Marxist elected to head the American Library Association

Last week, the American Library Association openly elected socialist Emily Drabinski as the group’s president-elect for 2022-23.

On at Drabinsky website describing her platform for her presidential run, she says: “So many of us find ourselves at the ends of our worlds. The consequences of decades of runaway climate change, class warfare, white supremacy and imperialism brought us here. If we want a world that includes public goods like the library, we have to organize our collective power and wield it.”

Its platform calls for increased funding for “schools, libraries and communities, economic and racial justice for library workers and the communities in which we live and work, environmental sustainability, and collaboration and cooperation in beyond our borders”.

“Social and economic justice and racial equity demand that we make a material difference in the lives of library staff and patrons who have for too long been denied power and opportunity on the basis of race, gender , sexuality, national origin, language spoken and disability,” says Drabinski.

“As president of the ALA, I will direct resources and opportunities to a diverse cross-section of the association and advance a public agenda that puts organizing for justice at the center of library work,” said she added.

His platform has also sought to advance Green New Deal legislation.

“Floods, hurricanes, wildfires and other consequences of climate change threaten libraries, library workers and library audiences around the world. We must build on the recent work of associations in this area and connect us to broader public legislation to preserve libraries and communities for an uncertain future,” its platform said.

She also noted that as president, she would “develop and share a global vision of librarianship in which international cooperation and exchange are at the heart of equity and justice.”

“From organized attacks on library funding to attempted book bans to state bans on what can and cannot be taught in the classroom, we all face pressures that get in the way of our core missions” , Drabinski added later.

“As President of ALA, I will bring an organizing approach to the leadership of the association, keeping us talking with each other as we collectively develop a national campaign for libraries. I get there? Let’s find out. Remember: there are more of us than there are of them, especially when we work together.”

Following the announcement of Drabinski’s election, she wrote on Twitter: “I simply cannot believe that a Marxist lesbian who believes in building collective power and wielding it for one better world be the president-elect of @ALALibrary. I’m so excited for what we’re going to do together. Solidarity!”

In a Jacobian room writing before the ALA election, journalist Natalie Shure recounted the formative events that led to Drabinski running for ALA President.

One was a meeting with union members currently on strike at Long Island University over a contract offer, where union leaders told attendees they would vote yes on the contract, which Drabinski disputed, saying no one had a say. in it and couldn’t read the contract.

She would later be embroiled in another union story in 2016, where LIU management put the faculty on lockdown, voiding paychecks and health insurance plans.

Drabinski used his office skills to organize a fight back with union members, allies and students, with the lockout ending in 12 days.

“I learned how much work it takes to mount a defense against power,” Drabinski said. Jacobin. “I’ve learned how crucial it is to bring people together at times like this. You have to make a list, you have to write down everyone who is involved and has an interest, you have to talk to every one of them. them. And you have to get each of them to talk to someone else. And the conversations you have between you determine how you shape your strategy and how you figure out how to turn your complaints into demands. Collective power . »

Drabinski noted that’s the kind of power library workers need right now.

Trade union struggles like this have been brought to light on Drabinski’s Twitter in length, including an Amazon facility in New York City’s struggle to unionize.

In response to his election, Drabinsky said“As we face an uncertain and difficult future, I know this: we have each other, and we are enough. I stand ready to work with all of you to strengthen our association and our field to support workers libraries and the communities we serve. Thank you for your trust and support of my vision for ALA and your role in that vision. We have a lot of work ahead of us to build collective power for the public good. I look forward to to start with all of you.”

Andrew B. Reiter