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View Diary: Hellraisers Journal: Strike of Colorado City Smeltermen Continues (8 comments)

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  •  So glad you are talking about the company (5+ / 0-)

    towns! They had similar things in the UK (called Mill towns as they were often in the textile district up in Lancashire and the Yorkshire Ridings). People just don't understand what power this gave the mine company over people's lives. Homes (if you could call them that) were rented from the company, you could only redeem chits at company stores (you were paid in chits in some places only redeemable at the company store) and they could charge what they wanted for low level quality products as you could only use the damn chits in those stores.

    They creation of the consumer's cooperative undermined what were called Tommy shops in Britain where what was available was of low quality (sawdust in tea to fill it out) and worker's could only buy there as they were paid in scrip; the coop sold good quality, unadulterated goods and there was the divi, you joined and the more shopped the more you got back. It was a major innovation

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    From the above article, there is a quote by Cobbett:

    "[...] William Cobbett reports the use of the truck or tommy system in Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury. He describes the logic of the Tommy as:
    The manner of carrying on the tommy system is this: suppose there to be a master who employs a hundred men. That hundred men, let us suppose, to earn a pound a week each. This is not the case in the iron-works; but no matter, we can illustrate our meaning by one sum as well as by another. These men lay out weekly the whole of the hundred pounds in victuals, drink, clothing, bedding, fuel, and house-rent. Now, the master finding the profits of his trade fall off very much, and being at the same time in want of money to pay the hundred pounds weekly, and perceiving that these hundred pounds are carried away at once, and given to shopkeepers of various descriptions; to butchers, bakers, drapers, hatters, shoemakers, and the rest; and knowing that, on an average, these shopkeepers must all have a profit of thirty per cent., or more, he determines to keep this thirty per cent. to himself; and this is thirty pounds a week gained as a shop-keeper, which amounts to 1,560l. a year. He, therefore, sets up a tommy shop: a long place containing every commodity that the workman can want, liquor and house-room excepted."

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 04:39:53 PM PDT

    •  Never realized that UK had the company town (5+ / 0-)

      system also. Were there also mass evictions during strikes?

      Combined with the company guard system, it really was peonage.

      When I was at the 75th Ludlow memorial, I walked up the road to where the foundations of a company town are still there. Very tiny & to think that a whole family lived there! Mother Jones called the houses dog-kennels.

      WE NEVER FORGET For March: Francis Estep, UMWA Martyr

      by JayRaye on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 04:48:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The food coops broke the system (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayRaye, Tinfoil Hat

        as they spread rapidly undermining the truck system; I saw some really cool coop money (it was a chit) earned for work in the store for milk; they had an exhibit at the Whitechapel gallery on the history of the coop (the modern coop comes from the initial store on Toad Lane). It was peonage and you could not escape the system until it was broken; you lose the job, you lose the crappy shack, your wage was low and paid in chits, there was no savings. I didn't know they existed over in Britain until I was doing research on cooperatives; I knew of company towns in the US, but didn't realise that they existed here. I went to a mill town up near Manchester where they had laid out all the technological innovations that led to the workers being put in factories instead of the putting out system. They had discussions of health and safety and child labour; they also, given it was cotton textiles, correctly had a discussion of slavery and the slave system (the most surreal moment was an economist standing next to me who did not understand why they were discussing slavery in a museum about the textile industry and mill towns in Lancashire) ... heck, child labour, horrific and unsafe conditions, technological transformations and demonstration of the machinery that was not surreal, it was the incredibly stupid comment by an economist that made me gasp aloud.

        "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 05:03:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No wonder there was so much (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NY brit expat

          International Solidarity at the time!

          WE NEVER FORGET For March: Francis Estep, UMWA Martyr

          by JayRaye on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 05:07:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  that was also due to the strength of (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JayRaye

            the overall struggle as well and also a strong left that pushed international solidarity, I think. Workers have been played against each other in different countries, exploitation of those in the periphery also was normalised as part of an imperialist agenda. Many things destroyed international solidarity. Way back when, I found a statement sent in support of the spitalfields silk weavers from overseas (early 19th century) and a statement to workers in Belgium that were striking as well. I wonder also if the mainstreaming of unions (both as recognised as legal and legitimate and also as solely reform organisations) had an impact. Capital has been internationalised for quite some time; they have managed to keep labour divided across nations and within the same country. Divide and rule is a very powerful weapon unfortunately as is nationalism and jingoism

            "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

            by NY brit expat on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 05:45:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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