Yours for the Union
Class and Community Struggles in South Africa
Distributed for Zed Books
Yours for the Union stands as a landmark history of the making of the black working class in South Africa. Drawing on a wide range of sources, it covers the crucial period between 1930 and 1947, when South Africa's rapid industrialization led to the dramatic growth of the working class, and uncontrolled urbanization resulted in the creation of vast shanty towns that became a focal point for resistance and protest.
Renowned scholar and activist Baruch Hirson was one of the first historians to go beyond the traditional focus on the mines and factory workplaces, broadening his account to include the lesser known community struggles of the urban ghettoes and rural reserves. Drawing on Hirson’s first-hand involvement in South African labor struggles, Yours for the Union broke new ground with its account of the effort to mobilize urban squatters, domestic workers, and rural peasants, and it remains indispensable today as a resource for the study of the South African labor movement.
“A key theme in Baruch Hirson’s work is ‘the enthusiasm, courage and weakness of the workers.’ In his view, this courage and enthusiasm was squandered. . . . South Africa’s working class communities are still paying the price . . . .and Baruch Hirson’s tragic history is still their story.”