A timely and inspiring work of comics journalism—the history of unions and why we need them (and a first-hand account of working in an Amazon warehouse).
Workers of the world, unite! From comics journalist Sam Wallman comes a thoughtful plunge into the history of unions. Through distinctive art and sharp-eyed reporting, Wallman ushers us into the hidden aisles of 21st-century labor conditions, and shows us recent labor movements and union triumphs—all while framing current conditions against the history of unions and the earliest rallying cries for worker rights.
It’s an entry point for younger generations, and a reminder for workers who have had their livelihood reduced by capitalist pressures. It’s also a primer for those new to the power of collective action.
From an Amazon warehouse in Melbourne (where Sam worked for a year), to Britain and Bangladesh, to Walmart in China and the New York Taxi Workers Alliance strike against the Trump-era refugee ban of 2017, this book is a highly original and visual exploration of the power of unions.
“In Our Members Be Unlimited, comics journalist Wallman achieves what many on the left struggle with: he makes history, theory, and organizing practice accessible and fun to read about … Deftly mixing personal experience, journalism, and history, he highlights not just the highs but also the lows of union history. Throughout, he makes extensive use of imaginative spreads that blend traditional comics layouts with artwork more commonly found on murals and activist posters … hits so powerfully you can’t help but want to share. Hand this to any reader interested in labor movements, comics fans or not.”
—Matthew Noe, Booklist
“Unionism is about more than your rights at work. It is something greater even than a form of politics at the point of production: union struggle is composed of those mundane moments of perseverance and ingenuity in daily life that are all too easy to pass over in retrospect. This is the history that Sam Wallman uncovers in his magnificent new longform comic, Our Members Be Unlimited … With his unmistakable animated and intricate graphic style, Wallman is skilled at stitching these quotidian details into a broader narrative of working-class history … Learned and extensively researched, this book is also practical, ending with a sizeable glossary of useful union terms, from ‘black cat’ to ‘ultra’. Wallman’s activist energy, familiar to anyone who has read his shorter comics or seen his posters pasted up around their city, makes this graphic history urgent and invigorating reading.”
—Joshua Barnes, Books+Publishing
“Beautiful, bold, and necessary. An original and timely look at labor’s past and present that shows how workers won the rights we have and how they’ll be taken away if we don’t use our power to keep them and build on them.”
—Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA
“Our Members Be Unlimited is a beautiful and often moving guide to union organizing that’s in touch with the reality of work today. Sam Wallman draws on the history of working-class resistance and the humanism at the heart of our movement to guide and give heart to activists.”
—Bhaskar Sunkara, founding editor of Jacobin magazine
“Sam Wallman’s comic is history and argument, it is celebration and reflection, and with every turn of its beautiful, vivid pages it is a reminder of the galvanizing power of radical solidarity and of radical love. This book is a gift, it’s exhilarating.”
—Christos Tsiolkas, author of The Slap and 7½
“In a narrative that moves from trade-union history to his own efforts organizing in an Amazon warehouse, Sam Wallman draws honest, unsentimental portraits of the working class that was and the working class that is. Most of all, he shares a vision of the working class that could be, depicting the everyday decency of ordinary people as the only hope for a world in crisis. Funny, tender, and wise, this book both delights and inspires.”
—Jeff Sparrow, author of Crimes Against Nature
“[Our Members Be Unlimited is a] textured, extensively researched work … The artist’s bold style, consisting mainly of primary colors, makes the work visually compelling … His creative agility demonstrates the many possibilities of comics … What’s hugely evident across the work is Wallman’s passion for, and belief in, a better world.”
—Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen, The Sydney Morning Herald
“Sam Wallman has written an inspiring and uplifting visual history of the [union] movement … [his] distinctive style, wit and historical knowledge make this something to relish.”
—Jason Steger, The Sydney Morning Herald
“A stunner — a bold visual history of workers’ struggles; a mini-memoir of Wallman’s time working as a picker (and shop floor organizer) in an Amazon warehouse; and a compelling intro-slash-invitation to union activism.”
—Tove H, Powell's Books
“Activist and comics journalist Wallman debuts with a convincing, transfixing graphic history of the impact and future potential of unions … This is a dynamic, persuasive look at labor power.”