Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 1920, Attorney General Mitchell Palmer launched the latest in a series of raids, arresting thousands of foreign-born radicals and so-called “labor agitators.” The raids actually began the previous year, which had seen a great deal of social conflict--a wave of strikes, the passage of both Prohibition and Women's Suffrage, and a race riot in Chicago.
A series of bombings by suspected anarchists began in the summer of 1919; on June 2, bombs went off in eight cities, including Washington DC, where Palmer's home was partially destroyed. Just who set the bombs remained unclear.
Although there were only about 70, 000 self professed Communists in the United States -- many Americans called them "reds," after the color of the Russian communist flag -- Palmer blamed them for a wide range of social ills, including the bombings. Encouraged by Congress, which had refused to seat Victor Berger, the duly elected socialist from Wisconsin, Mitchell began a series of showy and well publicized raids against radicals and leftists. Striking without warning and without warrants, Palmer's men smashed union offices and the headquarters' of Communist and Socialist organizations. They concentrated whenever possible on aliens rather than citizens, because aliens had fewer rights.
Palmer encouraged the raids in the hope that they would advance his presidential ambitions, but ultimately, the extra-constitutional nature of the raids destroyed his political career. He was viewed not as a savior but rather a threat to the civil rights and liberties of all Americans.
Today’s labor quote is by libertarian author and lecturer James Bovard
"As long as enough people can be frightened, then all people can be ruled. That is how it works in a democratic system and mass fear becomes the ticket to destroy rights across the board."