Wed 4.04.12 | Selma James on Class and Gender

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Many on the left see the working class as the primary agent of radical change. Where does this leave people like housewives and others whose work goes uncompensated? Selma James sees unwaged work as crucial to capitalism's operation and continuation. She addresses the relationship between gender and class, and examines power relations within the working class.

Wed 2.29.12 | Labor Pains

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Occupy Wall Street has brought the issue of class inequality to the forefront of American politics in a way that unions have not. Hence, organized labor and the Occupy movement would appear to be natural allies, but their relationship is not seamless.  Radical Occupy participants and union organizers Angela MacWhinnie and Adrian Maldonado talk about successful collaborations between trade unions and Occupy, the places where friction has emerged, and the challenges that the Occupy movement faces in reaching out to most working class people.

Mon 2.27.12 | Labor and the Wisconsin Upsurge

Michael D. Yates (ed.), Wisconsin Uprising: Labor Fights Back Monthly Review Press, 2012






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Last February, thousands of protestors occupied Wisconsin's state capitol trying to prevent the passage of legislation gutting collective bargaining rights for public sector workers. It was tremendously inspiring, but ultimately unsuccessful. Labor educator Michael Yates looks back at the upsurge in Wisconsin and ruminates on the lessons to be drawn from it, especially for unions. (The first part in a two-part series on unions and the social movements of the last year.)

Wed 1.04.12| The 1946 Oakland General Strike

Stan Weir, 1946: The Oakland General Strike







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Times change, but struggles continue in different forms and with different tactics. In a radio documentary about the Oakland general strike of 1946 made by KPFA producers three decades ago, participants tell the story of what was called a "work holiday." They discuss the context in which the strike took place, how it unfolded and shut the city down, and the ways it transformed those involved.

Tues 12.06.11 | UFW's Rank and File

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Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers may seem synonymous. The charismatic leader headed up the union through strikes and boycotts that garnered nation-wide attention and made him a labor icon. Former farm worker Frank Bardacke, however, argues that the history of the UFW needs to be understood from the bottom up. In a remarkable new book, he reveals the mainly untold story of the UFW's militant rank and file, who brought their own radical traditions to the union and clashed with union staff in ways that shaped the organization's fate.

Wed 11.30.11 | Archie Green

Sean Burns, Archie Green: The Making of a Working Class Hero University of Illinois Press, 2011

Fund for Labor Culture and History



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Archie Green may be best known for almost singlehandedly pressuring the government to create the American Folklife Center, but Sean Burns argues he was one of this country's foremost intellectuals on the left. Burns has written the definitive study of the labor historian and folklorist and discusses his political formation on San Francisco's docks and his contributions to our understandings of work and culture.
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