Wednesday, March 27, 2019

4/14: Book Event for David Ranney's Living and Dying on the Factory Floor

I recently had the honor of speaking with Dave Ranney about his new book Living and Dying on the Factory Floor, a memoir of community organizing and factory work in 1970s-1980s Chicago. The interview, published in Jacobin, can be found here.

Next month Dave will be coming to New York City for three book events co-sponsored by Hard Crackers. My longtime co-conspirator Zhandarka Kurti and I will be co-hosting one of these, April 14th, 6:30pm at McNally Jackson Bookstore, 52 Prince Street, Manhattan. Join us for a dialogue about workplace and community organizing, and the lessons we can draw from Dave's experiences.

Dave will also appear  on 4/13 at 1882 Woodbine, and 4/16 John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Click here for more information.

Be sure to catch Dave while he's in town. And if you haven't picked up the book yet, what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Hard Crackers Issue 6 Release Celebration

Join me and the other New York editors of Hard Crackers for a celebration of Issue 6. Copies will be available, and we will have mercifully short readings.

Freddy's Bar and Backroom
Sunday 3/24, 2pm
627 5th Ave, Brooklyn

From the introduction:

This is the sixth edition of Hard Crackers Magazine. Malcolm X once said about this country, “the South is everything south of the Canadian border.” In keeping with this general principle, we are tackling the South here. The Webster’s Dictionary definition of the word south is “the direction to the right of one facing east.” That’s enough of that. We would rather share the Medgar Evers position, “I don’t know if I’m going to heaven or hell, but I’m going there from the South.”

If you can't make it, pick up a copy here... and once you're doing being a reader, consider becoming a contributor!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Morbid Symptoms, Part II: Attack on Rikers Island

I have published the second of six reviews chronicling the pseudonymous Fred S. Kreider’s Rikers Island Series, a horror franchise set on present-day Rikers Island. In the first installment we met narrator Nicholas Billings, a rookie guard whose scrupulous recounting of guard life at Rikers is often more grim and terrifying than the book’s horror story, constituting detailed workplace writing evincing an intimate knowledge of the island’s institutional life.

In Attack on Rikers Island, the island is beset by an army of malevolent mutant rodents, the legacy of the island's history as a landfill worked upon by forced labor in the early twentieth century.

Two down, four to go. 

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Living and Dying on the Factory Floor

I recently interviewed Dave Ranney about his new book Living and Dying on the Factory Floor. In 1976, Dave gave up his tenured academic job to organize in the South Side of Chicago. There he helped provide pro bono legal assistance at the Workers’ Rights Center, and organized with political groups including the Sojourner Truth Organization and News and Letters. Dave also worked in a number of factories in Chicago and Northwest Indiana, home at this time to roughly one and a half million industrial jobs, making it one of the greatest concentrations of heavy industry in the world. Living and Dying reflects on the factory and community life Dave encountered in this period, and the enduring lessons these experiences pose for today.

Check out the interview in Jacobin, and be sure to pick up a copy of the book from PM Press

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Hard Crackers Issue 6 Now Available

The sixth issue of Hard Crackers: Chronicles of Everyday Life is now available, featuring contributions from Curtis Price, Mike Morgan, Tanzeem Shaneela, Jenny Morgan, John Garvey, and other fantastic writers. While perhaps our best issue to date, this one is bittersweet, as it is dedicated to the late Lowell May, a Hard Crackers editor who passed away late last year. Rest in power, Lowell. 

Pick up your copy here, and keep your eyes peeled for a release event in a city near you. 

Monday, February 4, 2019

Remembering the Prisoners who Built Rikers Island

Jayne Mooney and I have a new article in the International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, entitled "New York City's Captive Workforce: Remembering the Prisoners who Built Rikers Island." In it we unearth the intricate institutional life of Rikers Island for the three decades prior to its traditionally acknowledged birth as a penal colony. In the process we examine the lived experiences of white supremacy and the criminalization of poverty in early twentieth century New York, and chart the resistances prisoners adopted to confinement on the Rikers Island penal colony in the years before the opening of the original Penitentiary. If you would like to read this article and are having a hard time accessing it, contact me ;)

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Carceral Crisis Speaker Series

On February 13th, I will deliver the inaugural lecture of the Carceral Crisis Speaker Series, part of New York University's Prison Education Program. It's a real honor. Come say hi!

