In the last fifty years, work on racial capitalism, materialist feminism, and Black feminism have transformed scholarship and activism on class and capitalism. But social movements and scholars have struggled to adequately grapple with the complexity of class and class struggle and what these ideas mean for twenty-first century movements. In conversation for the first time, historians Julie Greene and Michael Reagan discuss the ways in which class is in need of new theoretical foundations in both movement spaces and scholarship. Grounded in intersectional theory, their approaches develop a class tradition to help address the overriding problems of our era.
You can watch the video recording of this great discussion here!
Michael Reagan’s new book, Intersectional Class Struggle: Theory and Practice, from the Institute for Anarchist Studies (IAS) and AK Press, is available directly from the IAS here.
This innovative study explores the relevance of class as a theoretical category in our world today, arguing that leading traditions of class analysis have missed major elements of what class is and how it operates. It combines instersectional theory and materialism to show that culture, economics, ideology, and consciousness are all factors that go into making “class” meaningful. Using a historical lens, this book studies the experiences of working class peoples, from migrant farm workers in California’s Central Valley, to the “factory girls” of New England, and Black workers in the South, to explore the variety of working-class experiences. It investigates how the concepts of racial capitalism and Black feminist thought, when applied to class studies and popular movements, allow us to walk and chew gum at the same time—to recognize that our movements can be diverse and particularistic as well as have elements of the universal experience shared by all workers. Ultimately, it argues that class is made up of all of us, it is of ourselves, in all our contradiction and complexity. Michael Beyea Reagan is a historian, teacher, and activist in Seattle, Washington. His writing can be found in Truthout, CounterPunch, Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, and the Evergreen Review.