An analysis of the struggle for a new labor movement by nelson lichtenstein

Bernie Sanders, Labor, Ideology and the Future of American Politics

Even if I grant Lichtenstein his dubious premise about the prospects for a progressive trade union revival, this goal will not be served by burying the ignominies of the past. Walter Reuther and the Fate of American Labor. His views may be right or wrong, but they are certainly ahistorical, since he uses the Meanyite racial politics of to justify an interpretation of Reuther's motives and mentality eight years before.

Drawing on forty years of personal experience, Early writes about cross-border union campaigning, labor strategies for organizing and health care reform, and political initiatives that might lessen worker dependence on the Democratic Party.

The body of case law on this issue is extensive and Lichtenstein has simply ignored a vast amount of primary documentation while passing judgement on matters about which he knows virtually nothing. He saw the unions as a powerful lever with which to change the world.

This is a valuable book. Only the enormous strike movements of the Great Depression finally broke the stranglehold of the intransigent corporate class in the United States and legalized the right of workers to form unions and bargain collectively.

In reality unions tacitly accept the framework set by the system and tend either to exclude political issues from discussion or to support reformist political parties that do not challenge the present order of society.

Communists in the United States Labor Movement (1937–50)

A second aspect of the role of unions limits their explicitly political role under capitalism. I not only established this in my review but it is clearly demonstrated by the fury with which Lichtenstein responds to my criticisms.

Consider the following passage: The weak side of the unions therefore comes from their strong side. Reuther subsequently drove all of his principal CP adversaries out of the UAW, using one of the provisions of the newly enacted Taft-Hartley Act to complete the process.

He charges me with a whitewash of Walter Reuther because I have an "ideological requirement Monthly Review Press, I have always been aware of the degree of diversity within the trade union movement; of its conflicts and contradictions, and of the pressures from within and without the organized labor movement that have ameliorated conditions for black and other workers, forcing open the doors of some "white job trusts," if only partially.

Moreover their seniority advantages are not indefeasibly vested rights but mere expectations derived from a bargaining agreement subject to modification. But it ever rises up again, stronger, firmer, mightier. When he subverted that quest, in word or deed, we properly charged him with hypocrisy and opportunism.

History has shown that the rate of union membership corresponds to the rise and decline in the level of class struggle. Over a period of many years and in many contexts I have challenged the distortions in the treatment of race by labor historians and have criticized the "impoverished" quality of their work.

The excesses of neoliberal policy caused the financial meltdown ofyet neoliberalism persists. As I shall demonstrate below, my biography represents a sustained critique of Reutherite politics and practice.

It was really something. But even as the protests grew massively, union officials seemed unsure whether to escalate or retreat—and ended up doing both. This decline can only be explained by the scale and duration of the neoliberal assault on the working class and the conservatism of the entrenched U.

In the late s Local thumbed its nose at Solidarity House when it constructed a new union hall complete with segregated rest rooms and water fountains. Lichtenstein has tackled in forthright and keen ways fractious debates among scholars as well as historical and ongoing fractures of American society.

This is no time for social reforming These factors determine our orientation.

A. Philip Randolph

Today we have the sorry spectacle of Lichtenstein and other new labor historians eliding union racism from the historical record. First, much material I copied out of his personal collection was already in the public domain congressional testimony, letters and records on deposit at Wayne State's Reuther Library, etc.

If the current balance of class forces can only be reversed through a revival of class struggle, then the key challenge facing union activists is how to transform their unions into fighting organizations.

An analysis of the struggle for a new labor movement by nelson lichtenstein

New Park,Vol. Rosa Luxemburg, The Mass Strike, — Other cases focus on supermarket, retail, and restaurant workers, who are nominally covered by such laws but who often experience wage theft and other legal violations; still other campaigns are not restricted to a single occupation or industry. Because above all, revolutionary leadership is not measured by title, but by deed—in ensuring that the most militant workers are able to organize and lead the struggle from below, with or without the agreement of the existing union officials.

But the court rejected their position and found that: The Association had been attacking this problem for many years and with the advent of Title VII, it was hoped that the new law would be effective in eliminating discriminatory seniority systems and segregated work units.

Others, such as the Food and Tobacco Workers, disappeared. As early as the s, the notion of industrial democracy lost meaning with the institution of so-called employee representation committees by corporate managers.

Labor Movement

Is it a bellwether for the state of modern labor? Labor Movement "Rarely is there a book as compelling in its description of a real-life struggle.

Toward the end of his rejoinder and for all the lengthy excerpts from his book critical of Reuther we have this eulogistic overview: · Staley The Fight for a New American Labor Movement Awards and Recognition: "A compelling analysis of a decisive moment in the struggle for social democracy."-- come alive to the reader."--Nelson Lichtenstein, author of State of the Union: A Century of American  · A.

Philip Randolph was the most important civil rights leader to emerge from the labor movement. Throughout his long career, he consistently kept the interests of black workers at the forefront of  · Historian Nelson Lichtenstein has written that “trade unionism requires a compelling set of ideas and institutions, both self-made and governmental, to give labor’s cause power and legitimacy.

An openly socialist current should be built within the new movement. Bernie Sanders, Labor, Ideology and the Future of US Politics | Mark Nelson Lichtenstein [from New Politics, vol.

7, no. 2 (new series), whole no. 26, Winter ] Editors' note: Herbert Hill's critical essay-review of Nelson Lichtenstein's biography of Walter Reuther, The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit, Walter Reuther and the Fate of American Labor appeared in the last issue of NEW POLITICS Volume VII, No  · In this impressive study, Bruce Nelson shows how the new labor history should be written." —Manning Marable, Columbia University " Divided We Stand is our twenty-first-century 'Making of the American Working Class.' Staley The Fight for a New American Labor Movement Awards and Recognition: Awarded the Certificate of Superior Achievement by the Illinois State Historical Society, Awarded the C.L.R.

James Prize for Best Book in Working-Class Studies by the Working-Class Studies Association,

An analysis of the struggle for a new labor movement by nelson lichtenstein
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