Constructing Countervailing Power: Law and Organizing in an Era of Political Inequality

91 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2021 Last revised: 24 Mar 2021

See all articles by Kate Andrias

Kate Andrias

Columbia University - Law School

Benjamin I. Sachs

Harvard Law School

Date Written: February 5, 2021


This Article proposes an innovative approach to remedying the crisis of political inequality: using law to facilitate organizing by the poor and working class, not only as workers, but also as tenants, debtors, welfare beneficiaries, and others. The piece draws on the social-movements literature, and the successes and failures of labor law, to show how law can supplement the deficient regimes of campaign finance and lobbying reform and enable lower-income groups to build organizations capable of countervailing the political power of the wealthy. As such, the Article offers a new direction forward for the public-law literature on political power and political inequality. It also offers critical lessons for government officials, organizers, and advocates seeking to respond to the inequalities made painfully evident by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: labor law, inequality, social movements, democracy, politics, political economy, public law, organizing

Suggested Citation

Andrias, Kate and Sachs, Benjamin I., Constructing Countervailing Power: Law and Organizing in an Era of Political Inequality (February 5, 2021). Yale Law Journal, Vol. 130, No. 3, 2021, Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 21-01, U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 21-002, Available at SSRN:

Kate Andrias (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Benjamin I. Sachs

Harvard Law School ( email )

1525 Massachusetts Avenue
Griswold 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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