"The most extraordinary phenomenon of the present time," wrote The Nation in October, 1919,
"the most incalculable in its after effects, the most menacing in its threat of immediate consequences, and the most alluring in its possibilities of ultimate good, is the unprecedented revolt of the rank and file.
"It is a world-wide movement much accelerated by the war. In Russia it has dethroned the Czar and for two years maintained Lenin in his stead. In Korea and India and Egypt and Ireland it keeps up an unyielding resistance to political tyranny. In England it brought about the railway strike, against the judgement of the men's own executives. In Seattle and San Francisco it has resulted in the stevedores' recent refusal to handle arms or supplies destined for the overthrow of the Soviet Government. In one district of Illinois it manifested itself in a resolution of striking miners, unanimously requesting their State executive 'to go to Hell.' In Pittsburgh, according to Mr. Gompers, it compelled the reluctant American Federation officers to call the steel strike, lest the control pass into the hands of the I.W.W.'s and other 'radicals.' In New York it brought about the longshoremen's strike and kept the men out in defiance of union officials, and caused the upheaval in the printing trade, which the international officers, even though the employers worked hand in glove with them, were completely unable to control.
"The common man, forgetting the old sanctions, and losing faith in the old leadership, has experienced a new access of self-confidence, or at least a new recklessness, a readiness to take chances on his own account. In consequence, as is by this time clear to discerning men, authority cannot any longer be imposed from above; it comes automatically from below."1
It was this revolt which formed the underpinning for the mass strike of 1919.
In the quarter century following the Pullman strike, American capitalism had changed profoundly. Such basic industries as steel and coal grew phenomenally, rivalling the railroads in size and economic importance. These basic industries developed an organized and controlled market, dominated by one or a few firms. The United States became a world power engaged in war with Spain in 1898 and with the European Triple Entente in 1917, and was shaken by the world crisis of 1919.
The trade unions had succeeded in expanding around the margins of this growth, while failing to organize more than a small minority of American workers. The American Federation of Labor remained a collection of highly exclusive unions of skilled craftsmen, scornful of the unskilled and semi-skilled majority. Its avowed objective was to gain concessions for workers while preserving the harmony of employers and employees. It was safe, sane, and conservative, and as hostile to industrial unionism and the mass strike process as it had been in the days of the Pullman strike. As we shall see again and again, the A.F.L. unions were far more interested in preserving their own organizations than in responding to the needs of workers. In the vacuum left by the A.F.L. grew up the radical Industrial Workers of the World. The "Wobblies" advocated "industrial unionism" - organizing all workers in an industry into one union - in contrast to the "craft unionism" of the A.F.L. It organized the most depressed and unskilled, such as the migrant laborers of the West and the textile mill workers of the East. The I.W.W. proclaimed workers' ownership of industry its objective, and saw every strike as a preparation for revolution. It was in many ways more of a social movement than a normal union, for though it was involved in many dramatic strikes, it generally scorned negotiating a continuing relationship with the employers. The Wobblies were brutally repressed by legal and illegal means during World War I, and by 1919 had ceased to be a significant force.
During World War I, the American economy was changed overnight to a system of state-coordinated planning and management. Government boards set prices and production levels; the railroads were placed under direct government management. With immigration cut off and an overwhelming need for production, labor was suddenly placed in a uniquely powerful position. No longer could employers tolerate strikes for a few weeks or months, then easily hire strikebreakers from a steady supply of unemployed.
Now strikes would halt critical war production and no unemployed workers were available as strikebreakers. As Alexander Bing, a wartime labor mediator and author of War-time Strikes and Their Adjustment, wrote:
The workers could, had they seen fit to do so, have taken advantage of the scarcity of labor and the enormous need for commodities, which the war produced, and have demanded radical changes in industry, and it is very difficult to see how such demands could have been successfully resisted.2
In this situation, business and government developed a new approach to trade unionism. Before World War I, employers, with some exceptions, had fought the establishment of trade unions, keeping workers under control by dealing with each one individually. Labor's new power made this strategy no longer serviceable.
Consequently, employers and government turned to the unions to exercise such control. In effect, this policy took the form of a deal, in which the A.F.L. agreed to oppose strikes, in return for which it was guaranteed the right to organize, wherever the government had jurisdiction, without having its members fired.. As a result, union membership increased by about two million during the war.3
Both the A.F.L. and the war employers agreed that wages were to be set, for the duration of the war, by boards composed of business, labor, and government.
Despite this deal, two factors pushed the workers on to action.
First, the war was financed in large part by an enormous inflation; the cost of living practically doubled from August, 1915, to the end of 1919.4 Second, as Bing recalled, "the urgent need for production . . . gave the workers a realization of a strength which before they had neither realized nor possessed."5
Despite the appeals of patriotism and the opposition of government, business and the A.F.L., strikes mushroomed during the war. The war years 1916-1918 averaged 2.4 times as many workers on strike as 1915.6 Big strikes practically stopped spruce lumber production and closed down the most important copper areas early in the war. In Bridgeport, Connecticut, the most important munitions center in the U.S., workers stopped production in defiance of the orders of both the National War Labor Board and their own national union leaders.
As usual, a growing spirit of solidarity developed along with increasing militance. For example, shipyard workers on the Pacific Coast tied up the yards for several months in sympathy with the lumber strikers in the Northwest, refusing to handle "ten-hour lumber." Four general strikes developed in different regions of the country. In Springfield, Illinois, a parade in support of striking streetcar workers was stopped by police; 10,000 union workers, especially miners, joined a general strike in protest. In Kansas City, Missouri, when laundry workers and drivers struck, a general strike developed in sympathy and lasted a week until the National Guard was called up to break it. At Waco, Texas, a general strike was called in support of streetcar men who had been locked out. And at Billings, Montana, icemen, city employees, gasmen, creamery workers, truck drivers, and others struck in sympathy with locked-out building trade mechanics.7
As World War I drew to a close, several additional factors shaped the climate of industrial conflict. The enormous patriotic sentiment generated by the war was deliberately and skillfully manipulated into an hysterical fear and hatred of the growing power of labor. Employers mobilized this sentiment in their efforts to roll back the powers gained by trade unionism during the war. The workers on the other hand had been made great promises of a "new era" by the huge war propaganda, and now were eager to receive that for which they felt they had fought.
In the background of everyone's mind was the Russian revolution and the wave of revolt sweeping the whole world in the wake of the incredible suffering, destruction, and disorganization resulting from the war. Perhaps the most accurate characterization of the attitudes of American workers toward Soviet Russia was given in a study by the Interchurch World Movement, published in 1920:
The Russian Revolution was likely a bloody business and Bolsheviks are doubtless dangerous and wild, but the Russian Government is a laboring man's government and it has not fallen down yet. Two years of newspaper reports that the Russian republic was about to fall seem to have given workingmen, even here, a sort of class pride that it hasn't fallen.8
The middle classes and the government, on the other hand, felt their familiar world was under attack from all quarters, and saw Bolshevism as a unified conspiracy of all that threatened them whether Soviet Russia or the A.F.L.
Real wages had risen considerably during the war as a result of the enormous demand for labor; with the end of the great wartime industrial expansion and the return to "normalcy," it was widely felt necessary to reduce wages if profits were to be maintained. As John Maynard Keynes once pointed out, this can be done with less resistance by inflation than by direct wage cuts. So in 1919, the government simultaneously ended wartime price controls and allowed corporations to resume their traditional union-breaking policies. Between June, 1919, and June, 1920, the cost of living index (taking 1913 as 100) rose from 177 to 216.9
Anger, hope and militance grew as in a pressure cooker. Nowhere did this radicalization go further than in Seattle. The radical I.W.W. and the A.F.L. Metal Trades Council cooperated in sponsoring a Soldiers', Sailors', and Workingmen's Council, taking the soviets of the recent Russian revolution as their model. When a socialist and former president of the Seattle A.F.L., Hulet Wells, was convicted for opposing the draft during the war and then tortured in prison, the Seattle labor movement erupted with giant street rallies. Even the more conservative members of the Seattle labor movement supported the Bolshevik revolution and opposed the U.S. intervention against it.10 In the fall of 1919, the Seattle longshoremen refused to load arms and munitions destined for Admiral Kolchak, leader of the counter-revolution in Siberia, and beat up the strikebreakers who tried to load them.11 Seattle union membership increased from 15,000 in 1915 to 60,000 by the end of 1918 - more than the total number of industrial workers.12 The Seattle trade unions were formally affiliated with the A.F.L., but their ideas and action differed greatly from A.F.L. policy. As Harry Ault, editor of the union-owned Seattle Union Record, and a moderate in the local labor movement, put it:
I believe that 95 percent of us agree that the workers should control the industries. Nearly all of us agree on that but very strenuously disagree on the method. Some of us think we can get control through the Cooperative movement, some of us think through political action, and others think through industrial action. . . .13
Pamphlets on the Russian revolution circulated by the scores of thousands. A Seattle labor journalist later recalled-
For some time these little pamphlets were seen by hundreds on Seattle's streetcars and ferries, read by men of the shipyards on their way to work. Seattle's business men commented on the phenomenon sourly; it was plain to everyone that these workers were conscientiously and energetically studying how to organize their coming power.
