Volume 50 part 1 (April 2005)


Terry Irving and Sean Scalmer, Labour Intellectuals in Australia: Modes, Traditions, Generations, Transformations
The article begins with a discussion of labour intellectuals as knowledge producers in labour institutions, and of the labour public in which this distinctive kind of intellectual emerges, drawing on our previously published work. Next we construct a typology of three "modes" of the labour intellectual that were proclaimed and remade from the 1890s (the "movement" the "representational", and the "revolutionary"), and identify the broad historical processes (certification, polarization, and contraction) of the labour public. In a case study comparing the 1890s and 1920s we demonstrate how successive generations of labour intellectuals combined elements of these ideal types in different ways to develop traditions of intellectual work. The article concludes with a sketch of the labour public after the crisis of the 1920s. It considers the rise of the "militant" intellectual in the 1930s, the role of publicists, planners and experts in the 1940s, the skill of "generalship" in the polarized 1940s and '50s, the failure to meet the challenge of the new social movements in the 1970s, and the decline of the agitational, movement-identified intellectual.

Timothy J. Minchin, Organizing a Labor Law Violator: The J.P. Stevens Campaign and the Struggle to Unionize the US South, 1963-1983
Between 1963 and 1983, unions in the US launched a major campaign to try to organize J.P. Stevens, the nation's second-largest textile firm. Labor leaders felt that if they could organize Stevens, other gains in the nonunion South would follow. Stevens resisted the campaign by firing and intimidating union supporters, repeatedly breaking labor laws in the process. This article examines the union's organizing efforts and argues that the campaign's failure was not due simply to the company's lawlessness. In particular, the influx of African Americans into the workforce had an important impact on organizing. While African Americans did respond enthusiastically to the union, their activism tended to scare off whites, and the union struggled to build effective interracial unions. Other factors, such as the company's willingness to match union wage rates and the economic decline of the textile industry, also prevented the union from making more progress.

Wendy M. Gordon, "What, I Pray You, Shall I Do with the Balance?": Single Women's Economy of Migration
This article compares the experiences of independent women migrants in the textile cities of Preston, England; Paisley, Scotland; and Lowell, Massachusetts in the period 1850-1881. There are essentially two models describing single women's migration in the current historical literature. Both describe young women primarily in terms of personal economy and what kind of relationship they maintained with their parents before and after migration. The first emphasizes that though the European migrants were physically removed from their parents, they remained economically tied to their family; the second refers specifically to American women, defining them as emphatically independent economically and socially and cut off from their families. Direct comparison reveals remarkable similarity of experience for these young women. Though migrants in each city chose different occupations, each chose occupations that provided accommodation. Most became financially independent, rather than primarily contributors to a family economy, but maintained important supportive ties with family.