On today’s Labor Calendar, the film “Cotton Road” screens tonight as part of the Bread & Roses series at the Takoma Park Busboys & Poets. Americans consume nearly 20 billion new items of clothing annually, yet few of us know how our clothes are made, much less who produces them. From South Carolina farms to Chinese factories, “Cotton Road” explores the grim realities of the global supply chain. The free screening starts at 6p; for up-to-date listings for local labor activities, go to dclabor.org and click on calendar.
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1884, Federal troops drove some 1,200 jobless workers from Washington D.C. Led by unemployed activist Charles "Hobo" Kelley, the group included young journalist Jack London and William “Big Bill” Haywood, a young miner-cowboy who helped found the IWW.
In 2013, Maine lobster fishers formed a local of the Machinists union as they faced a 40-year low price for their catches, along with other issues. By October, some 600 had joined.
Today’s labor quote is by Jack London, from his novel, Martin Eden:
“As for me, you wonder why I am a socialist. I'll tell you. It is because socialism is inevitable; because the present rotten and irrational system cannot endure; because the day is past for your man on horseback. The slaves won't stand for it. They are too many, and willy-nilly they'll drag down the would-be equestrian before he gets astride. You can't get away from them, and you'll have to swallow the whole slave-morality. It's not a nice mess, I'll allow. But it's been a-brewing and swallow it you must.”