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By Clive James

'One stupendous starburst of untamed brilliance' SIMON SCHAMA 'Aphoristic and acutely provocative: a crash path in civilization' J. M. COETZEE equipped from A via Z, and containing over a hundred essays, Cultural Amnesia is the final word consultant to the 20 th century. 'This is a gorgeous e-book. James proves himself not just to be in ownership of a towering mind, yet a novel skill to speak his passions' Observer 'Witty, insightful and unashamedly erudite, the publication is a wonderful miscellany of 20th-century cultural and political subjects' The Sunday instances 'Over the previous 40 years James has been scribbling notes within the margins of the books he has learn ...and this can be the outcome. smart, contentious and funny' parent 'An eclectic trip throughout the twentieth century, as Clive James explores the careers of luminaries similar to Charles de Gaulle and Charlie

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Additional resources for Cultural Amnesia: Notes in the Margin of My Time

Sample text

The system was operated in both the Barcelona docks and on the trams with a good deal of success. Even employers who ran smaller factories sometimes attempted to club together to operate similar systems. Nevertheless, as the labour movement became more buoyant and the climate optimistic it also proved possible for workers in non-apprenticed trades to organize. This was the case, for example, of the dockers and carters between 1901–3 and 1910–11, and from 1912 of the largely female textile labour force.

This occurred within a context in which various attempts were made to organize more broadly-based general workers’ confederations. Most successful would be the anarcho-syndicalist CNT (Confederación Nacional del Trabajo/National Labour Confederation), which was founded in 1910 and which, by the end of 1918, was rapidly integrating much of the city’s workforce into its ranks. Overall, the development of union organization and strikes revealed a complex juxtaposition of, on the one hand, skill, family and gender hierarchies, and, on the other, solidaristic practices.

Hence, as we have seen, after 1914 they would begin to overlay their primary focus on industrial conflict with concern for consumer-based protest. It was in the trade-union sphere that the CNT had most success. It grew up in the context of the need felt by workers in the capitalist sector of the economy, where labour disputes were harsh and frequently violent, to forge broader working-class fronts. The anarcho-syndicalists would frequently be at the forefront of these moves. In this sense they acted as a bridge between skilled workers and the unskilled, combating Catalan chauvinism and craft segregation and promoting industrial unionism.

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