Economic Crisis and Class Hegemony: The Rule of Downtown

Chris Rhomberg

in No There There

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780520236189
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940888 | DOI:
Economic Crisis and Class Hegemony: The Rule of Downtown

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This chapter investigates the shift of social and political conflict to the central axis of class. It outlines the structural impacts of the Depression on the Oakland population. Facing economic crisis, the new political elite adopted a developmental strategy and type of governance that is called business managerialism. It concentrates on the paths of formation of three groups: the white middle classes; African Americans; and the ethnic white working classes. Under Joseph Knowland's leadership, the downtown elite consolidated a form of urban governance in the new regime. The Knowland regime met the challenge of labor insurgency with a combination of repression, exclusion, and selective incorporation. The split between the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) unions strengthened the employers' leverage and fractured the possibilities for a wider expression of labor solidarity in the public sphere.

Keywords: economic crisis; Depression; Oakland; business managerialism; white middle classes; African Americans; ethnic white working classes; Joseph Knowland; American Federation of Labor; Congress of Industrial Organizations

Chapter.  9660 words. 

Subjects: Race and Ethnicity

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