By Patrick Renshaw
Publication by means of Renshaw, Patrick
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Additional info for American Labour and Consensus Capitalism, 1935–1990
For the great majority of the American labour union rank and file, less ideological and more pragmatic, Roosevelt's aristocratic manner, warm human sympathies and matchless popular appeal appeared to combine democratic capitalism with social justice in an irresistible blend. Naturally enough, the CIO was far more aggressive in this burst of mid-1930s political activity than was the AFL. Its radical advocacy of industrial unionism carried over into political promotion of social reform. As a brand-new organization it was not bound by old shibboleths or obstinate conservatism like the AFL.
Though Lewis was melodramatic and Hillman low-keyed, they had much in common. They were arguably the most influential labour leaders of the 20th century, crucial figures in shaping the modern movement. Both came from industries ruined by vicious competition. Both led industrial unions - the UMW and the ACW - often outside or at odds with the AFL. Both were masters of the mundane side of union bargaining yet retained a keen sense oflabour's wider mISSIon. Each interpreted this in sharply different ways however.
As a brand-new organization it was not bound by old shibboleths or obstinate conservatism like the AFL. Moreover, industrial unionists saw more clearly than craft ones that the Depression had created a vital need for greater control over the economy, and that all workers had become more dependent upon government. Accordingly, CIO leaders played a crucial part in launching Labor's Non-Partisan League in 1936 and supported the American Labor Party in New York. Their prime purpose was clearly partisan: the re-election of Roosevelt.
American Labour and Consensus Capitalism, 1935–1990 by Patrick Renshaw