WHY NO FIRE THIS TIME? From the Mass Strike to No Strike

Economists tell us that the United States finally emerged from its worst decline since the Great Depression in June 2009, although evidence of that seems scarce. Unemployment was still at 9.5 percent a year later, and at 16.5 percent by the Labor Department’s more comprehensive measure. Long-term unemployment was at an historic high, and poverty was rising again after declines during the boom of the 1990s: just between 2004 and 2007, more than 30 percent of Americans were poor at least once. Since official measures understate poverty and these figures do not include the Great Recession that began in December 2007, the situation was surely worse.

By 2008, 40 percent of the forty million poor Americans were very poor, getting by with incomes below half the poverty line, which was then $17,600 per year for a family of three. According to a new Economic Security Index, one in five Americans saw their incomes fall by 25 percent or more in 2009.1 Personal bankruptcy claims were at their highest since the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention Act was passed in 2005, and foreclosures were up 35 percent from mid-2009 to mid-2010, by which point 30 percent of homeowners owed more on their houses than they were worth, making them essentially bankrupt, too.2 Homelessness hit record levels, and families with children were the fastest-growing share: their numbers were up 30 percent from 2007 to 2009. Meanwhile, “tent cities” and other makeshift encampments sprung up as echoes of the Hoovervilles of the 1920s and 1930s, and thirty-seven million Americans relied upon soup kitchens and food pantries, our modern breadlines. Conditions were worse for African-Americans, as they always are: for them, this recession was a depression.3 Simon Schama, with ominous reference to the French Revolution, wondered in the pages of the Financial Times if the world was at a “tinderbox moment,” from which global economic crisis might erupt into a “social fury” that could “bring down the governance of the American republic.”4 But for all Schama’s breathlessness, and notwithstanding the occasional violent outburst, a rise in right-wing extremist organizations, and the theatrics of the Tea Party caucus, the public has seemed curiously passive compared to past periods of distress.

It is commonplace to note that the U.S. has the bloodiest labor history of any Western polity; in the first two decades of the twentieth century our strike rates were up to five times higher than in other industrialized nations, and the half-dozen years after the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire count among the most violent of that long, dark epoch.5 The years before and after the fire were host to a kaleidoscopic array of activism: farmers agitating for regulation of the railroads; city-dwellers fighting for clean water and unspoilt milk, or for parks and playgrounds and street lights; women—black and white, North and South—joining in political, social, and cultural reform movements, from those demanding suffrage (or opposing it), to temperance crusaders, consumers’ leaguers, settlement house reformers, union organizers, and anti-immigrant nativists. Businesses organized for more power and influence with government and over labor, while labor agitated for shorter days, higher wages, and safer working conditions.Those frenetic years saw great advances. From 1917 to 1920 alone, states enacted four hundred new public welfare laws: there were mothers’ pensions, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance measures, housing and workplace health and safety codes, efforts at child protection, public works projects, and wage and hour laws. One in ten Americans were receiving public or private aid by the eve of the Depression.6 And much of this innovation can be traced to the actions of poor and working-class men and women, dissatisfied with their conditions and spurred on by desperation and indignation.

Why not now? If we have experienced the worst economic crisis since the Depression, why have we not seen similar turmoil? With 250,000 veterans sleeping on the streets over the course of a year, military families depending upon food stamps at twice the civilian rate, and escalating suicide rates among military personnel, where were the modern bonus marchers, descending upon Washington and demanding their due? As the official unemployment rate neared 20 percent for black men (and over 40 percent for those aged sixteen to nineteen), why weren’t any cities on fire? The Progressives fought for social justice—why don’t we?7

We might begin an answer by remembering that the Progressives weren’t all progressive. Many skeins of the Progressive tapestry were efforts by the powerful at self-preservation, struggles to slow change and retain as much of the old social, political, and economic order as they could in that industrializing, urbanizing world. Shelton Stromquist credits the movement with legitimizing the idea that the class war was not a battle to be fought and won, but one to be rendered moot by negotiation, accommodation, and benign, limited state intervention. Many Progressive innovations were not expansions of rights, but a contraction of them. Take electoral reforms: new voter registration rules, the introduction of the secret ballot, and non-partisan and at-large elections—all enacted in the name of Good Government—ultimately pushed new immigrants out of municipal politics. The consolidation of corporate power in the late nineteenth century is as much a hallmark of early progressivism as efforts to minimize the disruptive effects of that very consolidation, and attempts to regulate business often shifted oversight from legislatures to civil servants, moving power further from democratic control into back rooms where businesses could more readily “capture” the agencies that were meant to monitor them. Remember, too, that much of the Progressive project (especially temperance) was a repressive mission of blue-nosed moralists. While some of the anti-alcohol fervor was meant to protect women from the violence and household penury of a drunken, spendthrift husband, it also constructed new norms against drinking on the job, making for more efficient and better-disciplined workers. To distinguish social assistance from social control is not always easy, but middle-class moralizing is as much a hallmark of the era as women’s suffrage and the income tax. Remember, finally, that many Progressives opposed FDR.8

