This issue marks the start of the third year of Field Notes. I’m very happy to say “thank you” to Publisher Phong Bui, Managing Editor Laila Pedro, Lead Art Director Maggie Barrett, Webmaster Don Leistman, and everyone else who makes the Rail take physical form each month—and especially to the writers who are responsible for making this section of the Rail a continually exciting locus for discussion of contemporary politics. A special thanks goes to the departing Walter Chiu, who did such great work designing and illustrating the section over the first two years.
Our third anniversary also provides an opportunity to announce a new dimension to our work: the launching of the Field Notes series of books, to be published by Reaktion Books (London) in association with the Rail. This series will allow our writers to expand their investigations of present-day problems and future possibilities, maintaining a sharp focus on real conditions and an avoidance of ideology. The first Field Notes volume will be A Happy Future is a Thing of the Past: Notes on the Crisis, Greece, and Other Disasters by Pavlos Roufos, whom Rail readers know as Cognord; the second will be Classes in Motion, about higher education and the restructuring of the U.S. working class, by Gary Roth. Both of these projects perfectly embody my intention, as editor of Field Notes and of the series, to publish work combining illuminating empirical information with sophisticated—and jargon-free—analysis.
Meanwhile, as we rush onward in our handbaskets towards assorted disasters of war, climate change, and mass immiseration, Field Notes will continue to offer a monthly space for description, analysis, and argument. With the world’s economic and political elites unable to come up with means of dealing with problems which must also occasionally terrify them—the American ruling class apparently can’t even figure out how to deal with Donald Trump—it remains up to the rest of us, the fabled 99%, to take affairs in our own hands. Understanding the difficulties facing us and evaluating, as well as celebrating, attempts to deal with them are basic tasks. Once again, I appeal to readers to become writers. Field Notes wants to hear from you.