James Green

James Green is a labor educator at the University of Massachusetts-Boston and author of Taking History to Heart: The Power of the Past in Building Social Movements.

Recent Articles

Gone South

Samuel Gompers, the storied leader of the American Federation of Labor, worried about "globalization" almost 100 years ago. Concerned about how "free trade" created "slave labor" conditions in the colonial world, he helped create the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 1919 in order to establish world labor standards. The ILO was conceived by "responsible labor leaders" as an antidote to revolutionary forces, and thus served to divide the workers' world on political grounds. In any case, the organization made no impact on U.S. workers. A few homegrown radicals, notably those in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), did imagine a world where workers were united. But for the most part, unionists here could not imagine how their interests could be protected by allying with workers in faraway countries. They fought local battles for their jobs and communities, and remained loyal to local organizations with national ambitions. As U.S. factory...