What’s more, what may appear to modern eyes as a sudden upheaval unfolded over many decades. Change proceeded in fits and starts, and to the participants it often looked slow, unsatisfying, and maddeningly compromised, just as it does today. While the Triangle Fire— the result of lax enforcement and a local politics that better served factory owners than factory workers—drew, for a time, renewed attention to the plight of some laborers, the owners were acquitted of criminal charges (though not of civil liability), Triangle remained an open shop, and not until 1935’s Wagner Act would there be a right to form a union. Yet the fire served Tammany Hall’s political purposes, and to the extent that it helped them woo new voters, it gets credit for twenty-five New York labor laws enacted in 1913, including a host of new fire codes.9 Not a trivial accomplishment, but not a momentous one. We could likewise trace passage of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (CPA) to the financial meltdown of 2008, while conceding its weaknesses and recognizing its usefulness to Democrats seeking to cultivate populist bona fides. Still, if the CPA is, as many claim, the most significant regulation of the financial sector since the 1930s, we might wonder how we are failing our Progressive-era forebears.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised not to find more rebellion among the dispossessed given that so much—if still not enough—was being done to improve their conditions. Norman Ornstein described the 111th Congress as “on a path to become one of the most productive since the Great Society” and asserted that “Obama already has the most legislative success of any modern president.”10 These are arguable but plausible claims. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) might earn such status by itself, whatever its insufficiencies, by extending Medicaid to fifteen million more Americans, subsidizing insurance for as many again, and erecting the institutional framework, finally, for a national health program. Before the ACA, the nearly $800 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) included a de facto nationalization of private student loans; tax cuts and credits targeted disproportionately at the working and middle classes; subsidies for COBRA benefits for the unemployed; $2 billion for community health centers; expansion of the SNAP (food stamp) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) programs; $350 million for emergency food, school lunch, and meals-onwheels programs; $1.5 billion in rent subsidies for those at risk of homelessness and $2 billion for Section 8 housing vouchers; increased funds for child care; an infusion of money into the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) emergency account that supported some 240,000 jobs; and extended (and increased) unemployment benefits. It sent checks for $250 to Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients and to some disabled veterans.11 It’s not the alphabet soup of the first years of the New Deal (FERA, AAA, TVA, NRA, PWA, etc.), but it nonetheless marks an unusually expansive moment in the modern history of American social policy. Even in the absence of mass unrest—and perhaps with some intent to stave it off—the U.S. government has responded in “progressive” fashion.

That said, it’s reasonable to complain that, given the magnitude of the problem, the response was too meek and did too little to relieve the immiseration of too many: in the judgment of the then-chair of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, the ARRA should have been closer to $1.2 trillion.12 And, as with Progressive achievements, it is difficult to disentangle provisions that benefit families, workers, or homeowners from those that render aid to banks, brokers, and other K-Street interests: whatever its public virtues, the ACA will create millions of new customers for private providers and insurers, while TANF and the EITC are indirect subsidies to those who hire low-wage laborers. Many historians identify Progressivism as a middle-class movement of experts with cautious instincts, culminating in a kind of radical centrism.13 We might eventually look back upon the current era with a similar kind of ambivalence, applauding its successes while lamenting its domination by Ivy-credentialed technocrats who were, like their predecessors, willing to alter the status quo only enough to preserve its salient features.

But, however inadequate, the actions of government have made the lives of millions less awful. Had the neo-Hooverist caucus prevailed, had other large banks been allowed to fail as Lehman did, had the automobile industry been permitted to collapse into the rubble of an already-devastated Detroit, and had we enacted an across-the-board spending freeze instead of the ARRA, perhaps then we would have seen people taking to the streets and Obamavilles erected on the Washington Mall. We do not generally judge the programs of the New Deal a failure because they did not end the Great Depression, and just as federal intervention then eased suffering and quieted protest, so might more recent action have blunted the impulse for resistance and rebellion.

