George Rawick examines examples of history of the self-activity of the American working class.
The history of the American working class is a subject obscure to the Old and New Left alike. For the most part, academic and labour scholarship has been institutional history focusing on the trade union, and like all institutional orientations has been quite conservative.
The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) is one of the best known anti-poverty organizations in Ontario. It has acquired a reputation for militant direct action tactics on such issues as affordable housing, welfare, homelessness, and immigrant and refugee rights. In a political climate where powerful politicians and vested interests wish the poor would just quietly die, OCAP has proven to be a vocal critic.
In 1989 three Ontario cities, Windsor, Ottawa and Sudbury, held marches against poverty which converged in Toronto. After the marches it was decided to create a provincial body in order to try and raise the issue of poverty in the face of indifference from politicians. OCAP was the result. While OCAP does have organisational affiliates across the province, the group is based in Toronto.
Review of Labour of Love by Buzz Hargrove with Wayne Skene, McFarland, Walter & Ross. Buzz Hargrove is one of the best-known trade unionists in Canada, and was at the time head of the Canadian Auto Workers.
Buzz Hargrove is one of the best-known trade unionists in Canada. As the head of the 215,000- strong Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) he is often presented by the media as the unrepentant face of trade unionism today.
Review of Living For Chang by Grace Lee Boggs.
"If the future is to be lived the past must be understood." With this paraphrase of Kierkegaard, Grace Lee Boggs ends her effort to provide an account of both her own past and that of an American left. For those seeking to make sense of the contradictory and confusing world of left- wing politics in the US over the course of this century, it is often useful to have a guide.
Review of Out of the Ghetto Joe Jacobs, London: Phoenix Press, 1991 (originally published in 1977). For a review of this book by Al Richardson, see here - http://libcom.org/library/review-joe-jacobs-out-ghetto-al-richardson. A chapter from Out of the Ghetto is here - http://libcom.org/library/battle-cable-st-1936-joe-jacobs
It might seem curious to be reviewing a book that was posthumously published more than twenty years ago. Curiouser still, that in this age of the dismissal of the working class as a force for change this book deals exclusively with working class, predominately Jewish, life in the East End of London in the years between the first and second world wars.
Left communist Cajo Brendel looks back on the failing of the revolutionary left.
About 58 years ago the French writer Georges Sorel stated that "the historiographers and the actors in the historical drama are unable to see what is much later understood as the essence of what happened." (1) If this is true in general it is particularly true of the (revolutionary) left.
The following article is an extract from an unsigned editorial in the newspaper Correspondence, December 12 1953. It may have been written by C.L.R. James, who had written an extensive essay on a related theme several weeks earlier. It should be noted that despite the use of the masculine pronoun throughout the article, the Correspondence group were quite sensitive to questions of gender. Thanks to Scott McLemee for providing this material. This article has been archived on libcom.org from the Red and Black Notes website.
Picket lines, wages and hours, union bureaucrats and even the union meetings do not command the lively interest of the workers that they held in the past. Yet from the stories that we get every day from the shops, we can see a new form of struggle emerging. It never seems to be carried to its complete end, yet its existence is continuous.
The following article was written as an introduction to C.L.R. James' Every Cook can Govern. It has been slightly edited for publication with the author's permission. It contrasts the weakness of capitalist democracy, comparing it to the democracy of ancient Greece as well as a directly democratic society run by the working class.
Celebrations of the 2,500th anniversary of the creation of a democratic society in ancient Greece took place in 1991. Dignitaries from the various Western democracies attended ceremonies in Greece.