Synopses & Reviews
“Bread, or Bullets! is one of the most important works on Cuban labor history and nineteenth century Cuban history to have been published in either English or Spanish. Joan Casanovas weaves a compelling history about the growth of urban labor as one of the leading political forces on the island during the last fifty years of Spanish rule. Casanovas argues convincingly that the urban labor movement, largely anarchist-led by the 1880s, played the central role in shaping the popular classes' drive toward independence in the 1890s after it became clear that colonial political reformism was a lost cause.”
"This is an insightful study that ought to become recommended reading for undergraduate courses on Latin American and Caribbean social and labor history as well as courses on colonialism." "This book takes a new approach to the study of the evolution of the Cuban labor movement after 1850. Casanovas's thoroughly researched study adds significantly to the literature on the relationship between African slaves and free urban workers before abolition, what socioeconomic and political conditions led workers to appropriate specific ideologies and strategies to improve their lives, and to what extent this sector of the popular classes assisted in transforming the colonial state. The study is most insightful when Casanovas converges the evolution of the labor movement with Spain's political developments and its colonial relationship with Cuba."
—The American Historical Review
“Casanovas analyzes complex isues of race, ethnicity, and ideology in delineating the evolution of the urban labor movement in 19th-century Cuba. He draws his pioneering study largely from archival materials in Cuba, Spain, and the U.S., as well as from contemporary polemics and periodicals.”
The first thoroughly documented history of organized labor in nineteenth-century Cuba, this work focuses on how urban laborers joined together in collective action during the transition from slave to free labor and in the last decades of Spanish colonial rule in Cuba.
About the Author
Joan Casanovas, born in Barcelona, Spain, is assitant professor of Latin American and Carribean history at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, Spain. He has published articles on slavery and the Cuban labor movement in the International Review of Social History
and in Cuban Studies 25