Already, workers in Seattle talked about "workers' power" as a practical policy for the not far distant future. Boilermakers, machinists and other metal trades unions alluded to shipyards as enterprises which they might soon take over, and run better than their present owners ran them. These allusions gave life to union meetings. . . .14
The militant spirit and trade union growth centered among the 35,000 workers in the shipyards, an industry built with Federal funds and virtually created by the war, in which the Emergency Fleet Corporation of the United States government was the ultimate employer. Less than two weeks after the Armistice, the shipyard unions voted to authorize a strike. The unions proposed a pay scale that would raise wages for lower-paid workers and not for the skilled; the yard-owners in turn tried to split off the skilled workers by offering them alone a wage increase. The skilled workers refused the bribe and on January 21st, 1919,35,000 shipyard workers struck.15 Unexpectedly, Charles Piez, representing the U.S. government as head of the Emergency Fleet Corporation, telegrammed the yard owners to resist any wage increase, threatening otherwise to withdraw their contracts. "Through the 'mistake' of a messenger boy," a reporter later recalled, "one of these telegrams was delivered not to the Metal Trades Association [the employers], but to the Metal Trades Council [the workers]. The anger of the shipyard workers was thus directed against Washington."16
Faced by a government and employer determination to starve them out, the shipyard workers appealed to the Seattle Central Labor Council for a general strike. The best-known local progressive and radical leaders were in Chicago at a special conference to organize a national general strike to free Tom Mooney. (Mooney was an A.F.L. official in San Francisco who had been convicted of throwing a bomb into a 1916 preparedness parade, despite the evidence of a photograph of him standing by a clock a mile away from the scene at exactly the time the bomb was thrown.) According to one of the leaders, Anna Louise Strong, the general strike in Seattle would probably not have occurred had they been in town. "They were terrified when they heard that a general strike had been voted. . . . It might easily smash something - us, perhaps, our well-organized labor movement."17
At a tumultuous session of the Central Labor Council, the shipyard unions' resolution that local unions poll their members on a general strike passed with virtually no opposition. The threat of a general strike was not taken seriously except by the workers themselves; as the Seattle Times wrote,
A general strike directed at WHAT?
The Government of the United States? Bosh!
Not 15% of Seattle laborites would consider such a proposition.18
Yet within a day eight local unions endorsed the strike at their regular meetings - most of the votes nearly unanimous. Within two weeks 110 locals had voted for the strike, even some of the more conservative doing so by margins of five and ten to one.
In joining the strike, the workers knew that they were risking more than a few days' pay. First, they risked punishment from their own internationals; and second, the loss of established contracts with their employers. For example, the Longshoremen's Union imperiled (and eventually lost) a closed-shop agreement for the Seattle waterfront, and the president of the International Longshoremen's Association wired the local that he would rescind its charter if it took part in the general strike.
The Central Labor Council agreed that the strike be run by a General Strike Committee of three members from each striking local, elected by the rank and file. The 300 members of the committee - mostly not officials but rank-and-filers with little previous leadership experience-started meeting four days before the strike; they and their fifteen-man executive committee were in daily session throughout the strike, forming virtually a counter-government for the city.
A study of the strike issued later by the General Strike Committee pointed out that:
A general strike was seen, almost at once, to differ profoundly from any of the particular strikes with which the workers of Seattle were familiar. . . . If life was not to be made unbearable for the strikers themselves, problems of management, of selection and exemption, had to take the place of the much simpler problem of keeping everyone out of work.19
Shipyard workers in Seattle in 1919 found themselves locked out by order of the U.S. government. Other Seattle workers felt this was the start of an attack on them as well. It was this sentiment that made them willing and eager to turn to the tactic of a general strike.
Workers in various trades organized themselves to provide essential services with the approval of subcommittees of the executive committee, which granted them exemptions from the strike.
Garbage wagon drivers agreed to collect wet garbage that would create a health hazard, but not paper and ashes. Firemen agreed to stay on the job. The laundry drivers and laundry workers developed a plan to keep one shop open to handle hospital laundry; before the strike they instructed the employers to accept no more laundry, then worked a few hours after the strike deadline to finish clothes in process so they would not mildew. Vehicles authorized to operate bore signs reading, "Exempted by the General Strike Committee."20
Employers and government officials as well as strikers came before the Strike Committee to request exemptions. According to one correspondent,
The extent to which the city recognized the actual rather than the titular government of the community is apparent enough to anyone who reads the carefully kept records of the strike committee, and observes what was actually done. Before the committee, which would seem to have been in well-nigh continuous session day and night, appeared a long succession of businessmen, city officials, and the Mayor himself, not to threaten or bully, but to discuss the situation and ask the approval of the committee for this or that step.21
Here are a few examples from the minutes:
"King county commissioners ask for exemption of janitors to care for City-County building. Not granted.
"F.A. Rust asks for janitors for Labor Temple. Not granted.
"Teamsters' Union asks permission to carry oil for Swedish Hospital during strike. Referred to transportation committee. Approved.
"Port of Seattle asks to be allowed men to load a government vessel, pointing out that no private profit is involved and that an emergency exists. Granted.
"The retail drug clerks sent in a statement of the health needs of the city. Referred to public welfare committee, which recommends that prescription counters only be left open, and that in front of every drug store which is thus allowed to open a sign be placed with the words, 'No goods sold during general strike. Orders for prescriptions only will be filled. Signed by general strike committee.'
"Communication from House of Good Shepherd. Permission granted by transportation committee to haul food and provisions only."
This is by no means all the business that came before the Committee of Fifteen in a single afternoon. An appointment of a committee of relief to look after destitute homes, the creation of a publicity bureau, an order that watchmen stay on the job until further notice.22
In some cases, workers improvised large-scale operations from scratch. For instance, the milk wagon drivers initially proposed to their employers that certain dairies remain open, but when the employers refused to open them except downtown, and attempted to take direction of the plan, the drivers decided to organize their own distribution system instead. They set up thirty-five neighborhood milk stations, purchased milk from small dairymen near the city, and distributed it throughout the city. Even more impressive was the commissary department, which served 30,000 meals a day to the strikers and community. The cooks, waiters and other provision trade workers purchased the food, located restaurant kitchens, and arranged to transport the cooked food to twenty-one eating places in halls throughout the city. This huge operation was running smoothly by the second day of the strike.
Two days before the strike the Union Record asked union members who had served in the armed forces to come to a meeting to discuss "important strike work."23 From this group was organized a "Labor War Veteran's Guard," designed to keep peace on the streets. Its principle was scrawled on the blackboard at one of its headquarters:
The purpose of this organization is to preserve law and order without the use of force. No volunteer will have any police power or be allowed to carry weapons of any sort, but to use persuasion only.24
On the eve of the general strike, an editorial in the Union Record tried to define the strike's significance:
On Thursday at 10 A.M.- There will be many cheering, and there will be some who fear.
Both these emotions are useful, but not too much of either.
We are undertaking the most tremendous move ever made by LABOR in this country, a move which will lead-NO ONE KNOWS WHERE!
We do not need hysteria.
We need the iron march of labor.
LABOR WILL FEED THE PEOPLE.
Twelve great kitchens have been offered, and from them food will be distributed by the provision trades at low cost to all.
LABOR WILL CARE FOR THE BABIES AND THE SICK.
The milk-wagon drives and the laundry drivers are arranging plans for supplying milk to babies, invalids and hospitals and taking care of the cleaning of linen for hospitals.
LABOR WILL PRESERVE ORDER.
The strike committee is arranging for guards and it is expected that the stopping of the cars will keep people at home.
A few hot-headed enthusiasts have complained that strikers only should be fed, and the general public left to endure severe discomfort. Aside from the inhumanitarian character of such suggestions, let them get this straight-
NOT THE WITHDRAWAL OF LABOR POWER, BUT THE POWER OF THE STRIKERS TO MANAGE WILL WIN THIS STRIKE.
What does Mr. Piez of the Shipping Board care about the closing down of Seattle's shipyards, or even of all the industries of the northwest? Will it not merely strengthen the yards at Hog Island, in which he is more interested?
When the shipyard owners of Seattle were on the point of agreeing with the workers, it was Mr. Piez who wired them that, if they so agreed - HE WOULD NOT LET THEM HAVE STEEL.
Whether this is camouflage we have no means of knowing. But we do know that the great eastern combinations of capitalists COULD AFFORD to offer privately to Mr. Skinner, Mr. Ames and Mr. Duthie a few millions apiece in eastern shipyard stock, RATHER THAN LET THE WORKERS WIN.
The closing down of Seattle's industries, as a MERE SHUTDOWN, will not affect these eastern gentlemen much. They could let the whole northwest go to pieces, as far as money alone is concerned.
BUT, the closing down of the capitalistically controlled industries of Seattle, while the WORKERS ORGANIZE to feed the people, to care for the babies and the sick, to preserve order- THIS will move them, for this looks too much like the taking over of POWER by the workers. Labor will not only SHUT DOWN the industries, but Labor will REOPEN, under the management of the appropriate trades, such activities which are needed to preserve public health and public peace. If the strike continues, Labor may feel led to avoid public suffering by reopening more and more activities, UNDER ITS OWN MANAGEMENT.
And that is why we say that we are starting on a road that leads- NO ONE KNOWS WHERE25
Mayor Ole Hanson of Seattle described the start of the strike on February 6th, 1919: "Streetcar gongs ceased their clamor; newsboys cast their unsold papers into the street; from the doors of mill III and factory, store and workshop, streamed 65,000 workingmen. School children with fear in their hearts hurried homeward. The life stream of a great city stopped."26 The A.F.L. strikers were joined by the I.W.W., the separately organized Japanese workers, and perhaps 40,000 non-union workers who did not go to work because of sympathy, fear, closed enterprises, or lack of transportation.27 During the strike there was not a single arrest connected with it, general police court arrests sunk to less than half of normal, and according to Major General Morrison, in charge of U.S. troops in the city, in forty years of military experience he had not seen a city so quiet and orderly.28
The peacefulness of the strike did not prevent middle-class Seattle from seeing it as an attempted revolution. As Mayor Hanson put it,
The so-called sympathetic Seattle strike was an attempted revolution. That there was no violence does not alter the fact. . . . The intent, openly and covertly announced, was for the overthrow of the industrial system; here first, then everywhere. . . . True, there were no flashing guns, no bombs, no killings. Revolution, I repeat, doesn't need violence. The general strike, as practiced in Seattle, is of itself the weapon of revolution, all the more dangerous because quiet. To succeed, it must suspend everything; stop the entire life stream of a community. . . . That is to say, it puts the government out of operation. And that is all there is to revolt - no matter how achieved.29
Local radicals thought revolution would take more; a widely circulated leaflet, often seized on as proof of the strike's revolutionary intent, read:
The Russians have shown you the way out. What are you going to do about it? You are doomed to wage slavery till you die unless you wake up, realize that you and the boss have not one thing in common, that the employing class must be overthrown, and that you, the workers, must take over the control of your jobs, and through them, the control of your lives instead of offering yourself up to the masters as a sacrifice six days a week, so that they may coin profits out of your sweat and toil.30
Feeling the available National Guard inadequate for the situation, the State Attorney General, acting for the Governor, telephoned Secretary of War Newton Baker for Federal troops; by Fri- day, February 7th, 950 sailors and marines were brought into the city and carefully placed at strategic points. The Mayor, dramatically portraying himself as the city's savior from Bolshevism, added 600 extra men to the police force and swore in 2,400 special deputies, many of them University of Washington students. By February 7th, Mayor Hanson felt he had the necessary forces to issue an ultimatum:
To the Strike Committee:
I hereby notify you that unless the sympathy strike is called off by 8 o'clock tomorrow morning, Saturday, February 8, 1919, I will take advantage of the protection offered this city by the national government and operate all the essential enterprises.
