The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit: Walter Reuther and the Fate of American Labor

By Nelson Lichtenstein | Go to book overview

10
PATRIOTISM AND POLITICS
IN WORLD WAR II

Regardless of what reactionary legislation is passed ... this war ... still remains a just, progressive war against Fascism.

Nat Ganley (UAW Communist), 1943

This is a war against ... all brands of fascists, foreign and domestic.

— Victor Reuther, 1943

Early in 1942 a new ballad, "UAW-CIO," offered thousands of autoworkers a rousing salute to their patriotism and their production effort. Baldwin "Butch" Hawes of the Almanac Singers composed the urban folk song, and with Woody Guthrie on banjo and Pete Seeger on guitar, the piece perfectly captured a left-progressive vision of unionized workers in the antifascist struggle.

I was there when the Union came to town,
I was there when old Henry Ford went down:
I was standing at Gate Four
When I heard the people roar:
"Ain't nobody keeps us Autoworkers down!"

It's that UAW-CIO
Makes the Army roll and go—Turning out the jeeps and tanks and airplanes
every day

-194-

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The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit: Walter Reuther and the Fate of American Labor
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Father and Sons 1
  • 2 - Life at the Rouge 13
  • 3 - Tooling at Gorky 25
  • 4 - Radical Cadre and New Deal Union 47
  • 5 - The West Side Local 74
  • 6 - General Motors and General Mayhem 104
  • 7 - Power under Control 132
  • 8 - 500 Planes a Day 154
  • 9 - Faustian Bargain 175
  • 10 - Patriotism and Politics in World War II 194
  • 11 - On Strike at General Motors 220
  • 12 - Uaw Americanism for Us 248
  • 13 - The Treaty of Detroit 271
  • 14 - An American Social Democracy 299
  • 15 - Reuther Abroad: "Production Is the Answer" 327
  • 16 - Democratic Dilemmas 346
  • 17 - Uneasy Partners 370
  • 18 - A Part of the Establishment 396
  • 19 - From 1968 to Black Lake 420
  • Epilogue - What Would Walter Do? 439
  • Notes 447
  • Index 551
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