Only One Thing Can Save Us

Only One Thing Can Save Us

Why America Needs A New Kind of Labor Movement

Book - 2014
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"Is labor's day over or is labor the only real answer for our time? In this new book, National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and labor lawyer Thomas Geoghegan argues that even as organized labor seems to be crumbling, a revived--but different--labor movement is now more relevant than ever in our increasingly unequal society. The inequality reshaping the country goes beyond money and income: the workplace is more authoritarian than ever, and we have even less of a say over our conditions at work. He tells us stories, sometimes humorous but more often chilling, about problems working people like his own clients--cabdrivers, cashiers, even Chicago public school teachers--now face in our largely union-free economy. He then explains why a new kind of labor movement (and not just more higher education) will be crucial for saving what is left of the middle class; pushing Keynes's original, sometimes forgotten ideas for getting the rich to invest and reduce our balance of trade; and promoting John Dewey's "democratic way of life"--one that would start in the schools and continue in our places of work. A "public policy" book that is compulsively readable, Only One Thing Can Save Us is vintage Geoghegan, blending acerbic and witty commentary with unparalleled insight into the real dynamics (and human experience) of working in America today. "--
Publisher: New York :, New Press, The,, 2014
ISBN: 9781595588364
Branch Call Number: 331.88 G292o
Characteristics: 255 pages

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jju42
Jun 08, 2017

Only One Thing Can Save Us is a book about organized labour in the United States. Thomas Geoghegan, the author, is a labour lawyer in Chicago and thinks labour is the biggest thing facing the US. This was written in 2014, so before the spectre of Trump, and focused more on the technocratic bullshit of the Obama administration rather than the existential terror circus we’re all dealing with today.

His main argument is that people need to be paid more, not just by raising the minimum wage. Investing more in workers that are not replaceable widgets through professional development and the like is what he thinks the US economy needs, not just more people going to university. Actually being mentored in your job was something that used to exist within organized labour but has been destroyed in the name of replaceable workers. He also draws attention to the fact that a future labour movement makes sense to be built with nurses, and would look fundamentally different from the remnant white dudes of the automotive industry.

My main issue with the book was disappointment with how US-centric the book was, very focused on Democratic vs. Republican party fighting rather than global class issues.

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StarGladiator
Jan 14, 2016

I like and very much appreciate this author's writing and somewhat his reasoning - - and that senator from Minnesota was working on national collective bargaining rights before his airpline crashed, killing him, some members of his family, the pilot and the last minute replacement co-pilot and associate of the 20th hijacker [Moussouai], Michael Guess - - but he appears not to grasp the Big Picture: When the US government and CIA have overthrown foreign governments, the very first people murdered are the labor organizers - - not a coincidence! [The neoliberal nightmare, our present reality, will not be fixed by the old measures - - the Restructuring to end all Restructurings must be commenced!]

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