March 6 and 7 in working class history

In the French Republican Calendar, tomorrow, Saturday, March 7, 2020 is will be Septidi 17 Ventôse, the 166th day of year 228 of the first revolutionary era which lasted from 1789 through 1990.

 

Fête du jour (Feast day of the people): Doronic (Leopard’s Bane: Aconitum (/ˌækəˈnaɪtəm/), also known as “the queen of poisons”, aconite, monkshood, wolf’s bane, leopard’s bane, devil’s helmet or blue rocket, is a genus of over 250 species of flowering plants belonging to the family Ranunculaceae. Several species of Aconitum have been used as arrow poisons. The Minaro in Ladakh use A. napellus on their arrows to hunt ibex, while the Ainu in Japan used a species of Aconitum to hunt bear. The Chinese also used Aconitum poisons both for hunting and for warfare. Aconitum poisons were used by the Aleuts of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands for hunting whales. Also found in much of literature including the opening of Keats’ “Ode on Melancholy”:

“No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
Wolf’s-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine….”

An another poem to remind us that we are now living in the year that the Republican and Democratic House and Senate have approved a military budget exceeding $1 trillion for the first time.

 

“The war which is coming
Is not the first one. There were
Other wars before it.
When the last one came to an end
There were conquerors and conquered.
Among the conquered the common people
Starved. Among the conquerors
The common people starved too.”
Bertolt Brecht, Poems 1913-1956

Like last weekend in history, this second weekend of March is rich in the history of the working class challenging capital.

“Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it’s cowardice.”― George Jackson

102 years ago today and tomorrow were the 167th and 168th days of the Russian Revolution!
102 years ago today and tomorrow were the 122nd and 123rd days of the German Revolution that took place between 1918 and 1923!

March 6, 1886. USA. The Knights of Labor picket to protest the practices of the Southwestern Railroad system, and the company’s chief financier Jay Gould. Some 9,000 workers walked off the job, halting service on 5,000 miles of track. The workers held out for two months, many suffering from hunger, before they finally returned to work.

March 6, 1917. Russian Revolution. The Provisional Government declares a general amnesty for all political prisoners.

March 6, 1930. USA. Nationwide working class protest. Known as Unemployed Day and also Red Thursday. With the Great Depression underway, hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers demonstrated in some 30 cities and towns; close to 100,000 filled Union Square in New York City. The workers gathered in Union Square were viscously attacked by mounted cops.

March 7, 1932. USA. Dearborn Massacre of auto workers. 3,000 unemployed auto workers went into the bitter cold of an exceptionally cold winter in Dearborn, Michigan. They were demanding jobs and relief from Henry Ford. The marchers got close to the gates of the factory and were gassed. After re-grouping, they were sprayed with water and then the police opened fire with rifles and pistols at the gathering. Four men died from the police gunshots immediately; 60 more were wounded.

March 7, 1937. USA. Steel Workers Organizing Committee—soon to become the United Steel Workers—signs its first-ever contract, with Carnegie-Illinois, for $5 a day in wages and benefits.

March 7, 1965. USA. Bloody Sunday: A group of 600 civil rights marchers are attacked by police forcefully broken up in Selma, Alabama.

March 6, 1968. USA. Los Angeles. The East Los Angeles Walkouts or “Chicano Blowouts”, a series of 1968 protests against rampant inequality in Los Angeles Unified School District high schools, began on this day. Many of those who organized the walkouts evolved into Young Chicanos For Community Action, then later the Brown Berets, but still fought for Mexican-American equality in California. Esparza graduated 12th grade in 1967, then continued on to UCLA. There, he and his fellow Chicano students continued organizing protests. He and eleven friends started a group called UMAS. UMAS traveled around to universities recruiting Chicano students who wanted to help increase Chicano enrollment in college.

 

March 6, 1972. USA. Mostly young workers at a Lordstown, Ohio, GM assembly plant stage a wildcat strike, largely in objection to the grueling work pace: at 101.6 cars per hour, their assembly line was believed to be the fastest in the world.

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