Rikers Island and the History of Carceral Reform

Wednesday, February 13th
20 Cooper Square 4th Floor 6:30pm

Jarrod Shanahan will be presenting research from his dissertation and  forthcoming book, co-authored with colleague Jayne Mooney, Rikers: A Social History of New York City's Island of the Poor (Temple Unviersity Press, 2020). Jarrod is a critical criminologist, activist-scholar, and doctoral candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center. He publishes regularly on the social history of police, courts, and jails in New York City. 

Also check out the rest of this exciting series: 

March 6th: Crime and Punishment in America
An evening with Tony Platt (2019) Beyond These Walls: Rethinking Crime and Punishment in America

March 27th: Mass Incarceration and the Limits of Police Reform
Alex Vitale will be presenting from his book (2017) End of Policing

April 17th: The Carceral Complex in the Lives of Working-Class Youth of Color in NYC
Zhandarka Kurti will be presenting on young people's experiences with criminal courts and probation and current reform efforts.

April 24th: Incarceration and Debt
NYU's Prison Education Program will be presenting on their research on incarceration and debt.

May 8th: Reform or Abolish?

No New Jails Coalition presents on their efforts to fight against local jail expansion in NYC.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Long Shadow of the Prison Wall

Jack Norton and I have a new piece in Jacobin on the 2015 escape from Clinton Correctional Facility and the light it sheds on life in the prison town. Honored to work with Jack on this. His work on prison towns is top notch. You should check it out.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Morbid Symptoms, Part I: Storm on Rikers Island

Just in time for the Holiday season, I have published the first of six reviews of Fred S. Kreider's The Rikers Island Series, a horror franchise set on present-day Rikers Island. The series revolves around the banal and fantastic work life of Correction Officer Nicholas Billings, constituting a mixture of Rikers guard memoir and Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Stay tuned for future installments chronicling this valiant effort to depict life on Rikers as any creepier than it already is.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Hard Crackers Issue 5 Release Celebration

On Sunday September 16th, come celebrate the release of Issue 5 of Hard Crackers: Chronicles of Everyday Life!

Hard Crackers grew out of discussions among people formerly involved with Race Traitor. We examine the lives of “ordinary people,” among whom there exists the capacity to overturn the present mess and build a new society. Hard Crackers is a unique publication: political but not absorbed in elections or program, literary but not inflated, scholarly but not scholastic.

To celebrate the release of Issue 5, join editors, contributors, and friends for a release party, 2pm-4pm, @ Freddy's Bar and Backroom, 627 5th Ave in Brooklyn.

Stick around afterward for a reception at the bar!

There will be mercifully short readings from Hard Crackers editors and friends Noel Ignatiev (How the Irish Became White, Race Traitor, Hard Crackers), Jamie Peck (The Guardian, The Antifada podcast, Rolling Stone), Zhandarka Kurti (Hard Crackers) and Cloee Cooper (Hard Crackers), hosted by editor and contributor Jarrod Shanahan.

Copies of the new issue and old issues will be available. Come hang out, pick up some copies, and be sure to tip the bartender.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Janus v. AFSCME and New York City Municipal Unionism

Andy Battle and I have a new piece in Jacobin called "The Velvet Glove and the Iron Fist," in which we revisit the political history of New York City municipal unionism in light of the Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME. We wrote the piece to address a lack of historical context in our own union about what exactly was lost in Janus, and where it came from in the first place.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Pennsylvania Sheriff Warns: Accept No Imitation

photo by Jack Norton
I have a new piece on the Hard Crackers blog about a fraudulent ticket collection scam in rust belt Pennsylvania and what it tells us about legally-sanctioned collection scams. Read it here!

While you're over there, check out Zhana and Tanzeem's fantastic historical analysis of the #NYCStripperStrike, and why it turned out to be not much of a strike at all... and that's OK!


Saturday, June 30, 2018

Hard Crackers Issue Five

Issue Five of Hard Crackers: Chronicles of Everyday Life is now available. It might be our best issue yet! I have a new essay, "See What Happens Now" (read it online here), about a decade of riding the Fung Wah bus between Boston and New York. This issue features work from fellow HC editors, contributors, comrades, and friends Dexter Cruthaim, Noel Ignatiev, Lowell May, Mike Morgan, Cloee Cooper, Richard Dixon, Josh Wann, Benjamin Rubenstein, and the inimitable Zhandarka Kurti.  

