Scenes from the Front Lines:
40 Years of In These Times

Photographs from four decades of social movements.

Protesters at a disarmament rally in Austin in 1982. Photo by Scott Van Osdol/ITT Archives

The big and victorious movements of our history have done more than communicate. They have mobilized the most fundamental source of power of ordinary people: the power to refuse to cooperate with the institutionalized routines upon which social life depends. If factory workers walk out, the factory comes to a halt; but if nannies stay home, so do the parents whose children they mind; if urbanites block highways, traffic stops; if debtors refuse, lenders are at risk—and so is a financial system anchored to massive debt.

We’ve seen the disruptive potential of masses of defiant people before. It produced the big reforms of American history, from electoral representative government to the end of chattel slavery, to curbs on monopoly, to legal protection of unions, to legislated civil rights for African Americans. But sadly, there are no permanent victories in political life. This is why we have to rise again.

Excerpted from The Age of Inequality: Corporate America's War on Working People—A 40-Year Investigation by In These Times (forthcoming from Verso Books in 2017)


Eastern coal miners launch massive wildcat strikes in five states in 1977, protesting both benefit cuts and union leadership. Photo by Douglas Yarrow

Members of ACT UP stage a lie-down at the Trump Tower shopping mall to demand more housing for homeless people with AIDS on Nov. 25, 1988. Photo by Helayne Seidman

Anti-nuclear protestors block access to Wall Street offices Oct. 29, 1979. Photo by Karen Mantlo

A protestor confronts Seattle police after being tear gassed during a protest of the World Trade Organization on Nov. 30, 1999. Photo by Dan Levine/AFP

Activists at the 2004 Democratic National Convention protest post-9/11 surveillance laws. Photo by Michael Springer/Getty Images

An Occupy Wall Street protest in Times Square on Oct. 15, 2011. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Climate activists blockade Broadway on Sept. 22, 2014. Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images

Irma Hernandez demonstrates outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building on Sept. 3, 2008, in Washington, D.C. Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Black Lives Matter activists march in St. Louis on Nov. 23, 2014, to protest the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

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