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The Labor Wars: From the Molly Maguires to the Sit Downs
The rise of the American labor movement was characterized by bloody and revolutionary battles. From the first famous martyrs, the Molly Maguires in the Pennsylvania coal fields in the nineteenth century, to the crucial workers’ victory of the 1930s in the sit-down strikes against General Motors, it has a history of pitched battles that frequently erupted into open warfare. ...more
Paperback, 372 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Haymarket Books
(first published 1973)
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The Molly Maguires may have been an Irish 19th-century secret society known for their activism among Irish-American and Irish immigrant coal miners in Pennsylvania. Or maybe they were the nonexistent basis for a folk devil. Either way they are a basis for the history of the roots of militant labor movements in America, sort of like rooting a story of Democracy on semi-legends. Through railroads and infection by communism to mass production, this tellings ends with the successful sitdowns largely ...more
An amazing book with so much information about the labor movement and the struggles faced by that early immigrant generation. It also serves as a cautionary tale: "the possibility of executive capitalism or forms of a corporate state in which the government regiments the economy and the people to an extent unknown before, cannot be ruled out."