Synopsis of past posts:
Post 1: “49ers” remove most of the placer gold in the southern mines of California during the last decades of the 1800s, deeper mines to remove gold from quartz beds attract capitalist investment which in turn exploits cheap immigrant labor.
Post 2: Parallel developments across the Western United States lead to miners unionizing to demand wage increases and safer workplaces. In 1893, the Western Federation of Miners unites these unions and grows after a successful strike in Cripple Creek Colorado in 1894.
Post 3: In 1901, Jackson mine owners preemptively threaten to fire any unionized workers as well as anybody that showed sympathies to a rumored union. The WFM becomes militant after a series of violent strikes, advocates socialism and the possibility of armed insurrection against the capitalist class. Local newspapers side with mine owners.
Post 4: On September 6 of 1901, self-proclaimed anarchist Leon Czolgosz assassinates President William McKinley. This triggers a national panic against immigrants, anarchists and leftists. The cacophony around the national red-scare silences any rumors of a Jackson miners union.
Post 5: The Jackson Miners’ Union, No. 115 of the Western Federation of Miners, announces its presence in the fall of 1902, much to the horror of local newspapers. Newly inaugurated President Theodore Roosevelt deals peaceably with striking coal miners in Pennsylvania, giving labor unions a credibility in national media.
Post 6: Jackson Miners Union president Frank O’Connell writes a letter to Amador Dispatch calling for a socialist economy. Both Republican and Democratic newspapers attack the Jackson Miners Union.
Tensions Build On the 28th of November in 1902, the Amador Dispatch quoted an editorial from the San Luis Obispo Breeze titled “Organized Labor the Safeguard of Society.”
A broad view of the labor movement, which recognizes the fact that there is an abundance for all, is the only tenable ground. Keep up the organization, and benefits will come as fast as outside conditions will warrant. The safety of all depends upon the intelligent organization of labor.
|"TR teaches the childish coal barons a lesson"|
Several times I have been asked what in my opinion was the most important single incident in the labor movement in the United States and I have invariably replied: the strike of the anthracite miners in Pennsylvania ... from then on the miners became not merely human machines to produce coal but men and citizens.