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Chapter 13: The Socialist Challenge
Transcript of Chapter 13: The Socialist Challenge
Industrial Workers of the World
July 13-Sept 8, 1909
W.E.B Du Bois
A great African American influence, born in Massachusetts, sent out a letter to the Negro leaders when he planned a conference which was the start of the "Niagara Movement." He was the first black to attain a Ph.D. degree from Harvard. He was known to be a huge socialist sympathizer which means that he cared for the people and their rights.
Chapter 13: The Socialist Challenge
Wall Street during Bank crisis
This event caused the increase in speed of the reform process. It was a major financial crisis for the United States that lasted two weeks around the middle of October. The New York Stock Exchange fell to half of what it was in the past year and many banks suffered runs that extended to other banks and trusts. This occurred in the time of the economic recession so the effect was even worse. The panic spread throughout the nation as people withdrew deposits from the regional banks.
The Panic of 1907
The progressive era emerged as a new type of manifesto sprouted through Herbert Croly "The Promise of American Life." It talked about how America needs discipline and how the government should be more involved like his hero Theodore Roosevelt. Teddy was a great advocate for the progressive movement. He aimed to be more conservative and get rid of trusts/monopolies that hurt more than helped. He supported the Hepburn act that dealt with railroad rates while prosecuting other railroad monopolies. Overall the progressive era were a bunch of reforms that boosted economy and social issues.
African Americans started organizing together to end the discrimination by whites. They protested against "lynching, peonage, discrimination, disfranchisement.." etc. Around the same time the National Association of Colored Women emerged, they similarly reprimanded "segregation and lynchings."
A hall in Chicago held a convention of "two hundred socialistic, anarchists, and radical trade unionists from all over the United States," this led to the creation of the I.W.W, also known as the wobblies. It was a Continental Congress of the working-class that tried to start a movement to emancipate the workers from the "slave bondage of capitalism." They also wanted to gain power of economy, their own lives, etc. without having to deal with the "masters" known as the capitalists.
American Federation of Labor
The AFL was a labor union composed of mostly white, skilled males but the population of women workers grew gradually. Soon, women were 1/5 of the labor force and one in a hundred belonged to a union. The African American workers were paid far less, and even though speeches were made about equality, they were excluded from the AFL unions claiming that it's something the south should deal with.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
The NAACP was formed by a race riot in Springfield, Illinois. They also had an all white population with the exception of Du Bois. They focused their attention on education and legal action but according to Du Bois they should actually be more insistent to get their freedom, which was the opposite of Booker T. Washington's view. What was most upsetting was that even in this period of progressives and new reforms, such as the Meat Inspection Act, Pure Drug and Food act, etc. the Africans Americans get no say and are treated with little to no respect. So, even though they couldn't count on help from the national government, they still pushed through.
Free Speech Fight
These speeches involved I.W.W and workers to try and get their voice heard. Two major ones occurred in California and San Diego. They discussed the struggles of classes, sang, and kept on going with refusal to end. One man Jack White gave a speech during his trail on the true meaning of justice. It was just a way for people, whether in jail or on the streets, to express their hardships and try to get a voice heard in this swarm of inequality.
A strike broke out in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania that involved 6,000 workers against an affiliate of the U.S. Steel Company. They were giving the state troopers a hard time and battled them. They went so far as to promise to "take a trooper's life for every worker killed." They kept at it until they were victorious.The I.W.W saw the strikes as training for the real war to come and deemed them necessary to show their strength and determination.
A president to remember, part of the Progressive party, and craved reform. Teddy Roosevelt was peoples best candidate and a sort of "parental guardianship of the people." He thought of the people along with government as a true president should and many were able to confide in him. He was big about environmentalism and stopping destructive trusts. He was also intelligent and involved in Bull Moose Party, Roosevelt corollary, panama canal, etc.
February 10-March 14, 1912
Beginning in February strikers started to expand and picket. They marched a long distance but food was scarce and the children had to suffer so they organized what became known as the children's exodus. It was basically medical exams for children so while they were attended to, the strikers could continue the fight. Soon police got involved and things got ugly until the American Woolen Company finally gave in to raise wages. Finally, on March 14, 1912, ten thousand strikers voted to end the strike.
A famous magazine depicted the local socialist women's organizations. It caused more women to be involved, leading to 15% women membership. The magazine basically taught women that were shy or unaware, how to speak up for themselves in the matter for rights. The author claims that with a year or so of practice, any women can be fit to work alongside men rather than in their shadow.
Sept 1913-April 1914
Colorado started to have very intense arguments they struggled with between workers and corporate capital. In September 1913, the Colorado coal strike happened and it led to the Ludlow Massacre of April 1914. Mostly immigrants worked in the corporation and when one of their own was murdered they went on strike against the terrible pay, dangerous work, etc. Eventually this spread into a huge issue that involved the governor and the president.
Joe Hill is an IWW organizer who wrote many songs with different tones, usually bitter towards elites. On the dreaded November he was "accused of killing a grocer in Salt Lake City, Utah, in a robbery." There was no evidence against him that he was completely guilty but there was enough to convince the jury. The case was spread across the world and the protests built up. But Joe Hill was executed by a firing squad and even with his death he told them not to mourn but, but organize.
A tragic time for the IWW in Washington as they got fired on by "two hundred armed vigilantes." Five wobblies killed , thirty-one wounded. But the other side had only two who were killed and nineteen wounded. They were all just about to board a steamer when one shot was fired, leading to many careless shooting after. They were known as a radical labor union, often bullied by the enemies. But overall they cared most about the people, especially working class.
National Afro-American Council
Industrial Workers of the World