NEW BOOK BY JEREMY BRECHER: SAVE THE HUMANS: COMMON PRESERVATION IN ACTION
SIGNING AND DISCUSSION MARCH 3
“In a Reed College history survey course in 1965, I heard a brief mention of some big strikes in late 19th century America. I was intrigued and started looking in the college library for books on labor history. There was a short shelf of them, few less than twenty-five years old…
“I had of course heard about the sit-down strikes and the great industrial union organizing campaigns of the 1930s, though there was actually very little historical writing about them available in the 1960s. I had heard of the ‘Haymarket riots,’ but I didn’t know that more than half a million workers struck in 1886, many of them in a nationwide general strike for the eight-hour day. I had heard of labor leader and socialist candidate Eugene Victor Debs, but I didn’t know anything about the huge strikes in all basic industriesundefinedsteel, coal, and railroadsundefinedin the mid-1890s. Nor did I know anything about the big strike waves during and after World War I and World War II. And I couldn’t find a single book or article dealing with such periods as a general phenomenon…
“Such actions called up for me a vision of how ordinary people might liberate themselves from those who oppressed them. They showed people who had been divided and apparently powerless coming together for what I would later call common preservation. It showed them confronting and sometimes defeating the greatest powers in the land. Could that story, I wondered, still be relevant?”
In his newest book, historian, activist, writer (and member for life of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association), Jeremy Brecher answers that question with a resounding “Yes!” Save the Humans is a multi-layered, nuanced tour de force through the history of 20th and early 21st century movements for “Common Preservation,” as well as an earnest plea that we apply the lessons learned from them to confront today’s global threats.
Join Jeremy and the Greater New Haven Labor History Association on Saturday, March 3rd from 2-4 p.m. for a discussion and book-signing at the main branch of the New Haven Public Library, 133 Elm Street, New Haven.