Trona, Bloody Trona A book review by Mike Rhodes

I have meet a lot of lawyers who work on social and economic justice issues but have never met one quite like Paul Henry Abram. I look forward to his visit to Fresno on Friday, when he will appear in a benefit for listener sponsored radio station KFCF (see details below). Abram has written an extraordinary account of his experience representing the union members in ILWU local 35 who were on strike in Trona Ca in 1970. Most lawyers are more cautious (some would say conservative) than the activists they represent, but Abram gains the trust of the workers by being as militant as they are and willing to share the risks needed to win.

In the first couple of days after Abram arrives in Trona, he describes scenes that are neither conservative or nonviolent. The subtitle of the book is “A Revolution in Microcosm.” The strike against the Kerr-McGee plant in the Mohave Desert saw the workers and their legal counsel cutting electrical power to the plant, dynamiting communications systems, and “kidnapping” scab employees. I kept thinking, as I read these accounts, that it is good the statute of limitations has expired on these remarkable actions. The kidnapping charges, which Abram claims were all a big misunderstanding, were resolved in court – you will have to read the book to see what the judge and jury decided. To read the complete review go to: Trona, Bloody Trona  A book review by Mike Rhodes

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