January 12, 2012 will be the 100 year anniversary of the 'Bread and Roses' textile workers Strike in Lawrence, Mass. The dire conditions leading up to the strike remind some of the current socio-political climate and offer lessons for workers' struggles today.
The Boston Globe reports today:
The action, known as the Bread and Roses Strike, not only called attention to horrific conditions in the mills, but also to the concentration of wealth and power in the United States, an issue that 100 years later would spur protesters to Occupy Wall Street, Boston, and other cities across the country.
The essence of the Lawrence strike resonates loudly in today’s Main Street vs. Wall Street fight, with income disparities brought to light by the 1912 walkout reexamined through the lens of high unemployment, a shrinking middle class, and the view that most economic benefits have flowed to the wealthiest Americans. [...]
The desperation that drove poor textile workers to abandon their jobs for the picket lines is echoed in the frustration that drove people to camp out in financial districts across the country.
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James Green, a labor historian at UMass Boston, sees similarities to the 1912 uprising in many recent events, not only in the Occupy movement but in the Tea Party, the aggressive tactics of striking Verizon workers last summer, and customers railing against new Bank of America fees.
Steve Early recently examined contemporary Lawrence for In These Times: