In 1976, David Ranney gave up his tenured academic job to organize on the South Side of Chicago. Ranney 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. Ranney also worked in a number of factories in Chicago and Northwest Indiana, home at the time to roughly one and a half million industrial jobs, making it one of the greatest concentrations of heavy industry in the world. In this time he witnessed and participated in strikes, lockouts, dramatic direct actions, and also the everyday contradictions, solidarities, and resistances that blossom in working-class communities and workplaces.
Join Hard Crackers on April 14th at 6pm for a dialogue between Ranney and activist scholars Zhandarka Kurti (NYU Prison Education Program, Hard Crackers) and Jarrod Shanahan (CUNY Struggle, Hard Crackers). We will discuss Ranney's book Living and Dying on the Factory Floor: From the Outside In and the Inside Out (PM Press, 2019), chronicling Ranney's experiences in Chicago, and reflecting on their enduring lessons for organizers today.