Barbara Ehrenreich – USA

Linked with When Pastors go Postal, and How Positive Thinking Wrecked the Economy.

Barbara Ehrenreich (born August 26, 1941, in Butte, Montana) is an American feminist, socialist and political activist. She is a widely read columnist and essayist, and the author of nearly 20 books … (full text). Her Biography.

Her Bio on her own website.

She says:… No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots … and: America is addicted to wars of distraction … and: If men were equally at risk from this condition – if they knew their bellies might swell as if they were suffering from end-stage cirrhosis, that they would have to go nearly a year without a stiff drink, a cigarette, or even an aspirin, that they would be subject to fainting spells and unable to fight their way onto commuter trains – then I am sure that pregnancy would be classified as a sexually transmitted disease and abortions would be no more controversial than emergency appendectomies … (more quotes on think exist.com).

Barbara’s Blog: Barbara Ehrenreich comments on working in America. And Her official website.

She writes: In a culture where credit rating is the key measure of self-worth, the increasing response to huge debts is “Just shoot me!” … // … The alternative is to value yourself more than any amount of money and turn the guns, metaphorically speaking, in the other direction. It wasn’t God, or some abstract economic climate change, that caused the credit crisis. Actual humans – often masked as financial institutions – did that, (and you can find a convenient list of names in Nomi Prins’s article in the current issue of Mother Jones.) Most of them, except for a tiny few facing trials, are still high rollers, fattening themselves on the blood and tears of ordinary debtors. I know it’s so 1930s, but may I suggest a march on Wall Street? (full text of Suicide Spreads as One Solution to the Debt Crisis, July 29, 2008).

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Barbara Ehrenreich – USA

Watch the video: Ehrenreich – This Land is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation, 44.17 min, added July 16, 2008.

Announcement: A professor at the University of Wisconsin-Marathon County will discuss a book that chronicles a women’s experience with the working poor on Nov. 13, 2008 … Associate sociology professor Ann Herda-Rapp will discuss how author Barbara Ehrenreich took low-wage jobs in three different states to detail struggles that prevent workers from fulfilling basic necessities … (full text, November 5, 2008).

UWMC to perform Nickel and Dimed, Nov. 4, 2008.

… Nickel and Dimed is Joan Holden’s stage version of Barbara Ehrenreich’s first-person story Nickel and Dimed, on (Not) Getting by in America. The play, like the book, is about Ehrenreich’s experiences working in low-wage jobs and trying to survive for a year … (full text, November 5, 2008).

Do You Think Americans Reject The Notion Of Spreading The Wealth? October 18, 2008.

She writes also: … So happy birthday, Communist Manifesto – although I’m hoping that capitalism survives this one, if only because there’s no alternative ready at hand. At the very least, we should get some regulation and serious oversight out of any bail-out deal, meaning that, yes, the economy will look a little less like free enterprise. But one thing we should have learned in the last week, if not the last year, is that, when applied to enterprise, freedom can be just another word for someone else’s pain. (full text).

Find her and her publications on The Nation; on Alternet; on her blogs; books on her official website and articles on its archives; on wikipedia: see her books, her essays, and translations made in many languages; on Barbara Ehrenreich Quotes; on Google Video-search; on inauthor Google-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

… And yet, once the microphones were on, Barbara Ehrenreich spoke movingly about America’s infuriating blindness to our poor. Tom Friedman (Hot, Flat, and Crowded) spoke rousingly about our crucial need to be as imaginative about ET (environmental technology) as we’ve been about IT (information technology) … (full text).

She is member of United Professionals.

… Featured speakers include Barbara Ehrenreich, author of “Nickle and Dimed,” and William McDonough, an architect known for his sustainability efforts. Other things to look out for are a green film festival, a reggae concert Saturday morning and a closing celebration on Saturday evening … (full text).

… Class warfare is what the wealthy and their puppets have been waging against the rest of us. One day, if unchecked, it will boil over and the McCains and Bushes and Cheneys of this country will learn what class warfare is– like the French aristocracy did. Meanwhile, perhaps they could get a glimmer from the introduction to This Land Is Your Their Land, the fantastic new book by Barbara Ehrenreich. She writes that “we’ll need a new deal, a new distribution of power and wealth if we want to restore the beautiful idea that was “America” … (full text).