Pick up your copy today!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Article about Visiting Day in Qualitative Research in Psychology

I'm honored to have an article about the "Visiting Day" project in the most recent issue of Qualitative Research in Psychology. It's a special issue about creative representations of qualitative research. Rooted in my collaborative project with Nate and Maud, I trace the political history of the zine form, craft a Hegelian-Marxist theory of the zine as a social relation, and argue for the prison zine as form of autoethnographic inquiry long ignored by researchers.

Pick up a copy of the zine here!

Friday, April 13, 2018

New Piece in Jacobin: The Second Time As Farce

Andy Battle and I have a new piece in Jacobin chronicling the political history of a film near and dear to our hearts, Michael Winner's 1971 law-and-disorder classic Death Wish. After forcing ourselves to sit through Eli Roth's 2018 remake, we reflect on its stark divergence from the original -- which we attribute to the subsequent victory of the "law-and-order" counter-revolution in urbanism advocated by the original film. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Woodbine Research Series Presents: Rikers Island, with Jayne Mooney and Jarrod Shanahan

For the tenth installment of the Woodbine Research series, as a follow-up to Jackie Wang’s presentation on Carceral Capitalism, please join us for a presentation by Jayne Mooney and Jarrod Shanahan on Rikers Island. 

Sunday March 18th 
1882 Woodbine St, Ridgewood Queens

The Rikers Island penal colony is gripped by a crisis of legitimacy that may spell its closure. Recently New York City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito described the facility as having ‘come to represent our worse tendencies and our biggest failures,’ and the 2017 Lippman report declared Rikers irredeemable and recommended its closure and replacement with new, 'state-of-the-art' jail facilities. To elucidate the present juncture, we explore the past, examining previous moments of crisis in the New York City jail system, when the status quo was no longer defensible, and dramatic changes could be made. We demonstrate how goodhearted reformers responded to these crises by advocating for better jails and fairer courts. In the process, they legitimized the reproduction of the working class by police, courts, and jails, paving the way for mass incarceration and Rikers Island as we know it today. The present crisis of Rikers Island offers an opportunity for a truly radical departure from the nightmare lived by working-class New Yorkers shuffled in and out of the City’s jail system over the past two centuries. As such, current proposals should be considered in light of past mistakes, in order to avoid putting ‘new wine in old bottles.’ We conclude by suggesting that rather than building new and better premises we should be working towards the delegitimation and abolition of New York City’s jail system, by fundamentally challenging the central role of police, courts, and jails in our city.

Suggested Readings:
Mayor Backs Plan to Close Rikers and Open Jails Elsewhere
A More Just New York City: Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration ReformJayne Mooney is Associate Professor of Sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and is a member of the Doctoral Faculties of Criminal Justice, Women’s Studies and Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is the author of Gender, Violence and the Social Order (2000) and a co-author of Fifty Key Thinkers in Criminology (2010).

Jarrod Shanahan
is a writer, activist, and doctoral student in Environmental Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Sunday 2/4: Release Event for Hard Crackers Issue 4

American society is a ticking time bomb and attentiveness to daily lives is absolutely essential for those who would like to imagine how to act purposefully to change the world.
Come celebrate the release of issue 4 of Hard Crackers: Chronicles of Everyday Life, a journal I edit along with some great comrades and friends. We'll have music and mercifully short readings from editors and contributors, including
Edwin Rivera (It's a Shelter), Zhandarka Kurti (Date Night in Astoria, Queens), yours truly, and others.

If you can't make it, you can pick up a copy here. Also, check out this recent interview with fellow editors Noel Ignatiev and James Murray, which sums up the project well. 

Freddy's Bar and Backroom
627 5th Avenue, Brooklyn
2pm (plenty of time for sportsball afterward)
copies of the new issue and past issues available

Thursday, January 4, 2018

New Piece on Rikers Guard Culture: The Secret Lives of Rikers Island Jail Guards

I wrote a piece for the Hard Cracker site about three of my favorite books: Robin Miller's Inside the Dark Underbelly of Rikers Island, C. RenĂ© West's Caught in the Struggle, and Gary Heyward's Corruption Officer. These works form a triptych of self-published memoirs by former Rikers Island guards, offering the reader a rare glimpse into the repressive and insular social world of the New York City Department of Correction.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

New Issue of Hard Crackers and New Piece: Service Interruption

The fourth issue of  Hard Crackers, which I edit along with some talented comrades, is now available. It just might be my favorite to date; every piece is solid. I have a piece called "Service Interruption" about riding the subway (available to read online here), and also worked on a contribution from my man Edwin Rivera. Pick up a copy of the journal here, and consider becoming a subscriber, or better yet, a contributor.

