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You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
                                                      -Mother Jones

Jack London
Saturday May 9, 1903
From The Comrade: "How I Became a Socialist"

In the March issue of The Comrade, Jack London was asked to write of his journey to Socialism:
It is quite fair to say that I became a Socialist in a fashion somewhat similar to the way in which the Teutonic pagans became Christians — it was hammered into me. Not only was I not looking for Socialism at the time of my conversion, but I was fighting it. I was very young and callow, did not know much of anything, and though I had never even heard of a school called "Individualism," I sang the paean of the strong with all my heart.

This was because I was strong myself. By strong I mean that I had good health and hard muscles...this optimism was because I was healthy and strong, bothered with neither aches nor weaknesses, never turned down by the boss because I did not look fit, able always to get a job at shoveling coal, sailorizing, or manual labor of some sort...

As for the unfortunates, the sick, and ailing, and old, and maimed, I must confess I hardly thought of them at all, save that I vaguely felt that they, barring accidents, could be as good as I if they wanted to real hard, and could work just as well. Accidents? Well, they represented FATE, also spelled out in capitals, and there was no getting around FATE...

In short, my joyous individualism was dominated by the orthodox bourgeois ethics. I read the bourgeois papers, listened to the bourgeois preachers, and shouted at the sonorous platitudes of the bourgeois politicians...

Just about this time, returning from a seven months' voyage before the mast, and just turned eighteen, I took it into my head to go tramping...

I found there all sorts of men. many of whom had once been as good as my self and just as blond-beastly: sailor-men, soldier-men, labor-men, all wrenched and distorted and twisted out of shape by toil and hardship and accident, and cast adrift by their masters like so many old horses. I battered on the drag and slammed back gates with them, or shivered with them in box cars and city parks, listening the while to life histories which began under auspices as fair as mine, with digestions and bodies equal to and better than mine, and which ended there before my eyes in the shambles at the bottom of the Social Pit...

And I confess a terror seized me. What when my strength failed? when I would be unable to work shoulder to shoulder with the strong men who were as yet babes unborn?...

I think it is apparent that my rampant individualism was pretty effectively hammered out of me, and something else as effectively hammered in. But, just as I had been an individualist without knowing it, I was now a Socialist without knowing it, withal, an unscientific one. I had been reborn, but not renamed, and I was running around to find out what manner of thing I was. I ran back to California and opened the books. I do not remember which ones I opened first. It is an unimportant detail anyway. I was already It, whatever It was, and by aid of the books I discovered that It was a Socialist. Since that day I have opened many books, but no economic argument, no lucid demonstration of the logic and inevitableness of Socialism affects me as profoundly and convincingly as I was affected on the day when I first saw the walls of the Social Pit rise around me and felt myself slipping down, down into the shambles at the bottom.

The Comrade
March 1903

Friday May 9, 1913
From the Huntington Herald-Dispatch: Report on the raid on The Socialist and Labor Star

Acting under the orders issued from the executive offices of Governor Hatfield, the military and civil authorities of Huntington at two o'clock this morning confiscated an edition of the Huntington Socialist and Labor Star, which had been prepared for publication tomorrow and arrested four men alleged to be connected with the Socialist paper.

The men arrested were W. H. Thompson, the editor; R. M. Kephart, George Gillespie and Elmer Rumball. They were taken to the county jail. Thompson and Rumball were locked up while Kephart and Gillespie were allowed to remain in the custody of the jailer. Warrants had been issued for another man named Sturm, alleged to be connected with the Socialist publication, but early this morning he had not yet been apprehended.

Arrests were made by Major T. B. Davis, Lieutenants Templeton and Rice, of Huntington, Lieutenant Rippetoe, of Charleston, and Deputy-sheriff D. W. Frampton.

This pro-operator paper fails to mention that the paper's office and printing plant were completely destroyed in the raid. The crime of those arrested was to oppose the Governor's settlement of the miner's strike, and to say so in the pages of The Socialist and Labor Star.

West Virginia Archives and History

Thursday May 9, 2013
From Labor Notes: Republic Windows Workers Open Co-op!

They inspired the country when they sat down inside their Chicago factory in December 2008, and now they’ll have the chance to inspire us again—this time as worker-owners.

The workers who used to build windows at Republic Windows and Doors have bought the equipment from a cut-and-run owner. This afternoon marks the grand opening of their factory, New Era Window Cooperative, now housed in a former Campbell Soup plant for lower rent....

The [United Electrical Workers'] union will continue to represent the workforce. UE has, in fact, a co-op division for similar worker-run businesses. UE members have been to Mexico to meet with members of the co-op division of the FAT, the UE’s sister federation there..

Read the full article by Jane Slaughter here:

New Windows Era Cooperative

The Sit-down Strike, a great labor story!

Democracy Now covers the story:

Originally posted to Hellraisers Journal on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:35 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Anti-Capitalist Chat.

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