Ole Hanson, Mayor31
The limitations of a general strike now became apparent. The point had come where either the strikers had to try to make permanent the power they had taken over the organized life of the city-an act of revolution which would have meant an immediate military confrontation - or capitulate.
Whether to end the strike thus became the key issue. According to Anna Louise Strong,
. . . as soon as any worker was made a leader he wanted to end that strike. A score of times in those five days I saw it happen. Workers in the ranks felt the thrill of massed power which they trusted their leaders to carry to victory. But as soon as one of these workers was put on a responsible committee, he also wished to stop "before there is riot and blood."32
This situation was dramatized when the Executive Committee voted thirteen to one to recommend on Saturday, February 8th, to end the strike that night. The 300 members of the General Strike Committee were almost persuaded until they took a supper break and talked with members of their own rank and file; they returned to the meeting and voted overwhelmingly to continue the strike.
The heaviest pressures to end the strike now came from the international officials of the A.F.L. unions. Telegrams ordering local unions to desert the strike poured into the Labor Temple. So did international officers, arriving from long distances to try to force their members back to work. These efforts began to take their toll. The streetcar men were ordered back to work by their executive committee under pressure from an international official, but said they would rejoin the strike if called by the General Strike Committee; the Teamsters likewise were ordered back by an international officer, but the rank and file called another meeting at which it was expected they would vote to rejoin the strike; the stereotypers returned "under severe pressure from their international officers"33 and a false rumor that the strike had been called off. With these breaks appearing and the power of the opposition growing ever stronger, the General Strike Committee finally voted to end the strike Tuesday at noon. The strike was ended, as the General Strike Committee's history stated, by
Pressure from international officers of unions, from executive committees of unions, from the "leaders" in the labor movement, even from those very leaders who are still called "Bolsheviki" by the undiscriminating press. And. . . the pressure upon the workers themselves, not of the loss of their own jobs, but of living in a city so tightly closed.34
The immediate effect of the strike was inconclusive. The shipyard strike went on; the attack on unionism swelled in Seattle as elsewhere; the Socialist Party headquarters, a labor printing plant, and the I.W.W. hall were raided and thirty-nine "Wobblies" - l.W.W. members - arrested as "ringleaders of anarchy,"35 Although they played little role in the general strike.
Perhaps the greatest effect of the strike was to suddenly bring American labor struggles into the context of the revolutionary conflicts sweeping the world in the wake of the war. The Union Record, for example, noted after the strike its similarity to the workers' government just arising in Belfast:
They are singularly alike in nature. Quiet mass action, the tying up of industry, the granting of exemptions, until gradually the main activities of the city are being handled by the strike committee.
Apparently in all cases there is the same singular lack of violence which we noticed here. The violence comes, not with the shifting of power, but when the "counter revolutionaries" try to regain the power which inevitably and almost without their knowing it passed from their grasp. Violence would have come in Seattle, if it had come, not from the workers, but from attempts by armed opponents of the strike to break down the authority of the strike committee over its own members.
. . . Our experience, meantime, will help us understand the way in which events are occurring in other communities all over the world, where a general strike, not being called off, slips gradually into the direction of more and more affairs by the strike committee, until the business group feeling their old prestige slipping, turns suddenly to violence, and there comes the test of force.36
Soon after the Armistice an eight-hour movement swept the New England textile districts. The United Textile Workers, whose members were mostly skilled, decided to ask for an eight-hour day and the employers generally agreed to it - with a corresponding reduction in pay. This was hardly satisfactory, however, to the unskilled majority of workers - mostly immigrants - who were not represented by the union and whose wages would have been reduced to intolerable levels by the agreement. In Lawrence, Massachusetts, they decided to strike for the shorter work week with no reduction in pay. The union refused to sanction the strike and ordered its members back to work. Nonetheless, the strike spread through New Bedford and Fall River, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Patterson, New Jersey, and other textile centers of New England and New Jersey. In all, 120,000 workers were out.37
In Lawrence, the strike was directed by a general strike committee of 100 composed of striking mill workers and a few others who met every morning to receive reports and make policies. Investigator John Fitch described them:
They are delegates from the different nationalities and as they report each morning you seem to be listening to a roll call of the nations. Russians are there and Italians, Poles, Lithuanians, Greeks, Ukranians, Syrians, Franco-Belgians, Finns and even Germans. Each nationality meets by itself in its own hall and every morning its delegates report to the strike committee.38
A local carpenter, "an extreme Socialist," was made chairman of the committee, and a radical minister, A.J. Muste, played an important part in leading the strike. He told the strikers "that they ought to learn everything they can about the business of making cloth so that they may have the knowledge and skill necessary when the time comes for them to operate the mills for themselves."39
The strikers organized their own relief operation. Fitch describes a meeting where a committee was considering the problems of milk distribution:
Arrangements had been made with a dairyman. to supply milk in quantities at central points for the children of strikers' families. Depots were being established where the people of each nationality or group of nationalities could go for their supply. It was a business arrangement requiring cooperative effort . . . some of the delegates struggling with their English...40
The strike was met with opposition from the United Textile Workers and the Lawrence Central Labor Council, fear of Bolshevism from the middle classes, and repeated brutality from the police, but after ten weeks it gained its demands. As Fitch concluded, it "is a strike for wages carried on in a revolutionary atmosphere. That is, there are serious questionings of the justice of the existing economic order. In addition to that there is a feeling on the part of the strikers that the government is against them . . . to many of them American government is personified by the Lawrence police."41
The strike spread to Patterson with a somewhat different pattern. There, 30,000 silkworkers tried to cut the work week for themselves by arriving at work at eight o'clock instead of seven. When they arrived, they found themselves locked out. They organized on a factory-by-factory basis, with daily meetings of the delegates from more than 100 factories. The strike spread from Patterson to 10,000 unorganized wool-workers in Passaic, New Jersey. For most of the strikers the movement was victorious.
The strike wave reached categories of workers often considered the model of labor docility. On April 15th, for example, the telephone operators throughout New England walked off their jobs in a strike against the Federal government, which still retained wartime control over the telephone companies. Unionization was primarily centered in Boston, but the strike spread to dozens of unorganized cities and towns. "I do not believe," wrote one observer, "that an industrial issue has ever before penetrated every village, hamlet or town of New England as has this strike of telephone girls."42 The second day of the strike, 12,000 "inside men" of the telephone company struck in support of the operators. The next day the Postmaster General- in charge of the companies -capitulated and came to a settlement with the operators.43
In Boston the local policemen's organization, known as the Boston Social Club, decided to affiliate with the A.F.L. When nineteen of their leaders were fired by the Police Commissioner, the club members voted 1,134-2 to strike. The Central Labor Union ordered. affiliated unions to vote on a general strike in support of the policemen. The president of Harvard offered 1,000 students to replace the police, and many volunteers offered their services, but city officials preferred to let various minor disorders develop unopposed - looting of stores, stoning of trolley cars, and dice-playing on Boston Common. The result was a huge public uproar over riot and revolution in Boston. "Lenin and Trotsky are on their way," stated the Wall Street Journal.44 On the second day the State Guard occupied the city, then patrolled the streets for the next three months. The entire police force was fired and a new one gradually recruited. Against such pressures the strike was clearly doomed, and the C.L.U. decided that "the time is not now opportune for the ordering of a general strike."45 The main effect of the strike was to greatly increase fear of threats to "law and order" by showing that even the minions of law and order themselves were workers not immune to the spreading spirit of revolt.46
The strike wave was visible not only on a national but also on a city-by-city basis. On February 1st, 1919, for instance, a magazine reported:
In a small way New York City has lately been through a general labor crisis. To unemployment, daily growing more acute, have been added strikes following one another in rapid succession. The Amalgamated Clothing Workers, after several months of struggle, have won a substantial victory, the chief element of which was the achievement of a 44-hour week.
The hotel workers are still on strike and 8,000 furriers have voted to go out if their demands are not granted. The harbor workers are awaiting the findings of the War Labor Board. . . comfortable. . . that at a day's notice they can tie up the whole vast traffic of New York harbor. The New York firemen. . . are backing with all their force a Socialist resolution in the Board of Aldermen requesting the establishment of a three-platoon system in the New York Fire Department. . . . Whether the firemen will strike, as they did in Cleveland, to win an eight-hour day, will probably depend upon the action of the city and the State. The most immediate and crucial sympton of the general labor unrest is the strike of some 35,000 ladies' garment workers for a 44-hour week, a 15 percent increase in wages, and 'permission to a representative of the union to visit the shops once a month in order to ascertain whether the standards established by the protocol [contract] are observed.' The deeper issue appears to be the future maintenance of the protocol. This treaty of industrial peace has in many respects proved galling to both sides. By cutting off the power of general and shop strikes it has tied the workers' hands; by depriving the employers of the right of arbitrary discharge it has interfered in a peculiarly irritating way with the direction of business.47
Another magazine reported in August that "in New York City a great variety of strikes is in progress. Cigarmakers, shirtmakers, carpenters, bakers, teamsters and barbers are out in large numbers.
