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Forum IX (Winter 2019)

Left Elsewhere

“Rural spaces,” writes Elizabeth Catte, author of What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia, “are often thought of as places absent of things, from people of color to modern amenities to radical politics. The truth, as usual, is more complicated.”


With activists, historians, and political scientists as guides, Left Elsewhere explores the radical politics of rural America—its past, its priorities, and its moral commitments—that mainstream progressives overlook. This volume shows how these communities are fighting, and winning, some of the left’s biggest battles. From novel health care initiatives in the face of the opioid crisis to living wages for teachers, these struggles do not fall neatly into the “puny language,” as Rev. William Barber says, of Democrat or Republican. Instead they help us rethink the rural–urban opposition at the heart of U.S. politics. The future of the left, this collection argues, could be found elsewhere.

Check out the Table of Contents below, and purchase your copy here.




Editors' Note
Deborah Chasman and Joshua Cohen




Left Elsewhere
Elizabeth Catte
Why Institutions Drive Change
Michael Kazin
Class Matters
Nancy Isenberg
The Last Steep Ascent
Bob Moser
Legacies of Resistance
Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson
Left Behind
Elaine C. Kamarck
Don't Blame Capitalism
Matt Stoller
The Radical History of Appalachian Women Activists
Jessica Wilkerson
Queer in Rural America
Hugh Ryan
Selling Progress in Appalachia
Ruy Teixeira
What We Talk About When We Talk About the Working Class
Elizabeth Catte




Teachers with Guns
Thomas Baxter
The Most Radical City on the Planet
Makani Themba
What Activists Know About Fighting the Opioid Crisis
Lesly-Marie Buer
Every Crucifixion Needs a Witness
William J. Barber II interviewed by Toussaint Losier
Bad Neighbors
Robin McDowell

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