*Update 1/20: Check out this interview HC editors Noel Ignatiev and James Murray gave to Orchestrated Pulse.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

New Piece in Urban Omnibus: A Jail to End All Jails

I'm honored to have co-authored a piece with my pal Jack Norton on the history of Rikers Island and what it teaches us about the proposals for its replacement. The article appears as part of the "Location of Justice" series in Urban Omnibus. Read it here. Thanks to UO for having us, and to Jack for being a wonderful colleague and friend. There is one mistake in the text however: on the day this was published, this "doctoral student" passed his final qualifying exam, and is now a doctoral candidate. B-)

Saturday, December 2, 2017

$7k or Strike!

I am honored to be a part of the campaign for a $7k minimum wage for adjunct faculty in the CUNY system. Whether in an individual workplace or society at large, it is only by every serious activist advancing the interests of the lowest tiers that we can begin to strengthen our collective power to fight the ruling class. CUNY Struggle has been very active in this campaign, along with some fantastic organizers across the CUNY system. Last Thursday I was interviewed for this video, made by our comrades at Left Voice, chronicling just one of four actions across the city on 11/30 marking the expiration of the PSC-CUNY contract and kicking off the campaign for a $7k minimum wage. $7k or strike... sounds good to me!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Hard Crackers Presents: Marcus Rediker on The Fearless Benjamin Lay

This Sunday, join Marcus Rediker and the east coast editors of Hard Crackers for a reading and discussion of his new book The Fearless Benjamin Lay
Sunday, November 5, 2017
2pm - 4pm
Freddy’s Bar and Backroom
627 5th Avenue, Brooklyn
(between 17th Street & 18th Street)

The Fearless Benjamin Lay chronicles the transatlantic life and times of a singular and astonishing man—a Quaker dwarf who became one of the first ever to demand the total, unconditional emancipation of all enslaved Africans around the world. He performed public guerrilla theater to shame slave masters, insisting that human bondage violated the fundamental principles of Christianity. He wrote a fiery, controversial book against bondage that Benjamin Franklin published in 1738. He lived in a cave, made his own clothes, refused to consume anything produced by slave labor, championed animal rights, and embraced vegetarianism. He acted on his ideals to create a new, practical, revolutionary way of life.

Marcus Rediker has written, co-written, or edited ten books: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (1987); Who Built America? (1989), volume one; The Many-Headed Hydra (2000, with Peter Linebaugh); Villains of All Nations (2004); The Slave Ship (2007); Many Middle Passages (2007); The Amistad Rebellion (2012); Mutiny and Maritime Radicalism in the Age of Revolution (2013); and Outlaws of the Atlantic (2014). 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Visiting Day Reviewed in Maximim Rocknroll

Visiting Day got a really nice review in the August 2017 issue of MRR. Check it out:

$3 / 32 pgs
Visiting Day is a fascinating black and white zine about visiting someone in Rikers Prison. There's three perspectives here: that of the inmate, Jarrod, and his trip from general population to the visiting area; Jarrod's partner Maud preparing for and coming to the prison; and a little bit of Jarrod's friend Nate who comes along. The three perspectives all come with different style art, which all fit the people well it seems. Overall this is a really tender, thorough, and engaging breakdown of what it's like to be visited or visit someone in prison. There's nothing really about what they talk about in the actual visit -- which is fantastic because it keeps you focused on how difficult it is to see someone in jail (ex: you have to bring quarters to pay for a cubby to store the personal effects you are forced to removel inmates wait for hours between stages of transport before getting to actually see their visitor). Get this zine to learn more about how prison works on the ground and to appreciate the journeys the state forces people to take just to see those they love. Just get the zine, really. (KS)

You can buy or read the zine online here.

