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NBK-DSA Book Club: Prisoners of the American Dream (Session 2)

  • Big Irv's 381 Hooper Street Brooklyn, NY, 11211 United States (map)

“One of the most uncompromising books about American political economy ever written—brilliant, provocative, and exhaustively researched.” – Village Voice Literary Supplement

The North Brooklyn Political Education committee is hosting a three-week book club around Mike Davis’s stellar analysis of ‘politics and economics in the history of the US working class.’ Davis’s brilliant and comprehensive study of class struggle in the United States provides an important analytical and historical frame for us to explore questions central to contemporary socialist strategy: on the remarkable fragmentation and diversity of the American working class; the specific challenges posed to building a socialist party by the political configuration of the United States; the relationship between workplace and electoral struggles; the dynamic relationship of black liberation to the politics of the multiracial proletariat; the relationship between insurgency from below and ‘the New Deal’; the transformations of American imperialism; the socialist use of presidential political campaigns; the origins of ‘neoliberalism’; the history of the DSA; the meaning of revolution in America. Each element revolves around a question as urgent now as it was in 1980s: why did the world’s most advanced capitalist state never produce a viable working class or socialist party?

For our first session, we’ll read from the first chapter of the book, “Why the U.S. Working Class is Different.” It discusses the specific and compounding obstacles faced by 19th and early 20th century radicals in their efforts to unify working class forces and develop a political vehicle to advance their interests.

Our goal is for this reading group to engage members of varying levels of experience and time in the movement, and provide a place for us to work through the shared obstacles we’re facing in our organizing.

This event is free and open to the public. NYC DSA members from across the city are encouraged to attend.

The book can be found here (and purchased inexpensively from