Friday, January 14, 2011

Sat, 1/15, Study group on "Labor Wars," by Sidney Lens

2pm, Au Bon Pain, Central Square, Cambridge, MA (map)

Join the Boston branch of the International Socialist Organization for a discussion of THE FIRST FOUR CHAPTERS of the phenomenal book by Sidney Lens, Labor Wars.

These chapters cover the period spanning the harried beginning of an organized labor fightback in the United States -- from the end of Reconstruction with its pitched battles between railroad workers and company thugs to the turn of the twentieth century and the mass campaign for the eight-hour day.

This book is available for purchase from Haymarket Books or through the Boston branch directly.

About the Book

The rise of the American labor movement was characterized by explosive struggles for the most basic rights. From the martyrdom of the famous Molly Maguires in the Pennsylvania coalfields in the nineteenth century to the great sitdown strikes of the 1930s, the history of the American labor movement is filled with pitched battles that frequently erupted into open warfare.

Here, celebrated historian Sidney Lens chronicles these great labor battles, the contentious struggles to lead them, and the leaders generated by the working-class movement: Eugene Debs, Samuel Gompers, Mother Jones, Lucy and Albert Parsons, William Z. Foster, Bill Haywood, John L. Lewis, Walter Reuther, and more—many of them Lens' personal friends.

In Labor Wars, Lens demonstrates how, contrary to conventional wisdom, the struggle of workers for decent pay and conditions on the job, democracy, and social justice has played a far more pivotal role in shaping American life than any president or general. In gripping detail, Labor Wars rescues the rich tradition of working-class rebellion that has so powerfully defined our history.

"The strikers in these industrial flare-ups confronted not only the power of their employers but, ultimately, that of the State…and in the process there was always the possibility of a widening and escalating conflict bordering on insurrection."
—from The Labor Wars

About the Author

Sidney Lens (1912–1986) was the author of many books about labor and radical movements in the United States, including The Forging of the American Empire (republished in 2003 by Haymarket Books and Pluto Press). He was a candidate for the U.S. Senate for the Citizens Party and an editor of the Progressive.