Friday, September 8, 2017

New Piece in The Brooklyn Rail: Solidarity Behind Bars

Dissident COBA caucus editorial cartoon from 1976
I have a piece in the September Brooklyn Rail detailing the political history of the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association (COBA), NYC's jail guard union, and its relationship to the plan to close down Rikers Island. Read it here, or get off your stroke carpet and pick up a print copy in real life.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sunday July 16th: Joint Release Event for Visiting Day and Hard Crackers #3

Join us Sunday July 16th at 2pm to celebrate the joint release of Hard Crackers: Chronicles of Everyday Life #3,and Visiting Day, a new zine about the visitation process in the New York City jail system. In addition to the New York crew, Hard Crackers editor Noel Ignatiev and Visiting Day illustrator Nate McDonough will both be visiting from out of town. We will have copies of both publications on hand, and a few mercifully short readings. 

2pm @ Freddy's Bar and Backroom

627 5th Avenue in South Brooklyn 

About Hard Crackers #3:
A unique publication: political but not absorbed in elections or program, literary but not inflated, scholarly but not scholastic. Includes “Into the Hollows,” a report from someone who campaigned for Barack Obama in Pike County in 2008 -- raw material for those seeking to understand how popular consciousness can change in a short time. Previous issues can be purchased online, and selections are available to read on the Hard Crackers website.

About Visiting Day:
In the summer of 2016 zinesters Maud Pryor (Marmalade Umlaut) and Nate McDonough (Grixly) visited their pal Jarrod Shanahan (Hard Crackers) while he was locked up at Rikers Island. Maud and Nate documented the visit from the visitor’s perspective, and Jarrod from the inmate’s. The result is Visiting Day, the story of their experiences and an illustrated first-person guide for visiting (and being visited by) loved ones at Rikers.The zine can be downloaded in its entirety for free.

Friday, June 2, 2017

*Updated* Visiting Day, a new zine by Maud, Nate, and yours truly

Update: Visiting Day is now available online as a high-res PDF

When I was locked up last summer my zinester pals Nate and Maud came to visit me. Our idea was to document the visitation process at Rikers from both sides. Over the last year we have compiled our experiences into the zine Visiting Day, an illustrated story of our experiences, and a guide to visiting (or being visited at) Rikers Island. Our goal is to share the entire zine online for free, and we'll do that as soon as we find a good host. If you'd like a shiny paper copy, Maud and I will have copies at the 8-Ball Zine Fair in Manhattan on Saturday 6/3. If you can't come out for that, pick up a copy online thanks to our friends at Gnarly As I Wanna Be!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

CUNY Struggle at Left Forum / Hard Crackers #3

At this year's Left Forum, CUNY Struggle will be presenting our analysis on the CUNY system and the way forward for a militant public university movement. This is a slight variation of the panel we did at HM, which was received very well. Check out this generous essay by Louis Proyect on the HM panel.

The panel is Sunday at 3:40. I'll be joined by comrades Andy Battle, Claire Cahen, Chris Natoli, and Sonam Singh. Click here for the details.

Also, Hard Crackers is doing a bit of crowdfunding for our third issue, which we hope to be out by the end of the summer. If you like HC and in the very likely case I just gave you a free copy and told you not to worry about it, check out the Go Fund Me page we've set up.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Debate on the Future of CUNY Unionism

Last week I had the privilege of joining four comrades from CUNY Struggle in a debate with the incumbent New Caucus slate at the Graduate Center. The debate featured a good amount of inside baseball that might not be terribly interesting to folks not engaged in day-to-day labor organizing in the CUNY system, but we were able to cut through the minutia and outline a different vision for how workplace organizing can function at CUNY. I'm not saying we definitively won, but let's just say only one slate is publicizing the existence of this video. Check out the rest of the literature from our election here, and come see CUNY Struggle on our panel at the Historical Materialism conference on Saturday, April 22nd, where I will be expanding on the closing remarks presented at our debate.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

New Piece in The New Inquiry #59: ABOLISH: Days Spent Doing Too Much of Fucking Nothing

I'm honored to have a new piece in The New Inquiry entitled "Days Spent Doing Too Much of Fucking Nothing". It's an essay on Lil Wayne's Gone 'til November that situates the book's mind-numbing banality in the history of a facility near and dear to my heart, the Eric M. Taylor Center at Rikers Island. Check it out here, and consider subscribing to TNI! 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

CUNY Struggle Slate in the Graduate Center Election

I am running for office in my union, on a platform of hope and change! Check out the info on our slate here, and stay tuned to in the coming weeks for a more detailed platform.

