Linked Labor Histories: New England, Colombia, and the Making of a Global Working Class - American Encounters/Global Interactions (Hardback)
  • Linked Labor Histories: New England, Colombia, and the Making of a Global Working Class - American Encounters/Global Interactions (Hardback)
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Linked Labor Histories: New England, Colombia, and the Making of a Global Working Class - American Encounters/Global Interactions (Hardback)

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£95.00
Hardback 416 Pages / Published: 01/04/2008
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Exploring globalization from a labor history perspective, Aviva Chomsky provides historically grounded analyses of migration, labor-management collaboration, and the mobility of capital. She illuminates the dynamics of these movements through case studies set mostly in New England and Colombia. Taken together, the case studies offer an intricate portrait of two regions, their industries and workers, and the myriad links between them over the long twentieth century, as well as a new way to conceptualize globalization as a long-term process.

Chomsky examines labor and management at two early-twentieth-century Massachusetts factories: one that transformed the global textile industry by exporting looms around the world, and another that was the site of a model program of labor-management collaboration in the 1920s. She follows the path of the textile industry from New England, first to the U.S. South, and then to Puerto Rico, Japan, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and Colombia. She considers how towns in Rhode Island and Massachusetts began to import Colombian workers as they struggled to keep their remaining textile factories going. Most of the workers eventually landed in service jobs: cleaning houses, caring for elders, washing dishes.

Focusing on Colombia between the 1960s and the present, Chomsky looks at the Uraba banana export region, where violence against organized labor has been particularly acute, and, through a discussion of the AFL-CIO's activities in Colombia, she explores the thorny question of U.S. union involvement in foreign policy. In the 1980s, two U.S. coal mining companies began to shift their operations to Colombia, where they opened two of the largest open-pit coal mines in the world. Chomsky assesses how different groups, especially labor unions in both countries, were affected. Linked Labor Histories suggests that economic integration among regions often exacerbates regional inequalities rather than ameliorating them.

Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822341734
Number of pages: 416
Weight: 717 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Linked Labor Histories clearly establishes Chomsky as one of the foremost innovative labour historians of America-North and South." - David C. Carlson, Canadian Journal of History
"Linked Labor Histories is a book with a story that scholars can certainly learn from, but it has an even more important message to concerned citizens and labour activists about the necessity of building a movement that confronts globalisation with global strategies." - James P. Brennan, Journal of Latin American Studies
"[A] valuable contribution in the movement to revive (and revise) analytical tools that shed light on the past in order to illuminate the paths we walk today." - Louis Segal, A Contracorriente
"What in many text books easily turns into a dry account becomes in Chomsky's skilful narrative a fascinating and lively story, where the personal is never far from the general. In particular, I like the way in which each of the seven chapters ends with snippets of life histories from workers and unionists, whose personal experiences reflect the more abstract development of global capitalism. It is this putting flesh on social history that makes Linked Labor Histories such a captivating read. . . . Linked Labor Histories is a tremendous achievement and a fascinating read." - Ulrich Oslender, Bulletin of Latin American Research
"Linked Labor Histories is an informative, thought-provoking explanation of how workers' struggles within the imperialist centers are linked to those in countries dominated by imperialism." - Ted Zuur, Socialism and Democracy
"Chomsky challenges readers to rethink their assumptions about regional and global power relations, as well as the parts played by governments, workers, and their unions in capital's continual search for cheap, controllable labor. . . . Aviva Chomsky has written an exciting book about globalization and how the creation and maintenance of global inequalities over time have empowered capital over labor. . . . Chomsky's work explores new avenues of inquiry. She pushes readers to engage with the long history of the global South, and consider the strategies workers, unions, corporations, consumers, and governments have used to shape its development in the past, and the ways they could do so in the future." - Beth English, Labor
"By looking at globalization from the perspective of labor history, and labor history through the lens of globalization, Aviva Chomsky transforms our understanding of both. In Chomsky's hands, global labor history becomes a compelling tool for understanding and challenging the social inequalities that capitalism creates and depends on. The result is not only a wonderfully rich and detailed look at particular places and times, but a pathbreaking study that forces us to rethink how we understand the Americas as a whole. Students, scholars, labor leaders, and activists should all read this magnificent book."-Steve Striffler, author of In the Shadows of State and Capital: The United Fruit Company, Popular Struggle, and Agrarian Restructuring in Ecuador, 1900-1995
"The early-twentieth-century export of Draper looms from Hopedale, Massachusetts, to Medellin's domestic textile industry sets the stage for a remarkably creative transnational study, documenting the eerie connection between the fates of both American and Colombian working people. Aviva Chomsky jumps skillfully across time and space to link capital flight and the early globalization of the New England textile industry to patterns of low-wage international immigration, even as she dissects the role of the United States (at times aided by American trade unions) in the suppression of Colombian labor radicalism."-Leon Fink, author of The Maya of Morganton: Work and Community in the Nuevo New South
"[Chomsky] goes well beyond producing a merely comparative exercise. We are offered instead an in-depth analysis of the actual labour processes under consideration. . . . Overall, Linked Labor Histories is a fascinating text that will be of interest to people concerned about politics in the Americas and that will appeal to those concerned about labour history and processes of globalization from a labour-centric perspective." -- Robert O'Brien * Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies *
"Chomsky's study provides very interesting insights into the workings of American imperial expansion over the course of the twentieth century." -- Cary Fraser * Hispanic American Historical Review *
"The ambitious linkage of Colombia's and New England's labor histories is sustained by her understanding of the nature of capitalism. [Chomsky's] approach is thought-provoking and reminiscent of the work of Charles W. Bergquist, though with much greater attention to the struggles of local activists. This book merits a close reading and, one hopes, will inspire others to undertake similar studies." -- David Sowell * American Historical Review *
"Linked Labor Histories clearly establishes Chomsky as one of the foremost innovative labour historians of America-North and South." -- David C. Carlson * Canadian Journal of History *
"Linked Labor Histories is a book with a story that scholars can certainly learn from, but it has an even more important message to concerned citizens and labour activists about the necessity of building a movement that confronts globalisation with global strategies." -- James P. Brennan * Journal of Latin American Studies *
"Linked Labor Histories is an informative, thought-provoking explanation of how workers' struggles within the imperialist centers are linked to those in countries dominated by imperialism." -- Ted Zuur * Socialism and Democracy *
"[A] valuable contribution in the movement to revive (and revise) analytical tools that shed light on the past in order to illuminate the paths we walk today." -- Louis Segal * A Contracorriente *
"Chomsky challenges readers to rethink their assumptions about regional and global power relations, as well as the parts played by governments, workers, and their unions in capital's continual search for cheap, controllable labor. . . . Aviva Chomsky has written an exciting book about globalization and how the creation and maintenance of global inequalities over time have empowered capital over labor. . . . Chomsky's work explores new avenues of inquiry. She pushes readers to engage with the long history of the global South, and consider the strategies workers, unions, corporations, consumers, and governments have used to shape its development in the past, and the ways they could do so in the future." -- Beth English * Labor *
"What in many text books easily turns into a dry account becomes in Chomsky's skilful narrative a fascinating and lively story, where the personal is never far from the general. In particular, I like the way in which each of the seven chapters ends with snippets of life histories from workers and unionists, whose personal experiences reflect the more abstract development of global capitalism. It is this putting flesh on social history that makes Linked Labor Histories such a captivating read. . . . Linked Labor Histories is a tremendous achievement and a fascinating read." -- Ulrich Oslender * Bulletin of Latin American Research *

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