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Patriot Act vs Syndicalism Laws

Finding biographical material about IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) writers is a difficult task for most Wobblies, the movement was more important than recording the lives of individual members.

There was a cult of anonymity extended to the manner in which many Wobblies signed their own names, such as JBH, The Rambler, Card No. 34528, Denver Dan, Red, or Just Wob. Does this look familiar? Today’s young ‘Internet’ people are using made up names to maintain their anonymity, and this maybe one reason why OWS is still going strong. Its detractors have no one person they can vilify and use as an escape goat.

With this in mind, how long will it be before states deploy laws against the Occupiers, as they did during the Wobblies’ heyday? Wobblies were prosecuted under the Syndicalism Laws. Syndicalism, in this case, refers to the practice of organizing workers into unions to protect their rights and interests as workers. Today, we call Syndicalism Laws the Patriot Act.

Under the Syndicalism Laws, Wobblies, the old 99%, were arrested and sentenced without a jury trial. This method was called the Busick Injunction, a denial of one’s Constitutional Rights. The California Criminal Syndicalism Bill passed the state senate without a single opposing vote. California indicted 500 Wobblies from 1919 to 1924 and 124 were sentenced from one to fourteen years. San Pedro, Calif., 3,000 Wobblies protested the state Criminal Syndicalism Law and the lack of free speech.

A San Pedro vigilante group raided the IWW hall during an evening social and beat up men and women and dumped several young children into a cauldron of steaming coffee. Five Wobblies were taken out to the desert and tarred and feathered. Hot road tar was put on bare skin and then feathers stuck to the tar. All this was condoned by the federal government, which at the time (1917-1920) was to destroy the IWW Wobblies.

This was and is what we are fighting - class war for the workers against corporations and the GOP. Already Homeland Security services and its equipment that we, the 99%, paid for is being used against us: cops riot gear, LRAD Sound Cannons, satellite photographs, and cross country communications (in which all cities can plan and coordinate as we’ve already seen in the recent raids of camp sites).

The 1% and corporations’ opposition against the 99% are being seen in the plans they are implementing, such as going after Democratic candidates who have supported OWS and the other cities by dumping money into their opponents campaigns, and televisions commercials labeling any candidate or elected official who has expressed support of the protesters as unAmerican.

Change won’t happen by chance. If we, in unison, don’t fight now for what’s right for the majority then we will lose to the minority and our income gap will resemble that of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Somalia and Israel to name a few.

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