Barbara Ehrenreich

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I first met Barbara Ehrenreich in the early 1970s at a national convention of the New American Movement where her New York chapter and my Austin Texas chapter bonded through a commitment to expand the organization’s class composition. On a personal level Barbara and I immediately connected as we discovered remarkable similarities in her Montana and my Texas upbringing. Both our families were strong union people, Roosevelt Democrats, never voted for a Republican, worked with their hands, and made their children first generation college students. But aside from the similarity of roots, Barbara was fun to be around. She was smart, unpretentious, irreverent, and funny as hell. A few years later when I moved to Boston to attend graduate school, Barbara invited me to be a staff writer for the NAM national newspaper and later recruited me for an essay in Between Labor and Capital arguing the role of a professional-managerial class in advanced capitalist society. In the years that followed, as I moved to the Bay Area, our communication became more erratic. But when we did meet or hook up by phone our personal connection remained and inspired. We last spoke about six months ago by phone. Barbara a seemed a bit tired and not feeling well. We caught up on some family, personal, and state of the world news. Her wit and intelligence were still present. And as we said our good-bye I was deeply thankful for her influence on my life. She is missed.

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