Red State Revolt: The Teachers’ Strike Wave and Working-Class Politics

Thursday June 20, 7:00PM

@ Red Emma's

Eric Blanc presents his brand new book on the wave of teacher-led agitation against austerity and for education for all, with special guest Natalia Bacchus of the Baltimore Movement of Rank and File Educators (BMORE). Co-sponsored by BMORE and Baltimore DSA.

Thirteen months after Trump allegedly captured the allegiance of “the white working class,” a strike wave—the first in over four decades—rocked the United States. Inspired by the wildcat victory in West Virginia, teachers in Oklahoma, Arizona, and across the country walked off their jobs and shut down their schools to demand better pay for educators, more funding for students, and an end to years of austerity.

Confounding all expectations, these working-class rebellions erupted in regions with Republican electorates, weak unions, and bans on public sector strikes. By mobilizing to take their destinies into their own hands, red state school workers posed a clear alternative to politics-as-usual. And with similar actions now gaining steam in Los Angeles, Oakland, Denver, and Virginia, there is no sign that this upsurge will be short-lived.  

Red State Revolt is a compelling analysis of the emergence and development of this historic strike wave, with an eye to extracting its main strategic lessons for educators, labor organizer, and radicals across the country. A former high school teacher and longtime activist, Eric Blanc embedded himself into the rank-and-file leaderships of the walkouts, where he was given access to internal organizing meetings and secret Facebook groups inaccessible to most journalists. The result is one of the richest portraits of the labor movement to date, a story populated with the voices of school workers who are winning the fight for the soul of public education—and redrawing the political map of the country at large.


“Before 2018, strikes had become so rare in this country that hardly anyone knew what they were. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, they began. Not in left-wing cities but in the reddest of red states. Not of white men in factories but of teachers, many of them women, many of them of color. Eric Blanc spent months with the strikers, talking to them on picket lines, listening to them in meetings, sharing with them on Facebook threads, and more. Like Orwell in Barcelona, he’s given us a first-hand report from the front lines, making sense of the most improbable political story of an improbable decade. This is exhilarating reading about a movement that will be shaping politics for decades to come.”

“Eric Blanc has written the best on-the-ground description and explanation of the red state teachers’ revolt. He was there and he understands that what happened is historic. The brave teachers who walked out in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, and other red states started a powerful trend. They give hope that the reactionary politics of the past forty years may be reversed by working people who realize that ‘enough is enough.’ Blanc’s enthralling description of their struggles is a chronicle that should be widely read.”

“Read this book to understand the many important lessons educators so powerfully taught about what it will take to rebuild a working-class movement, defeat Trumpism, and take on the billionaires.”

“The last places in today's America you would expect mass strikes would be the ultra-red states of West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arizona -- until tens of thousands of education workers there organized themselves and shut down the schools. Red State Revolt by Eric Blanc gives a unique inside view of how these actions were organized and how they forced state governments and rightwing politicians not only to raise teachers pay but to elevate the role of public education. If you want to understand the power of workers and the strike, even in a time when labor seems down if not out, read Red State Revolt.”

“Eric Blanc’s compelling new book, Red State Revolt, is a thoroughly researched and eloquently written story of one of the most powerful social movements of our time. His incisive reporting shows how teachers, through labor organizing and strategic strikes, are protecting and strengthening public education, the great equalizing force of any democratic society.”


More upcoming events

@ Red Emma's

Baltimore artist Daniel Conrad paints in light—constructing hypnotic, thought-provoking dynamic visual compositions in which ephemeral color combinations fade together and apart imperceptibly in continuous motion. For Artscape 2019, he is taking over Red Emma's for a major show of his work—and will be giving a talk on his methods on Wednesday, July 24th at 8pm. 

The show will open on Friday July 19th and close July 29th.

@ Red Emma's
Join us for the launch of Fred Scharmen's Space Settlements!

