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REFINERY TOWN (Book Discussion)
March 7 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Steve Early will discuss his new book, “REFINERY TOWN: Big Oil, Big Money and the Remaking of an American City.”
About the book: Home to one of the largest oil refineries in the state, Richmond, California, was once a typical company town dominated by Chevron, the global energy giant. This largely nonwhite, working-class city of a hundred thousand suffered from poverty, street crime, substandard housing, and poorly funded public education. It had one of the highest per capita homicide rates in the country and a jobless rate often twice the national average.
But in 2012, when labor activist Steve Early moved from Boston to Richmond, he witnessed a surprising transformation. In Refinery Town, Early chronicles the fifteen years of successful community organizing that raised the minimum wage, challenged home foreclosures and enacted rent control, reduced crime through community policing, made Richmond a sanctuary city, and pressured Big Oil to pay its fair share of taxes.
Leading these fights was the Richmond Progressive Alliance, a multi-racial, working class oriented community-labor coalition that has won 10 out of 16 campaigns for mayor or city council since 2004. As Senator Bernie Sanders writes in his Foreword to the book, this compelling story of a city remade provides a model for independent political action and community building everywhere.
About the author: Steve Early has been a labor organizer, lawyer, and journalist for forty-five years. He was active in Labor for Bernie and belongs to the Richmond Progressive Alliance. He is the author of three previous books, including Save Our Unions: Dispatches of a Movement in Distress. He lives in Richmond, CA.