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This study discusses the legacy of the Communists in the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) from the 1930s through the 1950s. How did the Communists win and hold power in the CIO unions, and what did they do with it once they had it? Did they subordinate the needs of workers to those of the Soviet regime? Stepan-Norris and Zeitlin find that Communists were more egalitarian and most progressive on class, race and gender issues. They were also leading fighters in exemplary workplace struggles to enlarge the freedom and enhance the human dignity of America's workers.Read more
- Uses systematic empirical evidence to answer important historical questions regarding the role of Communists in American unions
- Covers historical ground regarding the aftermath of the Communist unions' expulsion
- Serves as a counterpoint to the distortion of Communists as nothing more than Soviet agents
Reviews & endorsements
Left Out is a meticulous and comprehensive history of the Communist contribution to democracy, militancy, and racial justice in the dynamic unions that emerged out of America's Depression-era labor upsurge. Judith Stepan-Norris and Maurice Zeitlin skillfully deploy the tools of both sociologists and historians to uncover a vast, variegated world of left-wing thought and praxis, in the process demonstrating how tragic and debilitating was the destruction of this left-wing union current in the early Cold War years." Nelson Lichtenstein, author of State of the Union: A Century of American LaborSee more reviews
"`Why no socialism in America?' is one of the great and perennial sociological enigmas. To explain American exceptionalism one needs to understand what happened to `red' unionism....Left Out is a landmark study because of its ambition and intellectual integrity; an exemplar of tough analysis, supported by incredibly rich historical evidence. And it is a pure joy to read...Stepan-Norris and Zeitlin have written a sociological tour de force that compels us all to reconsider what, truly, is exceptional about America." Gosta Esping-Andersen, author of The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism
"Left Out is a meticulous and comprehensive history of the Communist contribution to democracy, militancy, and racial justice in the dynamic unions that emerged out of America's Depression-era labor upsurge. Judith Stepan-Norris and Maurice Zeitlin skillfully deploy the tools of both sociologists and historians to uncover a vast, variegated world of left-wing thought and praxis, in the process demonstrating how tragic and debilitating was the destruction of this left-wing union current in the early Cold War years." Nelson Lichtenstein, author of State of the Union: A Century of American Labor
"Judith Stepan-Norris and Maurice Zeitlin...peel away the veil of anti-communism and organizational pessimism to reveal an insurgent communism that was no Stalinist front for `infiltrating' or `colonizing' unions, but was instead the backbone of popular struggles for decent working conditions, racial equality, women's rights, and participatory democracy....Going against the shibboleths of our time, [the authors] question the inevitability of American labor's self-destructive accommodation to corporate capitalism. Courageous, clear and compelling, this is counterfactual history at its best--history returned to the actors who make it." Michael Burawoy, University of California, Berkeley, President-elect of the American Sociological Association
"Finally someone has engaged the old and new anti-Communist scholarship, treated it seriously, and having put its assertions to the test of thorough empirical research, finds this literature to be radically wrong. Finally someone gives the Communists their due without soft pedaling their apologetic stance toward the former Soviet Union. This book will replace Lipset's classic on the ITU as the last word on trade union democracy and its relationship to anti-communism." David Wellman, author of The Union Makes Us Strong: Radical Unionism on the San Francisco Waterfront
"[A]n intensive study of the ACP-dominated unions.... Highly recommended." Choice
"The authors meticulously investigate bogus claims by red-baiters, and set the record straight. It is a breath of fresh air and a welcome addition to the body of literature which seeks to understand how workers make gains." UE News
"...the authors' conslusions and insights help to illuminate not only the history of organized labor and the ILWU, but the present and future as well...Stephen-Norris and Zeitlin have helped us understand the importance of not repeating the mistakes of the Red Scare, and not letting another member of the House of Labor be left out." The Dispatcher
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- Date Published: October 2002
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521798402
- length: 392 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 22 mm
- weight: 0.57kg
- contains: 2 b/w illus. 22 tables
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. The congress of industrial organizations (CIO): left, right, and center
2. 'Who gets the bird?'
3. Insurgency, radicalism, and democracy
4. Lived democracy: UAW local 600
5. 'Red company unions'?
6. Rank-and-file democracy and the 'class struggle in production'
7. Strangers to their own class?
8. 'Pin money' and 'pink slips'
9. The 'big 3' and interracial solidarity
10. The red and the black
11. Conclusion: an American tragedy
12. Epilogue: the specter of a 'third labor federation'.
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