Update 3/17: Here is our latest piece on how to transform the way our union fights, and the rest of CUNY along with it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

*Updated* Insurgent Notes Conference Sunday 2/5

Update 2/27: listen to conference here. Thanks to the 100+ people who came out and participated!

This coming Sunday join Insurgent Notes for a day-long series of discussions around the Trump presidency and the way forward for the revolutionary left. In addition to co-organizing this conference I will be offering some prepared remarks along with comrades Shemon Salam and Amiri Barksdale on the panel "Against Whiteness Again". Here is the day's program:

Agenda for Insurgent Notes Public Meeting 
Sunday, February 5, 2017
CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue/Room 5409

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Coffee/Registration/Introductions

11:00 AM – 11:30 AM Getting Started—Welcome and Review of Agenda

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM Making Sense of the Election Campaigns & Their Results: A Conversation
Claire Cahen, Loren Goldner, Arya Zahedi

12:30 PM – 1:15 PM Anti-Fascism and the Alt-Right: Presentation by Matthew Lyons, Three Way Fight

1:15 PM -- 1:45 PM Lunch & Informal Conversations

1:45 PM – 2:30 PM For Women’s Liberation in an Age of Reaction: A Conversation
Zhana Kurti, Wilson Sherwin

2:30 PM – 3:15 PM Against Whiteness Again: A Conversation
Amiri Barksdale, Shemon Salam, Jarrod Shanahan

3:15 PM -- 3:45 PM Brief Reports on Organizing Projects

3:45 PM -- 4:30 PM Open Discussion—Reactions to the Meeting/Unanswered Questions

4:30 PM – 5:00 PM Wrapping Up—Possible Next Steps

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM Social Gathering

Please note:
1. At least half of the time in all sessions will be reserved for participant discussion.
2. Lunch will be catered; we’d like to ask participants not to leave the building during lunch.
3. The Graduate Center is wheelchair accessible.
4. We will have a video connection—via google hangout— to enable remote participation. There will be an easy sign-in by way of a web link. Interested individuals should send a message to by January 31, 2017 to request the link.
5. Contributions will be solicited to cover meeting costs.
6. A picture ID is required for admission to the Graduate Center.
7. Pre-Registration—we strongly encourage pre-registration. Send an email message with name, best email address and cell phone number to Preferably by January 31, 2017.
8. We hope to have audio, and possibly video, recordings of the presentations and discussions. 9. If you have any difficulties getting to the meeting, please send an email to the editors’ address on February 7th to obtain assistance.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Hard Crackers Event 1/21: Frederick Douglass in Brooklyn

Hard Crackers is honored to be hosting historian Ted Hamm for a release of his book Frederick Douglass in Brooklyn. Join Ted and the New York editors of Hard Crackers for a reading and discussion. Copies of the book will be available. 

Saturday, January 21st
4pm - 6pm
Freddys Bar and Backroom
627 5th Avenue, Brooklyn

Thursday, December 1, 2016

CUNY at the Crossroads


Earlier this Fall I teamed up with some very bright comrades in the City University of New York (CUNY) system to draft an accessible guide to CUNY's political history and the challenges we face today. Even if you aren't in the CUNY system, I'd reccomend this text to anyone grappling with the battle over accessible public services under the coming presidential administration. If you're organizing around these issues, or if you're just in New York and would like to connect, drop us a line!  

The full text and a printable version of the guide can be found here. To order paper copies, email

Monday, November 14, 2016

Hard Crackers Issue 2 Release // Open Forum on the US Election

This Sunday (11/20) join Noel Ignatiev and other contributors to Hard Crackers for a discussion the unfolding political situation in the United States. We will also be launching our second issue. 

Hard Crackers is dedicated to taking the pulse of everyday life in the US -- the good, the bad, and the ugly. Our writing has focused on examining race, class, wage labor, incarceration, and the madness of life in the contemporary United States, from standpoints of everyday working class experience.

As the merchants of conventional wisdom pluck the typical low hanging fruit to explain the upset victory of Donald Trump, it is more urgent than ever to push against easy answers and face the complex realities of daily life that contributed to this moment. In other words: What the hell is going on in this country? 

