The AFL-CIO’s Second Century
The American Federation of Labor celebrated its centenary last year. It is one of the world’s great conservative institutions, with a stability of internal rule and ideology that might make even the Bank of England gasp. Although the United States has had nineteen presidents since the founding of the afl in 1881, the Federation has had only four. Samuel Gompers, aside from being a well-known white supremacist, was remarkable for his life-long opposition to social insurance. William Green, for his part, split the American labour movement in the 1930s rather than accept the infusion of new militancy and members represented by the industrial unions. George Meany, in turn, ensured that the reunited afl-cio played its loyal role in the international crusade against socialism and radical trade unionism. Lane Kirkland—Meany’s hand-groomed successor and a Southern aristocrat by birth—preserves this traditional mould with his enthusiasm for the new cold war (he was a charter member of the ultra-hawkish Committee for the Present Danger).
’My institution subscribes to NLR, why can't I access this article?’
By the same author:
Marx's Lost Theory
In a landmark re-reading of Class Struggles in France and The Eighteenth Brumaire, Mike Davis draws out the theoretical propositions on class and nation, world-market and inter-state rivalry, that underpin the seminal political writings. Repudiation of politics as discourse pur, and revaluation of Marx’s ‘middle-level concepts’ for the mediated expression of complex social interests.
The Last White Election?
Panoramic survey of America’s political landscape as revealed by November’s vote, with age, gender, ethnicity and geography the volatile determinants of Obama’s victory. Within an increasingly polarized ideological force field, how will the coming struggles unfold between Democratic President and Senate and a Republican House, itself consumed by turmoil?
Spring Confronts Winter
Echoes of past rebellions in 2011’s global upsurge of protest. Against a backdrop of world economic slump, what forces will shape the outcome of contests between a raddled system and its emergent challengers?
Who Will Build the Ark?
Copenhagen’s charades dispel any illusion that world rulers intend to deal with the environmental damage industrialization has caused. Mike Davis argues that green urbanism’s twining of social equality and ecological sustainability could offer an alternative starting-point.
Obama at Manassas
Does Obama’s victory signal a political turning point comparable to 1980 or 1932? Mike Davis maps county-level changes, from below—minority-majority demographics, subprime suburbs, white-collar financial worries—catalysed by the 2008 campaign. From above, realignment of American capital behind the Silicon President.
The Democrats After November
With anti-war sentiment growing—if still passive—in the US, how will Democrats use their recapture of Congress? Mike Davis analyses likely outcomes on the questions—Iraq, corruption, economic insecurity—that confront a Party leadership hooked on corporate dollars, and myopically gazing towards 2008.
Fear and Money in Dubai
On the rim of the war zone, a new Mecca of conspicuous consumption and economic crime, under the iron rule of Sheikh al-Maktoum. Skyscrapers half a mile high, artificial archipelagoes, fantasy theme parks—and the indentured Asian labour force that sustains them.
Planet of Slums
Future history of the Third World’s post-industrial megacities. A billion-strong global proletariat ejected from the formal economy, with Islam and Pentecostalism as songs of the dispossessed.
The Flames of New York
Premonitions and hallucinations of the fate of the Twin Towers, from H. G. Wells to Ernst Bloch, John Dos Passos to Sayyid Qutb. Today’s Palmer raids and tomorrow’s ‘security cities’ as first instalments in the globalization of fear.
Magical Urbanism: Latinos Reinvent the US Big City
Cosmic Dancers on History's Stage? The Permanent Revolution in the Earth Sciences