Live working – the real story about the “underclass”

Okay, so now we are tired of Karina Pedersen (Danish author of a much discussed book about life in the “underclass”) and her liberal friends and their anti-social and anti-historical moralistic musings about the so called underclass. Regarding history: allow me to recommend Paul Masons book Live working or die fighting – how the working … Read more

Gender or Class?

Kvindelige tekstilarbejdere

Today it is 8 March, the international day for women’s liberation. This day was inaugurated at the international socialist women’s congress, which took place in Copenhagen in 1910. On the occasion of the day I have translated a text about the time, when female workers started organising – and the reactions they were met by, … Read more

Between Denmark and Detroit: Ford in Copenhagen

In 1919 Ford Motor Company established an assembly plant in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was the second of its kind in Europe, after the one established in Manchester. From Copenhagen most of Northern Europe was supplied with the famous Ford T – the world’s first mass produced car.

It was such a success, that a larger facility was needed, an in 1924 a new, modern factory was build in the Copenhagen South Port area. The factory was designed by Albert Kahn, the architect responsible for some of Fords most iconic industrial complexes in Detroit. Inside, the production technology also closely resembled that used in Detroit.

But when it came to industrial relations, there were profound differences. In Detroit, Ford was fighting hard against any attempts by his worker to organize in trade unions, and not before 1941 an agreement was finally made with the United Auto Workers. However, in Denmark the workers were all unionized from day one, and collective bargaining was a matter of course.

Ford assembly plant in Copenhagen South Habour. Photo from Thalbitzer: “Ford Motor Company A/S gennem 25 Aar”, 1944. Unknown photographer.

Read moreBetween Denmark and Detroit: Ford in Copenhagen

A world history of textile work

People have spun yarn and woven fabrics through thousands of years. It was a production which was predominantly carried out as homework or crafts. During the 1700s, though, a revolutionary process was started in England: work became concentrated in large units, equipped with machines powered at first by water wheels and later by steam engines. The industrial form of production spread from England to the European mainland and from there eventually to the rest of the world.

Read moreA world history of textile work

Class

The latest issue of the journal Arbejderhistorie (Labour history) is about class. Several articles deal with class as a theoretical and analytical concept.  Others are examples of the use of class in describing and explaining historical and present social phenomena.  A complete list of contributions can be found here. I have written the article “Den … Read more

Klassekamp i radioen

The radio-program “Apropos”, which is broadcasted every weekday, has choosen class struggle as its theme for this week. The opening program was an interview with me, about the origin of the danish labour movement and class struggle then and now. For those who understand danish, this and the other programs are available on the  “Apropos” web-site (Part … Read more