Counter  Journal

Issue #1

Unionizing: Impasses and Possibilities

This cluster of essays draws from first-hand experience in unionizing within academic and cultural spaces. It also addresses the longer history of unions in the United States along with the potentialities and ambivalences surrounding organizing in the present. Topics of interest include: the future of the labor movement after Janus; horizontal versus vertical organization; barriers to unionizing in cultural spaces; inherited ideas of what counts as labor; social justice organizing; differences between political and economic demands in organizing; race and gender in union spaces.

These issues circulate around questions of representation within the labor movement and their implication for its future. In this cluster we ask: what are the political aims of the labor movement and its transformative potential beyond the business unionism model of the last half century? This critical interrogation of union spaces, in part, responds to the recent resurgence of labor organizing and the desire to move it closer to the goal of liberation.

We seek to continue this conversation with contributions from cultural workers and activists who have thought about these questions. Contributions can take the form of a longer essay with footnotes (2,000–4,000 words), shorter notes and reflections (500–1,500 words), or creative work of any form. Reach us at

November 15, 2021

November 15, 2021

March 08, 2022

Labor Films

By Community Reading Group