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    Today in Labor History February 20, 1931: An anarchist uprising in Encarnación, Paraguay briefly transformed the city into the revolutionary Encarnación Commune. Students and workers created popular assemblies to run the city. They tried to create communes in other towns, too, but the authorities thwarted their attempts. When the authorities began to retake Encarnacion, many of the insurrectionists stole steamboats and fled to Brazil. Along the way, they attacked yerba mate companies and burned records related to indentured servants. Gabriel Casaccia alluded to the uprising in his novel “Los Herederos.”

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    Today in Labor History February 19, 1807: The authorities arrested former Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr for treason. They alleged that he was behind a plot to create an independent country in the southwest of the U.S., but had to acquit him for lack of evidence. Some believed he intended to take Texas or all of Mexico, but accounts vary as to how many supporters he had (anywhere from 40 to 7,000). In 1808, he traveled to England and attempted to garner support for a revolution in Mexico. The Brits kicked him out of the country. Prior to all this, while still vice president he had killed Alexander Hamilton in an illegal duel. He was never tried and all charges against him were dropped. Gore Vidal wrote an historical novel, “Burr,” written in the form of a memoir by Burr. The novel undoes the traditional hagiographies of America’s founding fathers, portraying them as the greedy, self-serving and often times incompetent men they really were. It was the first in his Narratives of Empire series.

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    Today in Labor History February 18, 1943: The Nazis arrested the members of the White Rose movement. The activist group called for opposition to the Nazi regime through an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign. The Nazis put on a show trial in which none of the defendants were allowed to speak. They executed Hans and Sophie Schol, and Christoph Probst on February 22, 1943. White Rose leaflets openly denounced the persecution and mass murder of the Jews. They might have taken their name from the poem "Cultivo una rosa blanca," by Cuban revolutionary and poet, Jose Marti. Alternatively, they may have gotten it from the B. Traven novel, “Die Weiße Rose” (The White Rose).” Traven served on the Central Council of the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic. He escaped the terror that followed the crushing of the Republic and fled to Mexico, where he wrote numerous novels, including “Death Ship” and “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.”

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    Today in Labor History February 16, 1848: Octave Mirbeau, French novelist and playwright was born. Mirbeau wrote highly transgressive novels that dealt with violence, abuse and psychological detachment. He was also an anarchist and supporter of Alfred Dreyfuss, the Jewish French military officer wrongfully convicted of treason in an antisemitic show trial. He completed his novel, “The Torture Garden,” during the Dreyfess trial and dedicated it to "the priests, soldiers, judges, to those people who educate, instruct and govern men, I dedicate these pages of Murder and Blood."

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    Today in Labor History February 15, 1933: Giuseppe Zangara tried to assassinate President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt in Miami. He failed, mostly because he was too short to see over the crowd. However, Chicago mayor Anton J. Cermak, who was shot in the attack, later died, in part from his wounds and in part from medical malpractice. Zangara confessed to the crime in jail, stating “I kill kings and presidents first and next all capitalists.” He was executed in Old Sparky, Florida’s electric chair in March, 1933. Philip K. Dick’s novel, “The Man in the High Castle,” is based in part on the premise that Zangara succeeded in killing FDR.

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    Today in Labor History February 15, 1764: the city of St. Louis was established in Spanish Louisiana (now Missouri). In the 1800s, St. Louis would grow to become the second largest port in the U.S. and one of the major centers of labor organizing. In 1877, during the Great Train Strike, black and white workers united to take over the town in what some called the St. Louis Commune, after the Paris Commune, a few years earlier. The uprising in St. Louis was led by the socialist Workingmen’s Party, fighting for the 8-hour workday and an end to child labor. The Commune was quashed after soldiers killed 18 workers.

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    Today in Labor History February 13, 1945: 25,000 civilians died when the Allies firebombed Dresden. In a three-day period, they dropped 3,900 tons of explosives and incendiaries, reducing six square miles of the city to rubble. Kurt Vonnegut was a prisoner of war in Dresden during the bombing. He wrote about it in his novel, “Slaughterhouse-Five.”

