The Wobblies. Red Cinema.

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Ahmed White: Under the Iron Heel: The Wobblies and the Capitalist War on Radical Workers

In 1917, the Industrial Workers of the World was rapidly gaining strength and members. Within a decade, this radical union was effectively destroyed, the victim of the most remarkable campaign of legal repression and vigilantism in American history. Under the Iron Heel is the first comprehensive account of this campaign.

Founded in 1905, the IWW offered to the millions of workers aggrieved by industrial capitalism the promise of a better world. But its growth, coinciding with World War I and the Russian Revolution and driven by uncompromising militancy, was seen by powerful capitalists and government officials as an existential threat that had to be eliminated. In Under the Iron Heel, Ahmed White documents the torrent of legal persecution and extralegal, sometimes lethal violence that shattered the IWW. In so doing, he reveals the remarkable courage of those who faced this campaign, lays bare the origins of the profoundly unequal and conflicted nation we know today, and uncovers disturbing truths about the law, political repression, and the limits of free speech and association in class society.

Ahmed White’s dramatic, deeply researched account of how legal repression and vigilantism brought down the Wobblies—and how the destruction of their union haunts us to this day is an important book. Ahmed is a terrific, informative and considerate guest. He is the Nicholas Rosenbaum Professor of Law at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Erich Schwartzel: Red Carpet – Hollywood, China, and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy

Erich Schwartzel has written a fascinating book, Red Carpet – Hollywood, China, and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy. His story-telling reads like the screenplay for a Netflix documentary, designed to binge-watch. If there were such a category, then Schwartzel’s book would come under the heading binge-read. He takes the reader back in time to early Hollywood while filling in the gaps in the movie industry in China. There are generous amounts of anecdotes and tantalizing details all perfectly placed to make Red Carpet a page-turner. Erich’s depiction of dubious characters, American and Chinese who validated a curious relationship between Hollywood and China suggests the narrative is not only about the movie business but the state of our world. Erich Schwartzel is an engaging conversationalist, you won’t want to miss.

 

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