In that vein, the Triangle Fire may itself help explain apparent calm if it bears some responsibility for reforms that make most (though hardly all) workers safer, healthier, and more secure than they were in 1911: the United States now has a regulatory state, a welfare state, and an elaborate private social service sector that, however imperfectly, limit some of the dangers of for-profit enterprise and soften the worst effects of economic disruption. There were, for example, thirty-five million people receiving food stamps in June of 2009, a year in which thirty-eight thousand soup kitchens and food pantries also supplied food to families in distress.14 These programs can be demeaning and they do not reach everyone, yet they grant most families access to nearly enough food to get through the month. While hunger is common in the U.S., starvation is rare, as are the more desperate acts of a starving man. The safety net that has been stitched together in the years since the Triangle Fire, small and frayed though it is, matters. People now have options other than a food riot.

These conditions are not post-crash novelties, of course, but rooted in decades of rising inequality and insecurity, stagnating wages, and a sufficiently grievous decline in the well-being of working Americans that nearly 25 percent of those who were poor in 2007 were nonetheless employed full-time.15 The assault on the working and middle classes has been a steady barrage, begun in earnest during the fiscal crisis of the 1970s to discipline labor after its postwar gains, and given succor under Reagan and his successors. By 2009, only 12 percent of American workers were represented by a union, down from 23 percent in 1980 and 33 percent at its peak in 1954.16 This has import beyond workers’ ability to exert leverage against their bosses: the strength of labor parties is the best predictor of the size of the welfare state in advanced democracies, and the fact that we do not even have a labor party is in part why our public safety net is cheap and spare—there’s little of sufficient weight to push back against the entrenched business interests who continue to occupy a “privileged position” in policymaking.17 And racial party politics have helped divide the middle and working classes against each other today, much as they were divided by race and ethnicity in the late nineteenth century, diverting them from more threatening class-based alliances.

It’s not just union power that has been eroded: so has membership in civic organizations, especially over the last decade or so, further distancing many from networks that could facilitate collective action.18 The shallow, combative political discourse of cable news erodes viewers’ trust in government, alienating them even more from politics and exacerbating decades-long declines in participation.19 When voting rights were formally extended to the last large excluded block in 1965, one important focus of mobilization efforts was lost. The legalization of the strike has reduced conflict, with contests in the postwar period channeled into the familiar, safer rituals, each party playing its role on the picket line, in the press, in the courts, and at the negotiating table. And the offshoring of production and the statelessness of corporations may make it harder to identify a target, and harder to strike, shut down, or threaten profitability.20

More important, poor Americans may be more effectively isolated and contained than they were in the Northern industrial cities of a century ago: there is another side to the welfare state I credited with easing the misery of so many, a state that quiets resistance not with aid, but with surveillance, terror, and confinement.21

The militarization of American police forces begun by Nixon and subsequent “quality of life” and “zero tolerance” policies have made many poor neighborhoods occupied territories. Thanks to practices that target even the pettiest offenses in select areas, as well as vagrancy and anti-loitering statutes, virtually anyone can be detained and questioned at any time. Stop-and-frisk practices, for example, strip poor men of any right to privacy; resistance, or mere disrespect, can lead to arrest, or to torture and death thanks to the spreading use of Taser (stun) guns: since 2001, 351 people, most unarmed, have died after being “tased” by law enforcement personnel.22 In 2009 over 575,000 New Yorkers were stopped by police: 91 percent were people of color, and roughly 90 percent were guilty of nothing.23 African Americans, disproportionately poor and more segregated now than in 1900 before the Triangle Fire or in 1954 before Brown, live under a kind of martial law, which dissuades some who might otherwise rebel. Michelle Alexander has described the whole edifice only hinted at here, calling it a “new Jim Crow.”24

