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By N. Pizzolato

Within the Nineteen Fifties, Nineteen Sixties, and Seventies, Detroit and Turin have been either websites of important political and social upheaval. This comparative and transnational research examines the political and theoretical advancements that emerged in those "motor towns" between activist staff and political militants in the course of those a long time.

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Local studies have shown a great variety of situations within the same market. In the French case, for instance, the largest manufacturers (Renault, Citroën, and Peugeot) all kept several models on offer, rejected low-priced cars, and did not use only single-purpose machines. They gradually introduced the assembly line, but retained 26 Challenging Global Capitalism the piece-rate, as opposed to the Fordist day-rate (an indication that the assembly line was not, in their case, effective in setting the pace of work).

For decades, at regular intervals, labor leaders sat at the bargaining table with corporations to negotiate workers’ pay, hours, and conditions as well as “fringe” benefits such as pensions The Making and Unmaking of Fordism 35 and health care provision, goals shared by liberals hoping to compensate for an inadequate welfare state. In spite of their numerical strength, exceptional in the context of American history, unions such as the UAW in the 1950s and 1960s attempted, but eventually failed, as Kevin Boyle has observed, to achieve an agenda of social democratic reform.

As Alan Brinkley has demonstrated, the New Deal agenda had already shifted away from the notion of a federal state involved in a “corporative” management of the economy by 1945. 38 The following year, Congress undermined the political significance of the labor movement when it passed the Taft-Hartley Act, which greatly curtailed any opportunities the unions might have had of organizing in the South. Yet, progressive laborites such as UAW’s Walter Reuther, persisted with, and even expanded collective bargaining, under the aegis of the federal National Labor Relations Board (founded during the New Deal and modified several times since then), holding it to be the best possible means of establishing an industrial jurisprudence that would protect workers’ rights in private firms, and an instrument for securing higher wages and benefits, thereby forestalling another Depression at the end of the war.

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