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    Today in Labor History February 11, 1938: BBC Television produced the world's first ever science fiction television program, an adaptation of a section of the Karel Čapek play R.U.R., that coined the term "robot." He derived the word “robot” from the Czech word for forced labor by Serfs. R.U.R. is an archetype for many of the science fiction stories and films that followed, like Bladerunner, West World and Terminator, and others about robots, replicants and hosts that rebel against humans. However, “R.U.R.,” like Čapek’s 1936 novel “War with the Newts,” is also a satirical critique of totalitarianism, which was already on the rise in Europe at the time he wrote the play.

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    Today in Labor History February 10, 1898: Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht was born. Brecht was a doctor, poet and playwright. He fled the Nazis only to be persecuted in the U.S. by HUAC during the Cold War. He is most well-known for his play, “The Three Penny Opera.” He also wrote “Mother Courage and Her Children” and “The Days of the Commune,” about the Paris Commune. Additionally, he wrote poetry and composed the lyrics to many of the songs performed in his plays, like “Mack the Knife” and “Alabama Song” (AKA Whiskey Bar).

    https://youtu.be/6orDcL0zt34

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    Today in Labor History February 7, 1917: A court wrongly convicted labor organizer Tom Mooney for the San Francisco Preparedness Day bombing in July 1916. The governor finally granted him an unconditional pardon after 22.5 years of incarceration. 10 people died in the bombing and 40 were injured. A jury convicted two labor leaders, Thomas Mooney and Warren Billings, based on false testimony. Both were pardoned in 1939. Not surprisingly, only anarchists were suspected in the bombing. A few days after the bombing, they searched and seized materials from the offices of “The Blast,” Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman’s local paper. They also threatened to arrest Berkman.
    In 1931, while they were still in prison, I. J. Golden persuaded the Provincetown Theater to produce his play, “Precedent,” about the Mooney and Billings case. Brooks Atkinson of the New York Times wrote, “By sparing the heroics and confining himself chiefly to a temperate exposition of his case [Golden] has made “Precedent” the most engrossing political drama since the Sacco-Vanzetti play entitled Gods of the Lightening… Friends of Tom Mooney will rejoice to have his case told so crisply and vividly.”

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    Today, in honor of Black History Month, we celebrate the life of Hubert Henry Harrison (April 27, 1883 – December 17, 1927), a West Indian-American writer, speaker, educator, political activist based in Harlem, New York. He was described by union leader A. Philip Randolph as the father of Harlem radicalism and by John G. Jackson as "The Black Socrates." Harrison’s activism encouraged the development of class consciousness among workers, black pride, secular humanism, social progressivism, and free thought. He denounced the Bible as a slave master's book, and said that black Christians needed their heads examined. He refused to exalt a "lily white God " and "Jim Crow Jesus," and criticized Churches for pushing racism, superstition, ignorance and poverty. Religious extremists were known to riot at his lectures. At one of his events, he attacked and chased off an extremist who had attacked him with a crowbar.

    In the early 1910s, Harrison became a full-time organizer with the Socialist Party of America. He lectured widely against capitalism, founded the Colored Socialist Club, and campaigned for Eugene V. Debs’s 1912 bid for president of the U.S. However, his politics moved further to the left than the mainstream of the Socialist Party, and he withdrew in 1914. He was also a big supporter of the IWW, speaking at the 1913 Paterson Silk Strike, and supporting the IWW’s advocacy of direct action and sabotage. In 1914, he began working with the anarchist-influenced Modern School movement (started by the martyred educator Francisco Ferrer). During World War I, he founded the Liberty League and the “Voice: A Newspaper for the New Negro,” as radical alternatives to the NAACP. The Liberty League advocated internationalism, class and race consciousness, full racial equality, federal anti-lynching legislation, enforcement of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, labor organizing, support for socialist and anti-imperialist causes, and armed self-defense.

