A Blueprint for Worker Solidarity

Class Politics and Community in Wisconsin
Author: Naomi R Williams
Creating an effective working-class politics
Cloth – $110
Paper – $28
eBook – $19.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 01/07/2025
Cloth: 01/07/2025
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About the Book

Like many Midwestern factory towns, deindustrialization damaged Racine in the 1970s and 1980s. But the Wisconsin city differed from others like it in one important way: workers maintained their homegrown working-class economy and political culture. Even as labor declined across the country, Racine’s workers successfully fought for fair housing and education, held politicians accountable, and allied with racial and gender justice organizations.

Naomi R Williams traces the journeys of two local activists to highlight how people can support democracy and economic freedom in the twenty-first century. In Racine, ideas of class and race shifted but remained strong. The broad-based class politics that emerged drew on racial analysis, vigilant organizing, and agile labor leadership that organized more people. Unionized workers in turn won political power while uniting to resist conservative and corporate attacks. Charting Racine’s transition, Williams breaks down how worker solidarity persevered and presents lessons that can provide valuable guidance for today’s generation of activists.

* Publication was supported by a grant from the Howard D. and Marjorie I. Brooks Fund for Progressive Thought.

About the Author

Naomi R Williams is an assistant professor of labor studies and employment relations at Rutgers University.



“If you want to understand working-class politics in a small Midwestern town, you can’t do better than Naomi William’s A Blueprint for Worker Solidarity. Tracing the trials and tribulations of a multiracial alliance of working-class activists through the transition from an industrial economy to a service economy in the late-twentieth-century United States, this study demonstrates that solidarity is far more complicated, and enduring, than commonly assumed.”--William P. Jones, author of The March on Washington: Jobs, Freedom, and the Forgotten History of Civil Rights