Sarah Jaffe

Sarah Jaffe is an independent journalist and co-host of Dissent magazine's Belabored podcast. Her work has been published in The Atlantic, In These Times, The Nation, and many other outlets.

Recent Articles

Labour’s Secret Weapon

The Chingford Assembly Hall is on the far northeast outskirts of London. The Underground doesn’t run there, so it’s taken a winding bus ride past green spaces to arrive in time to run into John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer from the Labour Party, on the doorstep. McDonnell is in Chingford with Faiza Shaheen, Labour’s candidate for the district, and over 100 local activists, party members, and curious newcomers for an event with Labour’s community organizing unit (COU). These events have taken place around the country, over 100 of them in the 20 months since the unit was founded as part of Jeremy Corbyn and his leftist allies’ attempt to remake the party into something it has not been in decades, if ever: a grassroots fighting force to bring socialism to Britain. While the media focuses on personality conflicts among party leaders and the interminable Brexit showdown, the effort by Labour to rebuild on the ground has gone almost...

A Brexit Diary: What Comes Next for Labour?

As gridlock in Parliament mounts, Jeremy Corbyn must find a way to move his leftist agenda to the center of the conversation.

I didn’t go to London to write about Brexit; despite that, here I am, back in the U.S. and writing about Brexit. At the moment, Brexit remains the unavoidable obstacle of British politics. For the past several months, almost nothing has happened inside Parliament except failed Brexit deal votes, Groundhog Day-style, like the one that happened on Tuesday evening, when Prime Minister Theresa May’s exit deal went down to yet another historic defeat—the fourth-largest in House of Commons history . When visiting Parliament in late February, I did watch Labour MP Helen Hayes introduce a bill on affordable housing , but then the debate shifted immediately to Brexit. The tone of parliamentary debate is jarring for an outsider—the culture of mockery, the speaker teasing his colleagues that they know the answer to their questions, the snark, makes it feel like an Oxford debating society meeting rather than a serious consideration of issues that affect millions of people...

Unions to Banks: Pay Up

AP Photo/Dominic Lipinski,
AP Photo/Keystone, Steffen Schmidt Rebecca Sandoval hasn't had a raise for six years. She and other home-care workers who work for the state of Oregon and are represented by Local 503 of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) make $10.20 an hour to assist people with disabilities and senior citizens, like the 99-year-old woman Sandoval cares for. The state froze wages at 2007 levels to help offset a yawning $855 million budget shortfall caused by the financial crisis. Almost every year since then, Sandoval says, it has further cut back hours, leaving workers with the choice to leave some of their clients' needs unmet or to work for free. “You can't rush a 99-year-old woman with any aspect of her daily living,” she says. Members of Local 503 in different professions have seen similar wage freezes and cutbacks. James Jacobson got a layoff notice after 16 years as an office worker at the University of Oregon's college of education; budget cuts, it explained. He's...

A New Southern Strategy

In South Carolina, an Obama campaign veteran puts his organizing strategies to work in government.

(Anton Gunn)
Anton Gunn's e-mail promises I won't have a hard time picking him out in the Starbucks in Richland County, South Carolina. He's right. Easily the biggest guy in the room, the former offensive lineman looms over an older man in an American Legion baseball cap with whom he's chatting about local business. We're just northeast of Columbia, South Carolina's capital, in the heart of Gunn's state House district. Gunn is used to standing out. An African American representative in a majority-white district, a Democrat in a Republican-dominated state, and a 36-year-old surrounded by career politicians, he makes a fitting messenger for Obama's campaign--trail message about the need for a new kind of politics that moves beyond traditional divisions. The 2008 election may be long over, but Obama's campaign themes are still being put to the test in states like South Carolina. When Gunn became Obama's state political director during the all-important South Carolina primary, he had already made one...