Socialists and the Labor Movement

After decades of retreat for both the left and the labor movement, we are currently experiencing a resurgence of both labor militancy and a renewed interest in socialism. But what in the relationship between socialism and unions? In this Night School Session, we will be covering the history of leftists in the US trade union movement, their influence, the various ways they saw unions as a tool (and a hindrance) to furthering socialism. We will then go into how socialists interact with unions today, and discuss ways to renew a visible and vocal socialist union movement today.

The session will be led by Sam Nelson, MDC DSA Labor Working Group coordinator and a member of the Communications Workers of America.

Reading List

Title Author
No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age Jane F. McAlevey
Strike! Jeremy Brecher
Civil Rights Unionism: Tobacco Workers and the Struggle for Democracy in the Mid-twentieth-century South Robert Rodgers Korstad
Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists during the Great Depression Robin D. G. Kelley
Detroit: I Do Mind Dying: A Study in Urban Revolution Dan Georgakas and Marvin Surkin
Wobblies of the World: A Global History of the IWW, Peter Cole, David Struthers, Kenyon Zimmer
Knocking on Labor’s Door: Union Organizing in the 1970s and the Roots of a New Economic Divide Lane Windham
New Forms of Worker Organization: The Syndicalist and Autonomist Restoration of Class-Struggle Unionism Immanuel Ness