Interviews for Resistance: “Money for Our Streets—Not for Wall Street”

Sarah Jaffe May 4, 2017

Leaders of the Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE) talk about their new organization and its work around racial and economic justice. (Grassroots Collaborative)

Wel­come to Inter­views for Resis­tance. Since elec­tion night 2016, the streets of the Unit­ed States have rung with resis­tance. Peo­ple all over the coun­try have wok­en up with the con­vic­tion that they must do some­thing to fight inequal­i­ty in all its forms. But many are won­der­ing what it is they can do. In this series, we’ll be talk­ing with expe­ri­enced orga­niz­ers, trou­ble­mak­ers and thinkers who have been doing the hard work of fight­ing for a long time. They’ll be shar­ing their insights on what works, what does­n’t, what’s changed and what is still the same. 

Mau­rice Weeks: My name is Mau­rice BP-Weeks. I am the co-exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Action Cen­ter on Race and the Econ­o­my (ACRE) and I am based in Detroit, Michigan.

Saqib Bhat­ti: I am Saqib Bhat­ti. I am the oth­er co-exec­u­tive direc­tor of ACRE and I am based in Chicago.

Sarah Jaffe: Your orga­ni­za­tion is just get­ting off the ground. Tell us about the idea behind it and why you’re launch­ing now?

Mau­rice: The idea behind the Action Cen­ter on Race and the Econ­o­my is that there is lots of real­ly great eco­nom­ic jus­tice work being done look­ing at the role that Wall Street plays in every­day people’s lives. What we do here at the Action Cen­ter on Race and the Econ­o­my is do that work that goes after Wall Street and cor­po­ra­tions who we all know are extract­ing wealth from com­mu­ni­ties, with an explic­it­ly racial jus­tice lens.

Basi­cal­ly, the way that we have talked about eco­nom­ic jus­tice work in the past on the left has been, when we bring race into the con­ver­sa­tion, it is often through the lens of dis­parate impact. We say, Bad guys do stuff at the top and it dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly affects peo­ple at the bot­tom.” What we do here at the Action Cen­ter on Race and the Econ­o­my is look at cam­paigns with a slight­ly dif­fer­ent lens, say­ing that the actu­al func­tion of how these com­pa­nies oper­ate is built on the extrac­tion of wealth from peo­ple of col­or. It is not an after­thought. It is actu­al­ly core to their busi­ness mod­el. All the cam­paigns that we do live at this inter­sec­tion of cor­po­rate account­abil­i­ty, Wall Street account­abil­i­ty, eco­nom­ic jus­tice, and race with that par­tic­u­lar lens. 

Sarah: Can you talk a lit­tle bit about some of the back­ground, some of the cam­paigns that led to this point?

Saqib: Both Mau­rice and I have been involved in var­i­ous Wall Street account­abil­i­ty cam­paigns for the past many years. We have worked togeth­er in many capac­i­ties. Some of the oth­er cam­paigns that have informed this new project include the Refund Amer­i­ca project, which had been focused on munic­i­pal finance deals and the increas­ing pow­er of the finan­cial sec­tor with­in state and local gov­ern­ments, the way that dri­ves aus­ter­i­ty poli­cies and dri­ves impact[s] that are very prob­lem­at­ic in com­mu­ni­ties of col­or, in particular.

It is not just the case that com­mu­ni­ties of col­or are dis­parate­ly impact­ed by cuts to bud­gets. It is actu­al­ly that part of how the most dras­tic, the most dra­con­ian cuts are jus­ti­fied — is by doing them in com­mu­ni­ties of col­or. There are two salient exam­ples: A lot of the work we did with the Detroit bank­rupt­cy and work we are doing cur­rent­ly around the Puer­to Rican debt cri­sis, two great exam­ples of places where debt has been used to try to upend people’s lives, to under­mine democ­ra­cy, and we see that it starts with com­mu­ni­ties of color.

We have already seen them try to export the Detroit for­mu­la in oth­er places. You cre­ate the for­mu­la by tar­get­ing com­mu­ni­ties of col­or, and then once you have that, you can also try to push in oth­er places. Some of the oth­er cam­paigns that have real­ly gone into this work were the Hedge Clip­pers cam­paign, which has been focused around hold­ing account­able hedge fund man­agers, pri­vate equi­ty firm man­agers, and bil­lion­aires who are very often finan­cial folks who are try­ing to con­trol our pol­i­tics and are increas­ing­ly on the wrong side of a whole host of issues, whether they are phar­ma bros who are increas­ing the price of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals or whether they are folks who are try­ing to push for the char­ter­i­za­tion of entire school districts.

