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November 20, 2011

Speech given by DJ at CLIFF  on Nov 20

In November the Industrial Workers of the World, the I.W.W., remember our Fellow Workers that have been murdered and unjustly imprisoned, beaten, and deported by the boss class. Victims of class war.

One hundred years ago the I.W.W. was engaged in a great fight – to organize the unorganizable – women, people of colour, new immigrants and migrant workers into One Big Union. The skilled, the semi-skilled and the unskilled. Those that were working at repressive jobs, those that were oppressed, and those that were not working at all.

The forces of capital fought back with everything at their disposal. The injustice system drafted laws to protect capital and their goons.

Today marks the 96th anniversary of the murder of Joe Hill, IWW songsmith and organizer. Murdered by the injustice system of Utah at the direction of the copper bosses.

Joe Hill’s murder would be enough in itself to mark November; however Labours memory of November starts with the execution of the Haymarket Martyrs (August Spies, George Engel, Adolph Fisher, and Albert Parsons) on Nov. 11, 1887.

150 I.W.W. free speech fighters were arrested in Spokane, Washington on Nov. 2,1909 – In 1916 on November 5th six Wobblies were massacred and 27 wounded in Everett, Washington when the County Sheriff and his vigilantes opened fire –15 Tulsa oil workers barely survived a lynching party Nov. 8, 1917, FW Wesley Everest was lynched in Centralia, Washington for defending the I.W.W. hall from rampaging American Legionaries Nov 11, 1919 – A few days later on November 15th 1919 the I.W.W.s main headquarters in New York City was ransacked and destroyed by federal agents under Attorney General Alexander Palmer and his stooge J. Edger Hoover. On Nov. 21st 1927 I.W.W. miners, on strike against the Columbine Mine in Colorado, were mowed down with machine gun fire leaving 6 dead (J.R. Davies ,John Eastenes, E.R. Jacques, G. Kosvich, Nick Stanudakis, and Mike Vidovitch) and 60 seriously wounded – FW Dalton Gentry was shot while on the picket line on the 4th of Nov. 1936 and finally on the last day of the month we commemorate the death of one of our founding members, Mother Jones, union agitator called by Pres. Theodore Roosevelt “The most dangerous women in America”

We also remember those hundreds of Fellow Workers that were gunned down by the tools of the state, died in jail cells, were murdered by vigilantes and German members that were killed by the Nazi’s.

We remember that these attacks on our FW’s is not in the distant past. FW Frank Terrugi was killed in 1973 by the Chilean junta, FW Judi Bari who survived a 1990 assassination attempt and FW Alex Svoboda physically brutalized by the North Providence R.I police on August 11, 2007.

These Fellow Workers only represent a small portion of those that have suffered and died for every small sop that has been gained by the working class. We owe it to them to never forget their sacrifices.

Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks.

Their children brought up easy let it slip away, poor fools

And their grandchildren are once more slaves

One Comment leave one →
  1. John Hudson permalink
    November 28, 2011 3:46 am

    There’s a new biography of Joe Hill, recently published: _The Man Who Didn’t Die_. It is apparently very good and, among other things, thoroughly investigates the murder case brought against him that resulted in his execution, and as far as possible given the lapse of time and evidence demonstrates the likeliness of his innocence.

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