Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Clenched Fists, Empty Pockets: true life experiences of working-class activists in the middle class left

Clenched Fists Empty PocketsHot off the copy machine, Clenched Fists Empty Pockets is a pamphlet just released by Kersplebedeb, examining the true life experiences of working-class activists in the middle class left.

In Clenched Fists Empty Pockets six working-class activists from Sweden discuss their experiences with class and middle-class hegemony in a variety of left-wing scenes and organizations. In doing so they flesh out the complexities and limits of what in Sweden is referred to as a “class journey.” Dealing with more than economic realities, the authors grapple with the full gamut of cultural and social class hierarchies that are embedded in the society and the left.

As Fredric Carlsson-Andersson and Atilla Pişkin explain in their introductory essay:

The texts gathered here deal with the left as well, but in a different way: they address an alternative movement that regularly talks about the working class, but often in circles that lack even a single working-class member. In particular, though, the texts are about us: comrades from the working class who find themselves on the left, and who find themselves feeling lost and out of place – obviously, not always, but often enough. It’s easy to imagine the left as unconditionally welcoming. However, that’s not the case. As in all other scenes, the left has strict standards of right and wrong. It can take years to learn all of the rules.

This selection of essays was originally published in a German pamphlet, itself a selection of texts from the Swedish book En knuten näve i fickan, published by Yelah in 2008. The German pamphlet was published under the title Mit geballter Faust in der Tasche: Klassenkonflikte in der Linken–Debatten aus Schweden by Syndikat-A in March 2009.

This english-language edition contains a new preface by translator Gabriel Kuhn, and an introduction by former Montreal activist Michael Ryan.
Regular price $4.50, available directly from leftwingbooks.net for $3.00 - click here to order.

Product Details
edited by Fredric Carlsson-Andersson and Atilla Pişkin
translated by Gabriel Kuhn and André Moncourt
saddle-stitched pamphlet
36 pages
published by Kersplebedeb in 2010
ISBN 978-1-894946-34-6

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