Mau­rice can prob­a­bly talk about some of the oth­er work that we have done around hous­ing and gen­tri­fi­ca­tion and var­i­ous oth­er issues like that.

Mau­rice: The hous­ing work has real­ly spanned sev­er­al years, back to the peak of the fore­clo­sure cri­sis, where real­ly I cut my teeth as an orga­niz­er in Cal­i­for­nia going after Wells Far­go and some of the oth­er banks that were fore­clos­ing en mass on Black and Lati­no families.

The nature of hous­ing in the coun­try has obvi­ous­ly changed since the fore­clo­sure cri­sis. A lot of our recent work has been around Wall Street buy­ing up for­mer­ly dis­tressed prop­er­ties, fore­closed prop­er­ties in bulk, often aid­ed by HUD or oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies. We, last year, ran a cam­paign that tar­get­ed HUD for their involve­ment in this pro­gram around dis­tressed asset pools, which was basi­cal­ly just a pro­gram to, in bulk, hand homes off to Wall Street. We were mak­ing the case that these were most­ly peo­ple of col­or who were fore­closed on and had these dis­tressed prop­er­ties. We shouldn’t give these homes right back to the peo­ple who caused the cri­sis. There is a huge need in Black and Brown com­mu­ni­ties for afford­able hous­ing and lots of peo­ple who real­ly want to move back into these homes that were lost. We should be focus­ing on that instead of giv­ing lots of prop­er­ties direct­ly to Wall Street.

We have also been tar­get­ing specif­i­cal­ly this multi­na­tion­al orga­ni­za­tion Black­stone, which was both a key actor in that pro­gram and also is one of the largest sin­gle-fam­i­ly-home land­lords. They are just buy­ing up thou­sands upon thou­sands of homes in the coun­try and we just think it is real­ly trou­bling that this pri­vate equi­ty group essen­tial­ly has their hands on so much of Amer­i­can property.

We have con­tin­ued beat­ing the drum about Wells Far­go. Wells Far­go is an inter­est­ing case because it is not just that they fore­closed on so many Black and Brown fam­i­lies and caused that mas­sive loss of Black and Lati­no wealth, not just through the fore­clo­sure cri­sis, but through pri­vate pris­ons and the Dako­ta Access Pipeline invest­ment and dona­tions to police foun­da­tions and their role in the stu­dent loan cri­sis. They are sort of this per­fect inter­sec­tion of all of these ways of screw­ing over and extract­ing wealth from peo­ple of col­or com­ing togeth­er to cre­ate their busi­ness mod­el, essen­tial­ly. That has been part of the foun­da­tion of our For­go Wells campaign.

Sarah: A lot of these things that have roots well before Don­ald Trump was elect­ed. Over and over again we see these cuts to social ser­vices and these poli­cies tar­get­ing com­mu­ni­ties of col­or. But they don’t only hit com­mu­ni­ties of col­or. They screw up the whole econ­o­my and then some­body like Trump, in turn, man­ages to con­sol­i­date his own pow­er, in turn, by fur­ther blam­ing peo­ple of col­or. I won­der if you could talk about the way all of this has worked.

Mau­rice: To me, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion is actu­al­ly a per­fect exam­ple of the demon­stra­tion of our analy­sis. On the one hand, you have a group of peo­ple who are just out­right racist, who are just push­ing for­ward the most hate­ful, xeno­pho­bic ideas that you could pos­si­ble imag­ine. And on the oth­er side, you have this group of peo­ple who are some of the eco­nom­ic jus­tice tar­gets that we have been fight­ing for the past 10 or 20 years. Folks from Gold­man Sachs, Steven Mnuchin, and that whole bunch.

