Here is a riddle (and the answer!):
Who is she?
Answer is at the bottom of this page.
The dramatic history of the I.W.W. in Colorado includes:
More information is here (offsite).
There is more information about the Columbine Mine Massacre in the IWW Poetry section.
In the "gee, they used to really fear us" department, if you go to the University of Northern Colorado Libraries "Discover Weld County and Colorado History" page (offsite) then click on the Race and Ethnicity, then the Hispanics link, you'll see this reference to the I.W.W.:
This was, after all, 1928, one year after the great coal strike.
Most online references to the union's role in Colorado are self-references.
This one may seem like a frivolous example. On the contrary, it is further indication that radical unionism sometimes results in a stronger impetus for companies to recognize less radical unions. They should appreciate us more. ;-)
This letter (offsite) by Jane Street is a fascinating glimpse into the role of the early I.W.W. in Denver history.
Here is a link to Colorado's labor landmarks.
One of those monuments is the Ludlow Monument.
Like many countries, the United States Constitution grants "rights" yet the government fails to enforce them. This has certainly been true of the first amendment (free speech) throughout this nation's history. While many recall the sixties as a time of asserting rights, not too many know that the battles of the sixties were largely patterned after the free speech fights waged by the I.W.W. half a century earlier.
The I.W.W. fought for the right to free speech in the northwest in particular from 1907 to 1916. Speaking out on streetcorners against injustice such as the abuse of workers by ruthless bosses or the extortionist practices of labor agents, workers would gain publicity for their cause by crowding city jails. As soon as one speaker was arrested, another would step out of the crowd to take his place. This practice came to be called "soap boxing".
The idea that officials and local citizens' committees routinely committed murder to suppress free speech must shock some folks today. Consider that citizens' committees are typically organized to carry out the agenda of the employing class. Profits are at stake!
To demonstrate how dangerous the free speech fights were, check out the story of the massacre in Everett, Washington. They are considering a monument of their own. I hope the monument itself (if it comes to fruition) includes the point of view of the working people.
The article at this link is pretty even-handed, considering that it appears in the corporate press. We in Colorado found that newspapers reporting on massacres of workers would tell some of the workers' points of view-- as long as the struggle was sixty years ago. :-)
It's just a little box for soap.
And if their laws won't let you speak,
How is the IWW different from more traditional AFL unions? Current union members should read this.
Answer to the riddle:
One of the most well-known wobblies was Helen Keller.
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