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Readings and Ramblings

This is Readings and Ramblings. It is readings because this is a site for blogging about books and I intend to do that. It is ramblings because I might want to write about something else now and then.

The weapon of the strike

The weapon of the strike - Arthur Paterson This book is both good and bad. It is a book on labor history that was written right in the middle of what I consider one of the most important periods of labor history. It recounts much history up until that time and a lot of obscure things are brought to light and for that reason I really liked it. It was fascinating reading and I was tempted to give it four stars for that. On the other hand, though, the author was clearly on the side of the exploiting classes. Right at the beginning he declares that strikes are a bad thing and that he hopes that they can be abolished. Throughout the book he parrots the claims by the owning class that labor unions interfere with the woners' ability to control their own property. As someone who is strongly pro-labor myself I find these kinds of arguments absurd, specious and anathema. If not for the good things about the book that would have prompted me to give it only a single star and if the rating system had allowed it I would be inclined to give it even less. Still, the author really seemed to think he was being even handed. There were some passages in which he described the plight of working people and explained their grievances well enough that I was again tempted to give the book four stars. Well, I was at least tempted to give it some fraction of stars between three and four if the Good Reads rating system had allowed that. However, the author ruined that prospect in the final pages when he was summing up his conclusions. He actually urged working people to engage in class collaboration. He urged them to find common ground with the owning class and to work for the mutual benefit of both workers and bosses, as if there is any such thing as mutual benefit at all. He also again called for an end to the practice of striking and declared that hopefully it will be regarded as an antiquated weapon that will no longer be of use. Again, I was looking at the possibility of giving it one or, at most, two stars, but then I started thinking of the things I liked about it and settled on a neutral three stars.