The Left in Lockdown
We talk to radical organizers Adolph Reed, Barbara Smith, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Jodi Dean, and Jane McAlevey about how they’re staying politically engaged under quarantine

Washington Fruit Packers Protest Working Conditions Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

NACHES, WA – MAY 16: Mary Lopez (R), an organizer with OneAmerica, leads a chant as workers demonstrate during a strike outside of Allan Brothers Fruit on May 16, 2020 in Naches, Washington. Workers from at least six fruit packing facilities in the Yakima County area have gone on strike to protest working conditions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

Jane McAlevey is as horrified by the news as you are, whether it’s Governor Andrew Cuomo rushing to invite Google’s Eric Schmidt to “reimagine” the state’s economy and school system, or Mitch McConnell’s latest attempt to punish ordinary Americans for a global pandemic. “These motherfuckers are so much more prepared to take advantage of this than the Left,” she fumes.

Normally in such times, the Left turns to our sharpest intellectuals and asks, “What is to be done?” — a fair question, but one that can easily lead to abstractions and bland exhortations, including: “Organize!” Since some of our best socialist thinkers are also organizers and activists, we thought it might be more fruitful instead to ask them: “What are you up to, and why?”

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