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PATTY HEARST AND THE (SLA) Symbionese Liberation Army

PATTY HEARST AND THE (SLA) Symbionese Liberation Army

Patricia Campbell “Patty” Hearst (born February 20, 1954), now known as Patricia Hearst Shaw, is the granddaughter of American publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. She became nationally known for events following her 1974 kidnapping while she was a 19-year-old student living in Berkeley, California. Hearst was abducted by a left-wing terrorist group known as the Symbionese Liberation Army. After being isolated and threatened with death, she became supportive of their cause, making propaganda announcements for them and taking part in illegal activities.

Hearst was found 19 months after her kidnapping, by which time she was a fugitive wanted for serious crimes. She was held in custody, despite speculation that her family’s resources would prevent her from spending time in jail. At her trial, the prosecution suggested that she had joined the Symbionese Liberation Army of her own volition, and that sexual activities between her and SLA members were consensual. She was found guilty of bank robbery. Hearst’s sentence was commuted by President Jimmy Carter, and she was pardoned by President Bill Clinton.

Kidnapping

On February 4, 1974, 19-year-old Hearst was kidnapped from her Berkeley, California, apartment. She was beaten and lost consciousness during the abduction. Shots were fired from a machine gun during the incident. An urban guerrilla group called the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) claimed responsibility for the abduction.[3]
SLA

The SLA was formed through contacts made by a leftist-oriented study group, coordinated by a University of California, Berkeley, professor. Its purpose was the tutelage of black inmates, and over time the ethos became increasingly radicalized. Eventually, black convicts were viewed as heroic political prisoners, victimised by a racist American society.[4]

On March 5, 1973, Donald DeFreezeescaped from prison. Radical penal activists and future SLA members, Russell Little and William Wolfe, took DeFreeze to Patricia Soltysik‘s house.[5]The SLA was led by DeFreeze, who, after a prison acquaintance named Wheeler left, was the only African American. By the time the group became active, most of the members of the tiny group were women, some of whom have, like Soltysik and her roommate Nancy Ling Perry, been described as in lesbian relationships. The members included William and Emily Harris and Angela Atwood.

DeFreeze was suspected by many on the radical left of being a government provocateur, but his race and prison time gave him unquestioned authority in the SLA. He also had sexual dominion over women in the group.[6][7] They acquired resources by robbing the homes of leftists in the Bay Area. The first proposed operation, assassinating the head of the state penitentiaries, was cancelled because of possible repercussions for inmates; instead Marcus Foster, a black educator regarded by the SLA as a fascist who had brought police onto school campuses, was targeted and killed.

DeFreeze’s projections of the military strength of the then dozen-strong SLA group were hyperbolic, and he gave himself a concomitantly grandiose title of ‘field marshal’. Soltysik is believed to have created much of the SLA ideological material, which stated the organization was opposed to “racism, sexism, agism, fascism, individualism, competitiveness, possessiveness and all other institutions that have made or sustained capitalism”.[5]

Motives

Hearst’s kidnapping was partly opportunistic, as she lived close to the SLA hideout. According to testimony, the main intention was to leverage the Hearst family’s political influence to free two SLA members arrested for the killing of Oakland’s first black superintendent, Marcus Foster. Faced with the failure to free the imprisoned men, the SLA demanded that the captive’s family distribute $70 worth of food to every needy Californian – an operation that would cost an estimated $400 million. In response, Hearst’s father took out a loan and arranged the immediate donation of $2 million worth of food to the poor of the Bay Area. The distribution descended into chaos, and the SLA refused to release Hearst.[5]

Hearst’s account

According to Hearst’s later testimony, she was in a closet blindfolded with her hands tied for a week, during which time DeFreeze repeatedly threatened her with death.[8] She was let out for meals and, blindfolded, began to join in the political discussions; she was given a flashlight and SLA political tracts to learn. After she had been confined in the closet for weeks, “DeFreeze told me that the war council had decided or was thinking about killing me or me staying with them, and that I better start thinking about that as a possibility.” Hearst said “I accommodated my thoughts to coincide with theirs”. Asked for her decision, Hearst said she wanted to stay and fight with the SLA, and the blindfold was removed, allowing her to see her captors for the first time. After this she was given lessons on her duties, especially weapons drills, every day. Angela Atwood told Hearst that the others thought she should know what sexual freedom was like in the unit; she was then raped by William “Willie” Wolfe, and later by DeFreeze.

Wolfe’s father’s P.I. Lake Headley investigation results

During the Hearst kidnapping saga, two of the families of SLA members, including Willie Wolfe‘s father, contracted Headley to investigate the matter.[12]

Headley concluded his investigation, and filed a sworn affidavit of his findings. Among these included:

On May 4, 1974, Headley, along with freelance writer Donald Freed, held a press conference in San Francisco. They presented 400 pages of documentation of their findings, some of which included:

  • a year before the kidnapping Patty Hearst had visited black convict, Donald DeFreeze, who later became the SLA‘s figurehead;[12]
  • DeFreeze’s arrest records;
  • the work of Colston Westbrook with Los Angeles Police Department‘s CCS (Criminal Conspiracy Section) and the State of California’s Sacramento-based CII (Criminal Identification and Investigation) unit;[14] and
  • evidence of links of the CIA to police departments.[15][16][17]

On May 17, 1974, The New York Timesran the story of DeFreeze and the Los Angeles Police Department.[18] However, the story was largely overlooked due to this being the day of the shoot out and conflagration that killed DeFreeze and five other members of the SLA.