The most depressed trades are catching the strike infection, witness the walkout last week of women workers on feathers and artificial flowers, who want a forty-four-hour week and the abolition of home work. Even the scrubwomen employed in a downtown building struck and put strikebreakers to rout with their mop handles."48
Another article described the "Epidemic of Strikes in Chicago." "More strikes and lockouts accompany the mid-summer heat than were ever known before at anyone time. . . In rapid succession the 1,700 street sweepers, the 800 garbage collectors, drivers and workers at the reduction plant, the 900 bridge laborers, the 800 City Hall clerks and over 300 fire department engineers, with groups of workers in other departments, in all nearly 5,000 public employees, actually quit their jobs."49 Another strike occurred at the Corn Products Refining Company in Argo, a suburb of Chicago. "The attempt to operate the works led to an uprising of the cosmopolitan population, which resulted in bloodshed and a great popular demonstration at the funeral of the men who were killed, in which many returned soldiers in uniform participated."50 At the McCormack works of the International Harvester Company, "without any notice whatever, without presenting any grievance or making any demands, 5,000 employees ceased work, and succeeded in persuading 800 in the adjoining twine mill and 1,800 in the tractor works not to continue working."51
Similarly, "The Crane Company, where good working conditions, including profit-sharing and an annual bonus, have been widely considered to be satisfactory for many years, also met with a spectacular surprise. At the noon hour one day a procession of employees started near one of the large buildings and soon numbered thousands of workers, including those of many crafts, who marched to an adjoining grove and did not return to work."52 Sixteen thousand carpenters struck, closing down all construction, in violation of a contract running to May, 1921. And "the threat of the surface and elevated streetcar men to strike. . . has kept the public mind in keener suspense than all the other labor troubles-and with reason, because it would cause still more acute unrest and possibly much more serious and prevalent disturbance."53
But the conflict that most held the nation's attention in 1919 was the great strike in steel.
Trade unionism in the iron and steel industry, broken in the Homestead struggle of 1892 and faced with organized and violent opposition by the steel trust, remained quiescent until World War I. This did not prevent workers from striking, however, especially as labor became scarce toward the beginning of the war. "Workmen of the most docile tendencies have been making demands. . . insignificant little rebellions verging on strikes here and there," reported an investigator.54 In early 1916 an explosion came in Youngstown. Laborers struck for a twenty-five percent increase at a Republic tube plant; the strike spread spontaneously to other steel plants in the town. On January 7th, East Youngstown laborers gathered near a plant. As they pressed forward, a guard fired on them, the strikers replied with bricks, and the guards opened general fire. Enraged, the crowds marched through the streets and burned property worth one million dollars. The National Guard was rushed in to suppress the movement. Twenty strikers were wounded, three fatally.55
A similar strike broke out four months later in the Pittsburgh district, heart of the steel industry. Workers at Westinghouse in East Pittsburgh struck in late April. They started marching from plant to plant spreading the strike, and steelworkers at points throughout the district began joining in. At the second march to the Edgar Thompson Works in Braddock the company guards opened fire, killing two. The crowd's response, as at Youngstown, was fury. According to a local paper, they "charged plant after plant, and many of the places were wrecked." Some mills shut down to avoid trouble, and "the whole Pittsburgh district was threatened with industrial paralysis," until troops were sent in, the Westinghouse strike leaders arrested, and the strike suppressed.56
Frank Morrison, Secretary of the A.F.L., visited Pittsburgh during this strike, but left in despair, considering the situation "too turbulent to be exploited by the A.F.L."57 Nonetheless, the A.F.L. was interested in taking advantage of wartime conditions to expand its membership in the steel industry, and in August, 1918, it established the National Committee for Organizing the Iron and Steel Workers. It was composed of twenty-four trade unions which claimed jurisdiction in the steel industry and was headed by president John Fitzpatrick of the Chicago Federation of Labor, a liberal trade unionist. Secretary-treasurer in charge of detailed work was William Z. Foster, a syndicalist who at that time believed that building the A.F.L. was all-important; later he became the leading trade union figure (and eventually chairman) of the American Communist Party. The unions, in the words of the Interchurch World Movement Report on the Steel Strike of 1919-the basic contemporary study of the strike- "had no doubt about what they wanted - more numbers for each of their separate craft organizations . . . "58 For Foster, as Theodore Draper wrote, "if only the trade unions - even A.F. of L. unions - could become big and strong enough, the revolution would take care of itself."59
Meanwhile, the mills seethed. The IW.M. Report found "that three-quarters of steel employees [the unskilled] developed a frame of mind of more or less chronic rebellion, largely the physical reaction from exhaustion and deprivation. Rebellious reactions from having no 'say' in the conduct of the job was also chronic, though less so. These were fundamental facts in steelworkers' minds, of which they were constantly reminded by endless 'grievances' . . . "60 This discontent was reflected at an individual level by high absenteeism and a phenomenal labor turnover - at Homestead, for example, 6,800 out of 11,500 workers in a year.61 Further, a new psychology had been created during the war: steelworkers were the object of intensive propaganda stressing their essential role in the "battle for democracy." They expected after the war that their importance would be recognized with some of the fruits of democracy; instead they were met by renewed discrimination and repression. Finally, the predominantly Eastern European laborers were stirred by the overthrow of autocracy in their homelands. As the I.W.M. Report concluded on the basis of extensive interviews, the immigrant workers in general possessed little radical ideology, but-
they have a vague idea that big rich people who run things "arbitrarily," even in mills, are coming down in the world. Russia, moreover, means to them the rise of workingmen to power. They have a vague idea that poor people who have been run for a long time, on farms and in mills, are coming up in the world and are beginning to run themselves.62
Under these conditions an explosion was bound to come. But the steel companies through long experience had developed powerful techniques to prevent the steelworkers from organizing themselves. The first key was the division of the labor force: thirty nationalities worked in the mills, each speaking only its own language, segregated in its own community, isolated within its own traditions and customs. Nor was this a matter of chance; the divideand-rule strategy was understood as early as 1875 by a Carnegie plant manager who wrote, "My experience has been that Germans and Irish, Swedes and what I denominate 'buckwheats' [young American country boys], judiciously mixed, make the most effective and tractable force you can find."63 The traditional leaders within these communities were powerful, conservative, and often directly dependent on the steel companies. Finally, the companies did everything possible to instill fear in the workers - fear of firing, blacklist, labor spies, informers, arrest, and deportation made steelworkers afraid even to talk to each other, let alone organize. They knew that as soon as a man started talking union he was fired.
But when the A.F.L. began holding mass meetings in September, 1918, around the steel district, far from having to persuade men to join all they had to do was pass out membership cards; 1,200 were signed up in one day in Joliet, 1,500 in South Chicago.64 By the spring of 1919, nearly 100,000 workers had signed Up.65
Conflict soon arose over the form of organization. According to the I.W.M. Report, "in many plants the instinct of the immigrant recruit was to associate with his shopmates of different 'crafts' rather than with his 'craft' mates from other shops. He fell more easily into a shop or plant union."66 The local leaders, "finding that organization by shops, departments and plants was often the most natural to their inexperienced fellow-workers. . . followed that plan even though the result was industrial unionism in miniature."67 This was heresy to the A.F.L.; "the twenty-four crafts smothered this drift,"68 And William Z. Foster "combatted the natural tendency of sections of the rank and file toward industrial unionism."69 The workers of each shop and plant were split up among the twenty-four unions.
The heart of the steel industry was the Pittsburgh district, including dozens of steel towns through western Pennsylvania. It was here that the decisive battles would be fought. But the mayors and burgesses of the Monongahela Valley met early in the campaign and decided to forbid all union meetings in their towns; as Mayor Crawford of Duquesne put it, "Jesus Christ himself could not speak in Duquesne for the A.F. of L.!"70 The free speech fight in the district began in Monessen, where the Burgess had forbidden union meetings for months. To break the ban, the local organizer called a meeting for April 1st. On the date set, 10,000 miners from the surrounding coal country marched into Monessen, uniformed veterans at their head. The right to hold meetings was thereby established in fact if not by permission, and was gradually spread by similar tactics through the rest of the district.
The basic conflict between the steelworkers and the unions became more evident the stronger the movement grew. The I.W.M. Report characterized their positions thus:
The raw recruits, particularly the immigrant workers, wanted to strike soon after they joined up, since they could conceive of both protection and "results" only in a universal walkout.
The 24 old unions willingly put money into a campaign for new members but hesitated greatly over backing a strike in behalf of the new steel locals, which might possibly jeopardize their old membership outside the steel industry.71
The rank and file was particularly impatient to strike because the new union members were being fired by the hundreds up and down the steel district. In order "to give the men who have waited so long something tangible to look forward to" and to "pacify the restless spirits," the National Committee called a conference May 25th with 583 representatives from local unions in eighty steel centers.72 They came with specific instructions from their own members. They assumed they were empowered to call a strike and tried to do so, but the Internationals' representatives quickly asserted that only they had the authority to call a strike. The result was that workers began dropping out of the unions in large numbers.
The demand for a strike continued to mount. At the National Committee's meeting July 11th it was reported that in Johnstown, Youngstown, Chicago, Vandergrift, Wheeling and elsewhere great strikes are threatening. The men are letting it be known that if we do not do something for them they will take the matter into their own hands. Where they are not threatening to strike they are taking the position that they will pay no more dues until they can see some results from their efforts.73
On July 20th the National Committee finally decided to authorize a strike vote, for they were faced with such ultimata as this telegram from the Johnstown Steel Workers Council:
Unless the National Committee authorizes a national strike vote to be taken this week we will be compelled to go on strike here alone.74
Union organizers made a series of last-ditch efforts to head off a strike. Fitzpatrick, who headed the nationwide organizing drive, believed that "if only both sides could get together around a table, it could all be straightened out," 77 but labor's appeals to Judge Gary, head of U.S. Steel and spokesman for the industry, were repeatedly rebuffed. Finally an appeal was sent to President Wilson, stating that a conference with management was the only demand. A week later union leaders wired Wilson that "it is exceedingly difficult to withhold or restrain the men. . . . We cannot now affirm how much longer we will be able to exert that influence." 78
Finally, a strike date was set for September 22nd. President Wilson requested that the strike be postponed, but a flood of telegrams like this one forced the National Committee to go ahead with the strike:
303 Magee Bldg.
We cannot be expected to meet the enraged workers, who will consider us traitors if strike is postponed.
Organizers Youngstown District 79
The extent of the strike surprised union leaders as well as management. More than 350,000 walked out, crippling most of the steel industry. Many of those who struck were not union members; as Foster had predicted, "In iron and steel, where men work together in big bunches, we can get everybody to strike even though we have only ten percent" organized. 80 The unskilled immigrants from southern and eastern Europe, who made up the great majority of the steelworkers, formed the backbone of the strike. Some of the skilled, predominantly native-born workers, long favored by the employers, joined the strike; others continued to go to work. In some places, even office workers joined the strike.
