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No There ThereRace, Class, and Political Community in Oakland$
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Chris Rhomberg

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520236189

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520236189.001.0001

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Working-Class Collective Agency: The General Strike and Labor Insurgency

Working-Class Collective Agency: The General Strike and Labor Insurgency

(p.96) 5 Working-Class Collective Agency: The General Strike and Labor Insurgency
No There There

Chris Rhomberg

University of California Press

This chapter explores the events leading up to and during the General Strike, and the political mobilization that followed. Structural and conjunctural forces were to push local actors toward a public class confrontation, leading ultimately to a citywide General Strike. The Kahn's and Hastings strike quickly developed into a public showdown between the downtown business elites and the American Federation of Labor (AFL) unions in Alameda County, and each side marshaled its allies. The struggle at Kahn's and Hastings sparked a reactive sequence of polarization, concentrating public attention on the most powerful class actors in the Oakland polity. The General Strike pushed class conflict to the center of public awareness, but the inconclusive settlement showed both the weakness of the AFL unions' traditional repertoire and the continuing closure of local political institutions to working-class concerns.

Keywords:   General Strike, labor insurgency, political mobilization, Kahn, Hastings strike, American Federation of Labor unions, working-class

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