestalling progressive innovations at the federal level, unionists and community activists have rightly looked to cities like Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Boston to build power and construct social policies designed to give workers – of all ethnicities, sexual orientations, and legal status – a voice in 21st century America. In this splendid collection, Aviva Chomsky and Steve Striffler have put in dialogue a wide-ranging set of activists and academics who offer important and insightful accounts of how the Hub City has become a terrain of struggle where the working-class has won important battles, even in an era bookended by Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. Their stories bare careful reading – and emulation!" Nelson Lichtenstein, editor of Capitalism Contested: The New Deal and Its Legacies

Related blog posts View all related posts

Other books by Aviva Chomsky and Steve Striffler