Labor Power and Strategy

Regular price $ 16.95

by John Womack Jr., Edited by Peter Olney and Glenn Perušek

PM Press

1/24/2023, paperback

SKU: 9781629639741


What would it take to topple Amazon? To change how health care works in America? To break up the media monopolies that have taken hold of our information and imaginations? How is it possible to organize those without hope working on the margins? In Labor Power and Strategy, legendary strategist, historian, and labor organizer John Womack, speaks directly to a new generation, providing rational, radical, experience-based perspectives that help target and run smart, strategic, effective campaigns in the working class.

In this sleek, practical, pocket inspiration, Womack lays out a timely plan for identifying chokepoints and taking advantage of supply chain issues in order to seize and build labor power and solidarity. Interviewed by Peter Olney of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union--Womack's lively, illuminating thoughts are built upon by ten young labor organizers and educators, whose responses create a rich dialogue and open a space for joyful, achievable change. With stories of triumph that will bring readers to tears this back-pocket primer is an instant classic.

With contributions from Gene Bruskin, Carey Dall, Dan DiMaggio, Katy Fox-Hodess, Bill Fletcher Jr., Jane McAlevey, Jack Metzgar, Joel Ochoa, Melissa Shetler, and Rand Wilson.


"In Our Revolution we shout, 'When we Organize, We Win,' but organize who and win what? Labor Power and Strategy is a great collection of Womack and 10 organizers debating strategic workplace organizing vs associational or more general organizing at workplaces or in communities. Womack, in a long initial interview and in the conclusion, argues that without organizing workplace chokepoints, we are left with the spontaneous movements that come and go. Several of the 10 organizers essentially argue that the spontaneous can become conscious and long lasting. Grab the book and take up the debate." -- Larry Cohen, board chair Our Revolution, past president, Communications Workers of America

"Labor Power and Strategy is essential reading for activists and organizers seeking to understand how in a constantly changing world of work workers can marshal power." -- Elaine Bernard, former executive director Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School

About the Contributors:

John Womack Jr. is the Robert Woods Bliss Professor of Latin American History and Economics, emeritus, at Harvard University. He served as chairman of the Department of History, 1982-85, and acting chairman, 1991-92. Born and raised in Norman, Oklahoma, he first joined a union, the International Laborers and Hod Carriers, while in high school, earning a union wage in summer construction work. He held his card until he graduated from college and went to work at The Louisville Times--then into graduate studies and later into academic work.

Peter Olney is a retired Director of Organizing for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). He was Associate Director of the University of California's Institute for Labor and Employment (ILE). Olney holds a Master's in Business Administration from UCLA. He resides in San Francisco, California. Olney teaches building trades union organizers as a member of the faculty of the Building Trades Academy at Michigan State University. Olney is an editor of The Stansbury Forum.

Glenn Perušek conducts strategic research for organizing and contract campaigns and is a member of the faculty of the Building Trades Academy at Michigan State University. He directed the Center for Strategic Research at the national AFL-CIO; worked in strategic research and campaigns at the IBEW and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. His work includes Tragedy and Necessity: From Sarajevo to the Berlin Wall; Shifting Terrain; Depth of Field; and Trade Union Politics: American Unions and Economic Change. Glenn earned a BA from Kent State University. He holds a PhD from the University of Chicago. Glenn was a journeyman member of the Chicago Typographical Union.