Black lives matter.
Between 1963 and 1972, there were more than 750 Black-led urban revolts in the United States in 525 cities. How did sociologists react? A number of prominent scholars dismissed these uprisings as irrational, violent outbursts, going so far as to exclude all “collective acts of violence” from protest datasets.
This reactionary position within social movement scholarship contributed to the mythology of the Civil Rights Movement as purely nonviolent, stripping political agency from the tens of thousands of Black working-class people taking to the streets across the country. Their actions, sociologists insisted, were not “political.”
Sociologists cannot make this mistake again. As Black-led revolts have emerged in all fifty states in response to the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department, it is our responsibility to use whatever institutional legitimacy we may have as academics to bolster the image of these struggles.
For decades, Black Americans organized peacefully to demand an end to police brutality. They were mocked, dismissed, ignored, and ever so occasionally, concessions were made in the form of ineffective reforms.
Chokeholds were already banned in New York City when the cops murdered Eric Garner. More body cameras won’t do a thing when cops turn them off prior […]
How might we imagine a transition to a socialist economy? There are clues in unlikely places: the management practices of some private corporations, which have been developing planned, democratic economies in miniature.
Under Deng Xiaoping’s famous slogan, “liberating the productive forces” (jie fang sheng chan li), the official policy of liberal reform – strong state intervention in the labor market – has worked in support of commodification of labor, rather than constructing a system of social welfare that restricts the impact of market forces in China. When it comes to the price for labor power, there are two kinds of remuneration: the direct and the indirect salary (or fringe benefits). The first resembles what we know as hourly wage, whereas the second “is redistributed through a social agency.” For most welfare states, this social agency refers to the State, or a statutory agency that manages the social security fund, for example. As regards the Chinese context, it is the household solidarity characterized by auto-exploitation and auto-deprivation of rural households that has played this role.
Control over status is a key mechanism of coercive employer power, which—along with other forms of punitive employer power—should be moved from the margins to the center of work and labor scholarship.
How we navigate this moment of intense uncertainty and collective anxiety will shape the future. Thinking about the many ways that our precarity manifests will be crucial to avoid re-inscribing the inequalities and injustices of the pre-coronavirus world.