Towards a Revolution in Labor History
Thu, October 20 @ 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
An event every week that begins at 6:30 PM on Thursday, repeating until Thu, December 22, 2022
Norfolk, Virginia shipyards, built with chattel bond labor
A reading of Theodore W. Allen’s unpublished manuscript, “Towards a Revolution in Labor History,” convened with Sean Ahern. According to Allen, “the original sin of ‘white’ labor historiography lies in the misbegotten concept that excludes the Black bond-laborers from the ‘working class.’”
In a heretofore unpublished manuscript entitled “Towards a Revolution in Labor History,” Theodore W. Allen, author of the acclaimed The Invention of the White Race, challenges a new generation of labor historians and activists to break from what he described as “The Great White Assumption … the acceptance of the ‘white’ identity of European Americans of all classes as a natural attribute rather than a social construct.” Allen maintains that this “assumption” has shaped the field of US labor history since the 19th century and “lies at the root of harmful omissions and distortions of the historical record, which need to be criticized and corrected if the study of labor history is to contribute to the development of class consciousness of the American working class and a viable alternative to the ruinous policies of the ruling class.” We will read Allen’s manuscript along with selections from other works by Allen and other labor historians.