Thursday, February 23, 2012

Joe Berry's COCAL Updates 21Feb12

Email, to subscribe to regular updates in brief and links by email. More about Joe Berry, COCAL, publications, links.

1. Another book of interest: "Wayne Lanter has published a book on our strike and jailing of faculty at Belleville Area College in 1980.  We are now known as Southwestern Illinois College. The title is Defending the Citadel: A Personal Narrative, available from Barnes & Noble, Amazon and others. Could you give it a plug? In solidarity, Leo Welch"

2. More on American U adjuncts union victory
3. More on East-West University struggle for recognition and a contract and against firings (and about the NFM Summit), NEA Education Votes

4. Very good summary article (in New Unionism) on job satisfaction among workers and the research on it. Nothing shocking to us contingent faculty activists, but confirms stuff we need to remember in order to organize and motivate our colleagues to fight for better conditions for us and students. Also shows how we are not so different from other workers but are very different from top managers (CEO's) in our motivations.

5. Review of new book (in New Unionism), Passing the Buck: Corporate Restructuring and the Casualisation of Employment, on casualized labor (like us) internationally

6. Progress on health care for part-timers at Palomar CC (CA), the telescope (campus newspaper)
7. Two versions of the old joke about why Jesus (video by Andy Smith) or God never got tenure.
8. A good radical article on the occasion of 100 years since the successful Lawrence textile strike, of mostly very contingent women workers. Lots of lessons for us here. "BREAD AND ROSES, 100 HUNDRED YEARS ON" by Andy Piascik 
One hundred years ago, in the dead of a New England winter, 25,000 textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts walked off their jobs in the great Bread and Roses Strike. Accounts differ as to whether a woman striker actually held a sign that read “We Want Bread and We Want Roses, Too.” No matter. It’s a wonderful phrase, as appropriate for the Lawrence strikers as for any group at any time: the notion that, in addition to the necessities for survival, people should have “a sharing of life’s glories,” as James Oppenheim put it in his poem “Bread and Roses.” 
            Though 100 years have passed, the Lawrence strike resonates as one of the most important in the history of the United States. Like many labor conflicts of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the strike was marked by obscene disparities in wealth and power, open collusion between the state and business owners, large scale violence against unarmed strikers, and great ingenuity and solidarity on the part of workers. In important ways, though, the strike was also unique. It was the first large-scale industrial strike, the overwhelming majority of the strikers were immigrants, most were women and children, and the strike was guided in large part by the revolutionary strategy and vision of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).    

            Beyond its historical significance, elements of this massive textile strike may be instructive to building a radical working class movement today. It is noteworthy that the Occupy movement shares many philosophical and strategic characteristics with the Lawrence strike—direct action, the prominent role of women, the centrality of class, participatory decision-making, egalitarianism, an authentic belief in the Wobbly principle that We Are All Leaders—to name just a few.... there is much of value we can learn from what happened in Lawrence a century ago. 

Read the rest of the article here.  Versions of this article appeared in Z Magazine and the Industrial Worker Much has been written about the Lawrence strike. Here are just a few of the better accounts:

“Rebel Voices: An IWW Anthology,” edited by Joyce Kornbluh
“The Rising of the Women,” by Meredith Tax
“The Bread and Roses Strike of 1912,” by Julie Baker
“Bread & Roses,” by Bruce Watson

Andy Piascik is a long-time activist and award-winning author who has written about working-class issues for Z Magazine, The Indypendent, Union Democracy Review, Labor Notes and other publications. 

9. From a colleague in the CA State U system, a reflection on the current strategies of NEA and AAUP. [Worth our consideration]
10. Are contingent faculty really serfs?  Full-time non-tenure track faculty at colleges and universities lack a professional identity and a sense of self worth, according to interviews with these faculty members that formed the basis of a recently published paper co-authored by a University of California, Riverside professor.
11. Check out the website of Chicago-based Coalition Against Corporate Higher Education
12. America's last hope: a strong labor movement, Salon  
13. Lasell College (near Boston, MA) puts adjuncts in strategic plan
14. Faculty strike in Israel  

15. Deconstructing Academe, Chronicle article by Jeffery Williams, on the emerging field of critical university [sic, I prefer higher education] studies. 


  1. Thanks for posting on Bread and Roses!

    We have been sending out this note to encourage friends to stay in touch with us here in Lawrence:

    Dear Friends,

    2012 is the year for commemorating the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike,
    an important event of a heritage we share.

    Please connect with us on Facebook:
    Lawrence, MA, will hold numerous centennial events
    (, as will other places.

    Have a look at our calendar:
    and our virtual exhibit:

    Please tell your friends and plan a visit!

    Of course, as always the Bread and Roses Heritage Festival on Labor Day will
    be a high point!

    In Solidarity,

    Bread and Roses Centennial Committee
    Bread and Roses Heritage Committee
    Lawrence, MA

    1. Thank you for all the information and links. With your permission, I'd like to post your letter in a separate Bread and Roses blog post, adding more links and images.

      I'm also interested in reading comparisons of Occupy to Bread and Roses


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