The strikers in western Pennsylvania, the heart of the industry, were met with a complete suppression of civil liberties and a reign of terror. Sheriff Haddock of Allegheny County issued a proclamation forbidding outdoor meetings anywhere in the county, and swore in 5,000 strikebreaking employees of U.S. Steel as deputies. Foster charged that the county had 50,000 deputies under arms. Indoor meetings in most steel centers were forbidden by local authorities. The isolation of the strikers, unable to meet with each other, undermined morale; investigator George Soule, comparing towns, concluded that "the absence of the right to assemble naturally had its result in the non-effectiveness of the strike. . . the effectiveness of the strike was. . . proportional to the amount of civil liberty permitted." 81
The reign of terror was equally powerful. The I.W.M. study, based on on-the-spot investigations and hundreds of affidavits, shows the strategy of the local officials.
In Monessen, where the strikers held out solidly for a long time, with the exception of the arrest of many Russians on vague charges of "radicalism," the policy of the State Police was simply to club men off the streets and drive them into their homes. Very few were arrested. In Braddock, however, where some of the mills were partly operating, the State Police did not stop at mere beating. Ordinarily, when a striker was clubbed on the street he would be taken to jail, kept there over night, and then the Squire or the Burgess would fine him from $10.00 to $60.00. In Newcastle, the Sheriff's deputies carried the Braddock policy much further. Many of those arrested in Newcastle, who had lived in the town almost all their adult lives, were charged with being "suspicious" persons and were ordered not to be released until the strike was over. Others were released in Newcastle after they furnished bail ranging from $500 to $'2,500 each. The other towns in western Pennsylvania generally followed one of the methods described above. 82
In Newcastle, Pennsylvania, the Sheriff (also Chief of Police) admitted to arresting 100 people the first week of the strike and planning to hold at least forty of them as "suspicious persons" "until the strike is over, even if we have to build a new jail to house them."83 The State Police, Foster admitted, felt free to brutalize the strikers because "they realize fully that they can depend upon trade-union leaders to hold the strikers in check from adopting measures of retaliation."84
The U.S. government, too, played its role in breaking the strike. It no longer needed labor's support for the war effort, and felt itself threatened by the revolutionary movements sweeping the world. The Department of Justice conducted "red raids" among the steelworkers, locking up and deporting immigrants, and Attorney General Palmer warned publicly that the strike threatened Bolshevism. At Gary, Indiana, the National Guard occupied the city and forbade parades, then Federal troops were sent in when the Guard proved incapable of suppressing an "outlaw parade" of uniformed ex-soldiers and other strikers organized independently of the strike leadership. The commanding general, declaring that "the army would be neutral," had strikers arrested and picket lines broken up; soldiers were sent to arrest union officers in other trades for such offenses as threatening to call a strike on a local building operation. The army continued to occupy Gary until the strike was called off.85 The strikers, who at the beginning had expected Wilson's public support for trade unionism to be shown in the steel industry, became bitter and disillusioned about the Federal government, convinced it was on the side of the companies.
The repression in Pennsylvania threatened all workers in the state, and pressures for a general strike grew as the strike continued. Already the coal miners were out on their own strike. On November 1st and 2nd, the Pennsylvania Federation of Labor held a special convention which resolved that "the Executive Council of the Pennsylvania Federation of Labor shall issue a call for a Statewide strike, when in its judgement it is necessary to compel respect for law and the restoration of liberty."86 Such a general strike, of course, went against every A.F.L. principle, and according to the I.W.M., "Mr. Foster was constantly complaining of fighting the 'radicals,' meaning those who wanted to have a general strike called."87
One critical element in the strike was the railroad workers on lines serving the steel plants; if they had struck, production would have been stopped throughout the Pittsburgh district. The railroaders' sentiment strongly supported the strike, but their national leaders did not. As one local strike leader put it, "If the railwaymen in the steel plant yards had struck, this strike would have been won. In October the railwaymen's locals near Pittsburgh voted to strike but got no assurance of support from their Brotherhoods."88 In Youngstown and other places where railroadmen did join the strike their unions not only gave them no strike benefits, but did not stop other members from taking their jobs around the mills.
The leadership of the most important union in the industry, the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers (A.A.I.S.W.) constantly undermined the campaign. In May, they tried to arrange separate negotiations with U.S. Steel, offering to help allay the "serious disturbing element in the industrial world at the present time, a great spirit of unrest that has spread over our common country."89 Had Judge Gary not turned down this offer, it would have broken the entire strike. When the strike started, workers at mills where the A.A.I.S.W. had contracts generally joined the strike, but six weeks later the union ordered them back to work, saying the contracts would be honored "at whatever cost." Lodges that refused to break the strike had their charters revoked. According to Iron Age, the order "broke the strike in every plant in the [Youngstown] district with which the Amalgamated had a contract."90 As a local strike leader described it, "When Mike Tighe [A.A.I.S.W. president] ordered back his men at that mill near Cleveland, he started an avalanche. One Amalgamated organizer got 400 men into one big union with an Amalgamated charter at a mill near Steubenville and they all struck. Mike ordered them all back and tore up that organizer's card.''91
The employers played powerfully on the divisions among the workers. Native workers were bombarded with propaganda that it was just a "hunkie" strike; immigrants were told that the Americans had already sold them out. The following written instructions to an operative of a labor detective firm hired to fight the strike gives an indication of the company tactics:
We want you to stir up as much bad feeling as you possibly can between the Serbians and the Italians. Spread data among the Serbians that the Italians are going back to work. Call up every question you can in reference to racial hatred between these two nationalities; make them realize to the fullest extent that far better results would be accomplished if they will go back to work. Urge them to go back to work or the Italians will get their jobs.92
Such operatives were employed by the hundreds. Between 30,000 and 40,000 black workers were brought into the steel districts as strikebreakers. They had few compunctions about this, since traditionally most A.F.L. unions had been white-only. The only way blacks could enter unionized jobs was as strikebreakers. At Youngstown, one lone black machinist striker, though he stayed on strike to the end, was still not admitted to the machinists' local.
To pay strike benefits to 350,000 strikers was out of the question. To prevent workers with no resources from being starved back to work, an enormous commissary system handled food distribution for the entire strike zone. Goods were bought from the grocery co-op suppliers, packaged into half-week allotments for large or small families, and shipped to forty-five local commissaries for distribution to those in need. The total commissary cost for the entire strike averaged less than $1.40 per striker.93
Few workers returned to the mills under the pressure of deprivation; as long as they were convinced that the strike was succeeding they stayed out week after week, living on next to nothing. But the overwhelming power of the steel companies over communications gradually began to grind down the strikers' morale. The newspapers constantly reported that the mills had been reopened and the strike broken, for this was true in some places and therefore could be made to seem true generally. With little labor press, no public meetings, and visits to strikers' homes impossible without arrest for "intimidation," workers gradually came to believe that the strike no longer stood a chance and slowly began to filter back to work. By the end of ten weeks the number of strikers was down from 365,000 to 110,000, and on January 8th, 1920, the National Committee declared the strike at an end.
The objective of the strike from the point of view of the A.F.L. unions involved was simply to establish trade union collective bargaining. As the I.W.M. Report concluded,
It is possible that the workers throughout the whole steel industry might much more easily have been organized on a radical appeal. But the Strike Committee were opposed in principle to any such appeal . . . the methods of organization used in the steel strike were old fashioned and became ostentatiously so as the organizers recognized the radical possibilities of the strike. . . . By the end of the year, it was evident that the strikers were getting an old-fashioned licking.94
The meaning of the strike to the strikers was different, both more vague and more radical. As David Saposs described it on the basis of an intensive study of immigrant communities in the steel district,
The determination of the immigrant worker to assert himself in spite of all the opposition of dominant opinion in his own community, was the chief reason why the foreign and English press. . . considered the strike as having deeper motives than mere demands of ordinary trade unionism. Not only the mill managers, but all the governing classes in steel towns were accustomed to seeing the immigrant docile and submissive; to them any strike was indeed a revolution. . . . Thus the strike was also an outburst of the inhibited instincts for self-expression. . . The immigrant wanted not only better wages and shorter hours. He resented being treated as a chattel or a "hunkie."95
As the l.W.M. Report put it, the strike was not only for trade unionism, but was "the workers' revolt against the entire system of arbitrary control."96 The local leaders, in contrast to the A.F.L. unions, talked freely of the workers "sharing in industrial control."
As Mary Heaton Vorse said after many interviews and discussions with the strikers, "What they believed was not formulated into a dogma. It was not narrowed down to trade union bargaining."97 Perhaps the most general sentiment was expressed by an American steelworker in Youngstown:
If my boy could give his life fighting for free democracy in Europe, I guess I can stand it to fight this battle to the end. I am going to help my fellow workmen show Judge Gary that he can't act as if he was a king or a kaiser and tell them how long they have got to work!98
The steel industry agreed. "If it came to a question of wage demands alone," wrote Iron Age, the steel companies "might meet the union officials in a conciliatory spirit." But the real issue was whether unions "shall be allowed to dictate to the employer how he shall operate his plant."99 Or, as The Nation concluded, it was
no mere squabble over wages and hours and collective bargaining and the open shop. . . . The real question is, Who shall control our steel industry?100
Many of the strikes of 1919 were "outlaw" or wildcat strikes, opposed as heartily by the unions as by the employers. These spread even to such citadels of trade union authority as the printing trades. But the most important of all was on the railroads.
For practical purposes, the right of railroad workers to strike did not exist after the Federal suppression of the Pullman strike. The unions generally supported this state of affairs. Thus those railroad strikes which occurred met the opposition not only of the railroads but of the unions and the government. This was all the more true during the war and post-war period because the railroads were under Federal control until March, 1920. Discontent rose with the cost of living; by April, 1920, prices had risen one hundred percent since 1914, railroad wages only fifty percent.101 After April, 1919, the government refused all requests for wage increases. According to Commons' History of Labor in the United States, "in the minds of the men the pent-up resentment against this injustice became directed not only against the dilatory government officials and railway managers but also against their own union officials who apparently bore this situation with a patience unbecoming. . . "102
In this charged situation, a railroad worker named John Gru-nau, a leader of an insurgent Chicago Yardmen's Association, was demoted in the Chicago yards on April 2nd. The 700 switchmen on his line immediately walked out in protest. The strike crystallized the general discontent of the railroad workers, and within two days every railroad in the Chicago area was involved in the strike, with 9,000 switchmen out. By April 9th, the strike had spread spontaneously across the country, reaching New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Memphis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Omaha and Detroit. Engineers, conductors and firemen joined the striking switchmen.