In the summer of 1975, NASA brought together a team of physicists, engineers, and space scientists—along with architects, urban planners, and artists—to design large-scale space habitats for millions of people. This Summer Study was led by Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill, whose work on this topic had previously been funded by countercultural icon Stewart Brand’s Point Foundation. Two painters, the artist and architect Rick Guidice and the planetary science illustrator Don Davis, created renderings for the project that would be widely circulated over the next years and decades and even included in testimony before a Congressional subcommittee. A product of its time, this work is nevertheless relevant to contemporary modes of thinking about architecture. Space Settlements examines these plans for life in space as serious architectural and spatial proposals.
Fred Scharmen teaches architecture and urban design at Morgan State University's School of Architecture and Planning. His work as a designer and researcher focuses on how architects imagine new spaces for speculative future worlds and who is invited into those worlds. Recent projects, with the Working Group on Adaptive Systems, include a mile-and-a-half long scale model of the solar system in downtown Baltimore (in collaboration with nine artists), and a pillow fort for the Baltimore Museum of Art based on Gottfried Semper's Four Elements of Architecture.

Houseless activists from HOUSING OUR NEIGHBORS (HON - Baltimore, MD), RIGHT 2 SURVIVE (R2S - Portland, OR), & PICTURE THE HOMELESS (PTH - NYC) will convene for a public dialogue. These groups are leading a national movement for SLEEP NOT SWEEPS, HOUSE KEYS NOT HANDCUFFS, & THE RIGHT TO REST.



@ Red Emma's

Between the increased global warming from the climate crisis and the increasing level of hot air from candidates, this summer is way, way hot! What we need is some hot poetry taken from pages of wisdom to help get us through! Join us for an open mic of justice, conscious thought, spirituality, fam, real life—whatever advances the village! In the tradition of Emma Goldman’s “Mother Earth” magazine, come drop some rad “fiyah” on us, or contribute just with your presence and energy. Our theme is “Peace, Justice, Poetry!” By the way: it’s a non-erotic venue, so rather than a love & erotica evening, we focus this night on justice and other matters of life. And, almost needless to say, leave the misogyny, homophobia and other unnecessary ish outside!


Bringing the poetic excellence to our feature segment for the evening is international touring artist Pages Matam, the Director of Poetry Programming and Events for Busboys and Poets, a Callaloo Fellow, and the Write Bloody published author of “The Heart of a Comet” (2014), which won “Best New Book 2014” from Beltway Poetry Quarterly and was a Teaching for Change bestseller. He is also the author of “Draikus,” a collection of haiku.  The DC-based poet, originally from Cameroon, is a two-time DC poetry slam champion, two-time regional champion and a national who is passionate about education, violence and abuse trauma work, immigration reform and youth advocacy. He has been a featured artist and performer for Upworthy, Huffington, Okay Africa, The Pentagon, the Kennedy Center, the Apollo Theater, BET Lyric Cafe, TV One’s Verses & Flow (Season 4 & 5), The Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the Smithsonian African Art Festival.


Pages—who is a proud gummy bear elitist, bowtie enthusiast, professional hugger and anime fanatic—has featured at numerous colleges and universities around the country as a keynote speaker, diversity and inclusion leader, and a fellow, and has opened for or shared the stage with various artists including Chrisette Michelle, Raheem DeVaughn, Afrika Bambaata, Andrea Gibson, Common, Mos Def, Rosario Dawson, Amiri Baraka, Sonya Renee, Sunni Patterson, Rudy Francisco, Rachel McKibbens, Saul Williams, Black Ice, Gayle Danley, Ainsley Burrows, Holly Bass, Joshua Bennett, Talaam Acey, and many more.

https://www.pagesmatam.com/


Holdin’ it down for the evening is Analysis—poet/spoken word artist, bookseller, educator, minister, justice & human rights theoretician… Y’all know what’s up!

www.artistEcard.com/analysisthepoet

www.facebook.com/analysisthepoet

Twitter and Instagram: @analysisthepoet


The MIC LIST will open at 5:00PM.

FREE ADMISSION! [We will take a collection to support the feature.]

(Mature language and themes may be involved; not suggested for younger children.)


The evening is brought to you by Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse, a worker-owned and collectively-operated restaurant, bookstore, and community events space located in Baltimore's Mt. Vernon neighborhood that is dedicated to putting principles of solidarity and sustainability into practice in a democratic workplace! Here you’ll find delicious, transparently traded, organic coffee, espresso and tea, as well as a selection of vegan and vegetarian food. Get here early so you can check out the books and periodicals on a wide range of topics, with a focus on radical politics and culture. Plus, there’s free internet access!

http://redemmas.org/ https://www.facebook.com/redemmas Twitter & Instagram: @redemmas


Remember: PEACE, JUSTICE, POETRY!! Will we see you there? :)

@ Red Emma's
Single payer healthcare is not complicated: the government pays for all care for all people. It’s cheaper than our current model, and most Americans (and their doctors) already want it. So what’s the deal with our current healthcare system, and why don’t we have something better?

