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December 9, 2018

[Old notes on David Montgomery’s great book Citizen Worker: The Experience of Workers in the United States with Democracy and the Free Market during the Nineteenth Century (1993).]

What Alexander Troup wrote in 1891 applies just as well to the present: “We prate religion… We indulge in morbid sentimentalism over ‘happy homes,’ we spread ourselves in eagle flights of oratory over o...

August 6, 2018

Here are old notes of mine on a very good book by the historian Roger Horowitz, “Negro and White, Unite and Fight!”: A Social History of Industrial Unionism in Meatpacking, 1930-1990 (1997).

Introduction:

        

Unlike most CIO unions after 1950, the UPWA (United Packinghouse Workers of America) “retained the insurgent spirit of the 1930s’ labor...

June 11, 2016

In a sense, writing history is an intrinsically moral activity -- although different kinds of history embody different degrees of morality. Writing a ‘sympathetic’ history of oppressed and forgotten people is the most moral; writing such a history of states and power-structures is the least. But in both cases you’re asserting human dignity in the face of the absurd, the absurd an...

August 10, 2015

I'm finally reading [in 2011] E. P. Thompson’s classic The Making of the English Working Class (1963). Query: why was England so impervious to social and political reform in the early 19th century, during the Industrial Revolution? Answer: in part because in the 1790s “the French Revolution consolidated Old Corruption by uniting landowners and manufacturers in a common panic [ove...

September 22, 2014

Power-structures never want people to remember history, because knowledge empowers. Knowledge of how the oppressed have won victories, or how the oppressors have warred against freedom, threatens the powerful, so they do everything they can to present a whitewashed and Big Brother-approved version of history. In the interest of getting information to the public, here are highligh...

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