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Black and Blue: African Americans the Labor Movement and the Decline of the Democratic Party Paul Frymer Princeton University Press


31st May 2012 History Books 0 Comments

Black and Blue is an exceptional study of the relationships between the civil rights and labor movements during the second half of the twentieth century…His study of the particular details of this struggle, as well as the institutional circumstances that guided the struggle will be discussed for years to come.
(Mark Graber Balkinization )

Paul Frymer’s Black and Blue is an important book, precisely because it takes what should be so obvious to scholars and makes it appear as such. At least since the mid-1980s, scholars have debated the ‘rise and fall’ of the labor-civil rights movement and its relationship to the power and authority of the Democratic party. Combining the methodologies of politics, the law, and history, Frymer’s interdisciplinary work should help settle this long-running debate and contribute to new (and perhaps even more productive) avenues of inquiry.
(Peter F. Lau Journal of American History )

Black and Blue is a powerful demonstration of how a different theoretical paradigm can result in new interpretations of not only historical events, but current understandings of both racism and judicial legitimacy. Although there are many unanswered questions resulting from this intriguing book, it offers some fruitful new directions for the burgeoning scholarship in intersectionality, as well as continuing in the traditions of American Political Development and New Institutionalism.
(Michelle D. Deardorff Law and Politics Book Review )

[T]his is an exceptionally interesting book. Frymer makes new arguments, uses fresh evidence, and addresses important questions. He casts new light on the historical relationship between labor and the civil rights movement.
(Michael P. Hanagan American Journal of Sociology )

This book will be the standard and basic book for generations to come. It will be and is the sine qua non for serious scholars in this area.
(William Gould, former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board )

In the 1930s, fewer than one in one hundred U.S. labor union members were African American. By 1980, the figure was more than one in five. Black and Blue explores the politics and history that led to this dramatic integration of organized labor. In the process, the book tells a broader story about how the Democratic Party unintentionally sowed the seeds of labor’s decline.

The labor and civil rights movements are the cornerstones of the Democratic Party, but for much of the twentieth century these movements worked independently of one another. Paul Frymer argues that as Democrats passed separate legislation to promote labor rights and racial equality they split the issues of class and race into two sets of institutions, neither of which had enough authority to integrate the labor movement.

From this division, the courts became the leading enforcers of workplace civil rights, threatening unions with bankruptcy if they resisted integration. The courts’ previously unappreciated power, however, was also a problem: in diversifying unions, judges and lawyers enfeebled them financially, thus democratizing through destruction. Sharply delineating the double-edged sword of state and legal power, Black and Blue chronicles an achievement that was as problematic as it was remarkable, and that demonstrates the deficiencies of race- and class-based understandings of labor, equality, and power in America.

Black and Blue is an exceptional study of the relationships between the civil rights and labor movements during the second half of the twentieth century…His study of the particular details of this struggle, as well as the institutional circumstances that guided the struggle will be discussed for years to come.

Paul Frymer’s Black and Blue is an important book, precisely because it takes what should be so obvious to scholars and makes it appear as such. At least since the mid-1980s, scholars have debated the ‘rise and fall’ of the labor-civil rights movement and its relationship to the power and authority of the Democratic party. Combining the methodologies of politics, the law, and history, Frymer’s interdisciplinary work should help settle this long-running debate and contribute to new avenues of inquiry.

Black and Blue is a powerful demonstration of how a different theoretical paradigm can result in new interpretations of not only historical events, but current understandings of both racism and judicial legitimacy. Although there are many unanswered questions resulting from this intriguing book, it offers some fruitful new directions for the burgeoning scholarship in intersectionality, as well as continuing in the traditions of American Political Development and New Institutionalism.

[T]his is an exceptionally interesting book. Frymer makes new arguments, uses fresh evidence, and addresses important questions. He casts new light on the historical relationship between labor and the civil rights movement.

Black and Blue: African Americans, the Labor Movement, and the Decline of the Democratic Party (Princeton Studies in American Politics: Historical, International, and Comparative Perspectives)

The Next Upsurge: Labor and the New Social Movements

“Clawsons vision of a new labor movement infused with the dynamic strategies and broad agendas of the new social movements is not only persuasive, it is necessary if we ever want to create a decent world for those who must work for a living. A powerful book by one of labors smartest and most enthusiastic champions.”Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

“Dan Clawson doesnt tell unions and other workers organizations what to do; he looks at what they are doing and what seems to be working best. The result is not only an exciting read, but a powerful argument for a more feminist and ethnically aware approach to organizing.”Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

“This thoughtful and bracing book examines a host of new initiatives that link labor organizing to communities, students, minorities, and women. Clawson argues that these experiments may show us the path to a new upsurge from below in which a revived labor movement would play a central role. We should all hope so, not only for the sake of a revived labor movement, but alsofor the sake of a revived American democracy.”Frances Fox Piven, City University of New York

“C. Wright Mills once hoped that the agenda-setting contributions of a brace of labor intellectuals would help the unions move upstream against the main drift. Dan Clawson is just that kind of activist-scholar, whose commitment, insight,and imaginative connectivity are all on wonderful display in The Next Upsurge. His remarkable understanding of labor history, management tactics, and social movement dynamics will advance the kind of informed debate essential to the reconstruction of the American trade unions and the fusion between those institutions and new forms of 21st-century social protest.”Nelson Lichtenstein, author of State of the Union: A Century of American Labor

“Relentlessly optimistic, yet judicious and rooted in careful research on recent developments in labor and other progressive movements, Clawson’s highly readable book makes a compelling case for the potential resurgence of unionism. The Next Upsurge: Labor and the New Social Movements is a must read for anyone who cares about the future of labor and social justice.”Ruth Milkman, UCLA, Director of the UC Institute for Labor and Employment –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

The U.S. labor movement may be on the verge of massive growth, according to Dan Clawson. He argues that unions don’t grow slowly and incrementally, but rather in bursts. Even if the AFL-CIO could organize twice as many members per year as it now does, it would take thirty years to return to the levels of union membership that existed when Ronald Reagan was elected president. In contrast, labor membership more than quadrupled in the years from 1934 to 1945. For there to be a new upsurge, Clawson asserts, labor must fuse with social movements concerned with race, gender, and global justice.

The new forms may create a labor movement that breaks down the boundaries between “union” and “community” or between work and family issues. Clawson finds that this is already happening in some parts of the labor movement: labor has endorsed global justice and opposed war in Iraq, student activists combat sweatshops, unions struggle for immigrant rights. Innovative campaigns of this sort, Clawson shows, create new strategiesdetermined by workers rather than union organizersthat redefine the very meaning of the labor movement. The Next Upsurge presents a range of examples from attempts to replace “macho” unions with more feminist models to campaigns linking labor and community issues and attempts to establish cross-border solidarity and a living wage.

The Next Upsurge: Labor and the New Social Movements (Ilr Press Book)










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