Haymarket Originals: Fragile Juggernaut
Haymarket Originals: Fragile Juggernaut
Haymarket Originals
Haymarket Originals is a new home for audio deep dives, by and for the left—brought to you by Haymarket Books. The first Haymarket Originals project is FRAGILE JUGGERNAUT: WHAT WAS THE CIO? Through a limited run of twenty episodes, a group of labor historians and organizers will revisit the near-mythical history of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO)—and the high water mark of US labor activity in the 1930s and 1940s—in the context of today’s critical juncture in the labor movement. Join Tim Barker, Andrew Elrod, Ben Mabie, Alex Press, Emma Teitelman, Gabriel Winant, and special guests as they explore the trajectory of the American working class through a period of its greatest drama and political possibility.
9. Smash Fascism
Episode 9 of Fragile Juggernaut is the first of a series of thematic episodes, in which we pause our chronological narrative to survey key issues shaping the world of the CIO. In this episode, we turn our view on the escalating confrontation between fascism and anti-fascism. Was there an American fascism? Where did it come from and what did it look like? How did it relate to the labor movement? And what was the meaning of the Popular Front, the broad left coalition against fascism?Featured music: “All You Fascists Bound to Lose” (Billy Bragg, originally Woody Guthrie); “La Crisis Actual” (Los Cancioneros Alegres); “Ballad for Americans” (Paul Robeson); “Ballad of October 16” (The Almanac Singers); “Round and Round Hitler’s Grave” (The Almanac Singers)Fragile Juggernaut is a Haymarket Originals podcast exploring the history, politics, and strategic lessons of the Congress of Industrial Organizations and the rank and file insurgency that produced it. Support Fragile Juggernaut on Patreon and receive our exclusive bimonthly newsletter, full of additional insights, reading recommendations, and archival materials we’ve amassed along the way. Support us on patreon: https://www.patreon.com/FragileJuggernaut/postsBuy The Black Antifascist Tradition, 20% Off: https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/2223-the-black-antifascist-tradition
May 17
1 hr 57 min
8. The Spirit of 1936
Episode 8 of Fragile Juggernaut places us back in the critical juncture of 1936: the final year of Roosevelt’s first term in office. What were FDR’s re-election prospects as workers’ insurgencies erupted from below and as capital waited in vain for the courts to demolish the Wagner Act? What did this juncture mean for the CIO and its relationship to electoral politics? Episode 8 dives into these questions and surveys the evolving links between the CIO, leftwing intellectuals in the Roosevelt administration, and the Democratic Party. Featuring special guest Samir Sonti, an assistant professor at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies. Featured music: Franklin D. Roosevelt's Back Again (The New Lost City Ramblers); Old Age Pension Check (The New Lost City Ramblers); Farmer-Labor Train (Woody Guthrie); Tell Me Why You Like Roosevelt (McKinley Peebles)Fragile Juggernaut is a Haymarket Originals podcast exploring the history, politics, and strategic lessons of the Congress of Industrial Organizations and the rank and file insurgency that produced it. Support Fragile Juggernaut on Patreon and receive our exclusive bimonthly newsletter, full of additional insights, reading recommendations, and archival materials we’ve amassed along the way. Support us on patreon: https://www.patreon.com/FragileJuggernaut/postsBuy The Long Deep Grudge, 20% Off: https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/1383-the-long-deep-grudge
May 2
1 hr 47 min
7. Sit Down!
Episode seven of Fragile Juggernaut dramatizes the Sit Down strikes that built the UAW: why they proved to be powerful, what effect they had on the labor movement, and the truly global spread of the strike tactic. The fight in Flint and Cleveland, Kansas City and Atlanta, provides an occasion to talk both about the global organization of production and highly contingent efforts to root out spies, covering both the architectonics of capital and street battles barely won against advancing cops. These stories are where structural analysis meets the heist movie. We want to flag two small factual mistakes on this episode: at one point Gabe refers to the federal CIO locals where he means federal AFL locals; elsewhere, Ben says Fisher Body a few times when he means the Chevy plant. Fragile Juggernaut is a Haymarket Originals podcast exploring the history, politics, and strategic lessons of the Congress of Industrial Organizations and the rank and file insurgency that produced it. Support Fragile Juggernaut on Patreon and receive our exclusive bimonthly newsletter, full of additional insights, reading recommendations, and archival materials we’ve amassed along the way. Support us on patreon: https://www.patreon.com/FragileJuggernaut/postsBuy Unite and Win: The Workplace Organizer’s Handbook: https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/2434-unite-and-win
Apr 19
2 hr 7 min
6. Passing Laws, Breaking Jaws: The Wagner Act and the Founding of the CIO
Episode six of Fragile Juggernaut pivots to high politics and institutional history: chronicling the passage of the Wagner Act, debating its significance, and recounting the raucous AFL convention in Atlantic City where the CIO was born. Featuring special guest Eric Blanc.Fragile Juggernaut is a Haymarket Originals podcast exploring the history, politics, and strategic lessons of the Congress of Industrial Organizations and the rank and file insurgency that produced it. Support Fragile Juggernaut on Patreon and receive our exclusive bimonthly newsletter, full of additional insights, reading recommendations, and archival materials we’ve amassed along the way. Support us on patreon: https://www.patreon.com/FragileJuggernaut/postsBuy The Lean Years and The Turbulent Years, 20% Off: https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/319-the-lean-yearshttps://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/320-the-turbulent-years
