discussion questions

                                           Industria de Detroit o Hombre y Máquina, by Diego Rivera
                              U.S. Labor History

Priscilla Murolo                                                                                              Labor 697C
pmurolo at sarahlawrence.edu                                                                      Summer 2017
                                          Click here for the class schedule.  

Reading assignments
Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (paperback from Yale University Press, 2001 edition)
Theresa Malkiel, The Diary of a Shirtwaist Striker (The Cooperative Press, 2nd edition, 1910 - free PDF available via Google Books)
Priscilla Murolo and A.B. Chitty, From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend: A Short, Illustrated History of Labor in the United States
Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History (8th ed., 2015)
Various articles and historical documents, itemized in the class schedule and available on-line.

Douglass's Narrative, From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend, and Rampolla's Pocket Guide can all be purchased on line; they are not hard to track down. (I especially recommend buying them from Powell's Books, a union shop.) In the case of Douglass's book, please try to get the particular edition listed above, so that we can all be on the same page when we consult the book in class. With regard to the Pocket Guide, it's okay to opt for an earlier edition, which would be less expensive, but steer clear of anything older than the 6th or 7th edition, published in 2009 and 2012. A PDF of The Diary of a Shirtwaist Striker can be downloaded free of charge from Google Books as well as from our course page on UMass's Moodle.

Before the course begins, read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and all of the following books (preferably in this order): From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, and The Diary of a Shirtwaist Striker. Unless Labor History is your only course this summer, it's also a good idea to read all of the articles and documents assigned for Tuesday, July 18, through Monday, July 24. Some of the reading for Tuesday, July 25, will be uploaded to Moodle in early April, but other items assigned for that day won't be uploaded until shortly before our course begins.

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Seminar meetings
Our meetings will include illustrated lectures, open discussions, student presentations, and musical interludes. Reading assignments are paired with discussion questions posted on this website's questions page and appended to the hard copy of our syllabus. Please think about these questions as you prepare for class. They'll provide the starting points for our discussions, which will usually begin with a student presentation on the question at hand.

Seminar paper
You are free to explore any topic in U.S. labor history, from the colonial period through the present. The paper may take various forms: a paper based on research in primary sources, an annotated collection of primary documents or oral history interviews, an assessment of scholarship on a particular topic, or some other essay that involves critical thinking about labor history.  Students are invited, but not required, to do research directly related to their work in the labor movement.  For guidelines on historical research and writing, see Rampolla's Pocket Guide to Writing in History; but please document the paper according to the rules laid out in the ULA Style Sheet (click here) instead of Rampolla's book. The paper is due on December 1, 2017, and the recommended length is 20 pages (double-spaced 12-point type, including notes and bibliography). Email the paper to <pmurolo@sarahlawrence.edu> or send a hard copy to Priscilla Murolo, 22 Wiltshire Place, Yonkers, New York, 10708. Be sure to keep a back-up copy.

During the week of July 17-22, every student will have a one-to-one conference to discuss possibilities for the seminar paper. A one-page prospectus is due on Tuesday, July 25, at our next to last class meeting. The prospectus should:
- Lay out the central question that prompts your project: what do you want to figure out?
- State your thesis in reply to that question: what's your best guess at this point?
- Explain the significance of your project: why does it matter to you, to other historians, to your union, or to some other worthy project?
- Include a preliminary bibliography of relevant scholarship and/or journalism (both books and articles).
- Briefly describe any primary sources you intend to use.

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C L A S S   S C H E D U L E:                             
Dates, Topics, Reading Assignments
All of the texts marked with an asterisk can be accessed on the UMass's Moodle page for our course. I
n some cases, the texts are also available on public websites, and you will find the links below.
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Monday, July 17                                                                                                  
Introduction/The Unfinished Revolution                                                             

*Priscilla Murolo,"What Is Labor History?"
From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend, foreword and chapters 1 and 2
*Declaration of Independence - click for direct link
*Constitution of the United States - click below for direct links:
          Original Constitution (1788)         
          Bill of Rights (Amendments 1-10, 1791)
          Amendments 11-27 (1795-1992)
          In each case, click on "read transcript" or "printer-friendly version."

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Tuesday, July 18
The Slaveholding Republic/Another Unfinished Revolution                                 

From the Folks, chapters 3 and 4
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845)
Gerda Lerner, ed., "The Case of Margaret Garner" (1856, 1876), "They Called Her Moses" (1860, 1869) and "An Ingenious Escape" (1852, 1860), in Black Women in White America: A Documentary History
*Civil War and Reconstruction chronology
Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation (1862)
*Emancipation Proclamation (1863)- click for direct link (scroll down for a link to the transcript)
*13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution (1865-1870) - click for direct link; scroll down for Amendments 13-15
Ta-Nehisi Coates, "The Case for Reparations," The Atlantic, June 2015 (PDF available on Moodle the but for some great extra graphics, see the online version at this url: http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/05/the-case-for-reparations/361631/