    You can learn more about the Modern School Movement here: https://www.fifthestate.org/archive/411-spring-2022/the-modern-school-movement/

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    Today in Labor History February 4, 1900: Jacques Prévert was born (1900-1977). Prevert was a poet, surrealist and libertarian socialist who glorified the spirit of rebellion & revolt.

    Excerpt from “Song in the Blood”
    There are great puddles of blood on the world
    Where’s it going all this spilled blood
    Murder’s blood. . . war’s blood. . .
    Misery’s blood. . .
    And the blood of men tortured in prisons. . .
    The blood of children calmly tortured by their papa
    And their mama. . .
    And the blood of men whose heads bleed in
    Padded cells
    And the roofer’s blood
    When the roofer slips and falls from the roof

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    @peterjriley2024 @bookstadon
    This is awesome!. I hadn't heard it before. thanks so much!

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    In honor of Black History Month, a quote by C.L.R. James: The rich are only defeated when running for their lives.

    James was a Trinidadian historian, journalist, activist and Marxist writer. He wrote the 1937 work "World Revolution" outlining the history of the Communist International, which stirred debate in Trotskyist circles, and in 1938 he wrote one of the greatest works on the Haitian Revolution, "The Black Jacobins."

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    Take a Ride on the Reading

    On December 13, 1889, Franklin Benjamin Gowen will die in his room at the Wormley Hotel, in Washington D.C., with a single bullet hole in his head. His eulogists will refer to him as the former president of the Reading Railroad, attorney, philanthropist, and patron of the arts.

    The obituaries will say that Mr. Gowen inherited the intellectual and moral characteristics of his father, James, a pious Protestant merchant from Northern Ireland. Sobriety and piety, of course, form the foundation of good society, and Franklin was alike his father in this way. But James was also a staunch Democrat, a character flaw for which I have little patience. Their home in Mount Airy was the only one in the neighborhood without crepe after President Lincoln was assassinated. And James Gowen went to his grave insisting that there was nothing to those nasty rumors about James Buchanan, with whom he was close. Well, I knew Aunt Nancy, too. I can assure you those rumors were entirely true, though such behavior coming from a Democrat is hardly surprising.

    Read my complete satirical eulogy for the infamous robber baron, Franklin Gowen here: https://ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.com/2024/01/my-coffee-pot-guest-michael-dunn.html

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    Today in Labor History January 31, 1971: For the second time in six months, rioting broke out during an anti-war protest in East Los Angeles. Police fired into the crowd, killing one protester. The anti-war demonstrations were organized by the Chicano Moratorium. Chicanos were dying at a higher rate during the Vietnam War than white Americans. During the August 29, 1970 protests, police killed three people, including Journalist Ruben Salazar. Oscar Zeta Acosta portrayed Salazar in his 1973 novel, “The Revolt of the Cockroach People.” Hunter S. Thompson portrayed Acosta as his “Samoan attorney” in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

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    @AlexanderVI @bookstadon
    I believe he disappeared in Mexico, just like he was portrayed in Where The Buffalo Roam.

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    Today in Labor History January 31, 1912: A General Strike began in Brisbane, Australia. It lasted until March 6. The strike was a response to the suspension of tramway workers for wearing union badges. Within a few days, the strike committee became the de facto government of Brisbane. No work could be done in the city without the committee’s permission. They created their own independent police force and provided ambulance service for the city. They issued strike coupons, redeemable at stores that were in solidarity with the strikers. People wore red ribbons to show their support and even put them on their dogs and dray horses. On the second day of the strike, 25,000 people marched, with another 50,000 supporters watching. On Black Friday, February 2, the cops attacked a women’s march with batons. Emma Miller, a trade unionist and suffragist who was in her 70s and weighed less than 80 pounds, pulled out a hat pin and stabbed the rump of the police commissioner’s horse. The horse reared and threw the commissioner. As a result of his injury, he limped for the rest of his life. The courts ultimately ruled in favor of the unionists, and their right to wear union badges while on the job. Errol O’Neill wrote a play about the strike, “Faces in the Street.”

