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Rebel Rank and File: Labor Militancy and Revolt from Below During the Long 1970s Paperback – November 22, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (November 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844671747
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844671748
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,489,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Truly shines ... By uncovering the hidden history of the 1970s, Rebel Rank and File reminds us that there is another path to union renewal—a path firmly rooted in the workplace and motivated by visions of transforming society.”—Joe Burns, In These Times

“An important collection ... honest and thoughtful.”—World Wide Work

“This is an unusually high-quality effort, with an all-star cast of authors, which should attract wide interest.”—Nelson Lichtenstein, Professor of History at University of California Santa Barbara

“The chapters in this collection take the reader on a vivid journey through battlegrounds of the 1960s and 1970s where workers and employers clashed over the future of the US workplace.”—Steve Downs, Against The Current

“Bracing and often electrifying ... A primer and a call to arms for a radical rank-and-file politics.”—Michael Watts, Professor of Geography and Development Studies at UC Berkeley

“Extraordinary reflections.”—Mike Davis

“[A] spirited volume ... a call to arms to today’s workers and potential activists.”—K.B. Nutter, Choice

“Page after page of the remarkable militancy of rank-and-file workers.”—John Borsos, WorkingUSA

About the Author

Aaron Brenner is President of Rank & File Enterprises, a financial and labor research firm. Robert Brenner is Director of the Center for Social Theory and Comparative History at UCLA. He is the author of The Boom and the Bubble, Merchants and Revolution, The Economics of Global Turbulence and co-editor of Rebel Rank and File. Cal Winslow is Director of the Mendocino Institute and Fellow in Environmental Politics, Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley, and co-editor of Rebel Rank and File.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James R. Maclean on August 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is an anthology of essays covering different aspects of the labor movement from the 1950s to around 1980. Some of the movements were precarious: the United Farm Workers (UFW), for example, included some of the most vulnerable and exploited workers in the USA. Others, like the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) exemplified the "aristocracy of labor"--entrenched old unions with huge bureaucracies, now morphed into a conservative social class. But all were wracked by revolts from below during the latter phase of the "Great Society" era (1).

This is an unsparing account: the authors fearlessly spell out the contradictions that arose between different cohorts of labor, ranging from the high-status autoworkers and truck drivers, to the low-status miners and trashhaulers. In the 1960s, the older unions had no sooner won recognition from the NLRB and created the private welfare state (2), than their officials came under pressure to accede to speed-ups and "workplace flexibility." Workers were pitted against other workers by skillful union-busting management; union officials adopted strategies to avoid conflict with management, and eventually became collaborators with their old foes.

In the late 1960s, the many social movements that had recently burst to prominence converged on the workplace--unionized or not. Women confronted sexist employers, coworkers, and unions. Lower echelons of the workforce confronted indifferent union bureaucrats. African Americans and Latinos confronted racism everywhere. Workers in hitherto un-organized business sectors sought collective bargaining rights. And at this time, "the establishment" of police, business management, local government, and White power groups locked arms to fight back in unison.
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