Thursday, November 17, 2011

Today in Labor History—November 17

November 17, 1785 - The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen was founded on this date in 1785 in a tavern in New York City. The Society, which still exists today, created a library, clubhouse, bank and school for their apprentices, mechanics, tradesmen and their families.. (From Workday Minnesota)

November 17, 1878 -- The maritime strike of 1878-1879 began in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. The sailors were supported by miners in New South Wales and by dock workers in the three colonies. (From the Daily Bleed)
Ben Reitman, 1910-1915 (Library of Congress)
 November 17, 1942 – Ben Reitman, hobo organizer, anarchist and one time partner of Emma Goldman, died on this date in 1942. Reitman served as a doctor for hobos and the downtrodden and participated in numerous free speech fights and anarchist causes, getting beaten, tarred and feathered, jailed, and run out of town for his troubles, most notably during the San Diego free speech fight. He also wrote the book, Boxcar Bertha. (From the Daily Bleed)
Victor Serge (public domain)
 November 17, 1947 – Revolutionary and author Victor Serge died on this date in 1947. Serge lived in Paris in the early 20th century, where he participated in the Bonnot gang and collaborated with Raymond Callemin on the newspaper L’anarchie. He was in Barcelona during their anarchist uprising and contributed to the CNT’s newspaper, “Tierra y Libertad.” He went to Russia in 1918, initially in support of the communists. However, he quickly became disillusioned with the repressive, autocratic rule, criticized the party and was imprisoned. He wrote numerous books, including the classic “Birth of Our Power” and his autobiographical “Memoirs of a Revolutionist.” (From the Daily Bleed)

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