In our analy­sis it makes a lot of sense that those two camps of peo­ple came togeth­er. There is a wealth extrac­tion plan that they are push­ing for­ward and the tool to do it is the racist hate lan­guage. Blam­ing the prob­lems of the econ­o­my onto Black and Lati­no, brown folks and who­ev­er else they can blame. It makes per­fect sense that those two things are togeth­er and it is a real­ly impor­tant call­ing for us to focus on race as a cen­tral piece of the work that we are doing. Because, if we don’t, it can be used as a tool against us.

Saqib: I would add that one of the orig­i­nal sins of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty going into the 2016 elec­tion was the fail­ure of the last admin­is­tra­tion and the super­ma­jori­ties in Con­gress to actu­al­ly offer mean­ing­ful relief to strug­gling fam­i­lies in the after­math of the finan­cial cri­sis. The focus was on, How do we make sure that we can keep the finan­cial sys­tem afloat?” and they left work­ing fam­i­lies, strug­gling fam­i­lies behind.

One of the things that real­ly is impor­tant about that is that one of the ways in which Wall Street ensured that they were able to push through their agen­da was by racial­iz­ing the issue. It was that the home own­ers who were fac­ing fore­clo­sure, they are irre­spon­si­ble Black and Lati­no fam­i­lies who got into loans they couldn’t afford and so they didn’t deserve help. The real­i­ty is, we know, that Black and Lati­no fam­i­lies were actu­al­ly tar­get­ed with preda­to­ry mortgages.

But, the oth­er side of that, though, is that while it is true that Black and Lati­no fam­i­lies are dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly the peo­ple who [were] impact­ed by the fore­clo­sure cri­sis, in raw num­bers it was a lot more poor white folks who were fore­closed on because there are a lot more poor white folks in the coun­try than there are poor Black and Lati­no families.

The white work­ing class,” they very much were impact­ed by the same pro-Wall Street poli­cies that were jus­ti­fied by scape­goat­ing peo­ple of col­or. What is inter­est­ing now, of course, you had Don­ald Trump who real­ly appealed to a lot of folks who felt left behind by the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty by say­ing the sys­tem is rigged. He wasn’t wrong that the sys­tem is rigged.” It was rigged. Of course, it was rigged by the very peo­ple that he has put in his Cab­i­net. So, it is this vicious cycle. As Mau­rice said, this is the per­fect exam­ple of how race and class and racial and eco­nom­ic analy­sis go hand in hand and come togeth­er to give us the moment that we are in now.

Sarah: I want to talk about bar­gain­ing for the com­mon good.” For peo­ple who are read­ing who don’t know, explain what that means. What is bar­gain­ing for the com­mon good?

Saqib: Bar­gain­ing for the com­mon good is this idea that when you have either pub­lic or pri­vate sec­tor work­ers who are in unions who are bar­gain­ing, that they don’t need to and, in fact, they shouldn’t only lim­it their bar­gain­ing demands to issues that are work­place issues. That, in fact, work­ers lives don’t end when they go back to their com­mu­ni­ties and what is good for the com­mu­ni­ties is also good for the workers.

With that in mind, work­ers should form long-term part­ner­ships with com­mu­ni­ty part­ners, with the com­mu­ni­ties in which they live. And for pub­lic sec­tor work­ers, of course, the com­mu­ni­ties they live in are also the com­mu­ni­ties that they serve and that they should bring the demands of the broad­er com­mu­ni­ty to the table when they walk into bar­gain­ing. By doing this, by politi­ciz­ing bar­gain­ing and align­ing their inter­ests and by mak­ing bar­gain­ing some­thing that is a plat­form for mov­ing broad­er issues, work­ers can make their bar­gain­ing process rel­e­vant to the broad­er com­mu­ni­ty. By doing that, there is both added pow­er at the bar­gain­ing table for work­ers, and it also helps the com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tions and mem­bers of the broad­er com­mu­ni­ty more effec­tive­ly fight for a bet­ter future for themselves.

Mau­rice: A cou­ple of exam­ples, one is in Los Ange­les. It is spear­head­ed by a com­mu­ni­ty group in Los Ange­les, the Alliance of Cal­i­for­ni­ans for Com­mu­ni­ty Empow­er­ment (ACCE), along with SEIU 721, Scope LA, lots of oth­er part­ners in the Los Ange­les area have formed this cam­paign called Fix LA, which as the munic­i­pal work­ers were com­ing up for con­tract, they said, Let’s not just bar­gain around just the con­tract itself. How do these issues affect the com­mu­ni­ty and specif­i­cal­ly the Black and Brown com­mu­ni­ty in south Los Ange­les?” One of the things that they focused on was that the city’s san­i­ta­tion work­ers had been cut by an enor­mous amount and it led to real prob­lems in the city. More floods than nor­mal because the city’s work­ers weren’t able to clean out sew­er traps. Ter­ri­ble roads and street lights, over­grown trees, etc. These things were all in south Los Ange­les, all in Black and Brown Los Angeles.

