Chapter

Wealth against Commonwealth

Michael Dennis

in The New Economy and the Modern South

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780813032917
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038407 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813032917.003.0004
Wealth against Commonwealth

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The last decade of the 20th century was critical for organized labor. In this decade, labor unions began to capture some of the cross-class, biracial, democratic character that had distinguished its most important achievements. Virginia and the South were at the junction of this struggle to redefine the labor movement in democratic and movement-oriented terms. As private interests promoted a political atmosphere hospitable to market fundamentalism, the South became a model for anti-unionism. The South defined the “right to work” philosophy that was gaining national credibility in the late 20th century. In the South, the movement for collective action ground against the ideology of self-interest and anti-government individualism. While Virginia's labor unions failed to generate widespread support, they fostered a debate that redefined the cultural and political terrain in the United States.

Keywords: organized labor; market fundamentalism; Virginia; labor unions; anti-unionism; right to work; collective action

Chapter.  17120 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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