Bruce Haring on Labor History
I read an interview with Michael Moore the other day regarding the reasons he made Fahrenheit 9/11.
Moore related how he has been spat upon and vilified for daring to ask tough questions and taking a hard line on certain unpleasant truths in his film. It's "anti-American" to question those in power during a time of war, he's been told. His experience reminded me of one of the best books ever to give the voiceless a voice Labor's Untold Story by Richard Boyer and Herbert Morais.
So controversial that only the United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers would publish it, the book sets out to give the other side of the history of the U.S. labor movement, the one your high school likely didn't cover.
It's the story of men and women whose desire for basic human dignity was opposed by greedy individuals whose stake in the outcome was preservation of their own wealth and power.
Police setups, virtually enslaved workers, American gulags, compliant media hewing to the corporate line, a national government beholden to special interests yes, it'll all sound very familiar. And that's the whole point.
What you'll read will shock and astonish anyone whose notion of this country was shaped by the standard text books, which generally give the facts but skip over the truth. It's a struggle that continues today, with only the occupations, locations and the business owners changing.
Like Moore's film, Labor's Untold Story is an advocate for its version of the truth. That disturbs a lot of people. But complacency is a breeding ground for disaster in turbulent times, so you'll excuse the need for even-handedness.
Pick up this book and remember how things were back then and you'll be less inclined to let things return to those bad old days.
Unless, of course, you're willing to look the other way while unspeakable acts are done in your name.
About Bruce Haring
Bruce Haring is the author of four books, including Beyond The Charts: MP3 and the Digital Music Revolution. He is the founder and managing director of the DIY Convention: Do It Yourself in Film, Music & Books, a national event devoted to creating, promoting and distributing independent media.