- Editor's Introduction
Three contributions here place important developments in US-centered labor history within a larger geopolitical framework. "Sinn Féinism," argues Elizabeth McKillen about the men and women who joined the cause of Ireland's 1916 Easter Rebellion and merged the Irish nationalist struggle with the larger antiwar movement, "needs to be considered alongside Bolshevism, Socialism, and anarchism in any assessments of American radicalism in the early twentieth century." Centered on anti-British boycott leaders like New York's Leonora O'Reilly of the Irish Women's Purchasing League and Chicago Federation of Labor leader John Fitzpatrick, McKillen tracks a story that extends from Dublin's General Post Office in 1916 through Farmer-Labor politics as well as syndicalist actions in the 1920s. Only slowly did the maneuvering of a Gompers-dominated AFL together with the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922 quiet the "threat" of this chapter of transnational radicalism.
In a second article, Jeff Schuhrke offers an extended reexamination of the AFL-CIO's collaboration with US Cold War policy in Latin America. Focused on the work of the American Institute for Free Labor Development, Schuhrke demonstrates how many US industrial relations experts, labor leaders, and government officials attempted to export the seemingly stable and successful US model of collective [End Page 1] bargaining and autonomous unionism both as a force for economic development and as a brace against potential communist footholds in the hemisphere. With a heavy investment in labor education programs, American unionists tried but largely failed to define a generation of Latin American labor leaders in their own image of modernization via liberal capitalist principles.
Third, a roundtable among five Latina labor specialists in southern US settings points to sources of current agitation as well as inspiration in the field. Panel convener Perla M. Guerrero recalls that when she left Arkansas, where she had grown up, for graduate school some fifteen years ago, "in life we were unwanted, in books we were invisible." Sarah McNamara links the struggles of turn-of-the-twentieth-century Florida Latina activists like black Puerto Rican Luisa Capetillo and Guatemalan Luisa Moreno with today's search for contemporary Latinx heroes. Cecilia Márquez critically probes the term Juan Crow, in part for its arbitrary and misleading separation of Latina/o and African-American experience. Yalidy Matos, in turn, exposes the oversimplification in the use of the term Nuevo (new) South in a region with a longstanding immigration tradition. What is newly noteworthy, she suggests, are the current forms of anti-immigrant enforcement and racial regulation of bodies in the southern region. Iliana Yamileth Rodriguez completes the forum with a textual analysis of the lyrics of Kap G, from Atlanta, Georgia, the first popular Mexican-American rapper.
Among an inviting smorgasbord of reviews, two groups of entrées beckon for particular attention. In the first group are a few titles that connect labor and the history of capitalism with an ambitious transnational reach. These include Sven Beckert and Christine Desan, eds., American Capitalism: New Histories; Leon Fink and Juan Manuel Palacio, eds., Labor Justice across the Americas; Andrea Komlosy, Work—The [End Page 2] Last One Thousand Years; and Tore C. Olsson, Agrarian Crossings; Reformers and the Remaking of the US and Mexican Countryside. The other vector well-represented here takes up the theme directly enunciated in Elizabeth Faue's Rethinking the American Labor Movement. While Faue offers a broad synthesis, other authors adopt a more pointed approach. They include: Charles W. Romney, Rights Delayed: The American State and the Defeat of Progressive Unions, 1935–1950; Emily E. LB Twarog, Politics of the Pantry: Housewives, Food, and Consumer Protest in Twentieth-Century America; and Lane Windham, Knocking on Labor's Door: Union Organizing in the 1970s and the Roots of a New Economic Divide. And, though it is not US-targeted, we are alerted by reviewer Christopher Frank to a provocative title for all national labor movement historians: Peter Ackers and Alastair J. Reid, eds., Alternatives to State-Socialism in Britain: Other Worlds of Labour in the Twentieth Century.
First, Matt Garcia graces this volume with a moving tribute to the path-breaking Filipina...