Starving Amidst Too Much
& Other IWW Writings on the Food Industry
By T-Bone Slim, L. S. Chumley, Jim Seymour, and Jack Sheridan
Edited and introduced by Peter Rachleff
Foreword by Carlos Cortez
Charles H. Kerr Publishing
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.
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 Péret
Organizer L. S. Chumley portrays the horrid living and working conditions of hotel and restaurant workers circa 1918. 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 survey of the role of food in ancient and modern civilization is a crash-course in the materialist conception of history at its Wobbly soapboxer best.
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 against an ecocidal agri-business and the union-busting fast-food chains.
“What the Wobblies of yesteryear had to say about the all important “food question” is still relevant in our time.”—Carlos Cortez, from the foreword
“The pamphlets, columns, and articles collected in this volume make available to us a rich wellspring of ideas. . . 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.”—Peter Rachleff, from the introduction
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