RED, WHITE AND BLUE-COLLAR VIEWS: A Steelworker Speaks His Mind About America by Michael La Velle

RED, WHITE AND BLUE-COLLAR VIEWS: A Steelworker Speaks His Mind About America

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KIRKUS REVIEW

To declare my politics. I guess I'm sort of an 'anarchist-capitalist,' which, loosely translated, means raising hell and getting paid for it""--a fair enough self-evaluation, that. First and foremost, La Velle is a workingman and a trade unionist: shrewd and articulate, he-fits few of the prevalent blue-collar stereotypes. He'll tell you straight out that the murder of Joe Yablonski upset him a lot more than Watergate; theft union corruption and collusion with Big Business threaten his way of life much more than any longhaired hippie; that he likes, and always has liked, Jimmy Hoffa who delivers the goods and no apologies; that, on the other hand, I. W. Abel, President of the Steelworkers is a fink, guilty of ""sweethearting"" because he accepted a no-strike clause. La Velle is proud of his three-year stint as shop steward for the International Association of Machinists and justifiably bitter about management representation of the $8-an-hour craftsman with a splitlevel home in the suburbs and two cars in the garage as a typical blue-collar figure when in fact this fabled individual is rare and shows only ""the best that workers have achieved."" Is La Velle a radical? No: he's an American materialist, and proud of it. He dislikes ""campus liberals,"" ideological leftists, The New York Review or Books and Gloria Steinem. He supported the Vietnam war but now he'd like to see unconditional amnesty. He favors the death penalty but also the Equal Rights Amendment and women's liberation because ""to see brains, emotions, aggressiveness, meekness and various physical abilities as qualities reserved for only one sex or the other results in a waste and abuse of human talent."" La Velle has a blunt opinion on just about everything; he doesn't try to be systematic or even consistent. You don't doubt his honesty for a moment nor his common sense, here combined with a healthy populist ""suspicion of power, wherever it is wielded and for whatever reasons.

Pub Date: July 4th, 1975
Publisher: Saturday Review/Dutton