miracles_of_the_spirit.jpg
Striking+Performances%2FPerforming+Strikes

Striking Performances/Performing Strikes

By Kirk W. Fuoss

203 pages (approx.), 6x9 in., 25 b&w illustrations, index

9781617030604 Paper $30.00D

Paper, $30.00

image

* In 2017-2018 University Press of Mississippi is closed for the holidays Thursday, December 21, and will reopen Tuesday, January 2, 2018. Orders sent by Paypal through Tuesday, December 12, will ship in time for Christmas. IF YOU ARE NOT ORDERING FOR THE HOLIDAYS, PLEASE LEAVE US A NOTE IN PAYPAL. After December 12, customers desiring shipping before Christmas should call 1.800.737.7788 and ask for rush delivery. Please be prepared to pay extra for rapid shipping. Orders that come to our website through the holidays (December 21, 2017-January 2, 2018) will begin shipping on January 2, 2018.

A look at how two groups of protesters promoted their agendas by mock performances.

In the 1930s two protest groups gained the public eye by role playing. They brought their social grievances to attention in their communities by staging mock performances. In this fascinating study of two strikes, Kirk W. Fuoss reports how the novel incidents of these protests unite the seemingly opposing forces of community and contestation.

The two extended case studies-the Workers Alliance of America's 1936 takeover of the New Jersey State Assembly and the General Motors sitdown strike of 1936-37-illustrate group interdependence rather than opposition and demonstrate the irony of fostering a sense of community while fomenting conflict.

The New Jersey case rose out of the state's depletion of relief appropriations and the cutting off of payments to the unemployed. As a result, the state branch of the union seized the State Assembly and for ten days staged a "pauper's parliament" in which members alternately performed roles of ideal legislators and parodied the actual legislators.

A similar cultural performance was staged in Flint, Michigan, during the General Motors sitdown strike. Because the local media maintained an antistrike stance, union forces frequently deployed cultural performances to simulate an alternative press. To achieve their ends, they also staged kangaroo court sessions, dancing pickets, daily concerts by strikers' orchestras, auto parades, mock funerals, games of labor charades, and skits written and performed by the strikers themselves.

These two case studies show how the theatrical stagings by strikers threw the spotlight of public attention on their causes.

Kirk W. Fuoss is chair of the department of speech and theatre, St. Lawrence University.

203 pages (approx.), 6x9 in., 25 b&w illustrations, index