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Labor in the Time of Trump$
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Jasmine Kerrissey, Eve Weinbaum, Clare Hammonds, Tom Juravich, and Dan Clawson

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501746598

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501746598.001.0001

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Trump, Right-Wing Populism, and the Future of Organized Labor

Trump, Right-Wing Populism, and the Future of Organized Labor

(p.50) 3 Trump, Right-Wing Populism, and the Future of Organized Labor
Labor in the Time of Trump

Bill Fletcher

José Alejandro La Luz

Cornell University Press

This chapter argues that the core problem is not ideology or corporate self-interest but rather the rise of a right-wing populism that feeds on racism and xenophobia. When workers suffer from stagnating or declining incomes, loss of benefits and pensions, declining health and health care coverage, and increased job insecurity, the right gives them an answer: blame black people, Latinxs, immigrants, Jews, or Muslims; blame the media elites, academics, or experts, not your employer; embrace the rich in the hope that someday you can be one of them; and condemn powerless people as the cause of your problems. The chapter describes how populism draws its energy from a racist, sexist, and xenophobic framing of the impact of the economic crisis on working-class Americans while also rejecting the postwar global order in favor of a return to American isolationism. It laments the Left's failure to offer plausible solutions and to create lasting solidarity across gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality. This chapter explains that no revival of labor will be possible without engaging union members about race, gender, immigration, and the true nature of right-wing populism.

Keywords:   right-wing populism, racism, xenophobia, sexism, economic crisis, postwar global order, immigration

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