Rick Fantasia’s book reads:A commonplace assumption about American workers is that they lack class consciousness. This perception has baffled social scientists, demoralized activists, and generated a significant literature on American exceptional ism. In this provocative book, a young sociologist takes the prevailing assumptions to task and sheds new light upon this very important issue. In three vivid case studies Fantasia explores the complicated, multi-faceted dynamics of American working-class consciousness and collective action.
The plight of Southern tenant cotton farmers, both black and white, and the effort to provide tenant farmers with job security and financial stability through unionization. The book begins with the economic and agricultural fallout of the Civil War and on to the movement’s initial organization, the New Deal, and efforts to join the AFL-CIO. In 1934 two young Socialists organized the Southern Tenants Farmers Union (STFU) near the town of Tyronza, Arkansas, in order to gain fair wages for tenant farmers who were kept in perpetual destitution.
This is a good book about agricultural labor, even if it can be a convoluted read due to its inherent political complexity. “Cry from the Cotton…” is well-researched and copiously noted.
Paul Hawkins wrote a Book:Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming is a 2007 New York Times bestseller by Paul Hawken. The book is about the many non-profit groups and community organizations, dedicated to many different causes, which Hawken calls the “environmental and social justice movement”. Hawken explains that this is a diverse movement with no charismatic leader. The movement follows no unifying ideology, and is not recognized by politicians, the public and the media. But, Hawken argues, it has the potential to benefit the planet.
A New York Times reviewer states that Blessed Unrest is “about a movement that no one has noticed, not even the people involved”. For this reviewer, the “high point of the book is Hawken’s excellent critique of the chemical industry’s attack on Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962”, at a time when she was fighting cancer. Hawken also tells the stories of other people who have endured hardship and difficulty as they stood up to large corporations.
Union History:Fundamentally, labor’s story is the story of the American people. To view it narrowly, to concentrate on the history of specific trade unions or on the careers of individuals and their rivalries, would be to miss the point that the great forces which have swept the American people into action have been the very forces that have also molded labor. Trade unionism was born as an effective national movement amid the great convulsion of the Civil War and the fight for black freedom… Labor suffered under depressions which spurred the whole American people into movement in the seventies, in the eighties, and in the nineties. It reached its greatest heights when it joined hands with farmers, small businessmen, and the black people in the epic Populist revolts of the 1890’s and later in the triumph that was the New Deal. For labor has never lived in isolation or progressed without allies. Always it has been in the main stream of American life Labor’s story, by its very nature, is synchronized at every turn with the growth and development of American monopoly. Its great leap forward into industrial unionism was an answering action to the development of trusts and great industrial empires. Labor’s grievances, in fact the very conditions of its life, have been imposed by its great antagonist, that combination of industrial and financial power often known as Wall Street. The mind and actions of William H. Sylvis, the iron molder who founded the first effective national labor organization, can scarcely be understood without also an understanding of the genius and cunning of his contemporary, John D. Rockefeller, father of the modern trust. In the long view of history the machinations of J. P. Morgan, merging banking and industrial capital as he threw together ever larger combinations of corporate power controlled by fewer and fewer men, may have governed the course of American labor more than the plans of Samuel Gompers.
In Modern Times:The Occupy movement is an international protest movement against social and economic inequality, its primary goal being to make the economic and political relations in all societies less vertically hierarchical and more flatly distributed. Local groups often have different foci, but among the movement’s prime concerns deal with how large corporations and the global financial system control the world in a way that disproportionately benefits a minority, undermines democracy, and is unstable.
The groups to emulate though: Moral Mondays are protests in North Carolina and Georgia, United States of America. The protests are in response to several actions by the Republican government of North Carolina in 2013. The protests are characterized by engaging in civil disobedience by entering the state legislature building and then being peacefully arrested. The protests in North Carolina launched a grassroots social justice movement that, in 2014, spread to Georgia and South Carolina.
The American Labor Party has launched the Carnation Revolution to Unify all groups for social and economic justice and true democracy. The ALP wants change through getting officials elected.