This has been a helluva crazy year. I was 15 and 16 in 1968 and 1969. While I was not as political aware then as now, upon reflection, I always thought those years were the craziest.
COVID-19…virus-related economic calamity…police murders…the Black Lives Matter Uprising…Large-scale fires throughout California…Four hurricanes hitting Louisiana. Any one of these things alone would be major story. We got all of them.
…and I haven’t got started on Trump, yet.
I retired from the UC Berkeley Labor Center on July 1…but “retired” doesn’t mean “disappeared”. Looking forward to exploring new directions and this website and the associated podcast – Black Work Talk – is part of my shift to new things. For a long time, I have wanted to host a podcast on Black workers. The voices of Black workers have been basically absent from siloed discussions of racial justice and economic justice. There has been a slow shift toward greater conversations about Black workers as many of the Fight for $15 participants publicly marched against police brutality after the murder of Michael Brown. That shift has sped up some with the confluence of protests after the murder of George Floyd and spotlight on the risks by frontline workers and racialized impact of the needed freezing of the economy due to COVID. Still too many times, the default is to ignore (for instance) the class perspective embodied in pushes for Black economic and community development (e.g. emphasis on homeownership in addressing housing issues; emphasis on Black entrepreneurship in addressing job issues) and ignore the unique needs of Black workers in conversations about working class issues and concerns.
On Black Work Talk, we will have penetrating conversations with a range of participants and observers of the Black freedom struggle to explore the immediate issues facing Black workers; the campaigns to address these issues; the challenges and opportunities facing Blacks who lead unions, worker centers, and other key community-based organizations; and finally, the big picture discussions over how to we move beyond the daily fights and build the power to forge a new political economy where anti-racism and economic democracy are core values.
So I hope folks will subscribe to Black Work Talk, support the podcast at Patreon, and get others to subscribe and support. Equally important, I hope you will join me in building this endeavor into a vibrant community.
Photo credit: Annette Bernhardt