Sarah Jaffe in conversation with Suzie Cagle at City Lights Bookstore celebrating the release of Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt from Nation Books.
Necessary Trouble is the definitive book on the movements that are poised to permanently remake American politics. We are witnessing a moment of unprecedented political turmoil and social activism. Over the last few years we’ve seen the growth of the Tea Party, a twenty-first-century black freedom struggle with BlackLivesMatter, Occupy Wall Street, and the grassroots networks supporting presidential candidates in defiance of the traditional party elites.
In Necessary Trouble, journalist Sarah Jaffe leads readers into the heart of these movements, explaining what has made ordinary Americans become activists. As Jaffe argues, the financial crisis in 2008 was the spark, the moment that crystallized that something was wrong. For years, Jaffe crisscrossed the country, asking people what they were angry about, and what they were doing to take power back. She attended a people’s assembly in a church gymnasium in Ferguson, Missouri; walked a picket line at an Atlanta Burger King; rode a bus from New York to Ohio with student organizers; and went door-to-door in Queens days after Hurricane Sandy.
From the successful fight for a $15 minimum wage in Seattle and New York to the halting of Shell’s Arctic Drilling Program, Americans are discovering the effectiveness of making good, necessary trouble. Regardless of political alignment, they are boldly challenging who wields power in this country.
Sarah Jaffe is a Nation Institute fellow and an independent journalist covering labor, economic justice, social movements, politics, gender, and pop culture. Her work has appeared in The Nation, Salon, the Week, the American Prospect, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and many other publications. She is the co-host, with Michelle Chen, of Dissent magazine’s Belabored podcast, as well as an editorial board member at Dissent and a columnist at New Labor Forum. Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt is her first book. Jaffe was formerly a staff writer at In These Times and the labor editor at AlterNet. She was a contributing editor on The 99%: How the Occupy Wall Street Movement is Changing America, from AlterNet books, as well as a contributor to the anthologies At the Tea Party and Tales of Two Cities, both from OR Books. She was also the web director at GRITtv with Laura Flanders. She was one of the first reporters to cover Occupy Wall Street and the Fight for $15, has appeared on numerous radio and television programs to discuss topics ranging from electoral politics to Superstorm Sandy, from punk rock to public-sector unions.
Suzie Cagle is an independent journalist and illustrator, and a frequent contributor to ProPublica, the New York Times, the Guardian, and many others. She was previously a 2016 John S. Knight Journalism fellow at Stanford, and a technology columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. She is currently working on an illustrated book about boom and bust economics in California.
Susie’s work has been featured on NPR, in Wired, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and the Washington Post, and has been honored with awards from the Online Journalism Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. Susie has a masters in journalism from Columbia, which still doesn’t offer a cartooning class.