Deborah Dundas is a journalist who grew up poor and almost didn’t make it to university. In On Class, she talks to writers, activists, those who work with the poor and those who are poor about what happens when we don’t talk about poverty or class—and what will happen when we do.
Stories about poor people are rarely written by the poor—and when they are written they tend to fit into a hero narrative. Through hard work, smarts, and temerity, the hero pulls themselves up by their bootstraps in a narrative that simply provides an easy exception: look, we don’t have to give you more, you just have to work harder. On Class is an exploration of the ways we talk about class: of who tells the stories and who doesn’t, and why that has to change. It asks the question: What don’t we talk about when we don’t talk about class? We don’t talk about luck, or privilege, or entitlement. We don’t talk about the trauma that goes along with being poor.
Praise for the Field Notes series
“A clear-eyed assessment of the links between property, policing, and the subjugation of Black people … Walcott’s analysis of the ways in which white supremacy is baked into the legal systems of Canada and the U.S. is stimulating. Progressives will embrace this well-conceived call for change.”—Publishers Weekly
“Running a brief but far-reaching and punchy 96 pages, On Property has an absolute certainty of purpose: calling for the abolition of private property ownership … [If] statements such as ‘the problem of property is resolved through its removal’ or calls to ‘abolish everything’ can make some people quake, when Walcott’s pamphlet argues for the human ability to reconsider and rebuild societal structures, the stances come across as sensible and, better yet, doable.”—Toronto Star
“Rinaldo Walcott locates his contribution to the Field Notes series on current issues, On Property, in the present political moment, while using historical references and events to argue for the abolition of police and property … Walcott concludes his case by asking for a new ethics of care and economy that does not keep feeding into the incarceration system, a system rigged to continue Black suffering … It is a question we must ask ourselves after reflecting on the ways in which we, too, are complicit.”—Quill & Quire
“Kingwell offers a slender, thoughtful, sometimes meandering disquisition on risk that “is inflected (or infected) by the virus, but not precisely about the virus—except as it grants new urgency to old questions of risk and politics. A host of cultural allusions—from Shakespeare to the Simpsons, Isaiah Berlin to Irving Berlin, Voltaire, Pascal, and Derrida—along with salient academic studies inspire Kingwell to examine the many contradictory ways that humans handle risk … An entertaining gloss on an enduring conundrum.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Urgent, far-reaching and with a profound generosity of care, the wisdom in On Property is absolute. We cannot afford to ignore or defer its teachings. Now is the time for us-collectively-to take up the challenge in this undeniable gift of a book.”—Canisia Lubrin, author of The Dyzgraphxst and Voodoo Hypothesis