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Labor and the Military: Introduction

  • Joshua B. Freeman (a1) and Geoffrey Field (a2)

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The military and the working class have intersected in myriad ways, especially in the era of mass conscription. Millions of workers served in, fought in, and died in the armed services. They brought their political and cultural values into armies and their military experiences back into labor movements and working-class communities. Militaries have been large employers of civilians, on bases in home countries and abroad, directly and indirectly, in the vast armament industries. In some countries, like China and Iran, they directly control large parts of the economy, including major industrial establishments. Military employment practices have reflected and shaped civilian-sector labor relations, race relations, and gender roles. Armies have been used to break strikes and have launched coups designed to defeat left-wing and labor movements or, occasionally (as in Portugal and, more recently, Venezuela), to defeat conservative forces. Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, war and militarism remain prominent features of both advanced industrial societies and less developed ones.

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Labor and the Military: Introduction

  • Joshua B. Freeman (a1) and Geoffrey Field (a2)

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