Beginning in 1945 and for almost thirty years thereafter, the Port of New York was the site of intense class conflict. Striking longshoremen frequently battled the shipping companies, the police, federal and state political authorities, and their own union leadership simultaneously around the question of the workplace control. Class organization and mobilization emerged through both formal and informal political action and organization. This chapter states that working-class activism in the United States and particularly on the Port of New York reflects a process in which power, class organization, and elite interests intersect in American politics. This study combines discussions of power and politics with the empirical exploration of class collective action, illustrating the unique way in which workers negotiated power relations.
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