Sunday 11/20, 2pm
Freddy's Bar and Backroom
627 5th Avenue, Brooklyn 11215

Monday, October 24, 2016

Hard Crackers #2 Now Available

Hard Crackers #2 is now available for purchase online! I have a short piece about fine dining behind bars, which I wrote before I realized that dude Prodigy from Mobb Deep has a book of prison recipes out this year. Oh well. Below is Noel Ignatiev's editorial introduction to this issue, which really sets the table for what you're in for this time around:

Welcome to the second issue of Hard Crackers: Chronicles of Everyday Life, with reports from north and south, New England to California and up and down the Midwest, depicting life at work, in prison, on the street, efforts to save communities, reminiscences of growing up in another time and comments on films old and new. There are obvious gaps in our coverage, which we hope to fill in future issues.

As we send this issue off to be laid out and printed, we note three things happening in the country: 1) the prison strike called for September 9; 2) Standing Rock, North Dakota; 3) Charlotte, North Carolina. It is too soon to provide analyses; for now it is enough to know which side we are on.

From a correspondent:

CNN interviewed an unnamed person in Charlotte who assisted a protestor:

UNNAMED PERSON: “I left the hospital after an asthma attack. I went to Buffalo Wild Wings. I was
walking down the street with my wings. I saw a man on the ground bleeding. I helped carry him into the Omni hotel. The police were not helping. Gosh! They held me there in custody. I ended back in the hospital with an asthma attack.

CNN INTERVIEWER: “You mean you had a second asthma attack in the tear gas, and you are back out on the street again tonight! Why are you there?”

UNNAMED PERSON: “I used to just walk around. Now I have to walk around with an inhaler. But you have to take a stand. If you do not stand for something you will die for nothing.”

That is why we publish Hard Crackers.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

New Essay in Insurgent Notes, Readings in Brooklyn and Providence

I wrote a piece on a work stoppage at Rikers Island for the Insurgent Notes journal. It can be read here.

If you're in Brooklyn on Saturday 9/10, come by a talk I'm giving at 1pm, along with some friends, on this piece and other observations from EMTC. We'll be speaking at Freddy's Bar, 627 5th Avenue in South Slope. Here's the event page. This event is sponsored by Insurgent Notes, and Hard Crackers.

And if you're near Providence the following Saturday, 9/17, check out a reading Noel Ignatiev and I are doing to celebrate the release of Hard Crackers Issue I. We'll be at the IWW union hall, 375 Smith St, Providence, at 6pm. Here's the event page.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Morbid Tales: An Anthology of Weird Fiction

Death Wound Publishing has been generous enough to publish one of the strangest essays I've ever written, "The Marriage of Maria Braun, Sequel to Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS" in a short fiction anthology available now! It's a must-read for all fans of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the most execrable dregs of exploitation cinema, and Michel Foucault's 1978 lecture series The Birth of Biopolitics. So, basically... nobody.

The essay appears in an anthology entitled Morbid Tales: An Anthology of Weird Fiction, alongside nine other stories that are equally, if not more, bat shit insane. Needless to say I recommend everybody get a copy, along with DW's other dope publications.

This essay is part of a planned "Sequel To" series. I have also written "Bad Lieutenant, Sequel to Blue Collar", which may see the light one of these days. Say something nice about this one and I may write another.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Great review of Hard Crackers from Louis Proyect, and a hot PSC-CUNY contract debate

Louis Proyect wrote perhaps the best review yet of Hard Crackers. Here's my favorite excerpt:

The articles in the premiere issue of Hard Crackers were just the kind that I dote on. They remind me of Harvey Swados’s classic 1957 Bildungsroman “On the Line”, a collection of stories about being an auto worker in the Mahwah Ford Plant. Or Michael Yates’s In and Out of the Working Class. Or even the novels and short stories of Charles Bukowski, who while by no means being a Marxist, conveyed through his fiction the observation made by Karl Marx in Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844: “…the worker feels himself only when he is not working; when he is working, he does not feel himself. He is at home when he is not working, and not at home when he is working.”

We're working on Issue 2 right now, and I don't think Louis will be disappointed. 

On the workplace front, my group CUNY Struggle has been part of an exciting grassroots campaign to defeat a terrible union contract being rushed through without debate in the summer while many people are away. Check out for a number of fantastic pieces making the case for a NO! vote. We had an action two weeks ago that got some press, and have otherwise been getting a little publicity here and there. I wrote a position piece on a NO! vote, which I left unsigned since the ideas came from everyone, especially Ruth Wangerin. I was also quoted to this effect in the Chronicle of Higher Education, in a piece languishing behind a paywall. Here is the video I made as a part of our "Faces of the NO! Campaign" project, where I expand on the same points.