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    Today in Labor History January 31, 1606: Guy Fawkes jumped to his death moments before his execution for treason. Guy Fawkes belonged to a group of provincial English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Fawkes, who had converted to Catholicism, also fought in the 80-Years War for Catholic Spain against the Dutch. He later traveled to Spain seeking support for a Catholic rebellion in England. The English tortured him into confessing the names of his co-conspirators. Brits have celebrated Guy Fawkes Day ever since, usually accompanied by fireworks and burning effigies, traditionally the pope, but recently they’ve burned effigies of Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak and Margaret Thatcher, instead. James Sharpe, professor of history at the University of York, called Fawkes "the last man to enter Parliament with honest intentions." Numerous historical novels and children’s books have been written about Fawkes, including William Harrison Ainsworth's 1841 historical romance “Guy Fawkes; or, The Gunpowder Treason.”

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    Ode To A Scab

    After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, and the vampire, He had some awful substance left with which He made a scab. A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul, a waterlogged brain, and a combination backbone made of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles.

    When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and the devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out. No man has a right to scab as long as there is a pool of water deep enough to drown his body in, or a rope long enough to hang his carcass with. Judas Iscariot was a gentleman compared with a scab. For betraying his Master, he had character enough to hang himself. A scab hasn't.

    Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. Judas Iscariot sold his savior for thirty pieces of silver. Benedict Arnold sold his country for a promise of a commission in the British Army. The modern strikebreaker sells his birthright, his country, his wife, his children, and his fellow men for an unfulfilled promise from his employer, trust, or corporation

    Solidarity wins

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    Today in Writing History January 29, 1845: The Evening Mirror, in New York, published “The Raven,” by Edgar Allan Poe. It was Poe’s first publication and it made him an overnight sensation. Yet, he spent much of his life in poverty. He originally considered having an owl or parrot, rather than a raven, quote “Nevermore.”

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    Today in Labor History January 26, 1808: Soldiers took over New South Wales, Australia, during the Rum Rebellion. It was Australia’s only military coup. At the time, NSW was a British penal colony. William Bligh was governor of the territory. This was the same William Bligh who was an officer under Captain Cook when he attempted to kidnap the King of Hawai’i. He was also the same William Bligh who was overthrown in the Mutiny on the Bounty, in 1789. It is questionable why the British thought he’d do better in charge of a bunch of prisoners and unruly soldiers, than he did with a bunch of sailors. Perhaps they were just desperate. One of Bligh’s commissions was to reign in the Rum Corps, which held a monopoly on the illegal rum trade in Australia. They also controlled the sale of other commodities. Bligh started to enforce penalties for the illegal sale and importation of liquor. He also tried to provide relief to farmers, suffering from recent flooding and price-gouging by the Rum Corps, by providing provisions from the colony’s stores. The monopolists didn’t like his looting of the stores, from which they were profiting handsomely, nor his enforcement of the liquor laws. So, they arrested him and deported him to Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land. The military remained in control of NSW until 1810.

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    Today in Labor History January 25, 1926: 16,000 textile workers went on strike in Passaic, N.J. The United Front Committee of the Workers (Communist) Party launched the strike. It was the first Communist-led strike in the U.S. At the time, men earned less than $1,200 per year in Passaic mills, while women were lucky to earn $1,000. Yet it cost $1,400 per year to live there. The IWW had attempted to organize the mills in 1912. Most of the workers were immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. The United Front appealed to the American Federation of Labor for help. However, the AFL refused, saying they’d have nothing to do with Communists. Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (IWW organizer) and Mary Heaton Vorse both helped support the strikers. In August, 1926, the United Front relinquished control of the strike to the AFL-affiliated United Textile Workers, who eventually settled with the mill owners on March 1, 1927. Vorse was a journalist and novelist who reported on, while simultaneously participating in, many strikes of the era. She also wrote the novel, “Strike!” about the 1929 Gastonia Textile Strike.

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    Today in Labor History January 25, 1890: Nellie Bly completed her round-the-world journey in 72 days. She successfully beat the fictional record by Phileas Fogg, in the Jules Verne novel. Bly was an American journalist, industrialist, inventor and charity worker. However, she also pioneered investigative journalism. In one of her most celebrated pieces, she went undercover to report on abuse and neglect at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island.

