I wrote this post for The Stansbury Forum, a site honoring the work and spirit of union activist, writer, friend and mentor Jeff Stansbury, who died in 2008.
Five years in Los Angeles and I was still suffering from the region’s alienating social atmosphere. I had a few good friends, a new relationship and some interesting work under my belt in sales, journalism and PR. But I couldn’t shake the sensation that people in L.A. keep their distance and that there was something innately “asocial” about this place.
As I’ve explained, the labor movement was the tonic for my personal crisis. Southern California’s sprawl, materialism and hyper-individualism became less of a preoccupation when I started working with unions. I was finally giving up my fantasy of heading back to Vermont and could concentrate my mind on universal themes: big stuff like ethnic and class roots,