Class War, USA is a rich collection of stories about ordinary people who resisted oppression and exploitation against all odds. Brandon Weber's succinct and vivid essays capture crucial moments of struggle when working-class people built movements of hope and defiance. Evocative imagery, archival photographs, and descriptive text make history come alive in these pages.
From the mines to the factories to the fields, Weber shares the experiences of the real-life men and women who organized, heroically resisted, and battled the bosses and corrupt politicians. In the spirit of A People’s History of the United States, this book conveys engaging and accessible narratives of ordinary people who led labor struggles that have indelibly shaped American history.
Essays include vivid accounts of resistance in the workplace like the Ludlow miner’s strike and organizing at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, as well as broader pieces on cultural figures like Woody Guthrie, Black Wall Street in Tulsa, OK, and the fight for the eight-hour day.
An invaluable tool for learning the lessons of grassroots struggle, Class War, USA is the perfect counter-narrative to the myth that change comes only from the top, and will appeal to students of history and labor activists alike.
Brandon Weber has written for The Progressive, Upworthy, Big Think, and many other online publications, and has been a union activist for over 30 years. His has also written for The Progressive Magazine, Common Dreams, Good.Is and Liberals Unite.
"Brandon Weber knows how to tell a good story, and he has a knack for labor history. There are stories here you've never heard of and ones that you have — but read them all. They'll light a fire under you!"
-Mrill Ingram, The Progressive
"At a time when unions face the possibility of extinction, Brandon Weber’s Class War, USA shows us that working-class struggle is the only strategy that has ever advanced the labor movement historically—and is also the only way forward today. This book is indispensable reading for today’s generation of young workers who—through no fault of their own—have no knowledge of the US working class’ vast tradition of struggle, or its relevance for the future. At the same time, Class War, USA is just as valuable for those who have withstood the relentless assault on unions over the last four decades—and will undoubtedly find tremendous inspiration in the history Weber so convincingly tells. It is also worth noting that Weber also recounts the stories of working-class struggles far beyond the realm of the official union movement, including the Stonewall Rebellion that launched the gay liberation movement in 1969 and the Attica prison uprising in 1971. At fewer than 150 pages, written in accessible language, illustrated with an abundance of original photographs, this book should be on the coffee tables of all those invested in returning to a tradition of class struggle in the US."
-Sharon Smith, author of Subterranean Fire
"Brandon Weber’s Class War USA isn’t just a retelling of well-known and not-so-well-known strikes. Weber has done for a new generation of social and labor activists what Sid Lens did for an earlier one: bring to life the hard scrabble union, social, and political struggles of working class people from the past to the present. And by the way, in case you ever wondered why Woody Guthrie’s "This Land is Your Land" never became the national anthem, Weber has the answer."
-Kim Moody, a founder of Labor Notes and author of On New Terrain: How Capital is Reshaping the Battleground of Class War
"Brandon Weber does a masterful job at succinctly bringing to life many gripping and insightful episodes from the rich history of American labor, allowing readers to draw invaluable lessons for today’s struggles. Yes, this was, and is, class war. In his colorful collection, Weber vividly shows that people working together can, against all odds in a culture that fetishizes individualism, bring about social progress. Now, let’s get these stories and lessons into the hands of those who buy into the
prevailing divisiveness and tribalism, so that they too can unite across racial, ethnic, gender and other barriers and be heard!"
-Dr. Thomas Greven, Freie Universität Berlin/Germany