#Me Too in India

An India Travelogue, Part 6 by Lawrence Bush Click for Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.   WE HAD A DAY of recovery and catch-up yesterday, after Susan had taught a four-hour workshop the day before at a monumentally huge school called Step by Step. Her cohort consisted of some thirty teachers, all women, drawn from thirty different schools, including numerous […]

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Jack Benny

Jack Benny (Benjamin Kubelsky) was born in Chicago, Illinois, on this date in 1894. His parents were immigrants from Poland and Lithuania. One of America’s favorite comedians in vaudeville, on radio and TV, and in film, Benny was married to Sadye Marks, who some say was a cousin of the Marx Brothers and who played his […]

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Immortalizing Joe Hill

  On this date in 1915, IWW organizer Joe Hill (not Jewish) was arrested for murder in Salt Lake City, Utah. His trial was considered a frame-up and his conviction was widely protested (by Woodrow Wilson and Helen Keller, among others). A writer of labor songs and parodies, Hill was immortalized in 1930 in the […]

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The Lawrence Textile Strike

The Lawrence, Massachusetts textile workers strike, led by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, or Wobblies), began on this date in 1912. The strike was called after employers cut workers’ wages in response to a new state law that had reduced the maximum work week of women and children from 56 hours to 54. The […]

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Argentina’s “Tragic Week”

The first pogrom in the Americas took place during the Semana Trágica (“Tragic Week”) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which began on this date in 1919 when the army violently attacked metalworkers who had been on strike for decent working conditions. A general strike began two days later. Rightwing paramilitary groups began to hunt down union leaders, anarchists, […]

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The Rent Striker

On this day in 1907, 16-year-old Pauline Newman launched a rent strike involving 10,000 families in lower Manhattan, after months of organizing among housewives and teenage sweatshop workers. The strike lasted two weeks and won rent reductions for about 2,000 households. Leaders of the settlement house movement then urged capping rents throughout the city at […]

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The American Federation of Labor

The American Federation of Labor was founded by 26 craft unions on this date in 1886. Samuel Gompers, a Dutch-born Jew and head of the Cigar Makers’ International Union, was elected its president. The AFL was a breakaway movement, established by union activists who had grown disgruntled with the Knights of Labor (K of L), a […]

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STAT$: Guess How Much Museum Guards Are Earning

THE WORKING POOR AND THEIR FUTURE by Allan Lichtenstein   I HAVE BEEN READING Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 novel, It Can’t Happen Here. Early in the book, Doremus Jessop, the lead character, stops for gasoline at a garage at which Karl Pascal works. Pascal remarks: “[W]hat burns me up is the fact that even before this Depression, in what you folks called […]

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The CIO

Among the labor leaders who founded the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) on this date in 1935 (the announcement was made November 9th) were Sidney Hillman of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, David Dubinsky of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, and Max Zaritsky of the Hatters, Cap and Millinery Workers. The CIO […]

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