State of the Union

Solidarity Forever!

Nelson Lichtenstein’s new book, “The State of the Union,” gives a history of labor unions in the United States by way of arguing for the need to restrengthen them, and I think the case is very persuasive.

Lichtenstein weaves together a number of themes to explain the decline in union membership and power. One is increased reliance on individual rights and legal protections. Federal laws ban all sorts of discrimination, endangerment, and abuse, but the federal read more

Day of Reckoning

Day of Reckoning: A Review
By David Swanson, ILCA

Just before Albert Parsons was hanged by the state of Illinois on November 11, 1887, for a crime that evidence suggests he had nothing to do with (setting off a bomb in Haymarket Square, Chicago) and a crime that he certainly did do (campaigning for an 8-hour day with decent pay), he wrote a note to his two young children that concluded:

“My children, my precious ones, I request you to read this parting message on each recurring anniversary read more

Left Out: Reds and America's Industrial Unions

Efficiency of Factionalism, Fatality of Discipline
July 7, 2004

There’s a common tendency, even among organizers and activists, to assume that in some sense George W. Bush is right when he says “A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier.” We all support democracy in our unions and in labor media, but not of course in order to make our unions more efficient, rather to keep our members happy even at the understood risk of slowing down the important business of organizing and read more

The President of Good and Evil

Beyond the President of Good and Evil
March 14, 2004

“The President of Good and Evil” is a very strange new book by acclaimed philosopher Peter Singer. Singer is a native of Australia who currently teaches at Princeton and lives in New York, and whose many books have been widely influential, particularly in the area of animal rights. Singer is famous for criticizing the individual behavior of most of us in wealthy countries as falling far short of an ethical level of sacrifice on behalf read more

the best books out there

The two books that I would most highly recommend to readers in the U.S. today are “A People’s History of the United States,” by Howard Zinn, and “Labor’s Untold Story” by Richard Boyer and Herbert Morais. These books tell a history of the country that is generally kept secret.

“Why Unions Matter” by Michael Yates is a terrific short introduction to something you’ll never learn in school or from the U.S. corporate media: what a labor union is read more

Dead Run; the untold story of Dennis Stockton and America's only mass escape from death row

“Dead Run; the untold story of Dennis Stockton and America’s only mass escape from death row.”

“Dead Run; the untold story of Dennis Stockton and America’s only mass escape from death row” tells the story of an innocent man killed by the state of Virginia for political reasons, an event made easy and in all probability common by a law banning the reopening of a case to hear new evidence later than 21 days after a conviction. This applies even to evidence illegally read more

METROPOLITICS: A regional agenda for community and stability

“METROPOLITICS: A regional agenda for community and stability” by Myron Orfield
October 2000

“METROPOLITICS: A regional agenda for community and stability” (1997) by Myron Orfield presents a convincing solution to a surprising array of problems. Americans hate sprawl, but they hate even more anything that they can find a way to label socialism. Orfield describes a system of regional government — tried and tested by himself and others in Minnesota — that promoters read more