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Daniela Spenser

Vicente Lombardo Toledano was the founder of numerous labour union organisations in Mexico and Latin America between the 1920s to the 1960s. He was not only an organiser but also a broker between the unions, the government, and business leaders, able to disentangle difficult conflicts. He cooperated closely with the governments of Mexico and other Latin American nations and worked with the representatives of the Soviet Union when he considered it useful. As a result he was alternately seen as a government stooge or a communist, even though he was never a member of the party or of the Mexican government administration.

Daniela Spenser's is the first biography of Lombardo Toledano based on his extensive private papers, on primary sources from European, Mexican and American archives, and on personal interviews. Her even-keeled portrayal of the man counters previous hagiographies and/or vilifications.

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Robert Ovetz

The United States looks today much like it did in the late 19th to early 20th century. Open class conflict is disappearing, strikes are becoming rare, unions are declining, corporate power is growing, and work is insecure and contingent. When Workers Shot Back: Class Conflict from 1877 to 1921 explores one of the most tumultuous times in United States history. Self-organised workers recomposed their power by devising new strategies and tactics to disrupt the capitalist economy and extract concessions. Mine, railroad, steel, and iron workers pursued a strategy of tension that sometimes erupted into militant class conflict and general strikes in which workers took over and ran a number of cities. Turning common wisdom on its head, When Workers Shot Back argues that the escalation of working class conflict drives rather than reacts to the consolidation and reorganisation of capital and economic and political reform of the state. Studying the class composition of this period illustrates why workers escalated the intensity of their tactics, even using tactical violence, to extract concessions and reforms when all other efforts to do so were blocked, coopted or repressed.