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Old 02-19-2020, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Clyde Hill, WA
6,063 posts, read 1,286,942 times
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This may seem a strange combo of topics, but bear with me.

It's little-remembered that the concept of 'home' was central in late 19th century. US politics. As Stanford U. historian Richard White writes in his Oxford U. series book The Republic for Which it Stands

Quote:
The production of homes was the ultimate rationale for the economy, for the nation itself, and for the public policies and the activist government embraced by Republicans.(p. 137)
It was no happenstance that Harriet Beecher Stowe's famous book of 1852, Uncle Tom's Cabin was entitled thusly. A major theme of the book was that slavery undermined happy homes such as that of Tom. The book became a wild best seller. It sold 300,000 copies within 3 months at a time when books were a luxury. It was one of the most-read books of the time, after the Bible. The ideology of 'home' became explicit in the politics of the day with the passage of the 1862 Homestead Act.

Fast forward to the 20th-21st centuries, and it is also now little noted the centrality of 'home' and family in union life today. Go to any union event and you will see families together, and mentions of 'family wage' jobs.

A few years back there was a strike at the local Coca-Cola bottling plant (teamsters). I pulled over to inquire of the picketers. The first thing I was told was that the company was trying to adjust their health care plans, and that the workers considered it a threat to their families. Every picketer I spoke with talked of 'families.'

Usually this is not made very explicit it union politics. Perhaps it is considered non-PC. But it's always there if you look for it. It comes up with the NV primary and the Culinary Union.

It is little-realized that unions have become a major torch-bearer for the 19th century ideology of "home."
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