So, this table came togeth­er to say, The excuse that we don’t have mon­ey to hire back these work­ers is not accept­able. There actu­al­ly is mon­ey. Los Ange­les is in sev­er­al bank deals. Let’s go after them, get that mon­ey back, and study oth­er places where we are in bad bank deals as a way to fund a way to rehire these work­ers and expand the work that they do and fix Los Ange­les. Mon­ey for our streets, and not for Wall Street.” That is an ongo­ing cam­paign, but they were able to win a restora­tion of local jobs based in south LA for Black and Brown folks. They were able to win a com­mis­sion, a rev­enue com­mis­sion, that looks at the bank deals that the city is in and how they can get out of the bank deals that are just cost­ing them lots of money.

That is a long-term part­ner­ship. That is not the kind of thing that after SEIU 721 won the con­tract they are like, Alright, ACCE. I will nev­er talk to you again.” It is a real deep part­ner­ship that lasts way beyond the con­tract. The con­tract was a piece in a broad­er puz­zle. Anoth­er exam­ple is the Chica­go Teach­ers Union.

Saqib: A lot of work the Chica­go teach­ers have done over the course of the last cou­ple of con­tracts cycles real­ly is a good frame. In this past con­tract cycle where the CTU had just set­tled their con­tract this past fall, one of the key issues was tied to the bud­get — the Chica­go Pub­lic School sys­tem does not have enough mon­ey com­ing in and it needs more rev­enue. The rev­enue is being held hostage at the state lev­el by a gov­er­nor that refus­es to pass a bud­get unless he gets a series of anti-union reforms. In the mean­time, you have this dev­as­tat­ing bud­get cri­sis in which a lot of state uni­ver­si­ties are los­ing their fund­ing. The ones that are impact­ed par­tic­u­lar­ly hard are Chica­go State Uni­ver­si­ty, which is the largest his­tor­i­cal­ly black col­lege or uni­ver­si­ty, HBCU in the Mid­west. The oth­er one is North­east­ern Illi­nois Uni­ver­si­ty, which is the largest immi­grant-attend­ed school in Illi­nois. Those are the two that are being hit the hard­est. Chica­go State has been on the verge of clo­sure for the past year. This time last year, every sin­gle per­son who worked there got a lay­off notice.

But then, there have also been huge cuts to ser­vice providers. A lot of home care agen­cies have actu­al­ly shut­tered their doors because they are sim­ply not get­ting pay­ments from the state for work they have already done. What was great about the Chica­go Teach­ers con­tract fight was that at bar­gain­ing they raised demands around the need to have new rev­enue. Last year on April 1st, they went on a one-day strike. That strike was all about get­ting fund­ing for the state bud­get. The big demand around the day of action was, We need the fund­ing for our futures.” Through that, they were able to align a broad coali­tion of folks across the state and cer­tain­ly across the city of Chica­go who joined them in fight­ing for revenue.

In the end, when they set­tled their con­tract in Octo­ber, the notice of the set­tle­ment came out at about six min­utes before the mid­night dead­line. At the very last sec­ond, Rahm Emanuel and the school board final­ly agreed to put new rev­enue at the table. That was a thing that they were hold­ing out for, say­ing, Unless more mon­ey com­ing into the dis­trict, no con­tract is worth the paper it is print­ed on because there sim­ply is not enough mon­ey to be able to pro­vide our stu­dents with the type of edu­ca­tion that they deserve.” By lead­ing with that and stick­ing with that, they were able to win new rev­enue and build long-last­ing relationships.