In the midst of the strike the workers created several temporary organizations. For instance, 1,700 workers on nine railroads entering Cleveland voted to form a Cleveland Yardmen's Association. Similar organizations developed in Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Kansas City; representatives from these various groups met in Washington and formed a national alliance of striking switchmen and yardmen. Sylvia Kopald describes the best-known of the outlaw organizations, the United Railway Workers of America, thus:
Originating among the Jersey strikers, this organization, according to the statements of its accredited spokesmen, was not intended to continue after the strike. The organization had no central direction. At its head stood an Executive Committee of 15 men, including a chairman and a secretary who were chosen from the members of a General Strike committee. This latter committee in turn was composed of representatives elected [rom the various roads, each of which contributed 18, or three for each craft (yardmasters, engineers, firemen, conductors, road workmen and yard service men). The Executive Committee was vested with power to "conduct the strike and make such moves as seem advisable to carry it to a successful conclusion." Its actual power, however, was drastically limited by the fact that it could take no important action without the express authorization of a general meeting.103
The railway unions launched a bitter drive against the strike. Dozens of union officials concentrated in Chicago and other strike centers ordered the men back to work, on the grounds that the strike violated union rules and contracts - although no contracts with the employers existed, the roads having just been returned from Federal control. They red-baited the strikers as Bolsheviks and charged them with destroying the union. They threatened the strikers with expulsion if they did not return to work, and actually applied this penalty to tens of thousands of workers.
Finally, the union leaders themselves recruited hundreds of strikebreakers. For example, a Chicago officer of the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen wired all member unions outside Chicago to send switchmen to "break .the strike of Grunau's rival organization."104 An official of the Order of Railway Conductors wired members, "Strike is illegal, against our Brotherhoods and against railroads. Our existence is at stake. Our members justified under the circumstances in working in yard and road service to help us save our organization."105 Even those who did not join the strike resented this practice, however; as a union official reported of his meetings with his rank and file:
Many members present showed a strong sympathy for the striking switchmen and said they would not work with "scabs" or "finks." It was impossible to convince our members at this stage of the illegal strike that men who took the switchmen's places were not scabs or finks and that they were friends of bona fide organizations helping them to maintain their contracts which were made by their duly authorized representatives.106
At another meeting, he reported, the principal topic was "the stated fear and undesire of our men to work with what they called 'finks.' "107
Finally, the power of the state was turned against the strikers. Attorney General Palmer attacked the strike leaders as I.W.W.'s and Reds. On April 15th he had twenty-three strike leaders in Chicago arrested on charges of violating the Lever and Sherman Acts, and there were arrests and raids on meetings in Cleveland, New Orleans and other cities as well.
The strike succeeded in forcing President Wilson to appoint a Railroad Labor Board. The Board strengthened the hands of the official unions by agreeing to meet exclusively with them and refusing even to hear the outlaws. It granted a general wage increase in July. With the combined pressure of repression and concession, the strike gradually faded as positions were filled by strikebreakers or men returning to work.
Most protracted of all was the mass strike in the coal fields, with sporadic strikes, national strikes, and armed battles running from 1919 into 1922.
During the week of July 4th, 1919, strikes were held throughout the country to protest the imprisonment of Tom Mooney. One of the places where strikes were widespread was among the coal miners of the Belleville sub-district of Illinois. In accordance with the union contract, thousands of miners found themselves docked next payday for taking part in the wildcat protest.
When the miners in the Nigger Hollow Mine No.2 found they had been fined for the strike, they immediately requested that the operators return the fines. At the news of the operators' refusal, the miners gathered outside the mine for a spontaneous mass meeting. A petition was drawn up asking the local union chairman to call a meeting of the local; when he ignored the request, the miners marched up a nearby hill, selected one of their own number to preside, and held their own meeting. They resolved that the collection of the Mooney Strike fines was unjustified and illegal, and voted to stop work in protest. Next the workers decided to send a committee and ask the miners of Nigger Hollow Mine No. I, who had also been fined, to join the strike. The workers there quickly voted to do so, and proposed that a joint meeting be held that night.
At the meeting, a United Mine Workers official who urged the men to return to work was shouted down, and instead the miners decided to continue the strike and called a meeting for workers from other mines that Sunday. Meanwhile, word of the strike began to spread around the district, and the men from nearby mines independently struck and held meetings to decide what action they would advocate at the Sunday meeting.
The men from the Nigger Hollow mines decided to propose two resolutions to the Sunday meeting. One was that the miners return to work and fight through regular channels rather than continue the strike. The second was a resolution on general policy reflecting the strong socialist tradition of the Illinois miners. It read:
In view of the fact that the present-day system of Society, known as the capitalist system, has completely broken down, and is no longer able to supply the material and spiritual needs of the workers of the land, and in further view of the fact that the apologists for and the beneficiaries of that system now try to placate the suffering masses by promises of re- forms such as a shorter workday and increases in wages, and in further view of the futility of such reforms in the face of the world crisis that is facing the capitalist system; therefore be it . . .
Resolved, that the next National Convention of the U.M.W.A. issue a call to the workers of all industries to elect delegates to an industrial congress, there to demand of the capitalist class that all instruments of industries be turned over to the working class to guarantee that necessities, comforts and luxuries be produced for the use of humanity instead of a parasitical class of stockholders, bondholders, and that the Congress be called upon to pass an amendment to the Constitution of the United States legalizing all such action in the aforementioned Congress.108
About 2,000 men arrived for the Sunday meeting. They adopted the general policy resolution by a substantial majority. The fight came over continuing the strike. A local U.M.W. official had earlier wired Illinois District President Frank Farrington:
Six mines in the Belleville District have struck this week. I have done my best to get them back to work. Three of them are still out. A mass meeting is called for Sunday at Priester's Park. The chances are a great many more miners will come out. Situation serious. If some one can come here Sunday it might have some effect.109
To which Farrington replied,
I have instructed Reynolds, Dobbins, Myers, Schaefer, Thomas, Walker and Mason to attend meeting to be held at Priester's Park Sunday afternoon and to use their every influence to curb the rebellious movement in the Belleville District.110
The issue was debated for four hours, at the end of which both the U.M.W. and the Nigger Hollow miners' resolution to end the strike was rejected, and instead it was decided to spread the strike further.
Two days later a still larger body of strikers met for what was called a "general committee meeting." They established a "policy committee" of fifty miners to handle executive work of the strike. Meanwhile, the issues of the strike were greatly expanded. It became not just a strike against the Mooney fines, but against the contract under which all miners were then working. This contract had been established during the war by the "Washington Agreement." It established automatic fines for workers who struck - it was under this provision that the Mooney strikers were punished. It provided maximum rates of pay, which the miners now considered inadequate in the face of post-war inflation. Practically from the signing of the Washington Agreement, miners had demanded an increase in the wages it provided, and in the wake of the Armistice, mass meetings were held in mining centers throughout lIIinois demanding that the union abrogate the Washington Agreement. The union not only supported the agreement, but even prevented mine operators from paying bonuses above it. The penalty clause providing fines for striking, likewise, was protested from the start by the workers. The issue became critical after the Armistice, when operators, especially in the Belleville area, began breaking down work practices the miners had long struggled to establish. When the miners retaliated by closing down the mines, they were fined under the penalty clause of the Washington Agreement.
The agreement was to run "during the continuation of the war not to exceed two years from April 1st, 1918."111 The U.S. government, the coal operators, the national and state mine union leaders all agreed that despite the Armistice the contract ran until April 1st, 1920, since no peace treaty had been signed. The rank-and-file miners throughout the country opposed continuing the old contract, and the lIIinois miners' strike now became a strike to renounce the Washington Agreement and establish a new contract with a new wage scale and without the penalty clause.
Armed with this broadened program, the Belleville miners began systematically spreading their revolt across the state. They sent bulletins and posters giving word of the strike to other mining centers. Most important, they organized teams of "Crusaders," who traveled across the state calling mass meetings of the miners in each area and urging them to join the strike. As the strike spread, workers in each local elected representatives to a Policy Committee for their own sub-district, and a State Policy Committee was formed from representatives of each of these. The insurgent State Policy Committee no longer merely petitioned the union for a state convention, but decided to go ahead and call one on its own account.
Meanwhile, the union officials counter-attacked. Illinois District President Farrington issued a circular to the membership which began:
Our union is facing a crisis. The elements of destruction are at work. The issue is: Shall the forces of defiance and rebellion prevail and stab our union to death, or shall reason and orderly procedure dominate the affairs of the United Mine Workers of America?112
Soon the union began supplying the operators with strikebreakers to reopen the shut-down mines. The union hired "loyal" workers to try to intimidate or stampede the strikers back to work. "Loyal" union men were sworn in as special deputy sheriffs, at least some of them apparently paid directly from the union treasury. Arrests of strikers by these deputies and other law officials were common.
The Crusaders were again and again held up on the public highways, beaten, and prevented from proceeding by these various forces. The union eventually admitted having spent $27,000 to quell the rebellion, but refused to itemize it.
The tactics of the union in suppressing the strike roused the ire of the miners even more. Thus a committee from Belleville was beaten up on the highway on the way to Springfield. When they subsequently appealed to the Springfield miners to join the strike for a new contract, the latter were wary - but when the committee referred to the beating they had received at the instigation of union officials, the miners voted to strike, and remain on strike "until all the state officers resigned their jobs."113 By the time of the insurgent state convention perhaps half of the 90,000 miners in Illinois had joined the outlaw strike.
Although they had opposed the convention, the union officials understood how important it was to control it once it was called. They headed off the attempt to spread the movement to other states by excluding miners from Pennsylvania and other states from participating. From then on, the union officials successfully asserted their authority, declaring the strike called off because contract negotiations had been scheduled to begin in a month. The contract demands of the insurgents were accepted, however, and became the basis of the rank-and-file program at the national U.M.W. convention a month later. In addition, the convention recommended not that the mines be operated by the government - the official U.M.W. position at that time-but that they be turned over to the miners.
