Synopses & Reviews
Exploring globalization from a labor history perspective, Aviva Chomsky provides historically grounded analyses of migration, labor-management collaboration, and the mobility of capital. She illuminates the dynamics of these movements through case studies set mostly in New England and Colombia. Taken together, the case studies offer an intricate portrait of two regions, their industries and workers, and the myriad links between them over the long twentieth century, as well as a new way to conceptualize globalization as a long-term process.
Chomsky examines labor and management at two early-twentieth-century Massachusetts factories: one that transformed the global textile industry by exporting looms around the world, and another that was the site of a model program of labor-management collaboration in the 1920s. She follows the path of the textile industry from New England, first to the U.S. South, and then to Puerto Rico, Japan, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and Colombia. She considers how towns in Rhode Island and Massachusetts began to import Colombian workers as they struggled to keep their remaining textile factories going. Most of the workers eventually landed in service jobs: cleaning houses, caring for elders, washing dishes.
Focusing on Colombia between the 1960s and the present, Chomsky looks at the Urabandaacute; banana export region, where violence against organized labor has been particularly acute, and, through a discussion of the AFL-CIOandrsquo;s activities in Colombia, she explores the thorny question of U.S. union involvement in foreign policy. In the 1980s, two U.S. coal mining companies began to shift their operations to Colombia, where they opened two of the largest open-pit coal mines in the world. Chomsky assesses how different groups, especially labor unions in both countries, were affected. Linked Labor Histories suggests that economic integration among regions often exacerbates regional inequalities rather than ameliorating them.
Moves beyond comparative history to study the complex interweaving of transnational historical flows (material, cultural, and ideological) that have shaped two regions: New England and northern Colombia.
An analysis of migration, labor-management collaboration, and the mobility of capital based on case studies in New England and Colombia.
About the Author
“By looking at globalization from the perspective of labor history, and labor history through the lens of globalization, Aviva Chomsky transforms our understanding of both. In Chomsky’s hands, global labor history becomes a compelling tool for understanding and challenging the social inequalities that capitalism creates and depends on. The result is not only a wonderfully rich and detailed look at particular places and times, but a pathbreaking study that forces us to rethink how we understand the Americas as a whole. Students, scholars, labor leaders, and activists should all read this magnificent book.”—Steve Striffler, author of In the Shadows of State and Capital: The United Fruit Company, Popular Struggle, and Agrarian Restructuring in Ecuador, 1900–1995“The early-twentieth-century export of Draper looms from Hopedale, Massachusetts, to Medellin’s domestic textile industry sets the stage for a remarkably creative transnational study, documenting the eerie connection between the fates of both American and Colombian working people. Aviva Chomsky jumps skillfully across time and space to link capital flight and the early globalization of the New England textile industry to patterns of low-wage international immigration, even as she dissects the role of the United States (at times aided by American trade unions) in the suppression of Colombian labor radicalism.”—Leon Fink, author of The Maya of Morganton: Work and Community in the Nuevo New South
Table of Contents
Part I. New England
1. The Draper Company: From Hopedale to Medellandiacute;n and Back 15
2. The Naumkeag Steam Cotton Company: Labor-Management Collaboration and Its Discontents 48
3. Guns, Butter, and the New (Old) International Division of Labor 93
4. Invisible Workers in a Dying Industry: Latino Immigrants in New England Textile Towns 142
Part II. Colombia
5. The Cutting Edge of Globalization: Neoliberalism and Violence in Colombia's Banana Zone 181
6. Taking Care of Business in Colombia: U.S. Multinationals, the U.S. Government, and the AFL-CIO 222
7. Mining the Connections: Where Does Your Coal Come From? 264