by Marc Bousquet
In April 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated while organizing mass protests in support of an illegal strike by Memphis sanitation workers. Like many activists of his day, he saw a series of connections among discrimination by race, sex, and workplace exploitation. He asked, “What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn’t earn enough money to buy a hamburger and a cup of coffee?” (1968). In response to intersecting modes of oppression, King and others believed that liberatory social movements needed to pursue shared goals. The long tradition of such intersectional labor analysis includes the oratory of Frederick Douglass (2000) and the sociology of W. E. B. Du Bois (1995a, 1995b); the feminist anarchism of Lucy Parsons (2004) and Emma Goldman (1969); the revolutionary communist poetry of Langston Hughes (1973) and Amiri Baraka (1999); as well as the socialist feminism of Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (2006), Donna Haraway (1985), Angela Davis (1983), Barbara Ehrenreich (2001), and Leslie Feinberg (1993), among countless others.