Ramparts of Resistance examines the experience of British and US workers during the last three decades to show the urgency of the need for a new independent politics of trade unionism.
The twentieth century saw great changes in the trade union movement, from waves of strikes in the 1970s to a battery of employer and state onslaughts, culminating in the anti-union legislation of the 1980s and 1990s. Looking at grassroots labour struggles, Cohen explores issues of reformism, trade union democracy and the political meaning of ordinary workplace resistance, and puts forward ideas for change.
Ramparts of Resistance examines the failure of the union movement to rise to the neo-liberal challenge and calls for a new politics of independent unionism and an explicitly class-based renewal of workers' power. Coming at a time when union activity and membership involvement continues despite the odds, this book is an inspiring guide to the direction that unionism should take.
Sheila Cohen has been involved in the trade union movement for more than a decade. She is the author of Ramparts of Resistance (Pluto, 2006) and co-author of The Everlasting Staircase (Pluto, 2009). She has taught courses on Labour and Trade Union Studies at London Metropolitan University and at the Center for Worker Education in New York.
Introduction: Focussing on the Rank and File Part One: What Happened 1. The Upsurge: 1968-74 2. `How Little It Asked' (The Working Class): 1974-79 3. Gone With the Wind: Thatcher, Reagan and the early 1980s 4. Against the Stream: 1894-9 5. The Workers' TINA: Class Warfare in the 1990s 6. Into the 2000s: Seattle ... and September Part Two: What to Make of It All 7. Unions & Unions 8. Punctuation Marks: A Story of Class Consciousness 9. Transitions and Transformations: Which Side Are You On? Glossary Notes Index