Presentation on theme: "Teaching American History Extractive labor images."— Presentation transcript:
Teaching American History Extractive labor images
impossible dreams for marginal people Labor – the eight hour day Women – suffrage (the vote) Ex-slaves – real citizenship and autonomy (land) New Immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe– a new home
Which strategy for labor? Anarchistic Socialism (Albert Parsons, IWPA) Cooperatives (Terence Powderly, KOL) “More” (Samuel Gompers, AFL) Democratic Socialism (Eugene Debs, Socialist Party) Anarcho-Syndicalism (the IWW “Wobblies)
Socialism / Anarchism Albert and Lucy Parsons International Working People’s Association Campaigned for eight-hour day Believed in unionism Wanted to abolish private ownership “Study and Rifle Clubs” The “new science of dynamite”
Just to shake things up let's talk about Albert Parsons Starts out as Confederate soldier Switches to being a Radical Republican Calls Republicans "the first labor party I joined"
Life takes a bite out of A.R. Parsons Marries Lucy Parsons (mixed Indian – Mexican – African American heritage) Joins the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 railroad strike, demands the eight-hour day Sees that (federal) violence decides the strike Like the violence of the Klan in Texas (this makes a big impression)
Parsons joins everything! Becomes Washington lobbyist for craft unions Joins the Knights of Labor (tries to organize everybody) Joins the International Working Peoples Association Starts "Study and Rifle Clubs" to protect demands for the eight-hour day Vows to defend all strikers
Protest rally against police violence Protest rally against police violence draws about 1000 people Late in the rally, about 200 protesters remain Police wait until governor leaves, then begin to beat up the crowd
A bomb mysteriously explodes near the police lines No one claimed to have thrown the bomb Eight immigrants are arrested Albert Parsons escaped but turns himself in (he's the only non-immigrant arrested) No evidence linking any of them to the bomb Leslie's Illustrated Magazine, 15 May 1886.
The Haymarket trials Albert Parsons and four others are hung Another defendant kills himself in jail Three others sentenced to long prison terms (later pardoned)
The (temporary) end of labor solidarity Knights of Labor refuse to support the "Haymarket Martyrs" American Federation of Labor does (sort of) Labor's dreams are crushed, and union membership declines for several decades
The beginnings of the KOL Uriah Stephens and nine tailors At first, a secret organization (after Masons) Problems with Irish workers Terence Powderly hired in 1881; drops secrecy Changed from a craft union to an industrial union (skilled and unskilled) Equal pay for women and African Americans Grew to 700,000 members by 1886 Included 95,000 African Americans Not all-inclusive: against Chinese workers
Knights of Labor program Eight-hour day No more child labor No more convict labor Progressive income tax Equal pay for equal work Government ownership of railroads and telegraphs Public lands for settlers, not speculators Cooperatives to replace wage labor
Cooperatives Terence Powderly and the Knights of Labor Workers would own their own factories collectively Factories would still compete Not socialism (government would not own the factories)
Knights of Labor – initial victories At first, KOL opposed strikes New members radicalized the union Won the Union Pacific Strike of 1884 Won the Wabash Railroad Strike of 1885 Won Missouri Pacific Strike of 1886 (Jay Gould)
Jay Gould beats the KOL, 1886 Texas Pacific (Great Southwest) Railroad strike “Give ‘em a rifle diet.” “I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.” KOL membership drops KOL loses credibility with rank and file when Powderly refuses to support the Haymarket martyrs
The American Federation of Labor Craft union – skilled workers only Most of these have served a seven year apprenticeship Many jobs require a license As a result, the union is largely white and male (women and people of color need not apply) Most conservative of the labor unions
American Federation of Labor (AFL) Samuel Gompers Accepted capitalism What does labor want? "More.“ Wanted shorter hours, higher wages, better working conditions Change will come through collective bargaining
American Socialist Party Eugene Debs Ex-head of American Railway Union; led 1894 Pullman Strike (smashed by federal troops) Starts American Socialist Party, worked through elections Diverse membership, includes many women Wanted government ownership of big industry, vote for women, no child labor, right to strike Change will come by winning elections
Industrial Workers of the World Big Bill Haywood "The Wobblies" Industrial union, came out of Western mining strikes Especially big in Oregon and Washington Used strikes, boycotts, songs, and education Rejected political parties and elections Change will come through a national strike and the workers will take over
IWW founding convention Chicago 1905 Big Bill Haywood Eugene Debs Mother Jones Lucy Parsons (widow of Haymarket martyr Albert Parsons)
Principal areas of strength the lumber camps of the Northwest dock workers in port cities in the wheat fields of the central states textiles mining areas.
Most important IWW-led strikes Goldfield, Nevada (miners, 1906–7) Lawrence, Massachusetts (textile workers, 1912) Paterson, N.J. (silk workers, 1913) Mesabi range, Minnesota (iron miners, 1916) the lumber camps of the Northwest (1917) The Seattle General Strike (1919) Colorado miners (1927–28)
Joe Hill of the IWW (Wobblies) Swedish immigrant (born Hillstrom) IWW songwriter Framed for murder and executed "Don't mourn – organize!"
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn of the IWW the original Wobbly "Rebel Girl" Joined the Wobblies at age 16 Great public speaker Helped to organize the 1912 Lawrence, Mass. "Bread and Roses" strike A founder of the American Civil Liberties Union
Against capitalism Revolutionary union “One big union” Workers should own industries Work toward a national general strike What the Wobblies wanted