Breaks in the Chain
What Immigrant Workers Can Teach America about Democracy
Publication Year: 2010
Breaks in the Chain shows how immigrant workers-individually and sometimes collectively-both reinforce and contest a tacit but lethal form of biopolitics that differentiates the life chances of racial groups. Examining their personal narratives, Apostolidis recasts our understanding of the ways immigrants construct and transform social power.
Apostolidis uses empirical inquiry to spark new reflections in critical theory as he analyzes how immigrant workers' local practices confront structural power within and beyond America's borders. Linking stories of immigration to stories about working on the meat production line-the chain-he reveals the surprising power of activism by immigrant workers and their allies and demonstrates how it can-and should-promote social and political democracy in America.
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
Download PDF (91.3 KB)
Title Page, Copyright Page
Download PDF (59.1 KB)
Download PDF (40.7 KB)
Download PDF (28.3 KB)
...of many people. My thanks first go to the activists and organizers ofTeamsters Local 556 for sharing with me their stories, their time, theirhospitality, their friendship, and their political solidarity. I am espe-cially grateful to Maria Martinez for making the agenda of interviewspossible, for providing our vital first round of contacts, and for her...
List of Acronyms
Download PDF (21.2 KB)
Introduction: Immigration, Power, and Politics in America Today
Download PDF (158.3 KB)
...the Bush administration were getting serious about immigration con-trol. Earlier that year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS),founded in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks, had assumedfull responsibility for border security. Flush with new funds from DHS’srapidly increasing budgets, officials from the Bureau of Customs and...
1. Political Narratives, Common Sense, and Theories of Hegemony
Download PDF (126.9 KB)
...they confront the personal life stories of immigrant workers? It wouldbe understandable if one main expectation were that these narratives“tell it like it is”—that they provide an authentic, firsthand account ofwhat it was really like to struggle to keep one’s family afloat in Mexicoin the late twentieth century as the national economy deteriorated; to...
2. Hegemony in Hindsight: Immigrant Workers’ Stories of Power in Mexico
Download PDF (137.8 KB)
...assistant and I interviewed Maria Martinez about her experiences lead-By that time, the workers had achieved some of their greatest successesand institutionalized their rank-and-file upsurge in the union. Thosewho demanded respeto y dignidad (respect and dignity) had waged amajor strike and then had taken control of Local 556, democratizing...
3. Stories of Fate and Agency in the Zone of Illegality
Download PDF (196.3 KB)
...control relies centrally on a politics of the body. Efforts to assert U.S.“sovereignty” by impeding and regulating the movement of undocu-over the vulnerable body of the nation, whose corporeal boundariesare imagined as perpetually in danger of violation by immigrants. The“alien invasion” threatens to mainline drugs into the nation’s veins,...
4. Labor, Injury, and Self-Preservation in the Slaughterhouse
Download PDF (202.5 KB)
...odd jobs to help their families scrape by, and having kept afloat finan-cially north of the border by laboring in the fields, orchards, or otherareas of the informal economy, the immigrants we interviewed foundtheir lives to be dramatically changed when they gained legalizationand began working at IBP. With over 1,500 employees at its Pasco...
5. ¡Nosotros Somos la Unión! Immigrant Worker Organizing and the Disciplines of the Law
Download PDF (191.4 KB)
...by the meatpacking industry following the IBP revolution and bornedisproportionately by immigrants began to catch the public’s eye.This was partly because of the splash created by Eric Schlosser’s best-selling exposé Fast Food Nation (2002) along with his related articles inMother Jones (2001) and The Nation (2004).1 Commonly seen as a lat-...
Conclusion: Immigrant Workers and Counterhegemony
Download PDF (119.8 KB)
...tives at the beginning of chapter 2 by discussing an evocative statementthat Maria Martinez, the principal leader of the workers’ movement,had made when we interviewed her toward the end of 2002. We spoketo Martinez shortly after her “Respect and Dignity” slate had triumphedby a landslide in the first round of elections following the rank-and-...
Appendix: Interview Methods
Download PDF (42.7 KB)
Download PDF (159.3 KB)
Download PDF (97.8 KB)
Download PDF (667.9 KB)
Page Count: 360
Publication Year: 2010