The 2008 financial crisis crystallized for people around the country the fact that something was wrong. Americans had already been losing faith in elites who had failed to protect them from crisis after crisis and disaster after disaster. After the collapse, we expected someone to have a solution but were inevitably disappointed. Instead, we got high and rising unemployment, foreclosures spiraling out of control, and, as the protest chant went, “banks got bailed out, we got sold out.”
The spark was slow to start, but it has grown since. Tea Partiers challenged conservative politicians to keep their promises; Wisconsinites took over their capitol to demand a halt to cuts to their union rights; Walmart and fast-food workers went on strike for a raise; Wall Street found itself Occupied; the deaths of unarmed young men touched off a twenty-first-century black freedom struggle. The movements swelled, intersected, and spread around the country, helped along by social media. At their core, they were all challenges to who wields power in the US, regardless of political allegiance.
Telling this story matters because it challenges the narrative that Americans are apathetic and indifferent to politics and that there is no common ground between Left and Right. Necessary Trouble offers readers an understanding of today's new radicals--the troublemakers of all stripes who refuse to sit any longer on the sidelines and wait for things to improve.
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About the Author
Sarah Jaffe is a Nation Institute fellow and an independent journalist covering labor, economic justice, social movements, politics, gender, and pop culture. Her work has appeared in The Nation, Salon, the Week, American Prospect, Washington Post, Atlantic, and many other publications. She is the co-host, with Michelle Chen, of Dissent magazine's Belabored podcast, as well as an editorial board member at Dissent and a columnist at New Labor Forum. Jaffe was formerly a staff writer at In These Times and the labor editor at AlterNet. She was a contributing editor on The 99%: How the Occupy Wall Street Movement is Changing America, from AlterNet books, as well as a contributor to the anthologies At the Tea Party and Tales of Two Cities, both from OR Books. She was also the web director at GRITtv with Laura Flanders.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If you asked me a month ago what the Tea Party and Black Lives Matter have in common, I would have said, "nothing." But after reading Necessary Trouble, I can now point to any number of post-2008 movements and see the common threads. Whether Walmart employees or environmental activists, Jaffe shows how the deep dissatisfaction with and anger over the present state of affairs has been channeled into action and change. It's no longer business as usual. People are risking arrest and starting movements to disrupt the system and it is often working. (Glory be!) Jaffe shows each movement's strengths and struggles and I was particularly impressed by how she delved into the racism of certain segments of the Tea Party. I also loved the emphasis on intersectionality and the way class was highlighted as a common bond. Well researched and incredibly engaging, I underlined and asterisked my way through this book. It's a game-changer and definitely going on my Favorite list for 2016. Disclosure: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.