Friday, July 15, 2016

New piece in Marmalade Umlaut

Hi readers! I have a new piece in my favorite hand made punk rock vegan zine with a strong female lead, Marmalade Umlaut. "Cruelty Free in a Cruel World" documents the struggle to keep a vegan diet behind bars. It can be done! 

To order, click on over to Food Feud and order Issue #34 (and all the other issues!) in the right sidebar. Thanks to MU for having this piece, and stop eating animals, it's just tacky. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

My piece "Some Bullshit" from Hard Crackers #1 now online

Thanks to everyone who came out to the release event last month, the other readers Mike Morgan, Tony Maniscalco, and Andy Folk, John Garvey and Noel for emceeing the event, and to Andy B for making actual hard tack! It was disgusting but strangely compelling. "Tough and edgy", as Marcus Rediker called issue #1. Here's a photo of me reading. Thanks to Maud for the photo, and to Ben Sherman on Mercer Street for going out of business and providing me with such a snazzy shirt.

My piece "Some Bullshit" is now available to read on the new HC website. You can also check out the growing responses to Issue #1, collected on our website, and this cranky and ultimately generous review written by Paul Buhle as a part of his "Good Summer Reading on the Left".

Issue #2 should be ready in the early Fall. If you're interested in taking part, get in touch!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Reading at Freddy's Bar in Brooklyn 5/22 to Celebrate the Release of Hard Crackers

Sunday 5/22, 1pm
Freddy's Bar (back room)
627 5th Avenue btw 17th and 18th, Brooklyn
R to Prospect Ave, or B63 bus

Celebrate the release of Hard Crackers with editors and contributors! We want to share our new journal with you, hear suggestions for future issues, and twist your arm into becoming a contributor. 

Readers will include HC editors and contributors Jarrod Shanahan (It's A Tough Economy!) and Mike Morgan (Lurch). 

Come and show your support for this new project!

"Hard Crackers is a new periodical looking at the lives of “ordinary people,” among whom there exists the capacity to overturn the present mess and build a new society. A place where black people can express their bitterness at the prolonged mistreatment they have suffered at the hands of whites, and where the resentment on the part of many whites at being blamed for a history they do not think is their fault can also be heard. “The alliance between a real estate tycoon and the people who live in shacks and trailer parks cannot endure.” This publication grew out of discussions among people who had been involved with the journal Race Traitor and virtually every article deals directly or indirectly with race."

-description from AK Press distribution (

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Hard Crackers, Issue 1

Issue I of Hard Crackers is now available for purchase through AK Press. Founded by Noel Ignatiev of Race Traitor (and a fantastic editorial team of which I am lucky to be part), these "Chronicles of Everyday Life" aim to document the complexities of daily life in the present, with an emphasis on the liberatory potential (and risk of reaction) of day to day life. In the time of the Trump ascendancy, our wager is, to quote Noel's introduction: "The alliance between a real estate tycoon and people who live in shacks and trailer parks cannot endure."

Presently there isn't any content online, so you just may have to buy this slick little commodity. I contributed a new essay "Some Bullshit", dealing with an experience all too common to many New Yorkers. Other essays revolve around topics like hospice care, factory work, running track, growing up in Brooklyn, life on the margins of white society in Apartheid South Africa, and a nice primer on the basic race politics of the US Civil War. Anyone interested in contributing to future issues should contact me or Noel. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

CUNY Struggle

For the past six months I've been organizing in the CUNY system, where I work as a graduate teaching fellow while earning a PhD. My union the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) has been mounting an increasingly confrontational strike campaign. A group of my fellow rank-and-filers started a small ad hoc
grouping called CUNY Struggle, to help facilitate a broader-based CUNY movement, while serving as a platform for cooperation and debate. 

Earlier this year we launched, a resource for news, analysis, and debate around CUNY activism. This week, as the PSC prepares to vote on authorizing a strike, I offered up my analysis on the role of trade unions in our society, and the CUNY situation in particular. The piece is entitle "I'm Voting Yes on Strike Authorization", and while the analysis is by no means perfect or complete, it represents my attempt of some years to come to grips with the role of trade unions in the US class struggle. If you're in the CUNY system or have some writing you think would fit on the site, email