Belabored Podcast #115: Organizing for Power, with Jane McAlevey

Belabored Podcast #115: Organizing for Power, with Jane McAlevey

Jane McAlevey joins us to talk about her new book, No Shortcuts, strategies for workplace organizing, and what’s wrong with Saul Alinsky.

Stacked signs from the Chicago Teachers Union strike, April, 2016 (Chicago Teachers Union / Flickr)
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In recent years we’ve seen many, many ideas and gimmicks and tricks put forward, each pledging to “save the labor movement.” Our guest this week, longtime organizer and sociologist Jane McAlevey, says that there are no tricks to it; in her new book, titled No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age, out now from Oxford University Press, she studies winning labor and social movement campaigns, and argues that organizing—real, base-building organizing—is the only way to build real power for working people. 

We also check in on the Harvard workers’ strike from last episode, and talk to Jamie Phillips at Clarion University about a fourteen-campus strike in Pennsylvania last week; look at the children making fast fashion in Turkey; and for Argh, we talk about trade and the refugee crisis, and labor’s role in the struggle at Standing Rock. 

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Harvard Dining Services workers Contract Pays $35,000 Per Year, Covers Copays (The Crimson)

Faculty Strike Rocks 14 Pa. Colleges, 100,000 Students (USA Today)

Strike Ends: APSCUF, PASSHE reach tentative agreement (Berks-Mont News)

The Kids Who Have To Sew to Survive (BBC)


Jane McAlevey

No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age (Oxford University Press, 2016)

Argh, I Wish I’d Written That!

Michelle: Zoe WilliamsEurope isn’t just about trade. It’s about humanity too (Guardian)

Sarah: Trish Kahle, The Standing Rock Split (Jacobin)