A Brief History of Change

First off, reading more than one source for one’s historical study and then beliefs is important, even essential because as has often been said “The victors write the history books.”

The massive divide (aforementioned here in my blogs) between urban and rural people due to personal desire, culture, comfort, what we were raised with and such all plays a major part in dis-union, differing views.

Urban demonstrations/protests that often resulted in gunfights, shootouts between “sides” including police and state militias isn’t unheard of right through U.S. history.

Two of many areas of study in my life have been the histories of cities, counties and states where I’ve lived and also the major events, rural and urban. White European settlers, U.S. born-and-bred folks, freed slaves, immigrants of various racial hue and of course Native Americans of many tribes all played and play a role.

Studying the industrial revolution, it’s many affects on the nation and in particular the eventual rise of trade unions, the West Virginia and other states coal miners vs. mine owners/management and the many riots, violence and bloodshed when the workers chose to organize regarding what they deemed (my term here) “plantation owner’s ethics” is an area of American history worth studying.

Chicago’s tactics on both “sides” are of interest- black as well as white blue-collar workers brought demands to corporation owners and management. Wages, work hours, child labor and safety issues were all major concerns which eventually brought about changes to laws and business practices of the wealthy, politically positioned -and in many cases professing Christian tycoons in Chicago and elsewhere.

In city after city where such street battles ensued it was not uncommon for authorities and business leaders to label the bulk of street demonstrations and those calling them out on fairness, equity and the ability to organize unions as Communists, Marxist-Socialists, even treasonous and enemies of the State -whether they were or were not.

There WERE a minority of actual communist-party elements, anarchists and true socialists involved, but often the demonstrators would be more accurately identified as sympathetic to at least some of those political views as dangerous and un-regulated business practices herded many into a continuum of poverty, disease, early deaths and other suffering due to long hours, an array of work conditions contributing to women, children, “lower class” corpses being pulled out of burnt buildings -not destroyed by arsonists or criminals but simply due to unsafe work spaces.

DID mob bosses infiltrate and in some cases play major roles in unionization of workers? Yes. Truth. Were some of the demonstrators guilty of tossing molotov cocktails, pulling a pistol and firing first, indeed so. Were they all in lock-mind and lock-step with later-day Soviet or today’s Chinese Communists? Certainly not.

The fact is that most of the demonstrators and marches were put down because those in political, civic and business control wanted peace and status-quo, not changes that were likely to affect their gains.

So many of the labor policies we take for granted as right, safe and beneficial in 2020 came as the result of those street events, union meetings and demands for change in our nation.

It was not unusual for a given business magnate in Chicago to pick up the phone, get the mayor on the line who then deployed the city police with weapons and in essence end the protest. When that didn’t work, the state militia was called in as many of the business/political leaders of the day having had bankrolled the pols and system itself would indeed get a quick response from the governor. Downtown Chicago has quite a history of such blood in the streets long before drug and other vice gangs came into the prominence they have today.

So you see, when I speak of change in our system/s, criticize and call for review and indeed mention injustice in our land, it starts with knowledge that change is not only possible but on the basis that so-called “worker’s riots” and so-called “race riots” in the “Great State of Illinois” have a long and inglorious, tragic history! Other cities and even rural areas in the nation are also likewise in the books as they should be. Know this: if we were to play the “who started it” game white folks win hands down. So let’s consider our times, now.

For black and brown and other people of color it’s much as it’s always been- “Hands UP!” Then “Shut up!” Then “Lock ’em up.”

If it ever seems I fret over status-quo “normalcy”, it is the historical lack of justice in status-quo policies, especially for “the least of these”. How interesting that in many of those street crowds where police and militia began shooting that a fair number of black workers were on the street along side the whites seeking humane change.

As for the clarion cry of “SOCIALISM”… the nation is certainly going to hell if we give an inch? Have a good, thorough read: https://www.truthorfiction.com/harry-s-truman-socialism-is-a-scare-word/

I pray, hope and work for change. Always have, always will. Call it what you want, we either stalemate in our cozy white injustice or we can progress with compassion and care for those in need. For the sake of “the least” we must all face the music.


As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

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