Knights of Labor in the US resisted replacement of chattel slavery by wage slavery

After chattel slavery was abolished at the end of the US Civil War, The Knights of Labor challenged the new wage slavery. “’Is there a workshop where obedience is not demanded — not to the difficulties or qualities of the labor to be performed — but to the caprice of he who pays the wages of his servants?’ They called the new wage labor ‘wage slavery’ and they wanted ‘to abolish as rapidly as possible, the wage system, substituting co-operation therefore.’

To advance their mission, the Knights established assemblies everywhere from the male-dominated mines of rural Pennsylvania to the mostly women-employing garment factories of New York to the railroads of Denver.”

This story Our Forgotten Labor Revolution by Alex Gourevitch in Jacobin magazine – shows that the labour market, the imposition of wage labour in the USA, is completely different from markets where goods are exchanged. “The market” is presented by advocates of capitalism as historically enduring, inevitable and desirable – but labour in the USA, black and white, male and female, was brutally made subservient to owners of wealth, and forced into the labour market. Labour resisted, organised in the Knights of Labor. Black labour was particularly unwilling to give up the freedom they had supposedly won by ending slavery.

Advertisements



    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s



Mostly Economics

This blog covers research work in Economics with focus on India.

Don Sutherland's Blog

Mindful socialism: green and democratic

Pride's Purge

an irreverent look at UK politics

Michael Roberts Blog

blogging from a marxist economist

The Real Movement

Communism is free time and nothing else!

The Research Whisperer

Just like the Thesis Whisperer - but with more money

Captives of Industry

Commentary and analysis from a social democratic viewpoint

The Green Field and the Factory Floor

Paul Doughty's blog, set up to work out how to set up a blog. May contain thoughts on organising and the future of work.

Working-Class Perspectives

Commentary on Working-Class Culture, Education, and Politics

Leila's blog

a blog on popular struggles, human rights and social justice from an anti-authoritarian perspective

revolts now

A multitude of possibilities

Bill Mitchell - billy blog

Modern Monetary Theory ... macroeconomic reality

EconoMonitor

against the labour market by MacJanet

Read by reds

Sharing our ideas on what we read

%d bloggers like this: