Puerto Rican Labor History 1898–1934--Revolutionary Ideals and Reformist Politics (just released December 2017) presents a history of the organized labor movement in Puerto Rico from the United States’ colonial domination of the island in 1898 to the Great Depression in the early 1930s. Although the most prominent Puerto Rican labor leaders in the early twentieth century were strongly influenced by revolutionary European socialist and anarchist ideology, the organized labor movement as represented by the Federación Libre de los Trabajadores de Puerto Rico and the Partido Socialista became a fundamentally reformist trade unionist campaign that relied heavily on the democratic rights guaranteed by the United States government and the support of the American Federation of Labor. Rather than advocating for the overthrow of capitalism, the abolition of private property and the wage labor system, and its replacement by a socialist egalitarian cooperative society free of centralized government authority, the organized workers’ movement focused on the immediate struggle for higher wages and better working conditions by means of the organization of labor and participation in electoral politics.
Presenter: Author Carlos Sanabria
Commentator: Aldo Lauria-Santiago (Rutgers)