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Goeke, Simon (2014): The Multinational Working Class? Political Activism and Labour Migration in West Germany During the 1960s and 1970s. In: Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 49, No. 1: pp. 160-182


This article looks at the migration policy of the trade unions as well as the political activism of migrants in West Germany during the 1960s and 1970s. It argues that migrants’ political activities have been rather neglected in historiography, because the research has followed the governmental view on migration which has led to an unnecessarily rigid analysis of migrants’ individual motivations to emigrate and ignored their demands. Through several instances of migrant protest and self-organization, the article emphasizes the importance of migrants’ political activism for the social history of the Federal Republic. Ultimately the idea of integration in historiography is discarded as a discourse that covers the migrants’ precise demands for equal rights.