Sunday, May 5, 2013

Today in Labor History—May 5

May 5, 1780 – Units mutinied in George Washington's Revolutionary War Camp in New Jersey. The rebellion was suppressed by Pennsylvania troops. (From the Daily Bleed)

Karl Marx as a young man
May 5, 1818—Karl Marx was born. (From the Daily Bleed)

May 5, 1852 – The National Typographical Union was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio, making it the oldest existing national union in the U.S. (From the Daily Bleed)

May 5, 1884 – The Knights of Labor struck at Union Pacific against wage cuts and won. (From the Daily Bleed)

May 5, 1886 – Police attacked Jewish Workers from Chicago’s West Side as they attempted to march against slum conditions. (From the Daily Bleed)

May 5, 1886 – The Bay View Massacre occurred at Rolling Mills, Milwaukee, as workers marched for the 8-hour day. The state militia was called out. 7 protesters were killed, including a 14-year-old boy. No militiamen were ever charged. However, 50 strikers were sentenced to hard labor for "rioting."  (From the Daily Bleed and
Workday Minnesota))

May 5, 1916 – U.S. marines invaded the Dominican Republic to "protect" U.S. interests, remaining until 1924. (From the Daily Bleed)

May 5, 1920
Two Italian-born anarchists, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, were arrested in Brockton, Massachusetts, and framed for the murder of two people during an armed robbery. They were eventually executed, though they were innocent. (From Workday Minnesota)
London Protest in Support of Sacco and Vanzetti, 1921

John Scopes, 1925, just before trial
May 5, 1925 –High School teacher John T. Scopes was arrested for teaching the theory of evolution in a Tennessee school, in a violation of state law. (From the Daily Bleed)

May 5, 1931 –The Infamous Battle of Harlan County ("Bloody Harlan"), Kentucky occurred. Also known as the Battle of Evarts, the strike began in response to wage cuts implemented in February. On May 5, a scab accosted a union worker, resulting in three deaths. Gov. Flem Sampson called in the National Guard, which killed several more union miners. The Harlan County class war was the inspiration for Florence Reece's famous union song "Which Side Are You On?" The strike continued for years, with the miners finally winning in 1940. (From the Daily Bleed)

My daddy was a miner,
And I’m a miner’s son,
Ant I’ll stick with the uion
‘Till every battle’s won.

They say in Harlan County
There are no neutrals there.
You’ll either be a union man
Or a thug for J.H. Blair

May 5, 1937 – “May Days" erupted in Spain, with Communists attacking anarchist strongholds. (From the Daily Bleed)

May 5, 1970 –In response to the killings at Kent State and in protest against the war in Vietnam, protests erupted at campuses across United States. One of the first occurred in Seattle, with 1,000 U.W. students taking over the I-5 Freeway. Traffic backed up past Everett (site of the infamous Everett Massacre, when police attacked the IWW, killing between 5 and 12 union activists and wounding 27, in November, 1916). Ultimately, 5,000 students took part in the freeway occupation, while 10,000 marched the next day from campus to downtown Seattle. They also took over the Physics Annex and made an attempt to barricade campus entrances and create a free university. (From the Daily Bleed)

May 5, 1981 – Bobby Sands (1954-1981) died, ending his 66-day hunger strike. Sands was an Irish political prisoner and member of Parliament who had been locked up in the notorious Maze Prison near Belfast. The strike was an attempt list to get the British government to grant political prisoner status to Nationalist inmates, rather than treating them as common criminals. (From the Daily Bleed)

May 5, 1998 – 15,000 to 20,000 workers demonstrated in front of the employers’ federation building in Copenhagen, Denmark, as part of the national day of action called by the national meeting of shop stewards. It was also the ninth day of a national strike. (From the Daily Bleed)

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