Thursday, June 2, 2011

Today in Labor History—June 2

Gordon Gin Riots, by Charles Green
June 2, 1780 – The Great Proletarian Gin Festival (also known as the Gordon Riots) began on June 2, in England, and lasted through June 9. The riots began as a pogrom against Catholics. However, it grew into a mass worker insurrection that included ex-slaves, impressed sailors and debtors, English, Irish, Italians, Germans and Jews. The insurrectionists liberated two thousand prisoners and destroyed every major prison in London. Rioters also destroyed the homes members of the ruling elite, as well as toll houses and the Bank of England. The rich fled the city in terror. (From the Daily Bleed)
Harriet Tubman,1885
 June 2, 1863 – Backed by three gun boats, Harriet Tubman and her forces freed 750 slaves and set fire to the plantations from which they were liberated. (From the Daily Bleed)
Colonel Greene Addressing Strikers in Cananea, Sonora, 1906
 June 2, 1906 –U.S. rangers arrived at Cananea, Sonora, killing 22 striking Mexican miners. (From the Daily Bleed)
Carlos Tresca, 1910

June 2, 1916 – The IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) Mesabi Iron Range strike began in Minnesota. The Western Federation of Miners (WFM), which organized the 1907 Mesabi Range Strike, was uninterested in organzing miners in 1916, leaving a vacuum that the much more radical IWW gladly filled. The Wobblies sent many of their top organizers to help and succeeded in recruiting many of the people who served as strikebreakers in 1907 to join the current. Carlos Tresca, an IWW leader, was arrested for murder in conjunction with the strike, but was released without trial. Tresca went on to oppose Mussolini and the fascists, as well as the Stalinists in the USSR. He was assassinated in 1943. The Mesabi Strike was suppressed violently by police and vigilantes, with numerous strikers being jailed. The struggle was a precursor to the infamous labor deportations, in Bisbee, Arizona in July, 1917, in which 1,300 Wobblies, their supporters, and even innocent bystanders, were rounded up, forced into cattle cars, and dumped in the desert after 16 hours without food or water. (From the Daily Bleed, Minnesota Historical Society and Wikipedia)
Bisbee, Az Deportations (Workers were held in a stadium prior to their deportation)

June 2, 1919 – Anarchists carried out a series of coordinated bombings across the Eastern United States, damaging the homes of Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, who had launched the first Red Hunt against unionists, commies and anarchists, as well as then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Rooselvel. (From the Daily Bleed)

June 2, 1921 – The IWW hall in Tampico was raided. In response the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) called a general strike, winning the right to have their hall. (From the Daily Bleed)

June 2, 1936 – Anastasio Somoza took over Nicaragua as dictator. (From the Daily Bleed)

June 2, 1952 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was illegal for President Truman to have the Army seize the nation’s steel mills to prevent a strike. 600,000 CIO steelworkers immediately began a 53-day strike. (From Workday Minnesota and the Daily Bleed)

June 2, 1962 – 7,000 Russian workers marched in Novocherkassk to protest wage cuts and price increases. The military killed at least 24. (From the Daily Bleed)

June 2, 1977 – Native American activist Leonard Peltier was sentenced in Fargo, North Dakota, to two consecutive life terms for the killing of two FBI agents, despite the fact that there was no evidence linking him to the deaths. (From the Daily Bleed)

June 2, 1989 – 10,000 soldiers were blocked from entering Tiananmen Square, in Beijing, by 100,000 citizens protecting pro-democracy students. (From the Daily Bleed)

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