What is it like to do the back-breaking work of immigrants? To find out, Gabriel Thompson spent a year working alongside Latino immigrants, who initially thought he was either crazy or an undercover immigration agent. He stooped over lettuce fields in Arizona, and worked the graveyard shift at a chicken slaughterhouse in rural Alabama. He dodged taxis--not always successfully--as a bicycle delivery "boy" for an upscale Manhattan restaurant, and was fired from a flower shop by a boss who, he quickly realized, was nuts.
A concise history of the significance and global reach of mass organized anarchism, tracing its syndicalist origins to Mexico in 1869, then Spain, spreading to Egypt and Uruguay by 1872, then to Cuba and the United States by 1883, its dramatic rise to labor dominance throughout Latin America, and its radicalizing minority influence in Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Oceania and Sub-Saharan Africa. Historian Michael Schmidt identifies five "waves" of labor militancy that define anarchist organizing over the past 150 years, explaining the central features of each. He also explores the industrial and social foundations of anarchism/syndicalism, and during each of the "waves," interrogates key documents debating the vital relationship between the militant minority and the working and poor masses.
"Part history, part manifesto, "Cartography of Revolutionary Anarchism" is a succinct and insightful polemic. Michael Schmidt has distilled a vast literature on anarchism to demonstrate that anarchism is a historical movement with deep roots in the working class and continuity into the present. The book is lively, with equal measures of pragmatic judgement and hope; it is plainspoken, powerful, and thoughtful. Activists and scholars interested in anarchism will find here much to contemplate and debate and take to heart." Mark Leier, author of "Bakunin: A Biography"
On a spring day in 1961, over-the-road trucker Jim Harper was en route from Mauston, Wisconsin, to his home in Minneapolis. At 70 miles per hour, with a combined 60,000 pounds of man, machine, and material, he approached a curve along the Great River Road and hit the brakes. The tractor-trailer didn't slow. Harper's brake lines had been cut.
In preceding months, Harper had led an insurgency in his Teamsters' Local 544 to clean up corruption among its leaders. His efforts drew the attention of none other than Jimmy Hoffa, at the time focused on securing his right to lead the national Teamsters organization without government intervention.
Jim Harper had his reasons for confronting his local's leadership--a hardscrabble childhood and a stint in Angola prison had left him seeking redemption, and Jimmy Hoffa had publicly called for union reform. But Hoffa, under federal investigation for questionable financial dealings, had deep, dark secrets; the last thing he needed was a spotlight on Minneapolis. Despite the increasing threats to his life and those of his young family, Harper continued to press his case.
In this fascinating account, Harper's son traces the interwoven paths of these two men--a criminal icon and a determined vigilante--from their formative years through their unbelievable face-off.
Accolades for Crossing Hoffa:
Best Books of 2007, Chicago Tribune
Best Books, 2008 New York Book Festival
"Honorable Mention" in the 2008 Hollywood Book Festival's Biography/Autobiography category.
We've been told for years that the capitalist free market is a self-correcting perpetual growth machine in which sellers always find buyers, precluding any major crisis in the system. Then the credit crunch of August 2007 turned into the great crash of September-October 2008, leading one apologist for the system, Willem Buiter, to write of "the end of capitalism as we knew it."As the crisis unfolded, the world witnessed the way in which the runaway speculation of the "shadow" banking system wreaked havoc on world markets, leaving real human devastation in its wake. Faced with the financial crisis, some economic commentators began to talk of "zombie banks"-financial institutions that were in an "undead state" and incapable of fulfilling any positive function but a threat to everything else. What they do not realize is that twenty-first century capitalism as a whole is a zombie system, seemingly dead when it comes to achieving human goals.
Noting that standard accounts of U.S. history often pay little attention to the working class, labor historian Paul Le Blanc presents a colorful, fact-filled history that concentrates on the struggles and achievements of that often-neglected laboring majority. Employing a blend of economic, social, and political history, Le Blanc shows how important labor issues have been and continue to be in the forging of our nation's history. Within a broad analytical framework he highlights issues of class, gender, race, and ethnicity, and includes the views of key figures of U.S. labor, including Cesar Chavez, Eugene V. Debs, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Samuel Gompers, Woody Guthrie, "Big Bill" Haywood, Langston Hughes, Mary "Mother" Jones, Martin Luther King Jr., George Meany, A. Philip Randolph, and Carl Sandburg.In addition to the main narrative, a bibliographical essay directs readers to classic works and cutting-edge scholarship in the field of U.S. labor history as well as to relevant ¬fiction, poetry, and ¬films for further exploration or study. The book's substantial glossary offers clear definitions and thought-provoking mini-essays for almost two hundred terms, from the most basic to the most complex and technical.
Since the 1980s, the world's working class has been under continual assault by the forces of neoliberalism and imperialism. In response, new labor movements have emerged across the Global South--from Brazil and South Africa to Indonesia and Pakistan.Building Global Labor Solidarity in a Time of Accelerating Globalization is a call for international solidarity to resist the assaults on labor's power. This collection of essays by international labor activists and academics examines models of worker solidarity, different forms of labor organizations, and those models' and organizations' relationships to social movements and civil society.
On January 12, 1912, an army of textile workers stormed out of the mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts, commencing what has since become known as the "Bread and Roses" strike. Based on newspaper accounts, magazine reportage, and oral histories, Watson reconstructs a Dickensian drama involving thousands of parading strikers from fifty-one nations, unforgettable acts of cruelty, and even a protracted murder trial that tested the boundaries of free speech. A rousing look at a seminal and overlooked chapter of the past, Bread and Roses is indispensable reading.
In the '50s and '60s, he directed organizing with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers and the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers. In 1963, he coordinated the labor participation for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Ten years later, the publication of his book False Promises: The Shaping of American Working Class Consciousness was a landmark in the study of the US working-class and workers' movements.
Aronowitz draws on this long personal history, reflecting on his continuing involvement in labor organizing, with groups such as the Professional Staff Congress of the City University. He brings a historian's understanding of American workers' struggles in taking the long view of the labor movement. Then, in a survey of current initiatives, strikes, organizations, and allies, Aronowitz analyzes the possibilities of labor's rebirth, and sets out a program for a new, broad, radical workers' movement.
The bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed goes back undercover to do for America's ailing middle class what she did for the working poor
Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed explored the lives of low-wage workers. Now, in Bait and Switch, she enters another hidden realm of the economy: the shadowy world of the white-collar unemployed. Armed with a plausible resume of a professional "in transition," she attempts to land a middle-class job--undergoing career coaching and personality testing, then trawling a series of EST-like boot camps, job fairs, networking events, and evangelical job-search ministries. She gets an image makeover, works to project a winning attitude, yet is proselytized, scammed, lectured, and--again and again--rejected.
Bait and Switch highlights the people who've done everything right--gotten college degrees, developed marketable skills, and built up impressive resumes--yet have become repeatedly vulnerable to financial disaster, and not simply due to the vagaries of the business cycle. Today's ultra-lean corporations take pride in shedding their "surplus" employees--plunging them, for months or years at a stretch, into the twilight zone of white-collar unemployment, where job searching becomes a full-time job in itself. As Ehrenreich discovers, there are few social supports for these newly disposable workers--and little security even for those who have jobs.
Like the now classic Nickel and Dimed, Bait and Switch is alternately hilarious and tragic, a searing expose of economic cruelty where we least expect it.