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The Working Class Majority

THE WORKING CLASS MAJORITY: America's Best Kept Secret


The point of this book is to bring class back into focus in the United States, especially the working class. It is meant as a resource for workers, students, and anyone else interested in the world of work, power, and politics at the start of the new millennium.

Author Michael Zweig treats class as a question of power rather than income or life style. The book defines classes – the capitalist class, the middle class, and the working class – in terms of the relationships among them in the social power grid, and explores the interactions that operate among class, race, and gender. Using the latest data and new ways of thinking, Zweig shows why class is important by showing how our understanding of important social issues changes when we look at them through the lens of class. Based on these findings, Zweig explores the possible shape and meaning of a new working class politics that is already beginning to emerge at the start of the twenty-first century.

Chapter 1 The Class Structure of the United States
Chapter 2 What We Think about When We Think about Class
Chapter 3 Why Is Class Important?
Chapter 4 Looking at "The Underclass"
Chapter 5 Looking at Values - Family & Otherwise
Chapter 6 The Working Class & Power
Chapter 7 Power & Globalization
Chapter 8 Power & the Government
Chapter 9 Into the Millennium
Appendix Working Class Resource Guide


zweig portraitMichael Zweig is Professor of Economics at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he has won the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has served two terms on the state executive board of United University Professions, Local 2190, American Federation of Teachers, representing nearly 25,000 faculty and professional staff throughout the SUNY system. His earlier books include Religion and Economic Justice and The Idea of a World University.




See the Working Class Majority Study Guide

“ The Working Class Majority is in the finest tradition of popular economics education while at the same time making a genuine scholarly contribution to the literature on class and inequality. Michael Zweig’s major contention is that class matters both with respect to power and to life chances. … This book is a controversial but entirely fresh contribution to the debate.” -- Stanley Aronowitz, City University of New York

“ For 50 years, ‘class’ has been a forbidden word in the United States, Michael Zweig’s excellent book exposes the realities of class power and class politics in the USA. This is a book for working class activists, whether fighting for justice in the workplace or the community.” -- Bill Fletcher, Jr., Assistant to the President, AFL-CIO

“ Michael Zweig has done a good job exposing the attempts to scapegoat welfare recipients, immigrants, and foreigners, and shows how recent policies aimed at these groups as the cause of the declining living standard of working class Americans are profoundly class driven in their intent and outcome. … Zweig writes in a clear and interesting style about these complicated topics.” -- Elaine Bernard, Executive Director, Harvard Trade Union Project

" In an important contribution to the development of new working-class studies, economist Michael Zweig shows how class shapes power relations, life chances, and politics in contemporary America."
-- Working-Class Notes, Volume 3, Issue 2, Spring 2000

" In this pungent critique of class and economics in the United States - part economic theory, part political lecture, part reportage of working-class life - Zweig offers an insightful, radical analysis that will make many readers rethink commonly held but unexamined beliefs.... Zweig supports his arguments with statistics, facts, and personal stories and argues with a forcefulness and conviction backed up by a deeply moral sense of the dignity that is due to each person in their work and workplace." -- Publishers Weekly, May 15, 2000

" This book is convincingly argued, well documented with economic statistics and personal interviews, and upbeat in its conclusion. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries." -- Library Journal, May 1, 2000

" Putting class back on the table produces thoughtful, provocative analysis of where the nation is going and what working people could do about it." -- Booklist, May 15, 2000

For More Information or to Order The Working Class Majority, see our page at Cornell University Press.

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