Monday, June 16, 2014

Great Strike of 1877

The Great Strike of 1877 … People power is at its best when it is spontaneous and unorganized. This is when new ideas and new leaders are born and this is how the biggest strike started in the railroads and railroad yards of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which involved the Pennsylvania National Guard, federal troops, with a Gatling gun, who were trapped in a wooden railroad round house (the round house is used to turn train engines around). Strikers set the round house, box cars on fire, and then pushed these box cars into the round house, which forced the troops to flee to a U.S. arsenal. The damage was more than 100 locomotives, two-thousand freight cars, a grain elevator and the city’s main passenger depot—two square miles of America’s greatest industrial city lay in total ruin all because of the owners’ greed and underestimating the power of the people. This is why the anti-worker GOP and the 1 percent should look at the history of what happened when workers are pushed into a corner with no hope. Hungry people will fight to feed and take care of their families. By now the 1877 strike has taken on a life of its own all across America causing violence and turmoil on a scale unprecedented in America’s peace time history. Also at this time in history, an ex-confederate officer, Albert Parsons, driven from the south for his liberal ideas went before a crowd of thirty-thousand to appeal to the unemployed war veterans, he urged the heroes of the Grand Army of the Republic—now soldiers in what Parsons termed a Grand Army of Starvation—to join the Grand Army of Labor. All of this could very well repeat itself today. The pieces of the puzzle are there and it is just a matter of whom or what will put them together for another 1877 event. Remember one way to stop or slow this down would be the $15 to $18 an hour supported by free education. Hopefully, returning veterans today will go toward the labor movement and not the KKK or other anti-government hate groups.