For those who do not submit, there is the prison. The data are by now familiar: with the highest incarceration rate in the world, at the end of 2008 the U.S. held 2.4 million people in its prisons and jails. They are disproportionately male, African-American or Hispanic, poor, less educated, and likely to be unemployed at the time of their arrest; half of those incarcerated are there for non-violent drug, property, or public order offenses. When released they remain under surveillance: 4.3 million were on probation and 828,000 were on parole at the end of 2008, for a total of some 7.5 million under the control of our criminal justice system, an increase of 300 percent since 1980. Felon disenfranchisement statutes—first enacted in the South after the Civil War—still affect 5.3 million Americans and render 13 percent of black men unable to vote, while their prison records make them ineligible for most government assistance.25 Although it has received little attention, states have simultaneously been cutting or ending their General Assistance programs—relief that, although always paltry, has been a fallback for single men—while time limits and work tests have been added to the food stamp program. These men are made desperate for work they have slim odds of getting even if they are without prison records; but under the constant gaze of the state, those who might lead disruptive protest can swiftly be locked away.26

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996—welfare reform—imposes upon poor women its own disciplinary apparatus. American welfare policies have always sought to monitor and manage them, but those controls have now been expanded. Recipients in many states submit to drug testing, while their benefits are decreased or cut off if they refuse to prove the paternity of their children. Relief may be reduced if their children miss school attendance targets, and in some jurisdictions applicants are fingerprinted and undergo criminal background checks. Thanks to “work-first” policies, tough sanctions for rule-breaking, and “work readiness” programs, they are made economically desperate while trained to be docile and compliant, preparing them for a low-wage labor market where those are the virtues rewarded, and the mechanisms of surveillance and humiliation will seem familiar as they submit to drug tests, ask permission to use a bathroom, or are forbidden to fraternize with their fellow workers.27 In some cities, workfare workers have replaced more expensive, and presumably more assertive, employees of public unions.28

The effects of the new welfare regime extend further, for its mandates depress organizing in low-income neighborhoods by forcing non-profits to redirect their energies to the training, employment, and child care needs of those pushed off the rolls, while setting agencies in competition with each other for funding. As Sandra Morgen and Jeff Mashovsky summarize: “neoliberal welfare policies have particularly insidious effects as organizations are changed in ways that dampen collective action by the poor and that foster individual, entrepreneurial, or apolitical self-help survival strategies.”29 In this context the recent assault on ACORN makes sense, given its reach into poor neighborhoods and its successful efforts at low-income voter registration, fighting evictions and predatory lending practices, and other varieties of community organizing, empowerment, and education.

Even during its expansionary phase, the manner in which Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) treated applicants reduced their trust in government, faith in movement activity, and willingness to speak out against perceived injustice. A growing body of research shows that how bureaucracies function affects citizens’ willingness to engage as citizens: some programs, like the G.I. Bill, have fostered civic virtue, political participation, and trust in government, while others, like welfare and the prison system, demobilize and disempower.30 Poor Americans, and especially poor Americans of color (already disinclined to vote and mistrustful of state authority), are further alienated from a government that is “utterly unresponsive” to their needs as it is. The government can safely ignore them because they can’t be counted on for votes or campaign contributions, and any threats to disorder seem, for now, held in check.31 Taught hopelessness from the institutions they are most likely to interact with, their cynicism is reaffirmed with every bureaucratic or police encounter. The dilemma is exacerbated by a mass media that demonizes them as thugs and welfare queens, and delegitimizes their claims just as effectively as the political system ignores their voices.

All this said, there are, as there always are, people fighting back. Early in the recession, a Cook County, Illinois sheriff refused to enforce some evictions—becoming, for a time, a national hero of sorts—while groups working under a Take Back the Land umbrella have occupied foreclosed houses and public lands throughout the country, providing us with modern models of the “indignation marches” and the eviction resisters of the Great Depression. The World Social Forum has been helping activists around the globe build new alliances.32 Wall Street bonuses, Arizona’s immigration law, and the BP oil spill all engendered public protests, some quite large. Such work can seem fruitless, but when we look back to past moments of turmoil, what appear as outbursts are only the final eruption of long-simmering grievances made possible by decades of organizing and institutionbuilding.33 In an especially tight economy where a job, any job, is an increasingly prized commodity, and the state has demonstrated that it can and will take away your relief check or your freedom, compliance and displays of deference are adopted out of necessity, though they usually hide more subtle forms of resistance.34 But that American cities are not now ablaze does not mean that they will not be: already states are letting loose their prisoners because they can no longer afford to house and feed them, and if hunger and poverty and unemployment and hopelessness continue to grow, many people may find that they no longer have anything left to fear, or anything left to lose.