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    Today in Labor History January 24, 1961: A B-52 bomber, carrying three 4-megaton Mark 39 nuclear bombs, broke up in mid-air, dropping its nuclear payload over North Carolina. Five crewmen successfully bailed out of the aircraft and landed safely. Another ejected, but did not survive the landing. Two others died in the crash. Each of the bombs had more than 250 times the destructive power of the Hiroshima bomb. Each one was large enough to create a 100% kill zone within an 8.5 miles radius. A supervisor of nuclear safety at Sandia National Laboratories said that "one simple, dynamo-technology, low voltage switch stood between the United States and a major catastrophe." However, there is evidence that the switch of at least one of the bombs was set to ARM. No one knows why none of them exploded. And while the authorities were able to recover the uranium core from two of the bombs, one of them is still lost somewhere in North Carolina.

    For a truly terrifying look at just how many times we were just a hair trigger away from a major nuclear accident, read Eric Schlosser’s “Command and Control.”

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    Today in Labor History January 22, 1932: Salvadoran communists, peasants and indigenous people rose up in rebellion against the military dictatorship, creating the first soviets in the Western hemisphere. In response, the military went on a rampage, killing 30,000 people in the "La Matanza." The violence decimated what was left of the country’s indigenous population, as well as most of its socialists, communists, anarchists and labor organizers. One of the first to go before General Martinez’ firing squads was guerilla leader Farabundo Marti (for whom the FMLN guerrillas took their name). Martinez once said that America was great because it wiped out its Indians and so, too, must El Salvador. Eduardo Galeano talks about La Matanza in his “Memory of Fire” trilogy.

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    Today in Labor History January 21, 1525: Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz and George Blaurock founded the Swiss Anabaptist movement by baptizing each other and breaking a thousand-year tradition of church-state union. The Anabaptists were considered Radical Reformers. They preached against hate, killing, violence, taking oaths, participating in use of force or any military actions and against participation in civil government. They also believed in separation of church and state. However, some Anabaptists went even further, like those in the Munster Commune, who called for the absolute equality of man in all matters, including the distribution of wealth. They called upon the poor of the region to join them in sharing all the wealth of the town. Many also believed in polygamy and free love. Not surprisingly, both the Roman Catholics and the nascent Lutherans persecuted them heavily. This history is wonderfully portrayed in the epic novel, “Q” by the Italian fiction collective, Luther Blissett.

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    Today in Writing History January 19, 1809: Edgar Allan Poe was born. “The Raven” made Poe an overnight sensation. Yet, he spent much of his life in poverty. Poe originally considered having an owl or parrot, rather than a raven, quote “Nevermore.” Poe was a binge drinker who sometimes remained sober for months before falling off the wagon again. His alcoholism worsened as he got older. He died in 1849, mostly likely from alcoholism. His grave remained unmarked until 1865. For 60 years, from 1949 until 2009, the “Poe Toaster” left a bottle of cognac and three roses on Poe’s grave every January 19th.

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    @Badger_AF @bookstadon
    Poe
    John Waters
    And soft shell crab

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    Today in Labor History January 19, 1920: Crystal Eastman, Roger Nash Baldwin, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (from the IWW) and others founded the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Their original focus was freedom of speech, primarily anti-war speech, and supporting conscientious objectors. In 1923, they defended author Upton Sinclair after he was arrested for trying to read the First Amendment during an IWW rally. In 1925, they persuaded John T. Scopes to defy Tennessee's anti-evolution law in The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes. Clarence Darrow, an ACLU member, headed Scopes' legal team. The ACLU lost the case and Scopes was fined $100. In 1926, they defended H. L. Mencken, who deliberately broke Boston law by distributing copies of his banned American Mercury magazine and won their first major acquittal. However, they kicked Elizabeth Gurley Flynn off their board in 1940 because of her Communist affiliations. And they refused defend Paul Robeson and other leftists in the 1950s.

