Trade Unionists Against Terror: Guatemala City, 1954-1985

Trade Unionists Against Terror: Guatemala City, 1954-1985

by Deborah Levenson-Estrada

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Overview

Trade Unionists Against Terror: Guatemala City, 1954-1985 by Deborah Levenson-Estrada

Deborah Levenson-Estrada provides the first comprehensive analysis of how urban labor unions took shape in Guatemala under conditions of state terrorism. In Trade Unionists against Terror, she explores how workers made sense of their struggle for rights in the face of death squads and other forms of violent opposition from the state. Levenson-Estrada focuses especially on the case of 400 workers at the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Guatemala City, who, in order to protect their union, successfully occupied the factory for over a year beginning in 1984 while the country was under a state of siege. According to Levenson-Estrada, religion provided the language of resistance, and workers who were engaged in what seemed to be a dead-end battle constructed an identity for themselves as powerful agents of change. Based on oral histories as well as documentary sources, Trade Unionists against Terror also illuminates complex relationships between urban popular culture, gender, family, and workplace activism in Guatemala.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469616353
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 02/01/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Deborah Levenson-Estrada is associate professor of history at Boston College.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

An eloquent narrative of the courage and commitment of ordinary people in the face of deaths and disappearances. . . . A major contribution to both the social and political history of Guatemala and the history of labor in Latin America.—Peter Winn, Tufts University



Levenson-Estrada weaves telling personal accounts into a sophisticated and powerful history of worker activism in Guatemala. This book is a vital addition to carefully contextualized studies of grassroots politics, international trade unionism, and violence in Latin America.—Kay Barbara Warren, Princeton University



One of the book's strengths is that vivid personal testimonies are intelligently informed by more general theoretical and comparative contexts. This is a story that involves terrible brutality as well as inspiring courage, and the author neither protects her readers from the horrible nor overly romanticizes the heroic, even though she is quite clear about her sympathies with the workers.—Choice



Meticulous and powerful. . . . Trade Unionists against Terror reads as if it was written very much in the spirit of its subject: those Guatemalan workers who have rejected victimization or fatalism, defiantly believing instead 'that some people make history because they decide to.'—Francisco Goldman, author of The Ordinary Seaman



A challenging and innovative contribution to the growing literature on Latin American labor movements. Levenson-Estrada not only tells the remarkable and moving story of Guatemalan workers' struggles, but also explores how individuals, living in a context of extreme terror and repression, can engage in meaningful collective action.—Barbara Weinstein, State University of New York at Stony Brook



Deborah Levenson-Estrada has written an extraordinary book. . . . Her narrative draws the reader into an almost philosophical inquiry into the meaning of commitment and activism, the sense of life and death, the purpose of martyrdom, the necessity of will. . . . This is a book to be read and debated and used.—American Historical Review



[A] powerful book. . . . [Levenson-Estrada] deftly combines documentary evidence, oral testimony and personal observation to illuminate this extraordinary episode. Her story resonates with human drama. . . . This compelling book has broad implications and deserves a wide audience. . . . Trade Unionists against Terror can also serve as a primer for those seeking to hold capital accountable in this era of relentless globalization and ferocious indifference to human needs.—Nation

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