When the national U.M.W. convention met in Cleveland a month later, a completely new situation had been created by the Illinois insurgency, for Illinois was the heart of the union and most reflected the mood of the rank and file. One observer described the convention as a "fight between the men and their officials."114 The 2,000 delegates demanded a new contract, set a strike date for November 1st if it was not gained, and instructed their officers to demand a thirty-hour week and a sixty percent wage increase. The U.M.W. officials were forced to negotiate for a new contract.
When they failed to achieve one, the convention's strike order went into effect and on November 1st 425,000 miners struck.
The U.S. government instantly leapt into the fray. President . Wilson declared the strike "not only unjustifiable but unlawful."115 At the request of the U.S. Attorney General, a Federal judge issued an injunction sequestering the union strike fund and prohibiting the union leaders from any action furthering the strike.
Federal troops were moved into the coal fields of Utah, Washington, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. On November 8th, the Federal Court further ordered the union officials to rescind the strike order and send the men back to work. Acting President John L. Lewis ordered the strike call cancelled, declaring, "We are Americans, we cannot fight our Government."116
But the coal miners disagreed, ignored the union order, and stayed struck, refusing to return to work for nearly a month. They realized their power as they saw the U.S. government rationing coal, schools closing down for lack of heat, factories shutting down, and railroad operations drastically cut back. According to a report in The Survey,
In not a few places where temperatures were below zero, a fuel famine existed. In the emergencies much volunteer coal mining was attempted. College and university students went into the surface mines in Kansas. In Montana on the other hand it was reported that Federal troops were used to drive miners to work. The Secretary of War announced that such an action was inconceivable, but there has been no public report on what actually occurred. In North Dakota Governor Frazier took over the mines under martial law and the union miners returned to work under the auspices of the state government.117
The miners reluctantly returned to work when President Wilson proposed an immediate fourteen percent wage increase and an arbitration commission to grant further demands.
The miners remained discontented with the results of the settlement, and by the summer of 1920 wildcats were common and all mining had stopped in Indiana and Illinois without declaration of a strike.
Insurgency developed even further in anthracite than in bituminous mining. In August, 1919, a U.M.W. convention formulated demands; negotiations dragged on fruitlessly until May, 1920, when the union agreed to President Wilson's proposal for arbitration. The arbitration award was totally unsatisfactory to the miners, but the union recognized that it was obliged to accept it. While the union officials were drafting the contract, 85,000 miners struck under insurgent leadership, closing down half the anthracite collieries. Union officials earnestly endeavored to end the strike, but it continued for nearly a month.118
Meanwhile, in response to the bituminous strike, the Governor of Kansas called a special session of the legislature to establish compulsory arbitration in major industries by means of a labor court. As soon as the proposal was passed, 400 Kansas miners walked off their jobs in a wildcat strike to show their defiance of the law, but were ordered back to work by the union the next day.
Soon a test case arose when miners in Crawford County refused to work with an engineer who had helped attempts to open the mines during the national coal strike. District union officials were ordered to appear before the new labor court and were arrested for contempt when they refused. In response, the miners struck, closing down ninety percent of the mines in Kansas. They then came into Girard for a mass demonstration, where the U.M.W. district president was allowed to address them from the prison balcony. The miners returned to work only as the officials were released on bond.
Meanwhile, events in West Virginia began developing toward civil war. During and after World War I, the West Virginia coal fields had expanded enormously. The northern fields were mostly unionized, but organization was completely blocked and union organizers forbidden even to enter the southern counties of the state, whose local governments were under virtually complete control by anti-union mine operators. Miners who joined the union were fired and evicted from their homes; deputy sheriffs on company payrolls ran union organizers out of town and arrested and beat up local union sympathizers. At this point, a rumor spread around the state that women and children were being killed in Logan County. An investigator describes what happened:
On Sept. 4 hundreds of miners assembled on Lens Creek. . . 30 miles from Logan County. They trudged on over the hills and by the roads. Many of them carried guns; 5,000 miners had gathered by nightfall. There were no leaders. The miners were determined, apparently, to invade Logan County...119
The Governor wired Frank Keeney, West Virginia U.M.W. president, who rushed to Lens Creek to try to stop the miners. "On the outskirts of the crowd he was told that his presence was useless and he might as well go back home."120 Next both Keeney and the Governor addressed the strikers, but were only partially successful in persuading them to return home. Next day, 1,500 miners continued the march to Danville. Only when a committee they had sent to Logan County reported all there was quiet did the miners disband and go home. But this was just a prelude.
In May, 1920, a strike broke out in Mattewan over the firing of members of a new union and rapidly spread through Mingo County, West Virginia, and Pike County, Kentucky. Armed guards patrolled the Mingo County line "to prevent infiltration of union men."121 In Mattewan, a shoot-out occurred between the local police chief, Sid Hatfield (an ex-miner and a Hatfield of the Hatfield-McCoy feud), and Baldwin-Felts detectives brought in by the operators to evict strikers. Two miners, the Mayor of Mattewan, and seven Baldwin-Felts guards were killed in a matter of minutes. In response to this and other violence, the Governor sent in state troops. On August 21st, a three-hour gun battle between strikers and guards killed six. At the Governor's request, 500 Federal troops were rushed in. District President Keeney threatened a general strike throughout the state unless the Federal troops stopped their strikebreaking activities.
The strike continued, with 1,700 people living in tent colonies. Battles flared intermittently; Federal troops were withdrawn, rushed back, and withdrawn again. Finally at a meeting of miners in the small mining camp of Marmet on August 20th, 1921, it was decided that since the union was kept out by the violence of guards, deputies and troopers, the miners would have to open the area by force of arms. Thus a second miners' march was organized, led this time by war veterans.
Patrols were flung out along the roads leading into Logan, a commissary was set up, and mess halls opened at various school houses near the front. Trains and automobiles were commandeered for the "citizens' army and the men, armed with all sorts of weapons, were accompanied by nurses in uniform. . . . The union men wore blue overalls with red hand- kerchiefs around their necks. "122
As the miners drew near to Logan County, their numbers reached 4,000. Frank Keeney, as before, tried to persuade them to disperse, but when word came that armed deputies had swooped down upon a camp and killed five miners, the invasion was resumed. President Harding issued a proclamation ordering the miners to disperse but they ignored it. The miners took up position on a wide front and, advancing two miles, engaged in heavy battle at five points with deputies and volunteers defending the non-union counties. At that point, 2,100 troops of the 19th Infantry together with machine guns and airplanes were rushed into Logan County. The miners had no choice but to surrender to the Federal troops, and with company law and order restored the strike was easily defeated. Some 350 miners were indicted for treason, but never convicted.
In April, 1922, the U.M.W. called strikes in both anthracite and bituminous fields. The strikes were joined by 75,000 non-union miners in the Connellsville coke region of Pennsylvania as well.
"With the zeal of new converts, the Connellsville miners became self-appointed organizers, looking to no one for orders, only anxious to spread the strike and the union gospel."123
After eight weeks of the strike, the Southern Illinois Coal Company began to reopen its mines in Williamson County with imported strikebreakers under heavily armed guards. When a group of miners tried to talk with the strikebreakers they were fired on by machine guns and two of them killed. Not only the miners themselves, but farmers and other workers of the area grew furious, and on June 21st, when another striker was shot dead while standing in a farmyard half a mile from the mine, men began pouring into Williamson from as far as Kansas, Indiana and Ohio. They were armed with weapons they had seized from hardware stores and American Legion halls. By dusk, 1,000 armed men advanced on the mine in skirmish waves directed by war veterans wearing trench helmets.
An airplane, rented at a nearby field, flew overhead dropping dynamite bombs on the strongholds of the strikebreakers. According to a National Guard colonel, "It was a seemingly well-organized, remarkably sober, determined, resolute aggregation of men and boys."124 As they approached they were met with continuous machine-gun fire from the mine guards. Just as they prepared to storm the mine a white flag went up and the besieged offered to surrender. Armed miners marched them away, executing the mine superintendent along the way. They then were met by a mob from town who had not taken part in the battle. The mob took over the prisoners, told them to run for it, and then began shooting at them. In this and subsequent massacres, nineteen strikebreakers were killed. Juries of local farmers refused to convict anyone for the massacre.
In July, the Federal government turned its strength against the nationwide coal strike. President Harding officially told the operators to go home and resume operations, and wired the Governors of twenty-eight states to furnish them protection, pledging the full support of the Federal government. In response, the governors of Pennsylvania and Ohio ordered state troops to the mines, but the strike remained firm. The union finally accepted a settlement at the expense of the 75,000 non-union miners who had joined the strike; they were abandoned to their fate. A committee appointed by the Mayor of New York found their conditions "worse than the serfs of Russia or the slaves before the Civil War."125 They continued their desperate strike for sixteen months until August, 1923, when they were finally starved out. As the 1920's wore on, the war and post-war coal boom petered out, and the industry developed a chronic coal glut. Under these conditions the United Mine Workers proved impotent, and the rest of the 1920's was a period of steady decay as the union retreated or was broken in area after area.
In 1919, we see the energy of a mass strike working both through and against trade unionism. Where-as in Seattle-the rank and file was able to control existing unions, the militance and class-consciousness of the workers gave union action radical forms; where - as in steel - unionization had been prevented, establishing trade unionism was the logical objective of strike action. In the two basic industries that had been thoroughly unionized-coal and railroads - the unions tried desperately to head off or kill off rank-and-file strike action, and the workers were forced to organize against their own unions. The unions strove to maintain their organizational security, while the workers pressed for changes which threatened that security; thus, such a conflict was inevitable.
Several important factors give mass strikes after 1900 a different character from those before. The decline in the central role of railroads dissolved the automatic process by which railroad strikes in 1877 and 1894 instantly became universal, nation-wide struggles between labor and capital. The growth of a unionism based on collective bargaining contracts tended to counteract the powerful rank-and-file solidarity and made workers tend to think of their struggle in terms of their own industry alone rather than in terms of their class as a whole; further, the contracts themselves operated as a powerful barrier to the tendency of strikes to spread to wider and wider groups. This contrasts markedly with such nineteenth-century labor organizations as the Knights of Labor and the American Railway Union, which considered the sympathetic strike and the solidarity of all labor among their basic principles.
