by Nicolas Delalande, translated by Anthony Roberts
A dynamic historian revisits the workers' internationals, whose scope and significance are commonly overlooked.
In current debates about globalization, open and borderless elites are often set in opposition to the immobile and protectionist working classes. This view obscures a major historical fact: for around a century--from the 1860s to the 1970s--worker movements were at the cutting edge of internationalism.
The creation in London of the International Workingmen's Association in 1864 was a turning point. What would later be called the "First International" aspired to bring together European and American workers across languages, nationalities, and trades. It was a major undertaking in a context marked by opening borders, moving capital, and exploding inequalities.
In this urgent, engaging work, historian Nicolas Delalande explores how international worker solidarity developed, what it accomplished in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and why it collapsed over the past fifty years, to the point of disappearing from our memories.
"A fascinating book about globalization, internationalism, and wealth redistribution between 1870 and 1914, with lots of lessons for the twenty-first century. When trade and capital flows go global, worker solidarity and political mobilization need to do the same and invent new forms of transnational organizations. A must-read." -- Thomas Piketty, international bestselling author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century
"A persuasive reinterpretation of a period of labor activism often viewed as 'chaotic, conflictual, and contradictory.'" -- Publishers Weekly
"We throw around the word 'solidarity' today without understanding its history or even its meaning. Delalande has provided us with a much-needed guide to the history of solidarity. This critically important history of international solidarity efforts reminds us that we must know the past to be effective activists today. The translation of this book into English should be celebrated on the left. Everyone interested in the history of the workers' struggle must read this book." -- Erik Loomis, author of A History of America in Ten Strikes
About the Contributors:
Nicolas Delalande is an associate professor of history at the Centre d'Histoire de Sciences Po and editor in chief of La Vie des Idées, an online magazine. He is the author of Les Batailles de l'impôt: Consentement et résistances de 1789 à nos jours and a coeditor, with Patrick Boucheron, et al, of Histoire mondiale de la France and, with Nicolas Barreyre, of A World of Public Debts: A Political History.
Anthony Roberts is a freelance writer, journalist, poet, and prize-winning translator. He currently lives in France.