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Bob Crow: Socialist, leader, fighter

A political biography

By Gregor Gall

Bob Crow: Socialist, leader, fighter

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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-0029-0
  • Pages: 264
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £20.00
  • Published Date: February 2017
  • BIC Category: British Politics, Trade unions, Political leaders & leadership, Biography & True Stories / Biography: historical, political & military, Economics, finance, business & management / Trade unions, Political Leaders & Leadership, Biography: historical, political & military, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Labor & Industrial Relations, BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Political, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Leadership

Description

Bob Crow was the most high-profile and militant union leader of his generation. This biography focuses on his leadership of the RMT union, examining and exposing a number of popular myths created about him by political opponents. Using the schema of his personal characteristics (including his public persona), his politics and the power of his members, it explains how and why he was able to punch above his weight in industrial relations and on the political stage, helping the small RMT union become as influential as many of its much larger counterparts.

As RMT leader, Crow oversaw a rise in membership and promoted a more assertive and successful bargaining approach. While he failed to unite all socialists into one new party, he established himself as the leading popular critic of neo-liberalism, 'New' Labour and the age of austerity.

Reviews

'In this well -written new biography Gregor Gall explains how and why Bob Crow achieved this fame. Central to Bob's rise to power was the position of the RMT workers on the London Underground.'
Bernadette Hyland, Lipstick socialist

'Gregor Gall's biography does justice to Crow - the socialist, leader and fighter. He was a complicated figure and some of that complexity comes over in the book.'
Paul Salveson, Tribune - April 2107

'There's a great exploration of the structures that Crow inherited, the limitations they placed on him and what he did to change the situation, thereby encouraging the development of the RMT on the trajectory that it became renowned for.'
Alan Crowe, Socialist Review May 2017

'The late leader of the small but politically important RMT union - a "Marxist Millwall supporter", as the papers had it, and he was both; "the most hated man in Britain", as some papers tried on, and he wasn't - is well served by an account of his career set against informed analysis of 21st-century UK trade unions' far-from-dinosaurish determination to grapple with changing workplaces, state rollback, electoral politics after Labour's Blairite takeover, gender equity and globalisation. Gall is wary of the "great man" approach, but wherever Crow's own words appear, the tale shifts from scholarly grey to vivid, quotable, charismatic and quip-filled Red Flag red - and the words "great man" look pretty spot on. '
THES 20/04/2017

'As the first book about Bob Crow published since his untimely death three years ago, Gregor Gall's political biography of Crow provides us with an opportunity to review his life and his time in the railworkers' union NUR and its successor RMT, to highlight the key reasons for his effectiveness and impact, and to examine the limits of those.'
Janine Booth, Solidarity Newspaper May 2017

'As a political analysis it is refreshing, nuanced and worthwhile.'
Conrad Landin, TLS, June 2017

Author

Gregor Gall is Professor of Industrial Relations at the University of Bradford

Contents

Introduction
1 Formative years
2 The 1990s
3 Becoming RMT general secretary
4 Second term as general secretary
5 Last term of office
6 Person and personal life
7 Politics and practice
8 Perception and practice
9 Legacy and legend
Appendix 1: Testimonies
Appendix 2: Tributes to Crow
References
Index

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