The result is that twentieth-century mass strikes are far less unified than those that came before. In 1919 - as later - we see the spectacle of determined groups of workers after great sacrifice going down separately to defeat.
Another important change is that by the twentieth century, workers by and large accepted the wage system and their position of subordination within it as an accomplished fact. They were far less attracted by programs designed in one way or another to recreate a nation of small independent producers, such as the producers' cooperatives of the Knights of Labor or the cooperative colonies-somewhat like contemporary rural communes- to which the American Railway Union turned after its great defeat. This had two consequences. On the one hand, it meant that workers were far more willing to accept and indeed demand stable institutions of collective bargaining and union representation that would make life under capitalism more bearable. On the other hand, it meant that when the demand for workers' power arose, it no longer took the form of demanding a return to the system of small independent producers of the past; instead workers accepted and wanted to use the new industrial technology and the large-scale, coordinated production it made possible. The idea of workers' management of industry arose in many of the struggles of 1919. It was spelled out by the workers in Seattle, in Lawrence, in Illinois, and it formed a background to the other struggles. Of course, the strikes of 1919 were not in themselves attempts to establish such a system, but they were seen by the participants - and their opponents - as part of a struggle for power which led in that direction.
- 1 "The Revolt of the Rank and File," The Nation, Vol. 109, No. 2834 (Oct. 25, 1919), p. 540.
- 2 Alexander M. Bing, War-Time Strikes and Their Adjustment (N.Y.: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1921), p. 262.
- 3 Ibid., pp. 168-9.
- 4 Ibid., p. 7.
- 5 Ibid., p. 9.
- 6 Ibid., p. 293.
- 7 Ibid., pp. 30, 136.
- 8 The Commission of Inquiry, The Interchurch World Movement, Report on the Steel Strike of 1919 (N.Y.: Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 1920), p. 152.
- 9 Sylvia Kopald, Rebellion in Labor Unions (N.Y.: Boni and Liveright, 1924), p. 152.
- 10 Robert L. Friedheim, The Seallle General Strike (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1964), p. 18.
- 11 Ibid.
- 12 William Short, History of Activities of Seattle Labor Movement and Conspiracy of Employers to Destroy It and Attempted Suppression of Labor's Daily Newspaper, the Seattle Union Record (Seattle: Union Record Publishing Co., 1919), pp. 1-2, cited in Friedheim, p. 24.
- 13 Papers on Industrial Espionage (Mss. in University of Washington Library, Seattle), report of Agent 106, June 11, 1919, cited in Friedheim, p. 29.
- 14 Anna Louise Strong, I Change Worlds (N.Y.: Henry Holt and Co., 1935), p.68.
- 15 Seattle Times, Jan. 21, 1919, p. 1, cited in Friedheim, p. 75.
- 16 Strong, pp. 74-5.
- 17 Ibid., pp. 72, 74.
- 18 Seattle Times, Jan. 28, 1919, cited in Freidheim, p. 84.
- 19History Committee of the Seattle General Strike Committee, The Seattle General Strike (Seattle: The Seattle Union Record Publishing Co., Inc., 1920), p. 15.
- 20 Freidheim, p. 101.
- 21 William MacDonald, "The Seattle Strike and Afterwards" (written in Seattle, Feb. 28,1919), in The Nation, Mar. 29, 1919, cited in Wilfrid H. Crook, Communism and the General Strike (Harnden, Conn.: The Shoe String Press, Inc., 1960), p. 53.
- 22 History Committee, pp. 21-2.
- 23 Ibid., p. 21.
- 24 Ibid., p. 50.
- 25 Ibid., pp. 4-6.
- 26 Ole Hanson, Americanism versus Bolshevism (Garden City, N.Y.: Double- day, Page, 1920), p. 84, cited in Freidheim, p. 123.
- 27 Freidheim, p. 124.
- 28 History Committee, p. 46.
- 29 New York Times, February 9, 1919, cited in Crook, p. 51.
- 30 For a photocopy of the original, see State's Exhibit 40, transcript of People v. Lloyd, p. 467; Harvey O'Connor claims authorship of "Russia Did It," in Revolution in Seattle (N.Y.: Monthly Review Press, 1964), p. 143, cited in Freidheim, p. 10 1.
- 31 Reprinted in Daily Bulletin, Feb. 8, 1919, p. 1, cited in Freidheim, p. 136.
- 32 Strong, pp. 81-2.
- 33 History Committee, p. 38.
- 34 Ibid., p. 35.
- 35 Ibid., p. 57.
- 36 Ibid., p. 62.
- 37 Commons, Vol. IV, p. 438.
- 38 John A. Fitch, "Lawrence," in The Survey. April 15, 1919, pp. 695-6.
- 39 Ibid.
- 40 Ibid.
- 41 Ibid.
- 42 Commons, Vol. IV. p. 438.
- 43 Anne Withington, "The Telephone Strike," in The Survey, April 26, 1919, p.146.
- 44 Wall Street Journal, Sept. 12, 1919, cited in Robert K. Murray, Red Scare, A Study in National Hysteria, 1919-1920 (N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1964), p. 129.
- 45 Boston Evening Transcript, Sept. 12,1919, cited in Murray, p. 129.
- 46 Arthur Warner, "The End of Boston's Police Strike," The Nation, Vol. 109, No. 2842, Dec. 20,1919, p. 790.
- 47 "The Week," in The Nation, Vol. 108, No. 2796, Feb. 1, 1919.
- 48 The Survey, Vol. 42, Aug. 2,1919, p. 674.
- 49 Graham Taylor, "An Epidemic of Strikes in Chicago," in The Survey, Vol. 42, Aug. 2, 1919, pp. 645-6.
- 50 Ibid.
- 51 Ibid.
- 52 Ibid.
- 53 Ibid.
- 54 Cited in Brody, Slee/workers in America. p. 181.
- 55 Ibid., pp. 181-2.
- 56 Ibid., p. 183.
- 57 A.F.L., Weekly Newsletter, Jan. 15, 1922, cited in Brody, p. 199.
- 58 I.W.M. Report, p. 160.
- 59 Theodore Draper, The Rools of American Communism (N.Y.: The Viking Press, Compass Books Ed., 1963), p. 320.
- 60 I.W.M. Report, p. 147.
- 61 Ibid., p. 148.
- 62 Ibid., p. 151.
- 63 Letter of manager of Edgar Thomson Works, quoted in "Inside History of Carnegie Steel Co.," by J.H. Bridge, p. 81, cited in I.W.M. Report, p. 127, n.l.
- 64 Brody, p. 216.
- 65 Ibid., p. 233.
- 66 I.W.M. Report, p. 160.
- 67 Ibid., p. 37.
- 68 Ibid., p. 160.
- 69 Ibid., p. 35.
- 70 William Z. Foster, The Great Steel Strike and Its Lessons (N.Y.: B.W. Huebsch, Inc., 1920), p. 62.
- 71 I.W.M. Report, p. 168.
- 72 Brody, p. 236.
- 73 I.W.M. Report, p. 171.
- 74 Cited in Brody, p. 237.
- 75 I.W.M. Reporl, p. 154.
- 76 Brody, p. 238.
- 77 I.W.M. Report, p. 165.
- 78 Brody, p. 239.
- 79 Cited in I.W.M. Report, p. 172.
- 80 Cited in Brody, p. 241.
- 81 Supplementary Reports of the Investigators to the Commission of Inquiry, The Interchurch World Movement, Public Opinion and the Steel Strike (N.Y.: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1921), p. 173. (Cited hereafter as I.W.M. Opinion.)
- 82 Ibid., p. 178.
- 83 Ibid., p. 177.
- 84 Foster, p. 133.
- 85 Brody, pp. 140-2.
- 86 Foster, p. 115.
- 87 I.W.M. Report, p. 39.
- 88 Ibid., p. 181.
- 89 Foster, p. 70.
- 90 Strike Investigation, 11,632-61, Iron Age, Feb. 5, 1920, p. 415, cited in Brody, p.257.
- 91 I.W.M. Report, p. 181.
- 92 Ibid., p. 320.
- 93 Foster, pp. 216-20.
- 94 I.W.M. Report, pp. 39-40.
- 95 I.W.M. Opinion, pp. 239, 241.
- 96 I.W.M. Report, p. 119. 143
- 97 Mary Heaton Vorse, Men and Steel (London: The Labour Publishing Co., Ltd., 1922), p. 166.
- 98 I.W.M. Report, pp. 131-2.
- 99Iron Age, cited in Brody, pp. 242-3.
- 100 "The Revolution-1919," The Nation, Oct. 4,1919, p. 452.
- 101 Kopald, Rebellion, p. 128.
- 102Commons, Vol. IV- p. 453.
- 103Kopald, Rebellion, p. 141.
- 104Ibid., p. 151.
- 105 Ibid., p. 152.
- 106Report of Jonas McBride, reprinted in Pres. Carter's "May Bulletin," cited in Kopald, p. 154.
- 108Cited in Kopald, pp. 74-5.
- 109Ibid., p. 73.
- 110 Ibid.
- 111 Ibid., p. 62.
- 112Ibid., p. 84.
- 113Ibid., p. 87.
- 114 Sylvia Kopald, "Behind the Miners' Strike," The Nation, Vol. 109, No. 2838, Nov. 22, 1919, p. 658.
- 115 McAlister Coleman, Men and Coal (N.Y.: Farrar & Rhinehart, 1947), p.278.
- 116 Cincinnati Enquirer, Nov. 12, 1919, p. 6, quoting Lewis; cited in Murray, p. 161.
- 117 The Survey, Vol. XLIII, No.8, Dec. 20,1919, p. 254.
- 118 Commons, Vol. IV, p. 477-9.
- 119 Winthrop D. Lane, Civil War in West Virginia (N.Y.: B.W. Huebsch, Inc., 1921), p. 106.
- 120 Ibid.
- 121 Commons, Vol. IV, p. 480.
- 122 Lane, p. 106.
- 123 Commons, Vol. IV, p. 483.
- 124 Ibid., p. 483-4.
- 125 Ibid., p. 485-6.