Labor History Seminar: Michael J. Kramer, Northwestern University

Friday, January 9, 2009

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Labor History Seminar

“A Labor History of Hippies: The KMPX and Wild West Festival Strikes and Countercultural Workers in Late Sixties San Francisco”
Michael J. Kramer, Northwestern University
This essay examines two strikes that occurred among countercultural workers in San Francisco’s nascent rock music industry. Typically, the counterculture is understood as a movement in the realm of leisure and consumption, however these strikes demonstrate that labor and production were also crucial factors. Participants in the strikes sought to rearrange the boundaries between work and play, labor and leisure, in postwar America’s system of consumer capitalism. Drawing upon the Old Left tradition of union organizing, they reached for new modes of creativity, productivity, artistic freedom, and collective action.

Commentators: Paul Mishler, Indiana University at South Bend, and Ronald Cohen, Indiana University Northwest