State of Resistance

What California’s Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Mean for America’s Future

A leading sociologist’s brilliant and revelatory argument that the future of politics, work, immigration, and more may be found in California

“As California goes, so goes the nation.” —Anonymous

Once upon a time, any mention of California triggered unpleasant reminders of Ronald Reagan and right-wing tax revolts, ballot propositions targeting undocumented immigrants, and racist policing that sparked two of the nation’s most devastating riots. In fact, California confronted many of the challenges the country faces now—decades before the rest of us.

Today, California is leading the way on addressing climate change, low-wage work, immigrant integration, overincarceration, and more. As white residents became a minority and job loss drove economic uncertainty, California had its own Trump moment twenty-five years ago, but has become increasingly blue over each of the last seven presidential elections. How did the Golden State manage to emerge from its unsavory past to become a bellwether for the rest of the country?

Thirty years after Mike Davis’s hellish, dystopian depiction of California in City of Quartz, the award-winning sociologist Manuel Pastor guides us through a remarkably new and improved California, with lessons that the rest of the nation should heed. Inspiring and expertly researched, State of Resistance makes the case for honestly engaging racial anxiety in order to address our true economic and generational challenges, renewing our commitment to public investments, cultivating social movements and community organizing, and more.