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    Today in Writing History January 19, 1829: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's “Faust: The First Part of the Tragedy” premiered. It’s the story of a scientist who makes a pact with the devil to gain power and knowledge. It took him 37 years to complete the play. Goethe also published scientific works on anatomy and botany. In the late 1700s, he wrote that variation in plants and animals was due to descent from common ancestors. This idea later influenced Darwin, who also credited Goethe with discovering the intermaxillary bone. Goethe’s novel, “Sorrows of Young Werther,” led to a suicide craze in Europe.

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    Today in Labor History January 19, 1812: Luddites torched Oatlands Mill in Yorkshire, England. In order to avoid losing their jobs to machines, Luddites destroyed equipment in protest. Their movement was named for Ned Ludd, a fictional weaver who supposedly smashed knitting frames after being whipped by his boss. Luddite rebellions continued from 1811-1816, until the military quashed their uprising.

    Chant no more your old rhymes about bold Robin Hood
    His feats I but little admire
    I will sing the Achievements of General Ludd
    Now the Hero of Nottinghamshire.

    The sentiment for this poem comes from the fact that Robin Hood was a paternalistic hero, a displaced aristocrat who stole from his class brethren and gave to the poor; whereas Ned Ludd represented the autonomy and self-sufficiency of the working class.

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    Today in Labor History January 17, 1536: Francois Rabelais was absolved of apostasy by Pope Paul III and allowed to resume his medical practice. Rabelais was a physician, writer, Catholic monk and Greek scholar. He published “Pantagruel” in 1532. He later incorporated it into his larger work, “Gargantua and Pantagruel,” which satirized the nobility, the church, the legal system, explorers, machismo and pretty much all that was sacred to the French ruling elite. Consequently, he was persecuted much of his life. His last will stated: “I have nothing. I owe a great deal. The rest I leave to the poor.”

    One of my favorite passages: The FURREED Law-Cats are most terrible and dreadful monsters; they devour little children, and trample over marble stones. Pray tell me, noble topers, do they not deserve to have their snouts slit? The hair of their hides doesn’t grow outward, but inwards… They have claws so very strong, long, and sharp that nothing can get from ‘em what is once fast between their clutches... Among ‘em reigns the sixth essence; by the means of which they gripe all, devour all, burn all, draw all, hang all, quarter all, behead all, murder all, imprison all, waste all and ruin all, without the least notice of right and wrong; for among them vice is called virtue; wickedness, piety; treason, loyalty; robbery, justice. Plunder is their motto, and all this they do because they dare; their authority is sovereign and irrefragable.

    “A child is a fire to be lit, not a vase to be filled” –Rabelais

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    Today in Labor History January 14, 1921: Anarchist environmentalist writer and philosopher Murray Bookchin was born in New York to Russian Jewish immigrants. Before the age of 10, he had joined the Young Pioneers, a communist league for children. As a young adult, he served as a union shop steward for the United Electrical Workers and later, as an autoworker, was active in the 1945-1946 GM strike. In the 1950s he started writing about the environment and, some say, was the first to introduce “environmentalism” and “ecology” to radical politics. He had a vision of an ecological society based on participatory, grassroots politics, in which municipal communities democratically plan and manage their affairs through popular assembly, which he called Communalism, or Libertarian Municipalism. This tendency has been a major influence on PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, as well as the Kurdish People's Protection Units and the Rojava Autonomous Region in Syria. Bookchin’s 1995 book “Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism” critiqued the tendency of many anarchists toward primitivism, anti-technologism, & individual self-expression at the expense of forming a social movement.

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    Today in Labor History January 13, 1898: Émile Zola's J'accuse…! exposed the Dreyfus affair. The scandal began in 1894 when the state convicted Captain Alfred Dreyfus of treason. He was a 35-year-old French artillery officer of Jewish descent, falsely convicted for espionage and imprisoned in Devil’s Island in French Guiana. Émile Zola’s open letter “J’Accuse” helped build a movement of support for Dreyfus, putting pressure on the government to reopen the case. In 1899, Dreyfus was returned to France, retried and convicted again, but was pardoned and released.

