10: Sarah Jaffe, #MeToo, gender and the working class

May 14, 2018

This week we talked to socialist journalist Sarah Jaffe about the U.S. working class — real and perceived. Sarah is the author of Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt (http://bit.ly/Jaffebook) and the co-host of the Belabored Podcast (http://bit.ly/BelaboredPod). She’s a regular contributor to the New Republic, The Nation and many other progressive publications and her work is increasingly in shmancy places like the New York Times. She’s a hardworking, uncompromising radical who’s paid her dues and is finding a wider audience.

Sarah has smart things to say about issues like gender as well as class, and how they in fact can’t be separated. So we did something different for our 10th episode and invited our interview guest to join us for our opening discussion about the latest devastating revelations of sexual assaults from high-profile figures, and the ways that the #MeToo moment continues to pose challenges to the powerful and new questions for those trying to build collective movements against their power.

Sarah’s website (/http://bit.ly/Jaffesite) has information about her book, articles, podcast and upcoming appearances.

To follow up on our discussion of #MeToo, check out Sarah’s Dissent article “The Collective Power of #MeToo” (http://bit.ly/CollectiveMeToo), Ronan Farrow and Jane Meyer’s detailed story in the New Yorker about the abuse allegations against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (http://bit.ly/Schneidermanabuse) and the statement that farmworkers in Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (http://bit.ly/AlianzaCampesinas) issued in solidarity with Hollywood actresses, which Sarah credits with helping to transform #MeToo into an actual movement.

For more on the accounts of author Junot Díaz’s abuse and abusive behavior, check out Díaz’s “The Silence: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma” (http://bit.ly/Diazstory) and Aya de Leon’s “Reconciling Rage and Compassion: The Unfolding #MeToo Moment and Junot Díaz” (http://bit.ly/AyadeLeon).

Finally, you really should check out “Gina Haspel Shatters the Glass Ceiling!” (http://bit.ly/PiaGuerra), the Pia Guerra cartoon in The Nib that Sarah referenced about the war criminal being nominated for CIA director.

In our conversation about the working class, we referenced Sarah’s New Republic article “The Struggle to Stay Middle Class” (http://bit.ly/StruggleMiddleClass) about the teacher strikes and class consciousness since the Great Recession.

Some of Sarah’s other articles that relate to our discussion are her Guardian piece about home care workers (http://bit.ly/homecareworkers) who will lose their jobs if Medicaid cuts go through and her New Republic piece about how “welfare” is a racist buzzword deployed to justify cutting any number of social programs (http://bit.ly/Jaffewelfare).

For more on Sarah’s comment on Democrats like Andrew Cuomo having Republican policies toward public-sector workers, check out Danny’s Socialist Worker article criticizing the United Federation of Teachers’ endorsement of Cuomo (http://bit.ly/CuomoBlues).

Finally, we talked about the Socialism 2018 conference (bit.ly/Socialism2018), where Sarah will be interviewing Frances Fox Piven, author of the classic Poor People’s Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail (http://bit.ly/PoorPeoplesMovements). At the Socialism conference you can also see Jen talking about “From Apathy to Rebellion: What Makes Workers Fight?” Eric on “Marxists, Elections and the State” and Danny on gun violence and gun control.

Music in this episode

The Boy & Sister Alma, “Lizard Eyes” (Dead Sea Captains Remix)
Jamila Woods, “Blk Girl Soldier”
X Ray Spex, “Oh Bondage, Up Yours!”
Bikini Kill, “Liar”
Dolly Parton, “9 to 5”
Alan Jackson, “A Hard Hat and a Hammer”
Sarah Jones, “Your Revolution”
Janelle Monáe, “American”

Audio of Tarana Burke (founder of the “Me Too” movement) and Mily Treviño-Sauceda (National Alliance of Women Farmworkers) interviewed on Democracy Now!