Readings from Under the Coronavirus Lockdown

Victor Serge, Notebooks, 1936–1947 (New York Review of Books, 2019).

This book was discovered in 2010 in a box left by Serge, then published in French and now in English. A fitting sequel to his Memoirs of a Revolutionary, and just as gripping.

Gabriel Thompson, Working in the Shadows: A Year of Doing Jobs (Most) Americans Won’t Do (Nation Books, 2019).

An interesting account by a journalist who took three shit jobs over a year to get a taste of what the real proletariat does every day.

Jane F. McAlevey, No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age (Oxford University Press, 2018).

A labor journalist and activist writing about several recent struggles. The chapter on the Chicago teachers’ strike is particularly good.

Anne Case and Angus Deaton, Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism (Princeton and Oxford University Press, 2020).

Two academics who attempt to analyze the “hole” in us demographics where a good part of the white working class used to be, before they died in a wave of suicides, drugs and alcohol after the factories closed in the “rust belt” states.

Mike Davis and Jon Wiener, Set the Night on Fire: LA In the Sixties (Verso, 2020).

Very good journalistic account by two writers who were there, as activists.

Elizabeth D. Economy, The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State (Oxford University Press, 2018).

The author is affiliated with the Council on Foreign Relations, but this is still a fact-packed book on Xi’s China. Notably silent, however, on the rising tide of urban and rural struggles.

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