Ian Haney López

Oct 14, 2020

Merge Left

Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America

The New Press 2019

Greedy elites are purposefully stoking racial division and laughing all the way to the bank. That is the bottom line of Ian Haney López’s Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America (The New Press, 2019), an essential read for the upcoming election as the Left tries to rescue democracy from the modern Right’s campaign of fear, racial division, and corporate interests. On this episode of the New Books Network, join your hosts Dr. Lee M Pierce (she/they) and Mary Whiteside, J.D. (she/hers) as they interview Dr. Haney López (he/his) about this important follow-up work to his 2014 Dog Whistle Politics and his digital project, Race Class Academy, a free 12-video introduction teaching us to work together to beat dog whistle politics by building cross-racial and cross-class solidarity. Check it out at https://race-class-academy.com/

“When we come together to reject racism as a weapon of the rich, we can make sure that the government works for all of us, of every race and color.” ~ Ian Haney López. The country is headed toward what will surely be one of the most consequential elections ever, with the Right gearing up to exploit racial fear-mongering to divide and distract, and the Left splintered over the next step forward. Some want to focus on racial justice head-on; others insist that a race-silent focus on class avoids alienating white voters. Can either approach—race-forward or colorblind—build the progressive supermajorities necessary to break political gridlock and fundamentally change the country’s direction?

For the past two years, Haney López has been collaborating with a research team of union activists, racial justice leaders, communications specialists, and pollsters. Based on conversations, interviews, and surveys with thousands of people all over the country, the team found a way forward.

By merging the fights for racial justice and for shared economic prosperity, they were able to build greater enthusiasm for both goals—and for the cross-racial solidarity needed to win elections. What does this mean? It means that neutralizing the Right’s political strategy of racial division is possible, today. And that’s the key to everything progressives want to achieve.

A work of deep research, nuanced argument, and urgent insight, Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America is an indispensable tool for the upcoming political season and in the larger fight to build racial justice and shared economic prosperity for all of us.

We hope you enjoyed listening as much as we enjoyed chatting about this fascinating book. Connect with your host, Lee Pierce, on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for interview previews, the best book selfies, and new episode alerts.

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Lee Pierce

Lee M. Pierce (she/they) is an Assistant Professor at SUNY Geneseo specializing in rhetoric, race, and U.S. political culture. They also host the Media & Communications and Language channels for New Books Network and their own podcast titled RhetoricLee Speaking.
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