In 1934, the United States was still under the grip of the Great Depression. The U.S. working class faced massive unemployment, low wages, and a weak labor movement dominated by the craft union oriented American Federation of Labor (AFL). But 1934 was also marked by an increase in militant labor struggles: the Auto-Lite strike in Toledo, the West Coast Longshoreman’s Strike, and the Minneapolis Teamsters Strike.
Minneapolis in 1934 was under the control of an employers’ organization known as the Citizens’ Alliance who could count on police repression to counter working class organization. In this hostile context, a group of socialists organized in the Communist League of America after being expelled from the Communist Party for their defense of Trotsky, built a militant, rank-and-file-led strike capable of taking on the bosses, the Alliance, and the police.
The struggles of 1934 helped make Minneapolis a union town and paved the way for the growth of industrial unionism in the intermediate years before World War II. Socialists engaged in trade union work today have a lot to learn about the struggles of the 1930’s.
The Teamster Rebellion ISO study group will look at how being in a revolutionary Marxist organization was key to organizing a class-struggle fighting union and how we can apply their method today as we organize in our workplaces and unions. Teamster Rebellion by Farrell Dobbs is available for purchase here.
Tuesday, January 24 at 6PM
CUNY Graduate Center, rm TBA
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY
Bring picture ID to enter building