Apr 4
2 hr 10 min
5. The Strikes That Broke Through
Episode five of Fragile Juggernaut is a dramatic retelling of the nearly-revolutionary strikes of 1934, in Toledo and San Francisco, in Minneapolis and across America’s textile belt: moments that dramatize the powerful interaction between radical militant minorities on the shop floor and mass working class struggles. Frustrated by the passivity of “the National Run Around” of FDR’s first years in office, workers took up “self-help” in the form of fighting unionism. Their violently fought strikes would go on to produce a new “social warrant” for working class self-activity in the years to come. Fragile Juggernaut is a Haymarket Originals podcast exploring the history, politics, and strategic lessons of the Congress of Industrial Organizations and the rank and file insurgency that produced it. Support Fragile Juggernaut on Patreon and receive our exclusive bimonthly newsletter, full of additional insights, reading recommendations, and archival materials we’ve amassed along the way. Support us on patreon: https://www.patreon.com/FragileJuggernaut/postsBuy Revolutionary Teamsters, 20% Off: https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/605-revolutionary-teamsters
Mar 21
2 hr 12 min
4. Rupture
Episode four of Fragile Juggernaut surveys the panorama of social life transfigured by the first three years of the Great Depression. By examining the sharp and persisting business downturn as a crisis of social reproduction—in which the conditions for working people to reproduce themselves appeared to permanently subside—Tim, Ben, Emma, and Andrew discuss how challenges of survival transformed into struggles defending working-class life. Fragile Juggernaut is a Haymarket Originals podcast exploring the history, politics, and strategic lessons of the Congress of Industrial Organizations and the rank and file insurgency that produced it. Support Fragile Juggernaut on Patreon and receive our exclusive bimonthly newsletter, full of additional insights, reading recommendations, and archival materials we’ve amassed along the way. Support us on patreon: https://www.patreon.com/FragileJuggernaut/postsBuy Radical Unionism, 20% Off: https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/559-radical-unionism
Mar 6
1 hr 11 min
3. The Lean Years
Episode three of Fragile Juggernaut explores the transformations within the working class brought about by World War I and its decade-long aftermath. A growing political alliance between the AF of L and Woodrow Wilson’s Democratic Party profoundly altered the labor movement of the Progressive Era, growing its size and militancy amid the rising prices of the war boom, culminating in the combustive strike-year of 1919. But in the corporate reaction and federal repression that followed, labor unions shed a third of their combined membership and entered the assembly-line era divided and dwindling in power. This society the Great War bequeathed was, as its contemporaries argued, unbalanced. The 1920s “return to normalcy” intensified, rather than counteracted, this lack of balance—swinging toward the struggles within organized labor that would elicit the CIO. Fragile Juggernaut is a Haymarket Originals podcast exploring the history, politics, and strategic lessons of the Congress of Industrial Organizations and the rank and file insurgency that produced it. Support Fragile Juggernaut on Patreon and receive our exclusive bimonthly newsletter, full of additional insights, reading recommendations, and archival materials we’ve amassed along the way.Support us on patreon: https://www.patreon.com/FragileJuggernaut/postsBuy Radicals in the Barrio, 20% Off: https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/987-radicals-in-the-barrio
Feb 21
1 hr 35 min
2. Socialism in its Work Clothes
Episode two of Fragile Juggernaut picks up with the labor movement of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. How did workers organize themselves amidst shifts in the structure of the economy, from the acceleration of proletarianization to the rise of corporate capitalism, and what opposition did they confront? Fragile Juggernaut is a Haymarket Originals podcast exploring the history, politics, and strategic lessons of the Congress of Industrial Organizations and the rank and file insurgency that produced it. Support Fragile Juggernaut on Patreon and receive our exclusive bimonthly newsletter, full of additional insights, reading recommendations, and archival materials we’ve amassed along the way. Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/FragileJuggernaut/postsBuy The Labor Wars, 20% Off!
Feb 7
1 hr 30 min
1. Why the American Working Class Is Different
Welcome to episode one of Fragile Juggernaut, the first project from Haymarket Originals! In episode one, we introduce our “organizing committee” of six rotating hosts and our goals for this collective project of inquiry into the history of the U.S. workers’ movement. We then tackle a key historical question: what was the American working class? We begin the story of the CIO in the nineteenth century in order to identify the different groups—immigrants, farmers, artisans, enslaved workers—who comprised the “raw materials” of an inchoate working class. Following their varied paths into wage work, and their relationship to the politics that resulted in the Civil War, the episode ends with the rise of industrial corporations, most notably the railroads, and the political compromise that ended Reconstruction—with a national uprising of workers in 1877. That mass action anticipates what’s to come for the emerging labor movement. Fragile Juggernaut is a Haymarket Originals podcast exploring the history, politics, and strategic lessons of the Congress of Industrial Organizations and the rank and file insurgency that produced it. Support Fragile Juggernaut on Patreon and receive our exclusive bimonthly newsletter, full of additional insights, reading recommendations, and archival materials we’ve amassed along the way. Buy Class Struggle Unionism, 20% off!
Jan 23
1 hr 26 min