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Wednesday, July 19
The Gilded Age 

From the Folks, chapter 5
*Knights of Labor, "Preamble and Declaration of Principles" (circa 1885) - click for direct link
*Las Gorras Blancas, "Nuestra Platforma"(circa 1889)
*Samuel Gompers, "Free Speech and Public Assembly" (1891-1914)
*Lucy Warner, "Why Do People Look Down on Working Girls?" (1890)
*National People's Party Platform (1892) - click for direct link
*Lucy Parsons, "The Principles of Anarchism" (1905) - click for direct link
*David Adams, "Internal Military Interventions in the United States," Journal of Peace Research 32:2 (1995): 197-211 - click for direct link; see especially the section titled "The Era of Industrial Warfare"
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Thursday, July 20
Politics and Direct Action   

From the Folks, chapter 6
Diary of a Shirtwaist Striker - click for direct link to text on Google Books, which can be downloaded as a PDF; also available on Moodle
Statements on political action, from the American Federation of Labor, the Socialist Party, the Industrial Workers of the World, and Mother Jones:
          *Samuel Gompers (AFL), "The Political Policy of Organized Labor" (1909-1919)
          *Eugene Debs (SP), "Unionism and Socialism" (excerpts, 1904)
          *Mrs. Robert Patterson (SP), "The Negro Woman in Politics" (1922)
          *Vincent St. John (IWW), "Political Parties and the I.W.W." (circa 1910)
           *IWW, "Organize on the Job Where You Are Robbed" (1911)
           *Ernest Riebe, IWW, "Mr. Block: He Tries Political Action" (circa 1913)
           *Mother Jones, "You Don't Need a Vote to Raise Hell," from The Autobiography of Mother Jones (1925) - click for direct link
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Friday, July 21
Hard Times, Fighting Times 

From the Folks, chapters 7 and 8 and first sections of chapter 9 (pp. 221-31)
*Mary Heaton Vorse, "Victory in Flint" and "The Chrysler Strike," in Labor's New Millions
*Vicki Ruiz, "Women's Participation in UCAPAWA Locals, 1939-1950": Tables 4 and 5, in Ruiz, Cannery Women, Cannery Lives: Mexican Women, Unionization, and the California Food Processing Industry, 1930-1950

*Philip Murray, "Report of the President," Final Proceedings of the Eighth Constitutional Convention of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (1946)

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Saturday, July 22
Repression, Accommodation, Resistance    

From the Folks, final sections of chapter 9 (pp. 231-45) and chapter 10

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Monday, July 24
New Challenges, New Labor                                                                                  

From the Folks, chapters 11 and 12 and epilogue
*Miriam Louie, "'Just-in-Time' Guerilla Warriors: Immigrant Workers' Centers," in Sweatshop Warriors: Immigrant Women Workers Take On the Global Factory
*Tim Shorrock, "Labor's Cold War," The Nation, May 19, 2003
SEIU, "SEIU Resolution to End U.S. Occupation of Iraq, and [for] Return of U.S. Troops," New Labor Forum 13:3 (Fall 2004): 95-97
AFL-CIO Executive Council, Resolution #53 (on the war in Iraq), adopted by the AFL-CIO Convention, 2005

YouTube video on the backstory to the AFL-CIO's adoption of Resolution 53 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fivdtboF4l8

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Tuesday, July 25
What's Going On

*Forum on Portside.org, December 5, 2016-January 9, 2017:
    - Bill Fletcher, Jr., and Bob Wing, "Fighting Back Against the White Revolt of 2016"
- Peter Olney, "Go Red! Thoughts on the Labor Movement in the age of Trump"
    - Ruth Needleman, "Can a Racist Be a Good Unionist?"
    - Fletcher and Wing, "Response to Peter Olney and Ruth Needleman"
*Rich Yeselson, "Can Trump Break the Democrats' Grip on the Union Movement?," Politico Magazine, February 6, 2017
*Christopher Cook, "Trumping Labor: The Republican Plan to Gut Workers' Rights," The Progressive, February 14, 2017
*From "Over the Rainbow: The Uncertain Future of U.S. Politics," New Labor Forum, vol. 26, no. 2, Spring 2017, 20-38:
    - Micah Uetricht, "The World Turned Upside Down: Our Revolution," Trump Triumphant, and the Remaking of the Democratic Party"
    - Michael Zweig, "White Working-Class Voters and the Future of Progressive Politics"
    - Gordon Lafer, "A Listening Tour with Labor's Trump Voters: Post-Election Union Strategy"
*Sarah Jaffe and Randy Bryce, "The Speaker and the Ironworker," The Baffler, June 27, 2016; for audio, go to https://thebaffler.com/interviews-for-resistance/randy-bryce



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Wednesday, July 26                                                                                             
Looking Backward, Looking Forward                                                                 

Course evaluation and presentation of research plans.

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