Sunday, June 16, 2013

Today in Labor History—June 16

Chartist riot, 1838
June 16, 1836 – The London Working Men's Association was formed, launching the Chartist movement.The Chartists took their name from the People's Charter, which demanded universal suffrage for men, regardless of social class. (From the Daily Bleed)
Berlin Revolutionaries
June 16, 1848 – The Berlin arsenal was captured by rebellious citizens. The "German Revolutions" of 1848 swept across 50 European states, mostly affiliated with the German Confederation and Austria. While the middle classes were fighting for a unified German state and increased civil liberties, the working class had more revolutionary aspirations. Participants in the revolution included communist and anarchist revolutionaries like Marx, Engels and Mikhail Bakunin, as well as the composer Wagner. (From the Daily Bleed)

June 16, 1869 – In the small mining town of Ricamarie, France, troops were called in to suppress a workers' strike, opening fire on demonstrators protesting the arrest of 40 workers, killing 14 (including a 17-month-old girl in her mother’s arms) and wounding 60 others (including 10 children). (From the Daily Bleed)
Susan Anthony
 June 16, 1873 – Susan B. Anthony was arrested for voting. (From the Daily Bleed)

Eugene V. Debs delivering his Canton, Ohio speech.
June 16, 1918 –Eugene Debs delivered his famous Canton, Ohio anti-war Speech. America was at war with Germany, at the time, and radicals were being routinely rounded up and jailed, often illegally, when Debs gave this speech. The new Espionage Act was being used to prosecute people for their opposition to the war and Deb’s speech was used to make the case that he had violated the Act. (From the Daily Bleed)

June 16, 1920 – The U.S. Marines began fighting in Haiti to defend U.S. “interests” there. (From the Daily Bleed)

June 16, 1933 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the National Industrial Recovery Act, which recognized the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively through unions. The legislation was later found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. However, it helped inspire a wave of union organizing and pave the way for the National Labor Relations Act, which was passed in 1935. (From Workday Minnesota)
International Brigadiers at the Battle of Belchite
 June 16, 1937 – The Trotskyist POUM, a significant constituent of the Spanish Republican forces (and the group with which George Orwell fought) was outlawed and its militants persecuted by the counter-revolutionary Stalinists and the Republic's police, thus making the Republic and the Stalinists more vulnerable to the fascists. (From the Daily Bleed). For a good fictionalization of the Spanish war against the fascists, and the POUM's and anarchist's betrayal by the Stalinists, see Ken Loach's Tierra y Libertad.

June 16, 1953 – Jack Hall of the ILWU and six others (the "Hawai‘i Seven") were convicted under the Smith Act for being communists. (From the Daily Bleed)

June 16, 1976 – 10,000 students demonstrated in Soweto South Africa, protesting against the requirement that they learn the Afrikaans language in their schools. The uprising spread to seven other black townships. In the end, 128 were killed and 1,112 injured. By the end of the year, thousands had died in demonstrations throughout the country including 700 black children. (From the Daily Bleed)

June 16, 1986 – Despite arrests, millions stayed home in a black trade union strike commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Soweto uprising. (From the Daily Bleed)

June 16, 1987 – Paper workers struck near Portland, Maine. (From the Daily Bleed)

June 16, 1991 – A General Strike began in Madagascar. (From the Daily Bleed)

June 16, 1992 – Millions of workers struck in India to protest government reforms. (From the Daily Bleed)

June 16, 1993 – 400 nude prostitutes protest police abuse, Matamoros, Mexico. (From the Daily Bleed)

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