    Emile Zola was French novelist, journalist, playwright. He was an important part of the literary school of naturalism. He was nominated for the first and second Nobel Prizes in Literature in 1901 and 1902. He published over 30 works, the most well-known being “Germinal,” about a coal miners’ strike in northern France in the 1860s. He influenced many modern writers like Tom Wolfe, Joan Didion, Norman Mailer, and Truman Capote. “Germinal” influenced my novel, “Anywhere But Schuylkill.”

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  • MikeDunnAuthor , to bookstadon
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    Today in Labor History January 12, 1915: The U.S. House of Representatives rejected a proposal to require states to give women the right to vote. The first place in the world where women got the right to vote was New Jersey, in 1776. However, in 1807 this was repealed and it reverted back to white men, only. The first place to continuously give suffrage to women was Pitcairn Islands, in 1838. These were the descendants of Tahitians and Christian Fletcher and other mutineers from the HMS Bounty. The first sovereign nation to give women the right to vote was Norway, in 1913. The U.S. finally granted women the right to vote in 1920. Women won suffrage in Canada in 1917, Britain and Germany in 1918, Austria and Holland in 1919. Women could not vote in France until 1944, or in Greece until 1952, or in Switzerland until 1971, or in Saudi Arabia until 2015.

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    MikeDunnAuthor , to bookstadon
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    Today in Labor History January 12, 1876: Working class novelist Jack London was born. As a kid, he was an oyster pirate in Oakland, along the shores of the San Francisco Bay. As a young man, he became a hobo, riding the rails from town to town, looking for handouts and sometimes work. He wrote about these experiences in his short novel, “The Road.” He was also a lifelong alcoholic, which contributed to his early death. In his novel, “John Barleycorn,” he wrote about both his alcoholism and his experiences as a laborer in numerous low-paid, backbreaking jobs. He was also a socialist and a champion of unions and working-class activism. With respect to strikebreakers, he famously wrote: "After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, the vampire, He had some awful substance left with which He made a scab. A scab is a two-legged animal with a cork-screw soul, a water-logged brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles." London was also one of the first Haoles (non-Native Hawaiian, or white person) to learn how to surf in Hawaii.

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    MikeDunnAuthor OP ,
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    @zheng3_jim @bookstadon
    Yes, they'd travel by boat to the oyster farms and rob them

    MikeDunnAuthor , to bookstadon
    @MikeDunnAuthor@kolektiva.social avatar

    Today in Labor History January 11, 1804: The Sussex Examiner reported that the English authorities tried poet & painter William Blake for saying “Damn the king and damn his soldiers.” Blake was both religious and hostile to the Church & organized religion. His poetry often embodied rebellion against class power. He disdained the blighting and impoverishing effects of the Industrial Revolution. He despised slavery and was a proponent of free love. Some consider him an early proponent of what would later be called anarchism.

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    Today in Labor History January 9, 1905: Russia’s “Bloody Sunday” occurred, with soldiers of the Imperial Guard opening fire on unarmed protesters as they marched toward the Winter Palace. They killed as many as 234 people and injured up to 800. They also arrested nearly 7,300 people. The people were demanding better working conditions and pay, an end to the Russo-Japanese War and universal suffrage. Bolsheviks and Mensheviks opposed the march because it lacked revolutionary demands. The public was so outraged by the massacre that uprisings broke out in Moscow, Warsaw, Riga, Vilna and other parts of the empire. Over 400,000 participated in a General Strike. Protests and uprisings continued for months. The backlash was horrific. The authorities killed 15,000 peasants and sent 45,000 into exile. Another 20,000 were seriously injured. Shostakovich’s 11th Symphony is subtitled “The Year 1905.” Maxim Gorky’s novel, “The Life of a Useless Man,” depicts Bloody Sunday.

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    MikeDunnAuthor OP ,
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    @JoBlakely @bookstadon
    Wow! That's a hell of a story!

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