best books for american labour movement

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badger
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Mar 4 2013 20:59
best books for american labour movement

anyone know any good books on the american labour movement from 1865 onwards?

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Chilli Sauce
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Mar 5 2013 06:54

Strike! (get an old version)

People's History of the US

Punching Out

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Entdinglichung
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Mar 5 2013 09:25

Daniel Guérin: 100 Years of Labor in the USA

US Labor in the Twentieth Century: Studies in Working Class Struggles and Insurgency (a collection of essays by different authors)

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laborbund
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Mar 5 2013 15:00

The Origins of the Urban Crisis

Cold War in the Working Class: The Rise and Decline of The United Electrical Workers

Ingersoll
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Mar 6 2013 07:06

You should also consider Adamic

Dynamite
The Story of Class Violence in America

(Louis Adamic)

http://www.akpress.org/dynamiteakpress.html

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Hieronymous
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Mar 6 2013 07:49

Brecher's Strike! and Adamic's Dynamite are excellent, but I suggest getting the original editions -- also because second-hand versions are cheaper.

Anything by Staughton Lynd, but especially "We Area All Leaders" and his Rank and File series.

The best novel about class struggle is Going Away by Clancy Sigal, which to me is a cross between Kerouc's On the Road and Strike!.

The second best class struggle novel is Harvey Swados' Standing Fast, which includes fictional scenes of the 1946 Oakland General Strike and the "Joe Link" character is based on Stan Weir.

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Chilli Sauce
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Mar 6 2013 08:08

If you're going literature, Upton Sinclair's The Jungle is worth a read (although the politics certainly aren't spot-on)

syndicalist
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Mar 6 2013 12:30

Agreed:

Hieronymous wrote:
Brecher's Strike! .....

Anything by Staughton Lynd, but especially "We Area All Leaders" and his Rank and File series.

The best novel about class struggle is Going Away by Clancy Sigal, which to me is a cross between Kerouc's On the Road and Strike!.

syndicalist
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Mar 6 2013 12:46
Quote:
Hieronymous]Brecher's Strike! and Adamic's Dynamite are excellent, but I suggest getting the original editions -- also because second-hand versions are cheaper.

Anything by Staughton Lynd, but especially "We Area All Leaders" and his Rank and File series. .....

Barbara Kingsolver, Holding the Line about women and the Phelps-Dodge Copper strike

Of additional interest:

The Fall of the House of Labor: The workplace, the state, and American labor activism, 1865-1925, David Montgomery

Three Strikes, Stephen Franklin, about the Caterpillar, Staley and Firestone struggles in Decauter, IL, 1980s.

The Betrayal of Local 14, Julius Getman, paperworkers strike against International Paper, Jay, ME 1980s.

Sweatshop Warriors: Immigrant Women Workers Take on the Global Factory, Miriam Ching Yoon Louie

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Chilli Sauce
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Mar 6 2013 20:55
Quote:
Three Strikes, Stephen Franklin, about the Caterpillar, Staley and Firestone struggles in Decauter, IL, 1980s.

This Three Strikes is very readable a worthwhile read as well.

Overall though, I think Strike! takes it. Just make sure you get an old, pre-revision copy.

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laborbund
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Mar 6 2013 21:01

Why are older editions of Strike! better than newer ones? Are newer additions abridged or something (I hate abridged).

syndicalist
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Mar 6 2013 22:03
laborbund wrote:
Why are older editions of Strike! better than newer ones? Are newer additions abridged or something (I hate abridged).

IMHO, the original STRIKE! was written from a revolutionary perspective. The newer edition has a revised and social democratic political perspective.

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Hieronymous
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Mar 6 2013 22:08
laborbund wrote:
Why are older editions of Strike! better than newer ones? Are newer additions abridged or something (I hate abridged).

The original 1972 Straight Arrow Press edition is written from a much stronger working class self-activity perspective. The 1997 South End Press version waters that down and is more pessimistic, perhaps a reflection of the times when it was reprinted.

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laborbund
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Mar 9 2013 21:25

Good to know, you two. I will get an older edition of Strike! I read a lot of books written by "marxian" social democratic - liberal "progressive" historians, and communist historians. I think they can be pretty good at times if you keep the author's perspective in mind. Like Origins, which I mentioned, is written by a guy who is definitely a marxian social democrat, but I don't think there's another book quite like it, and I think the author is spot-on with his analysis of race relations inside the US working class. So, I'm not so hostile to stuff that isn't explicitly libertarian communist, but I certainly prefer not to read ridiculous chapters about how electing the dems would have made everything better if I can possibly avoid it.

syndicalist
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Mar 9 2013 22:32

Most labor books are written by liberal, progressive, socialist,communist, trotskyist, etc. historians. Someone mentiond Guerrin's book.... it is no way a libertarian communist history...really, just a leftist history. maybe written when he was still a Trot. While we may have ideological disagreements with lots of this stuff, there are many volumes of labor history worth reading, regardless of the author's perspective (well, mostly).

In Sam Dolgoff's pamphlet The American Labor Movement: A New Beginning
http://www.iww.org/en/history/library/Dolgoff/newbeginning there's some interesting stuff from an anarcho-syndicalist perspective.

Alias Recluse
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Mar 12 2013 00:40

I came across this book years ago, it must be one of the first serious histories of American labor:

The Labor Movement in America, by Richard T. Ely, Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., New York, 1886.

Available free online from Google Books:

http://books.google.com/books?id=kVwCAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=the...

Free E Book also available.