Mau­rice: We just host­ed a con­fer­ence on bar­gain­ing for the com­mon good for racial jus­tice. Bar­gain­ing for the com­mon good is a tool that folks can use. We think that his tool can be used to push for­ward racial jus­tice vic­to­ries and racial jus­tice out­comes. One of the things that we talked about at the con­fer­ence is, What would it look like to put into the con­tract that the school dis­trict will refuse to bar­gain with any con­trac­tor who agrees to build the south­ern bor­der wall?” or What does it look like to put in the con­tract that the dis­trict will refuse to do busi­ness with any bank that fore­clos­es on stu­dents dur­ing the school year?” Let’s also bring those to the bar­gain­ing table and get both unions and com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers doing the work of hav­ing those con­ver­sa­tions and push­ing those things for­ward through bar­gain­ing. Not just using it just a rev­enue tool — although it is extreme­ly effec­tive for that — but using it to ensure racial jus­tice out­comes, in par­tic­u­lar, too.

Sarah: There is a ten­den­cy from some peo­ple to see police vio­lence and pris­ons as an issue that can­not be part of an eco­nom­ic jus­tice cam­paign. Can you talk about how your work has focused on those issues?

Mau­rice: There is that ten­den­cy for folks to not see that as part of poten­tial eco­nom­ic justice/​racial jus­tice cam­paigns. That is a real dan­ger because both polic­ing and pris­ons are smack dab at the inter­sec­tion of eco­nom­ic jus­tice and racial jus­tice. We have been work­ing on devel­op­ing a cam­paign around this thing that we are call­ing police bru­tal­i­ty bonds,” which is a great exam­ple of this.

In sev­er­al cas­es, when a city reach­es a set­tle­ment for police bru­tal­i­ty, the city doesn’t have or doesn’t want to pay out the cash out front for the set­tle­ment. The city final­ly set­tles with the fam­i­ly for $20 mil­lion or some­thing like that. Instead of just writ­ing a check for $20 mil­lion from the gen­er­al fund, they instead issue a bond for that amount of mon­ey. As we know from oth­er places and city bud­get cam­paigns, the bond­hold­ers always get paid. If you come into an eco­nom­ic cri­sis and you are run­ning out of mon­ey and you have to choose where to put your dol­lar, the dol­lar goes to the bond­hold­ers, not schools.

So this police bru­tal­i­ty bond is an inter­est­ing, very cycli­cal vio­lence real­ly. A phys­i­cal vio­lence inci­dent then leads to ongo­ing eco­nom­ic vio­lence for the com­mu­ni­ties that won’t get this mon­ey for their roads or com­mu­ni­ties not being able to fund their schools because you are pay­ing the bond­hold­ers instead of the Black schools. These police bru­tal­i­ty bonds exist in Chica­go and sev­er­al oth­er cities. We are work­ing on build­ing a cam­paign to both bring that issue up more and to illu­mi­nate it.

Saqib: Just to give an exam­ple of how this works, in Chica­go there is one instance where there was a set­tle­ment for $28 mil­lion. The city bond­ed that out and as a result, they had to pay, on top of that $28 mil­lion for the set­tle­ment, they also paid $25 mil­lion in fees and inter­est. The amount of mon­ey they paid was actu­al­ly almost dou­ble the orig­i­nal prin­ci­pal. In the case of Chica­go, over the course of the last 13 years, the city has paid out $660 mil­lion in police set­tle­ments. It is unclear at this point exact­ly how much they have bond­ed out. But to bond most of that then that means you could eas­i­ly have, just the way the inter­est and fees work on long-term bonds, the city could be pay­ing half a bil­lion dol­lars in fees and inter­est. In the case of Chica­go, the city also has struc­tur­al rev­enue issues and there is con­stant­ly a threat of bud­get cuts. The thing that nev­er gets cut is debt ser­vice. In Chica­go, when there are cuts to ser­vices, you can be sure it is in the Black and Lati­no neigh­bor­hoods on the south and west sides and the invest­ment has gone on the north side.

The oth­er thing we are start­ing to look at is the con­nec­tion between pri­vate pris­ons and Wall Street. The issue that has got­ten the most atten­tion thus far real­ly is the fact that you have banks like Wells Far­go and JP Mor­gan Chase that are either invest­ed in pri­vate prison com­pa­nies or that help pro­vide pri­vate prison com­pa­nies with cred­it so that they can actu­al­ly build the facil­i­ties. You have a lot of the pri­vate prison com­pa­nies in order to be able to build the pris­ons, the immi­grant deten­tion cen­ters that they are mak­ing, they rely on lines of cred­it from banks like Wells Far­go and JP Mor­gan Chase.

