Against the Grain

Power and Solidarity on the Docks

Dockworkers the world over have a long tradition of both power and militancy, able to block the flow of cargo and jam up the workings of capitalism.  The International Longshore and Warehouse Union in the San Francisco Bay Area has been one of the most radical of American unions.  Historian Peter Cole discusses the fascinating story of the ILWU and how an originally white workforce committed itself to racial equality and integration — and how the later majority black workforce became the radical backbone of the anti-apartheid and international solidarity movements in the Bay Area.

Peter Cole will appear at Shaping San Francisco on March 13th at 7:30pm and San Francisco State University’s Labor Archives and Research Center on March 14th at 12:30pm.


Peter Cole, Dockworker Power: Race and Activism in Durban and the San Francisco Bay Area University of Illinois Press, 2018


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