Singlejack Solidarity

Overview

Blue-collar intellectual and activist publisher, Stan Weir devoted his life to the advocacy of his fellow workers. Weir was both a thoughtful observer and an active participant in many of the key struggles that shaped the labor movement and the political left in postwar America. He reported firsthand from the front lines of decisive fights over the nature of unions in the auto industry, the resistance to automation on the waterfront, and battles over racial integration in the workplace and within unions ...
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Overview

Blue-collar intellectual and activist publisher, Stan Weir devoted his life to the advocacy of his fellow workers. Weir was both a thoughtful observer and an active participant in many of the key struggles that shaped the labor movement and the political left in postwar America. He reported firsthand from the front lines of decisive fights over the nature of unions in the auto industry, the resistance to automation on the waterfront, and battles over racial integration in the workplace and within unions themselves.Written throughout Weir's decades as a blue-collar worker and labor educator, Singlejack Solidarity offers a rare look at modern life and social relations as seen from the factory, dockside, and the shop floor. This volume analyzes issues central to working-class life today, such as the human costs of automation, union policies, mass media images of work, and intergenerational relations in working-class families. It also provides humorous commentaries, historical vignettes, and moving portraits of people Weir encountered, including James Baldwin, C. L. R. James, and Eric Hoffer. Gathered here for the first time, Weir's writings are equal parts memoir, labor history, and polemic; taken together, they document a crucial chapter in the life story of working-class America. Stan Weir (1921-2001) was a rank-and-file labor activist for more than fifty years as a seaman, autoworker, teamster, housepainter, and longshoreman. He earned a doctorate from the Union Institute in Cincinnati and was professor of labor and industrial relations at the University of Illinois. Weir founded Singlejack Press to publish writing by workers. George Lipsitz is professor of American studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the author of American Studies in a Moment of Danger and Time Passages.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816642946
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
  • Publication date: 10/20/2004
  • Series: Critical American Studies
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
I Working-class cultures
Meetings with James Baldwin 3
What ever happened to Frisco Jeans? 17
C. L. R. James : revolutionary artist 21
The role of the individual and the group in the creation of work cultures 26
Work force writers on the rise 29
I am lonely 32
II The human costs of automation
New technology : a catalyst for crises in collective bargaining, industrial discipline, and labor law 39
The human cost of automation 68
Containerization makes for a lonely waterfront 73
Luddism today 76
Effects of automation in the lives of longshoremen 91
III Solidarity networks
Unions with leaders who stay on the job 109
The need for labor networking 149
Rank and file networks : a way to fight concessions 151
Introduction to coordinadora 153
Strike in Spain reveals sickness and cure 156
Longshoremen and marine clerks of Spain building new kind of union 160
IV Workers, politics, and social change
Eric Hoffer : far-right true believer 167
The artificial isolation between radicals and workers 185
Workers second-class citizens 187
Bill Akagi and the union 190
The first recorded strike in history : 1170 B.C. 192
Early U.S. labor policy revealed by archives find 194
V The vanguard party and worker self-activity
A Leninist vanguard party dying in a foreign land 199
Life in a vanguard party 208
After the war 214
The vanguard party : an institution whose time has expired 216
Contribution to a discussion on Bert Cochran's Labor and communism 221
The vanguard party : an obstruction to worker-intellectual alliances 227
VI Primary work groups
The informal work group 235
Just a matter of gloves 252
West coast longshoremen and informal workers' control 256
Review of Punishment and redress in a modern factory 275
VII The failure of business unionism, the rank and file alternative
American labor on the defensive : a 1940s odyssey 281
USA : the labor revolt 294
Doug Fraser's middle-class coalition 310
The failure of business unionism 324
The Australian dock strike 338
Stan Weir : working-class visionary 346
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