Friday, October 30, 2009

News from the Past - October 25, 1929

I am going to do several of these, catching up to the 30th by the end of the day. My initial goal was to show how things would progress up to the fateful date of October 29th. But fate intervened. Anyway this first story comes from a Trade Union Paper, the Ceder Rabids Tribune. I assume it's a trade union paper as all the stories seem to revolve around unions.

CHICAGO. Oct. 24,—(ILNS)—Circumstances surrounding the slugging and maiming of eight members of the international Ladies Garment Workers union while they were engaged in carrying on the organizing work recently inaugurated by the Chicago joint board of that union, indicate that the communists are working with and being paid by the non-union manufacturers in the dress, suit and cloak industry.
Shortly following the opening of drive to unionize large non-union dress manufacturing plants here the Communists opened an office near the headquarters of the joint board and began the distribution of scurrilous literature attacking the Joint board, the international union, the A. F. of L and the legitimate labor movement in general. These attacks, contained in circulars printed in both English and Yiddish were handed out at the entrances of shops which the union was attempting to organize.
Outraged at these unethical traitorous tactics, the union representatives protested to the Communists, and a fracas followed, which apparently was just what the Communists had hoped for. No sooner had the melee started than up drove several machines loaded with sluggers, who, fifty strong, jumped out and waded into the trade unionists with black-jacks, gun butts and knives.
Eight union members went to the hospitals and six of the thugs went to jail
Officers of the joint board say that none of those who participated in the attack have ever worked at the dressmaking trade.
Kind of interesting to me. My Masters Thesis was on the Communist Party in this period, and I would generally say that this is, in fact, possible. Yes the Communists were staunchly pro-union, but they also had the attitude that many of the unions were in fact on the pay of the bosses and were not really serving the interests of the working man. That said this account does seem a bit extreme. A communist party having 50 thugs ready to spring into action does seem a bit extreme.

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