In Health Justice Now, Timothy Faust explains what single payer is, why we don’t yet have it, and how it can be won. He identifies the actors that have misled us for profit and political gain, dispels the myth that healthcare needs to be personally expensive, shows how we can smoothly transition to a new model, and reveals the slate of humane and progressive reforms that we can only achieve with single payer as the springboard.

In this impassioned playbook, Faust inspires us to believe in a world where we could leave our job without losing healthcare for ourselves and our kids; where affordable housing is healthcare; and where social justice links arm-in-arm with health justice for us all. Single payer is the tool—health justice is the goal!

TIMOTHY FAUST‘s writing has appeared in Splinter, Jacobin, and Vice, among others. He has worked as a data scientist in the healthcare industry, before which he enrolled people in ACA programs in Florida, Georgia, and Texas, where he saw both the shortcomings of the ACA and the consequences of the Medicaid gap firsthand. Since 2017, he’s been driving around the United States in his 2002 Honda CR-V talking to people about health inequity in their neighborhoods. He lives in Brooklyn.
@ Red Emma's
Heretic to Housewife is the debut book of collected essays by Baltimore-based artist Rahne Alexander. In ten essays, Alexander connects the dots between her conservative Mormon upbringing and her emergence as a vocal queer trans feminist performer and creator, and does so with withering wit and hard-won wisdom. This collection is a bubbling bouillabaisse of love, sorrow, awkward strip club encounters, Facebook 2, "The Operation,” and incredibly specific complaints about the patriarchy and computer operating systems. Heretic to Housewife was selected by Kristen Arnett as the winner of the 2019 OutWrite Chapbook Competition in Nonfiction and published by Neon Hemlock. 



@ Red Emma's

From the National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a bracingly original approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society—and in ourselves.

“The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it—and then dismantle it.”


Join us as we celebrate the release of an essential new anthology on the political and racial economy of urban life in Baltimore!


Nicknamed both “Mobtown” and “Charm City” and located on the border of the North and South, Baltimore is a city of contradictions. From media depictions in The Wire to the real-life trial of police officers for the murder of Freddie Gray, Baltimore has become a quintessential example of a struggling American city. Yet the truth about Baltimore is far more complicated—and more fascinating.

 
To help untangle these apparent paradoxes, the editors of Baltimore Revisited: Stories of Inequality and Resistance in a US City have assembled a collection of over thirty experts from inside and outside academia. Together, they reveal that Baltimore has been ground zero for a slew of neoliberal policies, a place where inequality has increased as corporate interests have eagerly privatized public goods and services to maximize profits. But they also uncover how community members resist and reveal a long tradition of Baltimoreans who have fought for social justice.
 
The essays in this collection take readers on a tour through the city’s diverse neighborhoods, from the Lumbee Indian community in East Baltimore to the crusade for environmental justice in South Baltimore. Baltimore Revisited examines the city’s past, reflects upon the city’s present, and envisions the city’s future.

From everyday apps to complex algorithms, Ruha Benjamin cuts through tech-industry hype to understand how emerging technologies can reinforce White supremacy and deepen social inequity.

Benjamin argues that automation, far from being a sinister story of racist programmers scheming on the dark web, has the potential to hide, speed up, and deepen discrimination while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to the racism of a previous era. Presenting the concept of the “New Jim Code,” she shows how a range of discriminatory designs encode inequity by explicitly amplifying racial hierarchies; by ignoring but thereby replicating social divisions; or by aiming to fix racial bias but ultimately doing quite the opposite. Moreover, she makes a compelling case for race itself as a kind of technology, designed to stratify and sanctify social injustice in the architecture of everyday life.

This illuminating guide provides conceptual tools for decoding tech promises with sociologically informed skepticism. In doing so, it challenges us to question not only the technologies we are sold but also the ones we ourselves manufacture.