Labor Rising

The Past and Future of Working People in America

A timely and urgent look at the twenty-first-century prospects of working people and the labor movement, from leading activists and historians

“History is a great teacher. Now, everyone knows that the labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it. . . . Those who attack labor forget these simple truths, but history remembers them.” —Martin Luther King Jr., AFL-CIO Convention, December 11, 1961

When Wisconsin governor Scott Walker threatened the collective bargaining rights of the state’s public sector employees in early 2011, the massive protests that erupted in response put the labor movement back on the nation’s front pages. It was a fleeting reminder of a not-so-distant past when the “labor question”—and the power of organized labor—was part and parcel of a century-long struggle for justice and equality in America.

Now, on the heels of the expansive Occupy Wall Street movement and midterm election outcomes that are encouraging for the labor movement, the lessons of history are a vital handhold for the thousands of activists and citizens everywhere who sense that something has gone terribly wrong. This pithy and accessible volume provides readers with an understanding of the history that is directly relevant to the economic and political crises working people face today, and points the way to a revitalized twenty-first-century labor movement. With original contributions from leading labor historians, social critics, and activists, Labor Rising makes crucial connections between the past and present, and then looks forward, asking how we might imagine a different future for all Americans.


  • Marcellus Andrews
  • Eileen Boris
  • David Brody
  • Michelle Chen
  • Jefferson Cowie
  • Elizabeth Faue
  • Leon Fink
  • Bill Fletcher Jr.
  • Dana Frank
  • Dorothy Fujita-Rony
  • Matthew Garcia and Mario Sifuentez
  • Richard A. Greenwald
  • Andrew Herod
  • Daniel Katz
  • Alice Kessler-Harris
  • Nelson Lichtenstein
  • Nancy MacLean
  • Ruth Milkman
  • Bethany Moreton and Pamela Voekel
  • Kimberley L. Phillips
  • Frances Fox Piven
  • Jacob A.C. Remes
  • Andrew Ross
  • Shelton Stromquist


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