1. Bureau of Labor Statistics data is available at www.bls.gov/cps, U.S. Census Bureau poverty data is available at www.census.gov/hhes/ www/poverty/poverty.html, and Index of Economic Insecurity data is available at www.economicsecurityindex.org; see also Sara Murray, “Chronic Joblessness Bites Deep,” Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2010. 2. See www.federalreserve.gov/releases/ housedebt; “Consumer Bankruptcy Filings Up 14 Percent Through First Half of 2010,” July 2, 2010, available at www.abiworld.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&TEMPLATE=/CM/ ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=61270; Alex Veiga, “Foreclosure Rates Surge,” Associated Press, April 15, 2010; and www.calculatedriskblog.com/2010/07/negative-equity-breakdown.html. 3. See U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, “The 2009 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress” (June 2010); Jesse McKinley, “Cities Deal with Surge in Shantytowns,” New York Times, March 25, 2009; James Mabli, Rhoda Cohen, Frank Potter, and Zhanyun Zhao, Hunger in America 2010: National Report Prepared for Feeding America (Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research, January 2010); and Orlando Patterson, “For African-Americans, a Virtual Depression—Why?” Nation, July 19, 2010. 4. Simon Schama, “The World Teeters on the Brink of a New Age of Rage,” Financial Times, May 22, 2010, available at www.ft.com/cms/ s/0/45796f88-653a-11df-b648-00144feab49a. html. 5. Philip Taft and Philip Ross, “American Labor Violence: Its Causes, Character, and Outcome,” in The History of Violence in America: A Report Submitted to the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, eds., Hugh Davis Graham and Ted Robert Gurr (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1969); see also Robert Justin Goldstein, “Political Repression of the American Labor Movement During Its Formative Years—A Comparative Perspective,” Labor History 51, no. 2 (May 2010). 6. Michael Katz, In the Shadow of the Poorhouse: A Social History of Welfare in America (New York: Basic Books, 1996); James T. Patterson, America’s Struggle Against Poverty, 1900- 1994 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994). 7. See www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/veterans.pdf; Bryan Mitchell, “More Troops Relying on Food Stamps,” July 22, 2009, available at www.military.com/news/article/ more-troops-are-relying-on-food-stamps.html; Jamie Tarabay, “Suicide Rivals the Battlefield in Toll on U.S. Military,” June 17, 2010, available at www.npr.org/templates/story/story. php?storyId=127860466; Sylvia Allegretto, Ary Amerikaner, and Steven Pitts, Black Employment and Unemployment in June 2010 (Berkeley, CA: UC-Berkeley Labor Center, July 2, 2010). 8. Martin J. Sklar, The Corporate Reconstruction of American Capitalism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988); Gabriel Kolko, The Triumph of Conservatism (New York: Free Press, 1977); Shelton Stromquist, Re-Inventing ‘The People’: The Progressive Movement, the Class Problem, and the Origins of Modern Liberalism (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2006); Robert H. Wiebe, The Search for Order: 1877-1920 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1967); Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, ed., Who Were the Progressives? (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2002); Michael McGerr, A Fierce Discontent: The Rise and Fall of the Progressive Movement in America, 1870-1920 (New York: Free Press, 2003). 9. David von Drehle, Triangle: The Fire That Changed America (New York: Grove Press, 2003). 10. Norman Ornstein, “A Very Productive Congress, Despite What the Approval Ratings Say,” Washington Post, January 31, 2010. 11. See the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ “Economic Recovery Watch,” available at www.cbpp.org/research/index. cfm?fa=topic&id=142; and www.recovery.gov. 12. Ryan Lizza, “Inside the Crisis: Larry Summers and the White House Economic Team,” New Yorker, October 12, 2009. 13. See McGerr, A Fierce Discontent. 14. See Population Reference Bureau data, available at www.prb.org/Articles/2009/ usfoodstampenrollment.aspx; Mabli, Cohen, Potter, and Zhao, Hunger in America 2010 (by May 2010, 40.8 million were on the SNAP rolls, which were projected to top forty-three million by 2011); and an August 5, 2010 Bostonist.com/Bloomberg News article, available at www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2010/08/05/ food_stamp_use_hit_record_408m_in_may. 15. Maria Cancian and Sheldon Danziger, Changing Poverty, Changing Policies (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2009), table 2.1, 39-40. 16. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Union Membership 2009 (Washington, D.C., January 22, 2010); Douglas S. Massey, “Globalization and Inequality: Explaining American Exceptionalism,” European Sociological Review 25, no. 1 (2009): 9-23.