The author was a middle class academic sympathetic to "Christian Socialism" and "temperance" (anti-alcohol), but his book also contains fascinating chapters on early utopian communism (mostly about the "Shakers"), cooperation, workers culture ("Turners", etc.) and early socialism (the "Socialistic Labor Party", the IWA, and "propaganda of the deed") and features an appendix containing some interesting documents and declarations, including the notorious "Letter to Tramps" published in the Chicago anarchist weekly The Alarm.

rooieravotr
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Mar 15 2013 01:10

Dan Georgakas & Marvub Surkin: "Detroit: I Do Mind Dying", On Leauge of American Black Workers, in the auto industry, late 1960s.

David Milton, "The Politics of U.S. Labor - From the Great Depression to the New Deal"

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sabot
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Mar 15 2013 17:06
Hieronymous wrote:
Adamic's Dynamite are excellent, but I suggest getting the original editions -- also because second-hand versions are cheaper.

Just curious, what's the difference between the AK press edition and previous ones? I'm having trouble locating an original edition.

Edit: I'm only refering to Adamic's book, not Brecher's.

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Hieronymous
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Mar 15 2013 17:54
sabot wrote:
Hieronymous wrote:
Adamic's Dynamite are excellent, but I suggest getting the original editions -- also because second-hand versions are cheaper.

Just curious, what's the difference between the AK press edition and previous ones? I'm having trouble locating an original edition.

Content-wise nothing, but the earlier Viking Press hardbound edition is such a wonderful and nicely crafted book. Mine is a 1935 version (3rd printing), the front endpaper is inscribed by Adamic, and has held up remarkably well. I bought it at a garage sale for 50 cents.

In comparison, the AK Press version is crap.

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Nate
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Mar 20 2013 04:05
badger wrote:
anyone know any good books on the american labour movement from 1865 onwards?

Anything in particular you're looking to know more about? Like particular industries, more formally oriented (official union stuff), less formally oriented, etc?

badger
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Mar 22 2013 22:56

more official union stuff (doing it for my history course)
im currently reading my way through strike! now, enjoying it a lot
cheers everyone

Skraeling
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Mar 23 2013 02:38

Bruno Ramirez, When Workers Fight - covers the early twentieth century labour movement in the US from an 'autonomist marxist' angle - interesting tho a bit class composition determinist IHO tho.

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Alaric Malgraith
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Mar 25 2013 19:02

I'm partial to 'There is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor in America' by Phillip Dray. It's not exactly radical, but it is quite comprehensive, stretching from the earliest labor clubs formed in the wake of the War of 1812, right up to the new millennium.
http://www.amazon.com/There-Power-Union-Story-America/dp/0307389766

David in Atlanta
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Mar 26 2013 17:49

If you want to include novels, I'd suggest Lonely Crusade by Chester B. Himes. It's about a Black union staff organizer working on a campaign in defense plants in Los Angeles during World War 2. The Communist Party literary hacks tore it to pieces in every review they had any influence over because it portrayed Party union operatives as manipulative and opportunistic and depicted a war time strike as legitimate.

puja167
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Aug 22 2013 12:09

The Fall of the House of Labor.

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fingers malone
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Aug 22 2013 13:15

Rebel Rank and File from Verso. Covers r'n'f struggles in the 70s and is fascinating.

Women and the American Labor Movement and Organised Labor and the Black Worker by Philip S Foner are both great.

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Nate
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Aug 22 2013 17:07
badger wrote:
more official union stuff (doing it for my history course)
im currently reading my way through strike! now, enjoying it a lot
cheers everyone

If you want official union stuff I think any of the volumes in Philip Foner's history of the u.s. labor movement will help. They're old but informative.

vicent
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Aug 23 2013 02:21

for a novel, john steinbecks 'in dubious battle' is fantastic, about the IWW (i think) organising an apple pickers strike
also happens to be obamas favourite book!

syndicalist
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Aug 23 2013 04:07
Nate wrote:
badger wrote:
more official union stuff (doing it for my history course)
im currently reading my way through strike! now, enjoying it a lot
cheers everyone

If you want official union stuff I think any of the volumes in Philip Foner's history of the u.s. labor movement will help. They're old but informative.

I liked the series. Foner represented a CPish line...cause he was close to the CP.

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Juan Conatz
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Aug 23 2013 04:43
vicent wrote:
for a novel, john steinbecks 'in dubious battle' is fantastic, about the IWW (i think) organising an apple pickers strike
also happens to be obamas favourite book!

That's hilarious, because that's my favorite fiction book. However, it is pretty clearly about the CPUSA or a similar group. The main characters mention The Party numerous times.

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Chilli Sauce
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Aug 23 2013 09:11
vicent wrote:
for a novel, john steinbecks 'in dubious battle' is fantastic, about the IWW (i think) organising an apple pickers strike
also happens to be obamas favourite book!

Yeah, Juan beat me to it, but this book is definitely not about the IWW.

The book was actually slated by left and the right. The right for being pro-union and pro-Commie and the left (primarily the CP) for portraying "The Party" as opportunistic, self-interested, and really quite cruel.

As for it being Obama's favorite book, I'm not sure I buy that either. It seems like something propagated by the right to support the idea that Obama is really a Commie underneath it all. At any rate, according to this Huffington Post article based on Obama's Facebook page, In Dubious Battle doesn't make the list. According to the Wiki for In Dubious Battle, however, it says Obama said it was his favorite book by Steinbeck, so I could see where the confusion comes from.

It is a good book, though, I agree there wholeheartedly.

EDIT: Sorry if this post came across harsh. Early morning, not my intention.