Doug Henwood: What I think I like about your work is that you don’t romanticize the working class. Your story of the town you grew up in, the community that is very stratified by ethnicity, race, and religion — this is not an innocent, dynamic working class that we would like to see someday.
Michael D. Yates: There are so many contradictions in the minds of people. Even the attitudes that working people have toward the rich are contradictory to an amazing degree. . . .
Michael D. Yates is author of Cheap Motels and a Hotplate: An Economist’s Travelogue (Monthly Review Press, 2007), Naming the System: Inequality and Work in the Global Economy (Monthly Review Press, 2003), Why Unions Matter (Monthly Review Press, 1st Edition published in 1999, new edition published in May 2009), In and Out of the Working Class (Arbeiter Ring, 2009), and co-author (with Fred Magdoff) of The ABCs of the Economic Crisis: What Working People Need to Know among many other books and articles. Doug Henwood, editor of Left Business Observer, is the author of Wall Street: How It Works and for Whom and After the New Economy. This interview was broadcast by WBAI on 10 September 2009. The text above is a brief excerpt from the interview. See, also, Michael D. Yates, “A Union Is Not a ‘Movement'” (originally published in The Nation, 19 November 1977; re-published in MRZine, 16 January 2006).