Haymarket Square Riot (response)
A Bicentennial moment: Haymarket Square Riot by Bob Nirkind, Fifth Estate #272, May, 1976, Vol. 11, No. 8, page 10
To the Fifth Estate:
A brief note concerning Bob Nirkind’s treatment of the Knights of Labor in the May issue of the Fifth Estate.
Most historians have seen the Knights of Labor as a backward-looking organization grounded in the craftsman’s rejection of the development of wage-slavery and the destruction of his skills—and privileges. There is a certain grain of truth in this, especially as far as the early years of the organization are concerned (1879 through 1884), and the leadership itself. However, in my own work (which meant looking at the Knights in great detail on both the local and national level) I found a more useful framework.
Jan 24, 2016
The Emergence of a UAW Local
A review of The Emergence of a UAW Local, 1936–1939: A study in class and culture by Peter Friedlander
There are few books which provide an inside view of the early years of CIO organization, and even fewer of them are as rich as this study. For this reason alone it is well worth reading. Nevertheless, this book is seriously flawed. Yet it is in the flaws themselves that the most important questions arise, questions which must be posed, paused over, and answered. This review is intended to explore these areas, hopefully to stimulate discussion and debate.
Feb 21, 2016
Pittsburgh Workers Battle Company, Union
By the beginning of the second shift on Monday July 12, the huge East Pittsburgh Works of the Westinghouse Electric Company was shut tight by a wildcat strike of production workers.
This was the first plant-wide walk-out in twenty years, the last being a six month strike in 1956 which ended in bitter defeat and demoralization. While this re-emergence of mass activity at this central plant (where some 9500 blue collar workers manufacture gigantic turbines) alone makes these events deserving of analysis, the actual unrolling of the strike presents some patterns more than worthy of consideration by those of us who seek the destruction of capitalist society in all of its forms.
Apr 28, 2016
New Journal reviewed
Zerowork No. 1; Available from P.O. Box 515, Station C, Toronto, Ontario, Canada or through Ammunition Books (see further in this issue).
The last few years have seen the appearance of few new journals, even fewer of which are worth taking seriously. Zerowork, however, is one of the exceptions. Despite a density of text and an absence of graphics and photographs, this journal is well worth reading.
Aug 18, 2016
Anything new in the “Revolt Against Work?”
Sabotage and absenteeism differ today
Charles Reeve has raised a number of important questions in his critique of John Zerzan’s “Unions Against Revolution.” [See The “Revolt Against Work” or Fight for the Right to be Lazy (FE 279, December, 1976).] These questions should not be tossed out of the window, nor should they be viewed as the only or most important questions which can be raised. For the moment, I would like to probe certain areas, in the hope that others will go even further in their considerations—or take issue with mine.
Sep 26, 2016
The New Family Therapy
“The development of capital is delinquency and madness. Now everything is permitted; there are no longer taboos, bans. But, in living out various ‘perversions, men and women can lose themselves, destroy themselves, and no longer be operational’ for capital; out of this there appears-the necessity of a community which can reinsert them into the community of capital (to be more exact, this takes on the dimension of a therapeutic community). An ensemble of specialists-therapists will serve as the mediators for this reinsertion.”
—Jacques Camatte, in Invariance Serie III, No. 1
Oct 1, 2016
Mass Insurrection Centennial
On July 16, 1877, railroad workers in Martinsburg, West Virginia, walked off their jobs in response to a 10% wage cut instituted by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Wage cuts had become common practice on the railroads, in fact throughout American industry, since the onset of a severe depression in the fall of 1873.
Apr 23, 2017
Worker Kills Boss
From Detroit to Springfield and Back
The western Massachusetts area was rocked on Monday, October 10, with the news that a 31 year-old drill press operator at the Springfield American Bosch airplane and truck parts plant had returned from lunch with a .22 caliber rifle and killed a general foreman and critically wounded his immediate foreman.
Jun 9, 2018
Technology and Capitalism
“America by Design”
a review of
David F. Noble, America by Design: Science, Technology, and the Rise of Corporate Capitalism (N.Y.: Knopf, 1977). 384 pages, $12.95.
David Noble has written a genuinely path-breaking book, one which addresses critical issues in an analytically creative and historically concrete fashion. America by Design is distinguished not only by its scope, by the picture it offers of capitalist development in the first three decades of this century, but above all by the questions it poses. In this sense, the book itself represents a leap in historical perspectives, and it is to be hoped that future studies will begin with the concrete approach offered here, not those which it has surpassed.
Jul 5, 2018