From the Buyer’s Desk: Five New Books for International Workers Day

May 1, 2014 at 5:21 pm Leave a comment

 

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1. The Crusades of Cesar Chavez – Miriam Pawel

Authored by Miriam Pawel (The Union of Their Dreams: Power, Hope and Struggle in Cesar Chavez’s Farm Worker Movement), The Crusades of Cesar Chavez is an important critical study of a powerful and flawed leader. Pawel documents Chavez’s success in organizing workers and winning elections, but also evaluates his failure to advocate for illegal migrants and administer union contracts.

 

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2. Cubed – Nikil Saval

Brooklyn’s n+1 has for years been a stimulating source of Marx-inflected think-pieces on America’s middle classes, but until recently has produced few full-length books outside the fiction section. This changes with Nikil Saval’s Cubed, a lively investigation of the American office that draws equally on the history of Taylorist management techniques and on representations of the office in Hollywood and popular culture.

 

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3. Playing the Whore – Melissa Gira Grant

Part of the new collaboration between Verso and socialist magazine Jacobin, Melissa Gira Grant’s Playing the Whore argues that the moralistic responses to prostitution are actually hurting sex workers. By stigmatizing sex-work, these campaigns (such as those of celebrity humanitarian Nicholas Kristof) cover over the fact that sex-workers are workers like everyone else and therefore deserve the same rights to protection and legal recourse.

 

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4. Sal Si Puedes (Escape if you can): Cesar Chavez and the New American Revolution – Peter Matthiessen

Originally published in 1969, Sal Si Puedes, by the late Peter Matthiessen, is a journalistic account of the months Matthiessen spent following Chavez during the grape strikes of the late sixties. The University of California Press has just published a new edition of Sal Si Puedes, featuring an introduction by Chavez associate Marc Grossman that evaluates Chavez’s accomplishments and legacy.

 

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5. Strike for America – Micah Uetricht

Another title in the Verso-Jacobin collaboration, Micah Uetrich’s Strike for America is an account of the 2012 strike that pitted the Chicago teacher’s union against neoliberal mayor Rahm Emmanuel, following massive school closures and layoffs.

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