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A Working-Class History between Empire and Revolution

Jana Lipman (Author)


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Guantánamo has become a symbol of what has gone wrong in the War on Terror. Yet Guantánamo is more than a U.S. naval base and prison in Cuba, it is a town, and our military occupation there has required more than soldiers and sailors—it has required workers. This revealing history of the women and men who worked on the U.S. naval base in Guantánamo Bay tells the story of U.S.-Cuban relations from a new perspective, and at the same time, shows how neocolonialism, empire, and revolution transformed the lives of everyday people. Drawing from rich oral histories and little-explored Cuban archives, Jana K. Lipman analyzes how the Cold War and the Cuban revolution made the naval base a place devoid of law and accountability. The result is a narrative filled with danger, intrigue, and exploitation throughout the twentieth century. Opening a new window onto the history of U.S. imperialism in the Caribbean and labor history in the region, her book tells how events in Guantánamo and the base created an ominous precedent likely to inform the functioning of U.S. military bases around the world.
List of Illustrations

Introduction: Between Guantánamo and GTMO
Prologue: Regional Politics, 1898, and the Platt Amendment
1. The Case of Kid Chicle:
Military Expansion and Labor Competition, 1939-1945
2. “We Are Real Democrats”:
Legal Debates and Cold War Unionism before Castro, 1940-1954
3. Good Neighbors, Good Revolutionaries, 1940-1958
4. A “Ticklish” Position: Revolution, Loyalty, and Crisis, 1959-1964
5. Contract Workers, Exiles, and Commuters:
Neocolonial and Postmodern Labor Arrangements
Epilogue: Post 9/11: Empire and Labor Redux

Appendix: Guantánamo Civil Registry, 1921-1958
Selected Bibliography
Jana K. Lipman is Assistant Professor of History at Tulane University.
“Lipman offers a new and compelling angle on the crisis.”—London Review Of Books
“Oral histories . . add a significant sense of presence and immediacy to Guantánamo. . . . Lipman’s account is impressive, original, and well researched. Its subject matter should interest foreign relations scholars, Latin America area specialists, and labor historians. The size is manageable and the writing engaging, making this an appropriate text for undergraduate classrooms.”—H-Net Reviews
“Splendid. . . . Lipman shows successfully that Cuban workers mattered.”—International History Review
“Lipman has produced a grounded, powerful critique of United States policy.”—Estudios Interdisciplinarios De America Latina Y El Caribe (Eial)
"Engaging and eye-opening to anyone interested in Guantánamo's current role, American imperialism, Caribbean history, working-class politics, or gender in international affairs."—Cynthia Enloe, author of Globalization and Militarism

"A compelling example of why good diplomatic history needs to also be social history (and vice versa)."—Greg Grandin, author of Empire's Workshop

Co-Winner of the Philip Taft Labor History Award, Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations

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