In postindustrial eastern France, the neoliberal era has been a long class war waged from above. Award-winning novelist Nicolas Mathieu portrays how the destruction of working-class communities has fed cynicism and despair.
Conrad Landin is a writer based in Glasgow.
Megan Nolan’s debut novel, Acts of Desperation, centers on a young woman trapped in a toxic relationship with her violent boyfriend. It’s also a book deeply pervaded by class — and how a social order built on domination makes us feel we have no power to free ourselves.
Struggling for cash in the late 1920s, Harlem Renaissance trailblazer Claude McKay found casual work as a docker in Marseille. Finally published this year, his Romance in Marseille illuminates the city with both personal emotion and a vivid class feeling — testament to the tough fight for solidarity among the migrant proletariat.
Railworkers have been decisive in the resistance to Emmanuel Macron’s dismantling of the French welfare state. These workers’ strength owes to their ability to bring traffic to a standstill — but also to a culture of solidarity built across decades of militant workplace activism.