Riots in the U.S
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Two 12 Paragraph Essay

Although the Memorial Day massacre was a horrifying event, the struggle of the steelworkers has left an indelible mark on our society today. May 30, 1937 SWOC held a meeting at Sam’s place (Which was the headquarters; now the union hall of the Steel Workers Association) to have a meeting discussing their issues. This was during the little steel riots—a time when rebellion and corruption were companions with business. Ironically however, U.S steel did in fact sign the union contract while the smaller companies did not. It was this inaction of recognition that spurred the anger of the workers. According to a document by Howard Fast’s, Tom Girdler (head of Republic steel) claimed “he would go back to hoeing potatoes before he met the striker’s demands”. The workers put together their signs and began their march toward Republic steel to picket the company. A few blocks down a small army of police, with trigger-happy hands, stopped them. The worker argued their rights to the police, while the police replied back with harsh words. They yelled things like “you got no rights” and “disperse you rebel bastards”. For some indistinct reason a shot was fired from a debatable side followed by multiple shots from cops. As the people fled they were pursued and brutally attacked with clubs, and batons. The captives were taken and put inside patrol wagons where they were taken to hospitals—some dying once arrived.

            After this event Roosevelt or any other form of authority punished the police officers for their actions. Instead Roosevelt put the blame on both parties with his “plague on both your houses” comment. Despite this, due to World War Two, riots had ceased for the next decade or so; this was because the CIO authorized a wartime no-strike pledge. In the aftermath of the massacre, SWOC would later become the United Steel Workers of America (USW) in 1942. The CIO would also reunify with the American Federation of Workers (AFL) in 1955. For that time until the 1970’s to 1980’s, they supported American capitalism and imperialism to abide by their social contract. After the U.S industry stopped dominating world markets, the AFL-CIO was used for mass layoffs and wage cuts. According to the document, this anti-working class policy is used to destroy capitalism globally and. This can be seen in the wall street crash of 2008, in which the stock market and capitalism took a big hit. Also the author claims trade unions are “collaborating in a social counterrevolution aimed at eradicating all of the gains won by the working class.” Ultimately, the Memorial Day massacre was an example of how those who are suppose to be supporting the workers instead turns on them and relentlessly attacks them. Eugene Debs said, “I would not be a Moses to lead the Promised Land, because if I could lead you into it, someone else could lead out of it.” The Memorial Day massacre was a message to the working class to be independent and politically active, because no one else is going to do it for them.

 

Citations;

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2012/05/pers-m29.html

http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/3273

 

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2137

Muhjaazee Love's insight:

This document appears to be a pdf file of an research paper written at KU. It contains an interview with a few senators, persons in charge of Republic steel, and some present during the massacre. The interview adresses the picketing limit which Mr. Mooney claims he did not know (one hundred picketers), also discussed is awarness leading up the march itself and the reaction of Republic steel. Similar to the other documents no one explains why the police fired into the crowd. However, Senator Ellender claims a man before Mr. Mooney testified the first shots came from the mob. Which also brings me to question whether or not the were armed. Why would law enforcers attack innocent people protesting their rights? What would motivate them to  commit such atrocities? 

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"The Man . . . Died on My Lap": One Women Recalls the Memorial Day Massacre of 1937

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This is a primary source of a woman recalling her experience of the memorial day massacre. The source is an interview between the woman (Mrs. Marshall) and Senator La Follette. The woman describes the brutality in which the cops attacked the people. She was taken and put in a full patrol wagon with men stacked on top of each other. When she was able to get treatment she refused and desired the other men to be treated first. When she was finally treated she was rushed by rude police officers who pulled her from her bed and made her walk by herself.

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East Side :: Memorial Day Massacre

East Side :: Memorial Day Massacre | Riots in the U.S | Scoop.it
Welcome Page for East Side Churches
Muhjaazee Love's insight:

This document from east industry is very deatiled in the statistics of the event. Arrest, deaths, and injured are all accounted for in this document. According to the source the march was aggitated by Republic steel. In refusal to recognize the workers union they gathered at "Sam's club" to have a meeting. Afterwards they began to march toward Republic steel. They were confronted at 116th street by blood thursty cops with weapons drawn. no one seems to know why the cops open fired, however the facts remain that they killed and injured multiple innocent civilians who had the right to protest.

