Monthly Archives: March 2023

I’ve published another essay up on Three Quarks Daily, or rather, an excerpt from a book I’m working on. 

It’s about immigration, labor, and the role ethnic identity plays in holding back children of the working class. Cameo appearances by Didier Eribon (and his book Returning to Reims) and Arturo Giovanitti, the famous socialist poet who inspired the exhausted workers of the Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912 to carry on. 

It begins with one of my own experiences as the daughter of the youngest son of an Italian fruit peddler in the South Bronx of the twenties and thirties. 

“When Eribon sketched out the political developments in France over the past fifty years, it was to clarify the process by which the traditionally left-wing French working class gradually abandoned the Socialist Party, which had long been ignoring their interests, and embraced the National Front. The rhetoric of the radical right—anti-intellectual, anti-liberal, anti-solidarity, anti-immigration—spoke directly to the disaffected and disenfranchised, who welcomed the chance to recover their pride and didn’t seem to register that the party’s policies essentially exacerbated their economic plight. And in a cruel twist, when their children beat the odds and managed to get an education and make something of themselves, they often accused them of being just like ‘the people upstairs’—the ones pulling the strings and making the decisions. Not only did their parents show indifference to their achievements; they were quick to remind them not to let it ‘get to their heads’ or to imagine they were anything ‘better.’”