In my younger years I was a labor organizer for the IWW….I worked mainly with bartenders and casino workers….you have not lived until you try to organize workers at at a casino…..
Anyway as a organizer for the IWW I learned about the early days and especially about one of the “saints” of the labor movement, Joe Hill…..who was murdered in November1915 ……learn more about this extraordinary man……
Don’t mourn – organise!
Joel Emmanuel Haaglund was born in Gefle, Sweden in 1882. He emigrated to the United States in 1901 and settled in California where he changed his name to Joe Hill. Converted to socialism in 1910, Hill became a member of the revolutionary rank-and-file union the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and was one of the leaders of the San Pedro dock workers’ strike. In 1912 he was beaten up and permanently scarred during a free speech campaign in San Diego.
Hill, left, was also a songwriter and his socialist songs appeared in the trade union newspapers, Industrial Worker and Solidarity. After his Red Songbook was published his songs were sung on picket lines and demonstrations. Songs such as The Preacher and the Slave (the phrase “pie in the sky” originates from a lyric in this song) and Casey Jones – The Union Scab became internationally known folk songs.
He was jailed and executed by firing squad in Salt Lake City, Utah…..his final wish was to Big Bill Haywood leader of the IWW….. “Could you arrange to have my body hauled to the state line to be buried? I don’t want to be found dead in Utah.”
Below is a song about Joe Hill sung by Paul Robeson…..
More songs from the IWW…..