17. John Myles and Jill Quadagno, “Political Theories of the Welfare State,” Social Service Review 76, no. 1 (March 2002); Charles Lindblom, Politics and Markets (New York: Basic Books, 1980); Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, “Winner-Take-All Politics: Public Policy, Political Organization, and the Precipitous Rise of Top Incomes in the United States,” Politics & Society 38, no. 2 (2010). 18. Theda Skocpol, “Voice and Inequality: The Transformation of American Civic Democracy,” Perspectives on Politics 2, no. 1 (March 2004). For discussions suggesting that political blogs and other online communities may offer new opportunities for organizing, see Matthew R. Kerbel and Joel David Bloom, “Blog for America and Civic Involvement,” International Journal of Press/Politics 10, no. 4 (2005); Eric Lawrence, John Sides, and Henry Farrell, “Self-Segregation or Deliberation?: Blog Readership, Participation, and Polarization in American Politics,” Perspectives on Politics8 (2010): 141-157. 19. Diana C. Mutz and Byron Reeves, “The New Videomalaise: Effects of Televised Incivility on Political Trust,” American Political Science Review 99, no. 1 (February 2005). 20. Or perhaps not—see Frances Fox Piven, “Can Power from Below Change the World?” American Sociological Review 73, no. 1 (February 2008). 21. It’s a pattern Piven and Cloward have long described: sometimes the poor get bread, sometimes bullets. See Frances Fox Piven and Richard A. Cloward, “Humanitarianism in History: AResponse to the Critics,” in Walter I. Trattner, ed., Social Welfare or Social Control?: Some Historical Reflections on Regulating the Poor (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1983). 22. See www.amnestyusa.org/us-humanrights/taser-abuse/page.do?id=1021202. 23. See www.nyclu.org/issues/racial-justice/ stop-and-frisk-practices. 24. Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton, American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998); Richard D. Kahlenberg, “The Return of Separate But Equal,” in James Lardner and David A. Smith, eds., Inequality Matters: The Growing Economic Divide in America and Its Poisonous Consequences (New York: New Press, 2005); Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (New York: New Press, 2010). 25. U.S. Bureau of Justice statistics are available at bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm; the Sentencing Project’s “Facts About Prisons and Prisoners” (various years) is available at www.sentencingproject.org. 26. Devah Pager, Marked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007).

27. Jane L. Collins and Victoria Mayer, Both Hands Tied: Welfare Reform and the Race to the Bottom of the Low-Wage Labor Market (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010); Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2001). 28. Laura Wernick, John Krinsky, and Paul Getsos, New York City’s Public Sector Sweatshop Economy (New York: Community Voices Heard, 2000). 29. James Jennings, “Welfare Reform and Neighborhoods: Race and Civic Participation,” in Randy Albelda and Ann Withorn, eds., Lost Ground: Welfare Reform, Poverty, and Beyond (Boston: South End Press, 2002); Sandra Morgen and Jeff Maskovsky, “The Anthropology of Welfare ‘Reform’: New Perspectives on U.S. Urban Poverty in the Post-Welfare Era,” Annual Review of Anthropology 32 (2003). 30. Suzanne Mettler, Soldiers to Citizens: The G.I. Bill and the Making of the Greatest Generation (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005); Joe Soss, “Lessons of Welfare: Policy Design, Political Learning, and Policy Action,” American Political Science Review 93, no. 2 (June 1999); Joe Soss and Lawrence R. Jacobs, “The Place of Inequality: The Place of Nonparticipation in the American Polity,” Political Science Quarterly 124, no. 1 (2009); Suzanne Mettler and Jeffrey M. Stonecash, “Government Program Usage and Political Voice,” Social Science Quarterly 89, no. 2 (June 2008); Vesla Weaver, “The Impact of the Carceral State on Citizenship and Sense of the State” (paper presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association). 31. Larry Bartels, Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age (New York and Princeton: Russell Sage Foundation and Princeton University Press, 2008). 32. Azam Ahmed and Ofelia Casillas, “Sheriff: I Will Stop Enforcing Evictions,” Chicago Tribune, October 9, 2008; www.takebacktheland.org; Jose Correa Leite, World Social Forum: Strategies of Resistance (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2005). 33. Doug McAdam, Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency, 1930-1970 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982). 34. James C. Scott, Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985).