Abstract

Whether or not organized labor is able to revive its fortunes in the private sector, white working-class men and women need new kinds of institutions that can speak to their discontents and offer compelling alternatives to the politics of anger and nostalgia. Some may sprout from current projects to rebuild old factory towns as centers of green industry or from local campaigns to force Wal-Mart and other big-box retailers to provide good health insurance and a living wage. The long-term work of nurturing such prospects is vital not just to defeating conservatives in elections to come. It is as vital to the future of the Left as the ability to state clearly and passionately what a better country would look like and what it will take to get there. Don’t mourn, organize.

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