The KKK should be understood not just as a white supremacist organization, but as an employers’ organization: it violently resisted the revolutionary gains of the Civil War and Reconstruction, and sought to keep the black masses toiling in submission.
Chad Pearson is a professor of history at Collin College. He is finishing a book entitled Capital's Terrorists: Klansmen, Lawmen, and Employers in the Long Nineteenth Century, forthcoming from the University of North Carolina Press.
The far-right violence that Donald Trump has stoked has deep roots in US history. Kicking him from office won’t change that — but it would deal a blow to right-wing vigilantism.
Why are unions so weak in the US? Because for well over a century, employers have used every tactic in the book to crush them.
Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine’s forebears aren’t the New Deal’s labor liberals. They’re the Progressive Era’s anti-union reformers.