In possibly the best book on the American working class movement ever written, Jeremy Brecher narrates the hidden history of mass strikes from 1877 to 1970 from the point of view of the workers themselves.
Attached in PDF format is the 1972 version of this book.
Jeremy_Brecher_Strike.epub (330.07 KB)
strike-Jeremy-Brecher.pdf (15.5 MB)
brecher_jeremy_strike!_2014_edition.pdf (4.52 MB)
Don't know why it's
Don't know why it's anonymous, but big thanks to whoever posted this.
an excellent resource but i
an excellent resource but i got so angry reading it that i had to put it down.
A new revised and expanded
A new revised and expanded edition should be coming out next year.
Dead to rights! I was looking
Dead to rights! I was looking for this book!
Oh, and we're communists, if we're not getting angry at history than there's something wrong
Yeah this is amazing! The
Yeah this is amazing! The foreword - from memory anyway - is pretty much the best succinct summary of communist politics I've read.
Noticed two pages from this
Noticed two pages from this are missing. Will correct shortly.
Good point. The .pdf,
Good point. The .pdf, however, is the full thing.
If you haven't read this iexist, I can't recommend it enough. I think it might actually be better than A People's History.
Chilli Sauce wrote: Good
yeah, the rest of it is going up slowly, as doing the OCR is very time-consuming, especially as there are so many footnotes.
I think it is definitely better than A People's history in terms of the struggles of mostly white, male workers in US since the 1870s. However there is hardly anything in it about the struggles of Native Americans, and women and black workers.
Now I don't think this is particularly damning criticism given the scope of the book, which is looking at mass strikes in the US since the 1870s, which were mostly by white, male workers, but I think it does mean that A People's history does cover vitally important additional stuff, so I don't think you can do a straight up comparison saying one is better than the other overall.
Fair points, Steven. In
Fair points, Steven. In making that statement, I was thinking more that Brecher gives a deeper analysis and has a bit more developed critical framework when it comes to unions, self-organisation, etc.
Chilli Sauce wrote: Fair
yeah, that is true as well, I should have mentioned that
Steven. wrote: Now I don't
Comrade, in all due respect, this isn't accurate.
From Chapter 1 on "The Great Upheaval" Brecher talks about how the strike was sparked and then propelled across the continent because its interracial character (with African Americans, Native Americans and immigrants prominently involved in the general strike that created the "St. Louis Commune"). For example:
Chapter 4. The strike of textiles workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts who were mostly young women immigrants:
Brecher was in the U.S. council communist group Root & Branch when he wrote Strike!, so throughout the book the theme of class unity -- across divisive lines of race, ethnicity, gender, native vs. immigrant, etc. -- is clear. I'm my opinion, it was his attempt to apply Rosa Luxemburg's method for The Mass Strike to the breadth of the working class history of the U.S.
If I were to suggest books to read about class war in the U.S., I would put Strike! first, followed by Adamic's Dynamite, but Zinn's excellent People's History would be further down the list. Zinn does a fine job covering social movements, but his class analysis isn't as sharp as either Brecher or Adamic's.
Again, the title of the book is Strike! and it doesn't purport to cover social movements that were no less important than the many mass strikes, general strikes, and wildcats that occurred in the U.S. since 1870 (strikes in that period numbered around 300,000 overall -- a fact that has often been underplayed by the Left when it still said American workers were "bought off"). So the historical context of when he first wrote it in 1972 is important. The left was running around calling cool things juche to give props to Kim Il Sung and the Workers' Paradise of North Korea, when they weren't chanting "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Mihn, the NLF is gonna win!" in homage to Ho Chi Mihn (which in hindsight we learned had been executing their political enemies, be they Trots or other leftists, in proper Stalinist fashion in Ngo Van's amazing In the Crossfire: Adventures of a Vietnamese Revolutionary). There was still an extremely strong anti-American "my enemy's [the U.S.] enemy is my friend" dogma in the Left. So nearly every despotic Third World dictator who spouted anti-Yankee rhetoric came in for hero worship. So the class analysis and documentation of working class self-activity (in the George Rawick sense) in Strike! is a healthy corrective to all that statist, anti-intellectual "People's Power" ideology of the time.
Hieronymous wrote: Steven.
I have read this book a couple of times previously, and have just re-read most of it in the last few weeks. I know there are a good few excellent examples where he does talk about strikes of women workers, or the activity of the wives of male strikers, or areas where workers united across racial lines - or didn't and lost as a result. But, the majority of the book is about mostly white males. But as I said, I don't think this is problematic necessarily as the majority of wage workers at the time were white males.
I agree with you that his point about class unity across racial and gender lines etc is clear in the book - I didn't say it wasn't, and in general I'm a big fan of Root & Branch, hence why I have put so much of it in the library here.
On this note, we did add one
On this note, we did add one critical footnote to this text in the prologue after this first paragraph:
as this does seem to brush over things like the subjugation of women, the genocide of Native Americans, etc. Again, in general I think this is an excellent text and one of my favourite books but I don't think it's flawless.
iexist wrote: Is it only 4
This is now complete!
Only thing which remains is that the PDF has a few pages missing. This will soon be sorted.
Following on from my earlier comments which may have seemed like criticisms, but which won't really, the latter parts of the book which I have just re-read from the present day (i.e. the 1970s) onwards talk a lot about race and gender.
It really is such an important book!
Thanks for getting up a
Thanks for getting up a non-pdf version, Steven! Would anyone be able to convert this into an epub/mobi with a working table of contents?
Just as an FYI....when I FB
Just as an FYI....when I FB liked the book, a picture of Che appears along with the book info
Much thanks to whoever put up
Much thanks to whoever put up the epub!
His politics, like most of
His politics, like most of the Root & Branch group, ended up as a kind of labor left type mishmash of radical liberalism and social democracy. The revised edition reflects this change in political orientation if I remember correctly.
Juan Conatz wrote: His
That's wasn't the case with the Matticks, Junior and Senior.
Also, while this topic has been brought up . . . maybe I first saw it referenced as a footnote in Strike!, but I can't recommend Reign of the Rabble: The St. Louis General Strike of 1877, by David Burbank, highly enough.
iexist wrote: Is it worth
as I understand it the only chapters which significantly changed were the first and last couple, i.e. not the ones about the historical stuff, but the more political chapters
Juan Conatz wrote: His
That's the impression I got as well with his discussion of Occupy, the "99%" and wealth and power inequality near the end (2014 edition). He sounds more like a social democrat (despite invoking Luxemburg at times). There's also some passages appearing sympathetic toward police in the Wisconsin Uprising section which I really don't agree with:
It's still a nice book nonetheless as far as Amercan labor history goes (though I wouldn't say it's written from a communist or anarchist perspective). Brecher has some newer stuff out focusing on climate change, Against Doom: A Climate Insurgency Manual. Don't know what's argued in that though. (Sorry for responding to a 2014 post btw.)
Quote: Don't know what's
Green New Deal type stuff I guess judging by this