Category Archives: IWW

Harvests (225)

To some extent, you can judge a book by its cover. The original cover of Red Harvest, first published by Knopf in 1929, exhibits many of the characteristic features of art deco, the dominant design style of the era.

Note the angularity of the lettering. The way the title itself has been squeezed so tightly it forces a break in the word “Harvest.” The bold black on white. The flat, bright patterning of the borders. These are all signifiers of a new cultural phase of modernity. They represent a conscious rejection of the curvilinear font and rich, embellished illustration found in an art nouveau poster like this advertisement for biscuits (what Americans call a cookie):

Continue reading

By and By (225/303/310/485)

Here’s the song The Boss killed a man for singing:

This is a parody of In the Sweet By and By sung by Cisco Houston and written in 1911 by Joe Hill, a Wobbly who was killed by the State of Utah for a crime he didn’t commit. Given Twain’s irreligiosity and his hatred of economic inequality, he probably would’ve liked Hill’s song.

Errata (310/485)

I confused a few issues today in class. Just for the sake of clarity, the Bread and Roses strike occurred in 1912 in Lawrence (not Lowell) Massachusetts. See for a basic outline. The IWW (Wobblies) was deeply involved in the strike and included people such as Big Bill Haywood and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (the latter became one of the founding figures of the ACLU).

hayeood 1913.jpg

The Paterson strike, which also involved the Wobblies, was the strike that Jack Reed covered as a reporter. He was almost immediately swept up in events and this was a turning point in his political development. Here is an article he wrote for The Masses, a publication that would be suppressed by the federal government for its anti-war position.

Here’s the cover. Note the name of the artist.