Amidst a rekindled interest in the efforts of student radicals of the 1960s to industrialize in workers’ movement as part of a larger social transformation, Jon Melrod’s Fighting Times: Organizing on the Front Lines of the Class War could not be more timely. Fighting Times recounts the thirteen-year journey of Jon Melrod to harness working-class militancy and jump start a revolution on the shop floor of American Motors. Melrod faces termination, dodges the FBI, outwits collaborators in the UAW, and becomes a central figure in a lawsuit against the rank-and-file newsletter Fighting Times, as he strives to build a class-conscious workers’ movement from the bottom up.
“An eloquent voice from the frontlines of the hard, bitter, exhilarating struggles for freedom and justice that have made the world a better place, and an inspiring guide for carrying the crucial struggle forward.”—Noam Chomsky
A radical to the core, Melrod was a key part of campus insurrection at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He left campus for the factory in 1972, hired along with hundreds of youthful job seekers onto the mind-numbing assembly line. Fighting Times paints a portrait of these rebellious and alienated young hires, many of whom were Black Vietnam vets. Join Melrod and Barry Eidlin, author of Labor and the Class Idea, for a discussion about Fighting Times, the politics and strategies of the era, and the legacies still shaping today’s social movements.