Power Politics: Environmental Activism in South Los Angeles

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Overview

In the late 1990s, when California's deregulation of the production and sale of electric power created massive energy shortages, a group of environmental justice activists blocked construction of a power plant in their working-class Mexican and Central American neighborhoods. Why did they choose this battle? And how did the largely high school student activists come to prevail in the face of statewide political opinion?

Power Politics is a rich and readable study of a grassroots campaign where longtime labor and environmental allies found themselves on opposite sides of a conflict that pitted good jobs against good air. Karen Brokin analyzes how those issues came to be opposed and in doing so unpacks the racial and class dynamics that shape Americans' grasp of labor and environmental issues. Power Politics' activists stood at the forefront of a movement that is building broad-based environmental coalitions and placing social justice at the heart of a new and robust vision.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813546070
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 9/30/2009
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen Brodkin is a professor of anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of Making Democracy Matter: Identity and Activism in Los Angeles and How Jews Became White Folks: And What That Says About Race in America (both Rutgers University Press).

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

1 South Gate Transitions 21

2 Environmental Justice and Communities for a Better Environment 46

3 Creating an Environmental Justice Campaign 59

4 Sunlaw's New Pollution Control Technology 76

5 The Perfect Storm: South Gate Politics and the Makings of a Pro-Plant Coalition 95

6 Finding Traction at South Gate High School 113

7 Going Public 135

8 Sudden Death 158

Conclusion 188

Epilogue 207

Notes 213

References 221

Index 231

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