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Solidarity Under Siege

Book description

El Salvador's long civil war had its origins in the state repression against one of the most militant labor movements in Latin American history. Solidarity under Siege vividly documents the port workers and shrimp fishermen who struggled yet prospered under extremely adverse conditions during the 1970s only to suffer discord, deprivation and, eventually, the demise of their industry and unions over the following decades. Featuring material uncovered in previously inaccessible union and court archives and extensive interviews conducted with former plant workers and fishermen in Puerto el Triunfo and in Los Angeles, Jeffrey L. Gould presents the history of the labor movement before and during the country's civil war, its key activists, and its victims into sharp relief, shedding new and valuable light on the relationships between rank and file labor movements and the organized left in twentieth-century Latin and Central America.

Reviews

‘Solidarity under Siege tells the story of Puerto El Triunfo, the harrowing politics and perils of Latin America's longest running labor strike there, and the disappearance of the whole regional economy at the hands of foreign investors' complicity with the military. Gould has made Central America's tragic neoliberal turn and the ravaging of hope for state-led economic development understandable, painful and palpable.'

Lillian Guerra - University of Florida

‘With the empathy and insight that characterizes all of his pathbreaking work on Central America, Jeffrey L. Gould recuperates the remarkable and sobering story of the shrimp workers in El Salvador's Puerto El Triúnfo. Their early victories, achieved amidst violent repression, could have set the stage for a nostalgic tale about a lost world of labor militancy and the wages of neoliberalism. Yet, Gould explores the divergent understandings and gender-based tensions that undermined solidarity and left the workers vulnerable to neoliberal plunder. This book illuminates the experiences of women and men whose struggles need to be remembered so that they will not have been in vain.'

Barbara Weinstein - New York University

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