"A spirited volume"—Choice reviews Rebel Rank and File
In a new review for Choice, Rebel Rank and File: Labor Militancy and Revolt from Below During the Long 1970s is described as a "spirited volume," and Steve Early's concluding essay as "a call to arms to today's workers and potential activists."
This compelling collection of articles originated at a 2005 conference, "Rank-and-File Movements of the Long 1970s," held at UCLA's Center for Social Theory and Comparative History. Like the conference, this volume brings together academics and labor activists who explore the possibilities and the limitations for worker militancy in the 1970s and, by implication, today. While the first three articles, by Cal Winslow, Robert Brenner, and Judith Stein provide excellent overviews of US labor from the mid-1960s through the early 1980s, the nine topical essays that follow certainly make an important contribution to the existing scholarship. For example, in addition to essays regarding the often-examined automobile workers, steelworkers, and their unions, Frank Bardacke looks at the United Farm Workers from the "ground up," rather than focusing on UFW leader Cesar Chavez; Kieran Taylor examines the League of Revolutionary Black Workers; and Dorothy Sue Cobble explores workplace feminism among women service workers. The concluding essay by Steve Early is in many ways a call to arms to today's workers and potential activists, a fitting conclusion to this spirited volume. Highly Recommended. [K.B. Nutter, SUNY Stony Brook]
Frank Bardacke's new history of Cesar Chavez and the rise and fall of the United Farm Workers, Trampling Out the Vintage, will be published by Verso in September.