In the California apple country, nine hundred migratory workers rise up "in dubious battle" against the landowners. The group takes on a life of its own-stronger than its individual members and more frightening. Led by the doomed Jim Nolan, the strike is founded on his tragic idealism-on the "courage never to submit or yield." Published in 1936, In Dubious Battle is considered the first major work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinbeck.
A tale of one episode in the revolutionary struggle.
The central character of "In Dubious Battle" is a young, dispossessed man called Jim who, having been sacked from his job at a department store in LA, makes the decision to join the (communist) Party. The Party sends him into the field with a veteran communist called Mac. Their first outing is into the countryside of California to augment the migrant workers struggling for a living existence picking fruit. Once they arrive they befriend and gain the trust of the workers' leader, London, by coming to the aid his daughter whilst she is in labour. Discontent amongst the migrants is high and that discontent soon breaks out in the form of a strike with the demand for a living wage. Although barely more than a kid, Jim rises to be the man that steers the strike in the ruthless direction necessary to counter the brutality and devious tactics of the fruit growers association. Of particular interest to me is how Jim is lead, not only by his intelligence, but also by what can only be described as the Spirit. The strike inevitably fails and the workers are crushed by the superior forces of the state and capital but through their cooperative actions valuable lessons and memories are gained for the workers' movement.
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