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10 vocabulary words

SWOC – Steel Workers Organizing Committee

Ex. The SWOC was outrage at Republic steel.

 

CIO- Congress of Industrial Organizations

Ex. The steelworkers believed the CIO would aid them in their effort; however, with the war they had bigger issues to worry about.

 

Demonstrators- Marchers.

Ex. The demonstrators were stopped by a line of police officer.

 

Picketing- the act of posting up and protesting ones rights at businesses or white houses.

Ex. Picketing was the only goal of the demonstrators, yet they were brutally attacked

 

Venue- Places where organized event takes place.

Ex. Republic steel was the venue of interest in this situation.

 

Union- An organized group of workers formed to protect their rights

Ex. Because Republic steel did not sign a contract recognizing the union, the workers decided to picket them.

 

Strike- an organized event where workers refuse to work in effort to get their demand

Ex. Due to little steel’s actions the workers went on strike and began to march

 

Fascism- A political policy of state over individual rights

Ex. On one sign of the strikers was written “No Fascism In America”.

 

Memorial- An honorary structure or day used to remember someone or something.

Ex. My necklace is a memorial of my Grandmother who passed away several years ago.

 

Massacre- A brutal and relentless attack on a person or people.

Ex. The Innocent protest of rights by the demonstrators turned into an obscure massacre.

 

 

 

 

 

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Memorial Day massacre... - RareNewspapers.com

Memorial Day massacre... - RareNewspapers.com | Riots in the U.S | Scoop.it
Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers offers the largest inventory of original historic newspapers for sale, all guaranteed authentic and all at great prices.
Muhjaazee Love's insight:

This news paper article comes from New York Times, on may 31, 1937. The paper initially says 3 killed, and 62 hurt, but the web page says ten died (they probably didnt find out until later). The newspaper also claims the demonstrators use guns and rocks to defend themselves, which is different then what Howard Fast assumed (unarmed...), although they could have gotten the guns from police they defended themsleves against. According to the document, there were around a thousand marchers trying to close Republic steel. Another surprising fact I found was that no cop was prosecuted for the massacre. Unconstitutional and evil, the actions of the police deserve to be punished. Today, sam's house (the meeting place during the little steel riots) remains the union hall of the united steel workers association in honor of the workers.

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Howard Fast: Memorial Day Massacre

Howard Fast: Memorial Day Massacre | Riots in the U.S | Scoop.it
Muhjaazee Love's insight:

This is my favorite of the three documents. The Author is very detailed in his approach of the massacre. He starts off with the setting wich sets the tone and mood of the event. This document also give quotes from Tom Girdler (who ran Republic steel) and insight on his feelings toward the workers. He claimed he would go back to hoeing potatoes before he met the workers demands. According to the document the strike was less than a week old and the people hand not yet felt the struggle of poverty. However the peolpe gathered to listen to the speakers and to march against Republic steel. The people were in fact aware of the possibilities of police reaction and marched any way. The workers made signs saying "REPUBLIC STEEL VIOLATES LABOR DISPUTES ACT" and "REPUBLIC STEEL SHALL SIGN A UNION CONTRACT". The demonstrators marched foward with their signs accompanied by photographers of McCormick's chicago tribune. apon arrival they were told by the cops"You dirty sons of bitches, this is as far as you go!" The police beat, shot, and brutally attacked the crowd with women and children. The author adds that despite the depression the steel industry was making over fifty-five million in profit by 1936. He also adds that Tom Girdler offten hired thugs and bribed police and sheriffs which coud give insight into the behavior of the police.

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Memorial Day Massacre of 1937

Memorial Day Massacre of 1937 | Riots in the U.S | Scoop.it
The Illinois Labor History Society wants to share an amazing story with you. It is the story of how working people built this state.
Muhjaazee Love's insight:

This document starts off with the fact that ten steel workers were killed by police, appearing a little bias, but stating the truth. The demonstrators decided to march because several little steel companies did not follow the lead of U.S steel, and signs a union contract. The people became unhappy with this and after a meeting at "Sam's house" they march toward Republic steel. They are confronted by police who open fire into the crowd and straightway pursue them.

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