The Civil Rights Movement, Post-Martin Luther King
by Randy Shaw‚
Feb. 27‚ 2014
If you are looking for fresh analysis of the African-American Civil Rights Movement following Martin Luther King’s murder, and particularly of Jesse Jackson’s emerging role, this and more can be found in David Chappell’s insightful new book, Waking from the Dream: The Struggle for Civil Rights in the Shadow of Martin Luther King, Jr” [more]->
New Book Lauds San Francisco’s Progressive Worker Benefits
by Randy Shaw‚
Feb. 06‚ 2014
It may surprise some local progressives who believe corporate interests always call the shots in San Francisco, but the city has the most progressive worker benefits in the United States. It has a $10.74 local minimum wage, paid sick leave, a living wage law for those doing business with the city, a local health care law, domestic partner benefits and much more. Conservatives claim these benefits hurt rather than help workers. A new book edited by Michael Reich, Ken Jacobs and Miranda Dietz, When Mandates Work: Raising Labor Standards At the Local Level, conclusively refutes such arguments.
No Unions Behind The Kitchen Door?
by Steve Early‚
Jan. 23‚ 2014
Ethical Eaters of The World Unite…For Workers Rights
Last year’s multi-city protests by fast food workers focused long overdue attention on the job problems of ten million Americans employed in restaurants. Saru Jayaraman, the charismatic co-founder of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC), has been assisting workers in finer dining establishments for more than a decade, an organizing career impressively chronicled in her new book, Behind The Kitchen Door, from Cornell University Press.
A Review of Save Our Unions Dispatches from A Movement in Distress
by Carl Finamore‚
Dec. 12‚ 2013
There is still time during the holidays to purchase labor journalist Steve Early’s very readable and quite reflective latest book, Save Our Unions, published by Monthly Review Press.
But books on labor are notoriously misunderstood and conspicuously undersold. This is really too bad. Like other books describing how people live and what they struggle for, Save Our Union records a very human story – a running narrative from an author who was directly reporting, and often directly participating, in the unfolding human drama as it occurred. In 335 pages, Early analyzes the leadership, organization and strategy of the most significant labor struggles, debates and controversies of the past 40 years, right up to now.
Does San Francisco Need an Amusement Park?
by Randy Shaw‚
Nov. 27‚ 2013
New York City has Coney Island, Chicago has Navy Pier, Los Angeles has Universal Studios and nearby Disneyland, and San Francisco has….well, until 1972 the city had Playland at the Beach. Playland was demolished to make way for new condominiums, whose subsequent mold and financial problems were seen by many as cosmic justice for the tearing down of the city’s beloved Playland. Three years ago I reviewed James Smith’s book on the early years of Playland, and he has now produced a second volume, San Francisco’s Playland At the Beach: The Golden Years. Sadly, the “golden years” were not sufficiently profitable. Children still enjoyed Playland but adult attendance fell off. It was not recognized at the time, but Playland’s demise was part of a larger decline in San Francisco’s attractions for young people, as bowling alleys, pool halls, and pinball arcades also bit the dust.
New Book Offers Training Manual for Winning Social Change
by Steve Early‚
Nov. 07‚ 2013
(Ed Note: This review first appeared in Social Policy. Author Randy Shaw is Editor of Beyond Chron}
Randy Shaw’s Activist’s Handbook is a book with legs. First published in the early 1990s, it has now been updated as a guide to “winning social change” in the new millennium. If you’re a long distance runner in any U.S. social movement—or trying to figure out how to become one—this is the training manual for your team.
The appearance of a second edition has given the California-based author and community organizer a chance to expand upon the case studies he utilized in the initial edition, adding new material about protest activity not yet stirring two decades ago. The eclectic mix of older and new material makes the information and advice that Shaw dispenses even more useful to organizers of all types. His latest Handbook examines “new strategies, tactics, issues, and grassroots campaigns, and revisits whether activists have learned from past mistakes.”
A Movement to Free time
by Bernard Marszalek‚
Oct. 24‚ 2013
We are living in a time of dis-ease, when the millions who are consistently working long hours pass by the millions of unemployed as ships in the night. The former, physically exhausted from overwork, share with the “chronically unemployed,” themselves psychically drained from months of fruitless search for work, the continuum of employment as the extremities – from none to too much. The most obvious solution – to share the work – never enters the popular discourse. Instead, we are forever bombarded with nostrums from a plethora of pundits, left and right, who must acquire their sagacity from the backs of cereal boxes. They mouth the need for more job training, more government work projects, more tax breaks for the “job creators,” more “insourcing” and so forth.
Fortunately, Benjamin Hunnicutt in Free Time: The Forgotten American Dream provides some clarity regarding the sharing of work by telling the story of US workers’ fight to reduce their hours of toil. If that were all that this book covered it would be noteworthy since most people seem to believe that the 40-hour workweek was inscribed in the Constitution. More significantly, however, Hunnicutt makes clear that the century long fight for more free time, from twelve-hour shifts to ten, and from ten to eight and less, was a vital aspect of original American Dream.
FDR and Jews: Setting the Record Straight
by Randy Shaw‚
Oct. 10‚ 2013
In the historic 1932 presidential election, Franklin Delano Roosevelt got stronger support from the Jewish community than any other constituency. The same was true in 1936. Yet despite FDR’s strong Jewish support and appointment of record number of Jews to key positions, two falsehoods have emerged to tarnish his legacy. First, it is widely believed that FDR denied a shipload of refugees from Nazi Germany safe harbor in the U.S. and that they were returned to their oppressors and killed. As meticulously documented in Richard Breitman and Allan J.Lichtman’s new book, FDR and the Jews, this is false. The ship returned all passengers to democratic countries and none went back to Germany. Second, many, including former president George W. Bush, believe that FDR jeopardized Jewish lives by failing to bomb concentration camps. The authors also refute this common belief. If you are among those who believe that historical truth matters---and the Republican Party seems to believe otherwise---than you will cheer the authors for writing this book.
The Shipping Industry’s Troubling Underside
by Chris Tiedemann‚
Sep. 19‚ 2013
Ninety Percent of Everything, Rose George’s new book about the international shipping industry, gives new importance to “buy local” campaigns. Regardless whether our coffee is fair trade or the factories that sew our t-shirts adhere to international labor protocols, those goods, and ninety percent of everything we use, travel on large cargo ships owned by the international 1%. Ninety Percent of Everything describes the modern shipping industry and documents its terrible labor practices, pollution of the oceans and atmosphere, killing of sea life, and ability to avoid regulation in ways that big banks have never imagined possible.
Have Corporate Interests Controlled U.S. Economic Policy Since the New Deal?
by Randy Shaw‚
Sep. 05‚ 2013