Starving Amidst Too Much

& Other IWW Writings on the Food Industry

edited by Peter Rachleff
with an introduction by Carlos Cortez
with contributions by Jack Sheridan, Jim Seymour, L. S. Chumley, and T-Bone Slim
Publication date: March 2005

Paperback: $12.0
   * Purchase from AK Press
<blockquote><i> What the Wobblies of yesteryear had to say about the all-important "food question" is still relevant in our time. These writings clearly deserve wider circulation, and should be considered and discussed by working people today." </i> -Carlos Cortes (from the Foreword) </blockquote> <p> This is a book about the irrepressible conflict between the poorly paid workers who actually feed the world and the parasitical multi-billionaire corporate powers that make the rules and grab the profits. Reproduced here are rare classic documents on the "food question" by four old-time members of North America's most creative, colorful and uncompromising union: the revolutionary Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), known as Wobblies. </p> <p> Here is the greatest Wob writer of them all, the one and only T-Bone Slim, whose detailed critique of the industry - chockful of penetrating insight and knockout black humor - is reminiscent of Jonathan Swift and Benjamin P_ret. Organizer L. S. Chumley portrays the horrid living and working conditions of hotel and restaurant workers circa 1918, stressing the need for workers' direct action. Here, too, is Wobbly troubadour Jim Seymour, with his inspired saga of "The Dishwasher" and reflections on the possibilities of a radically different diet. Jack Sheridan's fascinating 1959 survey of the role of food in ancient and modern civilization, especially in economic development, is also a crash-course in the materialist conception of history at its Wobbly soapboxer best. </p> <p> In the introduction, historian/activist Peter Rachleff traces the history of food-workers' self-organization, and brings the book up to date with a look at current point-of-production struggles to break the haughty power of an ecocidal agri-business and the union-busting fast-food chains. </p> <p> Informative and provocative, this lively collection provides just the kind of background and inspiration needed by young workers today, who are striving to build a new revolutionary movement based on direct action and solidarity. </p> <blockquote><i> "The pamphlets, columns, and articles collected in this volume make available to us a rich wellspring of ideas. . . . These are far more than historical artifacts. They offer today's workers a first class breakfast, a place to begin consideration of all our places in the food chain, from farming to processing and production to the preparation and serving of meals. The metaphor reminds us of the ways that workers and consumers are bound in their work and by their most fundamental of bodily practices-eating-by broad economic and social decisions from which workers' input has been excluded. We are bound by these chains of the food industry. T-Bone Slim, L.S. Chumley, Jack Sheridan, and Jim Seymour offer us acute analyses of these industries and processes, and, even more importantly, they offer us access to the IWW vision of how to break these chains, how to change the world." </i> -Peter Rachleff (from the Introduction) </blockquote>