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 "The Assembly Line" by Robert Linhart 
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Post "The Assembly Line" by Robert Linhart
For Christmas i received a copy of a book i have wanted for years - 'The Assembly Line' by Robert Linhart.

this following segment is lifted from the cover of the book:


Quote:
This radical look at the inhumanity & humiliation that accompanies assembly like work has created controversial debate in France and is equally applicable to every industrial country. It also tells the story of a remarkable experiment. When the students revolted in Paris in 1968, one of the militant factions that hoped the confrontation would lead to radical change in society called itself "The Establishment". It's members believed that the failure of this mini-revolution, which the communist party boycotted, was caused by the failure of the French working class to make common cause with the students. This group, consisting of left wing middle class intellectuals, then decided to infiltrate the working class.

The Assembly Line is the personal story of Robert Linhart's entry into the Citroen factory at Choisy and what happened to him there. It is perhaps the most revealing description of work on an assembly line ever published, showing the tensions created by work conditions and the hostility of management to any change or amelioration in either the social or working conditions of its employees. The book is both a description and a warning which has excited great interest in France and has now been translated into many languages.



Although reading the above it may sound heavy, it's a completely rivetting read, for me at least. I read the book over two evenings & found it hard to put down. It's a fascinating insight into how 2cvs were produced & the appalling conditions & abuse the employees had to endure.

I'm not sure how Citroen allowed it to be published given its content - does anyone have any information on whether they tried but failed to ban publication?

The Choisy plant stood on what is now Parc Andre Citroen & is located on the left bank of the Seine.

After reading the book i googled to find out more about Linhart and whilst searching i came across this link allowing you to read the entire book online!

http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=9062070

I hope it you find it as interesting as i did.

Neil.

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December 31st, 2009, 9:56 pm
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Post Re: "The Assembly Line" by Robert Linhart
I can only read to page 21 as it wants me to pay to read more.


January 1st, 2010, 12:58 am
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Post Re: "The Assembly Line" by Robert Linhart
2cv4x4 wrote:
I can only read to page 21 as it wants me to pay to read more.


it would appear that way. I did check before i posted it earlier; i entered a few different page numbers at random & each one was legible...

There is a 'free trial' subject to their terms & conditions, the specified free trial being, one day:

Quote:
The No Risk Trial Offer gives you free access for the specified trial period. If you do not cancel by the end of the trial period, you will be charged the specified subscription fee, and the subscription will renew each period until you cancel.


Looking again the free preview pages are as follows:

Free preview pages
1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 29, 59, 85, 107, 121, 137

It's a taster, a try before you buy!

My humble apologies.

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January 1st, 2010, 1:19 am
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Post Re: "The Assembly Line" by Robert Linhart
If you're fluent in French you can buy a copy at a knock-down price:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? ... K:MEWAX:IT

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January 1st, 2010, 1:50 am
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Post Re: "The Assembly Line" by Robert Linhart
Where can I get the english one, the trail pages made me want to read some thing :shock: .


January 1st, 2010, 6:33 pm
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Post Re: "The Assembly Line" by Robert Linhart
2cv4x4 wrote:
the trail pages made me want to read some thing :shock: .


:lol:

It's quite hard to get hold of. I've not seen one yet on eBay, although they are showing up on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listin ... 81&sr=1-14

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January 1st, 2010, 6:38 pm
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Post Re: "The Assembly Line" by Robert Linhart
Yes, it's a very interesting read indeed. It's a bit sad to think that our cars of freedom and happiness came from such a terrible place though.

Oi Bastock, you've still got my copy!


January 1st, 2010, 7:17 pm
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Post Re: "The Assembly Line" by Robert Linhart
Ordered! Thanks for the link.

You can look at it like that jono, but let's face it, we all own shirts, shoes and goods in our house that were made in sweatshops, it's a sad fact of life!

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January 1st, 2010, 7:29 pm
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Post Re: "The Assembly Line" by Robert Linhart
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It's a bit sad to think that our cars of freedom and happiness came from such a terrible place though.

Yes, I've often mused on that dreadful irony... and came to the uncomfortable conclusion that to avoid this kind of thing completely one would have to go and live in the woods, make one's own clothes, forage for wood and catch one's own food etc etc. Extreme, yes, and all very well if you have the energy to do that sort of thing... but imagine if we were all to do that!! It'd be like Mad Max in no time!!

With regard to the book, apparently Citroen could do nothing to stop it from being published, but they became extremely strict about granting access to the factory after it came out. Also, the book was banned in France, according to the 2CVGB Handbook.
Furthermore, as labour costs increased and car production became cheaper with the advent of robot welding and robot assembly (which Citroen could not take advantage of for the 2CV) the company took to recruiting and employing super-cheap labour from France's African colonies to keep the costs down. By the late 70s Citroen top brass couldn't stand the 2CV (high unit costs, low margins) but it's burgeoning popularity amongst the young and counter-culturalists at that time meant that they just couldn't kill it off, so they stepped up their efforts to find ways to make the car cheaper, which arguably translated to more and more exploitative working practices!! The African employees had even fewer labour rights than the previous workers at the factory, so by all accounts the labour conditions got worse and worse... and the workers also had to put up with abuse and intolerance from the people amongst whom they had to live.
This sort of thing is still going on (particularly in openly racist Italy, where I've seen it with my own eyes)...

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January 1st, 2010, 10:07 pm
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Post Re: "The Assembly Line" by Robert Linhart
This song springs to mind.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8BRbM52gpc


January 1st, 2010, 10:11 pm
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