Join us on Monday, May 1 at 7pm PT when Jon Melrod is joined by Steve Early and Francisco Herrera to celebrate the release of his book, Fighting Times, with a panel on May Day lessons from labor and community activists at 9th Ave!
Masks Encouraged for In-Person Attendance
Or watch online at the link below
Praise for Fighting Times
“An eloquent voice from the frontlines of the hard, bitter, exhilarating struggles for freedom and justice that have made the world a better place. And an inspiring guide for carrying the crucial struggle forward.”—Noam Chomsky
“In Fighting Times, Jon Melrod shares his personal experiences in historical context about his human rights battles against social injustices. Jon was an early supporter of the Black Panther Party and the struggle for black liberation. As you will read, he became a target of the FBI after landing on the Bureau’s radar when he called the Chicago office to coordinate sales of The Black Panther community newspaper in Madison, WI. A must-read for all freedom-loving peoples.”
—Emory Douglas, social justice artist and minister of culture for the Black Panther Party, 1967–1981
“Melrod's Fighting Times isn't a memoir that talks about halcyon days when revolution was in the air—it's a fighting manual for people today who want to change society. The revolutionary doesn't just think the masses into action, but acts alongside them, lifting their fellow worker up and leading by example. If you're a young worker or student who wants to get things moving, Fighting Times shows you what it means to do just that.”
—Brace Belden, co-host of the True Anon podcast, volunteer with YPG Kurdish Militia in Syria, ILWU Local 6 organizing committee at Anchor Brewing San Francisco
About Fighting Times
Deeply personal, astutely political, Fighting Times: Organizing on the Front Lines of the Class War recounts the thirteen-year journey of Jonathan Melrod to harness working-class militancy and jump start a revolution on the shop floor of American Motors. Melrod faces termination, dodges the FBI, outwits collaborators in the UAW, and becomes the central figure in a lawsuit against the labor newsletter Fighting Times, as he strives to build a class-conscious workers’ movement from the bottom up.
A radical to the core, Melrod was a key part of campus insurrection at University of Wisconsin–Madison. He left campus for the factory in 1973, hired along with hundreds of youthful job seekers onto the mind-numbing assembly line. Fighting Times paints a portrait of these rebellious and alienated young hires, many of whom were Black Vietnam vets.
Containing dozens of archival photographs, Fighting Times captures the journey of a militant antiracist revolutionary who rose to the highest elected ranks of his UAW local without compromising his politics or his dedication to building a class-conscious workers’ movement. The book will arm and inspire a new generation of labor organizers with the skills and attitude to challenge the odds and fight the egregious abuses of the exploitative capitalist system.
About Our Panelists
Steve Early is a former national union representative for the Communications Workers of America, freelance journalist, and author of five books about labor or politics—including Refinery Town, which describes struggles for environmental justice and municipal reform in Richmond CA. His latest book (co-authored with Suzanne Gordon and Jasper Craven) is Our Veterans: Winners, Losers, Friends and Enemies on the New Terrain of Veterans Affairs (Duke University Press), which deals with the life-long impact of military service on 19 million Americans and the role of former soldiers in the labor movement.
Theologian, cultural worker, winger-songwriter, Francisco Herrera is a co-director, musician, and educator for the social justice organization Trabajo Cultural Caminante. He has produced seven albums. He is a co-host of the KPFA radio shows La Onda Bajita and Flashpoints and as an interfaith organizer for the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice and the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy. He ran for Mayor of San Francisco in 2015.
Born into the political and cultural quiescence of the 1950s, Jon Melrod grew up in apartheid-like Washington DC. Active in the student movement that opposed the Vietnam War and a supporter of black liberation, Jon embraced the ideology that the working class held the power to radically transform society. He left the campus for the factory in 1973. For thirteen years, he immersed himself in the day-to-day struggles of Milwaukee’s working class, both on the factory floor and in the political arena. Despite FBI surveillance and interference, Jon organized a militant rank-and-file caucus and rose through union ranks to a top leadership position in UAW Local 72. After a mass workforce cutback imposed by AMC’s joint venture partner Renault, he left to attend Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco in 1985. Graduating cum laude with a JD, he opened a law firm in San Francisco, successfully representing hundreds of political refugees. He is the author of Fighting Times: Organizing on the Front Lines of the Class War (PM Press, 2022).
Deeply personal, astutely political, Fighting Times: Organizing on the Front Lines of the Class War
recounts the thirteen-year journey of Jonathan Melrod to harness
working-class militancy and jump start a revolution on the shop floor of
American Motors. Melrod faces termination, dodges the FBI, outwits