… Speaking several years ago from the perspective of the newly diagnosed, Barbara Ehrenreich waged war in the pages of Harper’s against the “cult” of cheery pink consumption. She insisted that breast cancer survivors have all too readily taken up the role of complacency, embracing everything from pink teddy bears to pink angel pins while sacrificing what Ehrenreich clearly believes is well-placed anger … (full text).

… Based on Barbara Ehrenreich’s 2001 book of the same name, “Nickel and Dimed” follows the author’s real-life quest to try to survive on a minimum wage. Ehrenreich, in the New York Times best-seller, lived in three different states over a few months in the least-expensive lodgings she could find and worked a series of poverty-wage jobs – house cleaner, hotel maid, Wal-Mart salesperson and waitress among them … (full text).

Report from the Socialist International Conspiracy, Oct. 21, 2008.

… He encounters an array of characters. From these intimate exchanges and strong friendships come sympathetic portraits of people whose circumstances — addiction, mental illness, or plain old bad luck — could be anyone’s. Part one of his mission is evangelical: to change attitudes among otherwise self-actualized Americans. The second part is polemical: to refute the challenge brought by writers like Barbara Ehrenreich, in books like Nickel and Dimed, that the American Dream, no matter how much you work, is still, in reality, beyond reach for many. Part one is where he might have succeeded, but part two is where he errs. If Scratch Beginnings were a morality tale about appreciating what we have, it would be a credible addition to discussions of money and privilege. “[The American Dream] is about finding happiness and solace in your present lifestyle,” he writes. But as a polemic, Scratch Beginnings undermines its own intentions … (full text, NOVEMBER 5, 2008).

SAnd she writes: … In fact, there is some evidence that the ubiquitous moral injunction to think positively may place an additional burden on the already sick or otherwise aggrieved. Not only are you failing to get better but you’re failing to feel good about not getting better. Similarly for the long-term unemployed, who, as I found while researching my book Bait and Switch, are informed by career coaches and self-help books that their principal battle is against their own negative, resentful, loser-like feelings. This is victim-blaming at its cruelest, and may help account for the passivity of Americans in the face of repeated economic insult. But what is truly sinister about the positivity cult is that it seems to reduce our tolerance of other people’s suffering. Far from being a “culture of complaint” that upholds “victims,” ours has become “less and less tolerant of people having a bad day or a bad year,” according to Barbara Held, professor of psychology at Bowdoin College and a leading critic of positive psychology. If no one will listen to my problems, I won’t listen to theirs: “no whining,” as the popular bumper stickers and wall plaques warn. Thus the cult acquires a viral-like reproductive energy, creating an empathy deficit that pushes evermore people into a harsh insistence on positivity in others … (full text of Pathologies of hope, Febr. 1, 2007).

And she says: … If you look at the Public Affairs talk shows you will see a group of fairly conservative well-dressed gentlemen – and I do mean men – usually from this professional middle class, this upper middle class – they might even be talking about the minimum wage. Something they’ve never experienced earning in their lives. We hear very little from people who are, let’s say, I hate to use the word “ordinary Americans” because no one’s ordinary – but steamfitters, truck drivers, receptionists, nurses aides, really the American majority gets closed off and then it’s shut out. And then it’s possible for that professional middle class to persist in its prejudices … // … I think partly when a group becomes something of an elite and gets a grip on some institutions it’s hard for them to give it up. And then there are other prejudices that help justify that monopoly. I have talked to media people and said just this – Why don’t we open it up? This is a democracy. And expertise doesn’t always mean a Ph.D. And the answer will often be “Well, find me a one of those people who’s articulate. They’re not articulate.” There’s a belief that people who are working class or poor can’t even express themselves. So that preserves the monopoly of a few … // … Well, I wish I could say that religion had been some kind of counterpoint to this materialism but the religious trend we all know about and I refer to in here was toward fundamentalist christianity which has not been critical of the extreme materialism of our society, which has not, I am afraid, represented alternative values. Jim and Tammy Bakker, you know people who are parodies of that greed and consumerism. So unfortunately I think religion has failed. Religion should always be critical of materialism of selfishness of failure to be concerned about the down and out … (full long interview text, October 8, 1989!).

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