"The working class and the employing class have nothing in common." –IWW Preamble, 1905
For an academic work, this is a quite good, fact-packed but flawed book about one militant strike in the U.S., the Detroit newspaper strike of 1995-2000, which took place during a generally bleak decade for class struggle.
Putting these two books back-to-back, we arrive at a rather thorough picture of British working-class history since World War II, and particularly since the coming of Margaret Thatcher and the “neo-liberal” era in 1979.
The movement had “two souls”, one increasingly focused on Chavez’s strategy of boycotts and outside political influence, the other growing from the rank-and-file militancy of the farm workers themselves.
The past four decades of class warfare in which only one side, the capitalist class, was fighting—have come to an end.
I spoke with Loren Goldner on Friday about the 77-day occupation of the Ssangyong automotive plant in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.
For the 976 workers who seized the small auto plant on May 22 and held it against repeated quasi-military assault, the settlement represented a near-total defeat.
The bureaucratic remnants of the radical democratic unions of the early 1990’s are today reviled corporative organizations of that working-class elite, and as many struggles take place between regular and casualized workers as against capital itself.
Over the last several years, a revolving network of militants in Paris, France, have developed a strategy and tactics for winning strikes by marginal, low-paid, outsourced and immigrant workers against international chains, in situations where the strikers are often ignored by unions to which they nominally belong, or are actually obstructed by them.
Southern California supermarket workers voted 86% to end their five-month old strike, accepting a contract that amounts to a serious, if not total, victory for a determined employer offensive with national implications.
What I would like to do here today, is to present two parts of an analysis of class struggle in the United States. The first part will be more historical and the second part will be about the developments of the last twenty years or so.
PDF available for download.
Although these struggles have specific regional characteristics, they actually fit a national and, above all, international pattern.
I sat down my friend Scott McGuire in front of a tape recorder, and got him to tell me (again) the story of his involvement in the Boston public employees’ attempt to react to layoffs and cuts.