September 24, 2007
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Which Side Are You On

by Thomas Geoghegan

A brilliant, fascinating look at the state of Labor in the U.S., or actually at the state of social justice, by a man who fell into Labor Law in the '60s and now wonders if it's been a sensible way to spend his career. This was an Aaron Swartz recommendation, and a very fine one. Geohegan despairs of the future of working people in the US, and foresees an increasing third-world underclass emerging inside the US without help for horrific workinbg conditions and oppressive legal constraints. Yet, in the end, he observes that the difference between oppressive restraint of labor and a vigorous social movement in the US rests upon several small legal obstacles, details that could easily be removed. And while Geohegan, writing a 2004 epilogue, foresaw no hope, the collapse of the Bush regime and the apparent realignment of the electorate, in which the Democrats have traded the inveterately anti-Labor solid South for the old Republican and Union bastion of New England, the old home of bread and roses, perhaps there is hope after all.