One of the oth­er issues that has actu­al­ly been less report­ed on is that there is also a big link between munic­i­pal bonds and pri­vate pris­ons. Even when you have pri­vate pris­ons, in many cas­es the way the coun­ties actu­al­ly build the facil­i­ties is by issu­ing munic­i­pal bonds. Those bonds are under­writ­ten by banks. One of the things that has hap­pened in sev­er­al places is that you had under­writ­ers at banks that want­ed to sell these bonds that went around to cash strapped coun­ties real­ly pitch­ing them on pri­vate pris­ons as a way to attract fed­er­al dol­lars. If you build this prison, you can fill it with inmates from the fed­er­al sys­tem. The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment will pay you to have this facil­i­ty with­in your coun­ty. If you issue a bond, you can build the prison, you can then con­tract it out with the CCA or GEO Group, and based on the rev­enues you get from the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, you can pay back the bond and you will have extra mon­ey left over to fill your bud­get hole.”

In many cas­es, the inmates didn’t actu­al­ly mate­ri­al­ize because over the course of the last 10 years, pri­or to the Trump admin­is­tra­tion com­ing in, there actu­al­ly was a move away from mass incar­cer­a­tion. Not on a big lev­el, but cer­tain­ly on a lev­el that the trends were look­ing down­ward and a lot of the pri­vate prison com­pa­nies are real­ly in trou­ble. But, an addi­tion­al piece of that was that coun­ties that had tak­en out these pri­vate prison bonds, who sud­den­ly didn’t see the inmates mate­ri­al­ize, in many cas­es they default­ed on those bonds. It affect­ed their cred­it rat­ings and then leads to bud­getary prob­lems for those coun­ties and so forth. We real­ly want to dig into this issue on pri­vate prison bonds and fig­ure out how we can both hold account­able the banks that real­ly pushed coun­ties to take out these bonds, but then also, how do we look at the bond­ing process as a lever in the broad­er cam­paign to try stop pri­vate prisons.

Sarah: Any­thing else that you guys are work­ing on that peo­ple should know about?

Saqib: One oth­er area that we are look­ing to devel­op over the course of the next year or so is look­ing at, Who are the indi­vid­ual peo­ple that are fund­ing Islam­o­pho­bia and who are the cor­po­ra­tions that are prof­it­ing from it?” There has been a lot of great work that has been done by oth­er orga­ni­za­tions like the Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Progress, the Cen­ter for New Com­mu­ni­ty, the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter iden­ti­fy­ing some of the foun­da­tions and think tanks that are fund­ing attacks on Mus­lims. We want to dig a lit­tle bit deep­er and look to see, Who are some of the indi­vid­ual peo­ple that fund those foun­da­tions that help lead and fund those think tanks and what are the dif­fer­ent ways they are prof­it­ing from or fund­ing attacks on Mus­lims and how do we hold those peo­ple accountable?”

We sus­pect that as we actu­al­ly start look­ing at iden­ti­fy­ing who these peo­ple are that we will also find that these same peo­ple are also bad on a whole host of oth­er issues. We sus­pect that once we start dig­ging in on these exam­ples, what we will find is that by doing this research, by doing these cam­paigns, we can also build bridges between the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty and oth­er move­ments of the left.

Sarah: How can peo­ple keep up with you and your work?

Mau­rice: You can vis­it our web­site at www​.acre​cam​paigns​.org. If you are inter­est­ed, in par­tic­u­lar, in the For­go Wells work, you can go to www​.for​gow​ells​.org, as well. We are also on Twit­ter and Face­book @acrecampaigns.

Inter­views for Resis­tance is a project of Sarah Jaffe, with assis­tance from Lau­ra Feuille­bois and sup­port from the Nation Insti­tute. It is also avail­able as a pod­cast on iTunes. Not to be reprint­ed with­out permission. 

Sarah Jaffe is a for­mer staff writer at In These Times and author of Nec­es­sary Trou­ble: Amer­i­cans in Revolt , which Robin D.G. Kel­ley called The most com­pelling social and polit­i­cal por­trait of our age.” You can fol­low her on Twit­ter @sarahljaffe.
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