In a book he co-wrote with freelance writer, William Hoffman, Vegas P.I.: The Life and Times of America’s Greatest Detective, he presented well-documented evidence that Donald DeFreeze, was a police informant and an agent provocateur.

Headley also uncovered evidence that, in the house fire in LA that killed six members of the SLA, at least one of the suspects was shot in the back while trying to surrender.

Announcement

On April 3, 1974, two months after she was abducted, Hearst announced on an audiotape that she had joined the SLA and assumed the name “Tania”[20](inspired by the nom de guerre of Haydée Tamara Bunke BiderChe Guevara‘s comrade).

Wikipedia.org

 

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“The Move Organization, John Africa and The Bombing of West Philly – 5/13/85” 

“The Move Organization, John Africa and The Bombing of West Philly – 5/13/85” 

American Neighborhood

11 Things You Didn’t Know About The Time Police Bombed An American neighborhood.


Written by a Newsone staff member.

 On May 13 1985, a bomb was dropped on a row house in Philadelphia, unleashing a relentless fire that eventually burned down 61 houses, killed 11 people (including five children), and injured Neighborhood.

 The fire department stood by idly. The Philadelphia Police Department did the same. The fire raged on, swallowing up home after home until more than 200 were without shelter.

It’s a shameful part of recent American history that’s somehow been buried under 31 years and other destructions that have fallen on the city of Philadelphia. NewsOne decided to take a trip back in time to explore what happened the day America bombed its own people.

Here are 11 things you should know about the MOVE Philadelphia bombing:

– Move is a Philadelphia-based Black liberation group that preached revolution and advocated the return to a natural lifestyle. They lived communally and vowed to lead a life uninterrupted by the government, police, or technology. They were passionate supporters of animal rights. Members adopted vegan diets and the surname “Africa.” Often times they would engage in public demonstrations related to issues they deemed important.

– MOVE did, however, have a past with the police. Since inception in 1972, the group was looked at as a threat to the Philadelphia Police Department. In 1978, police raided their Powelton Village homes and as a result, one police officer died after being shot in the head. Nine MOVE members were arrested, charged with third-degree murder, and sent to prison. They argued that the police officer was shot in the back of his head on his way into the home, challenging the claim that he was shot by members inside the house. Eventually the group relocated to their infamous house on 6221 Osage Street.

– There are differing reports about the group and how troublesome they actually were. According to the AP, neighbors complained about their house on Osage, which was barricaded with plywood and allegedly contained a multitude of weapons. It has been said that the group built a giant wooden bunker on the roof and used a bullhorn to “scream obscenities at all hours of the night,” angering those living in nearby row houses. Eventually, they turned to city officials for help, which put into motion the events of May 13, 1985.

– On that day, armed police, the fire department, and city officials gathered at the house in an attempt to clear it out and arrest MOVE members who had been indicted for crimes like parole violation and illegal possession of firearms. When police tossed tear gas canisters into the home, MOVE members fired back. In turn, the police discharged their guns.

– Eventually a police helicopter flew over the home and dropped two bombs on the row house. A ferocious blaze followed.

– Witnesses and MOVE members say that when members started to run out of the burning structure to escape a fiery death, police continued to fire their weapons.

– The fire department delayed putting out the flames. After the blaze, they claimed they didn’t want to put their men in harm’s way, because MOVE members were still firing their guns. But MOVE members and witnesses say the wait was deliberate.

– In the end, 11 people, including MOVE’s founder John Africa, were dead. Five children died in the home.

– This is the only child survivor (see picture below). His name is Birdie Africa, but it was later changed to Michael Ward. He ran out of the burning house naked and covered in flames. He survived his third-degree burns and went on to live a normal life, although he was scarred forever by the lifelong burns on his abdomen, arms, and face.

 – Michael Ward was found dead on Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 in the jacuzzi aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean. He was on vacation with his family. Initial autopsy reports say he drowned.

 – In the end, no one from the city government was criminally charged.

Phill, Independent research | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Museum

MORE ASTOUNDING FACTS:

Pennsylvania State Police helicopter took off from the command post at 63rd and Walnut, flew a few times over 6221 Osage Avenue, and then hovered 60 feet above the two-story house in the Black, middle-class West Philadelphia neighborhood. After radioing firefighters on the ground and lighting the bomb’s 45-second fuse — and with the official approval of Mayor W. Wilson Goode and at the insistence of Police Commissioner Gregore Sambor — Lt. Frank Powell, chief of Philadelphia’s bomb disposal unit, tossed the bomb onto the roof of the bunker.

 The resulting blast, lead to a large, bright orange ball of fire that reached 7,200 degrees Fahrenheit. The aftermath left 11 dead (including five completely innocent and defenseless children) and the incineration of 61 homes. Among the dead were, 7-year-old Tomasa, 9-year-old Delicia, 10-year-old Phil, 11-year-old Netta, 13-year-old Tree, and 25-year-old Rhonda. 

Once the bomb was dropped on the MOVE house, the city’s fire department that was already on the scene, was instructed to stand down and let the resulting fire destroy the building. The fire department stood idly by, as the intense fire spread and destroyed a total of 61 homes, most of them owned by residents who were forced to watch helplessly as their houses were consumed by fire. Although many of the block’s residents had complained about being besieged by MOVE members spreading their beliefs using a bullhorn, these same residents tried to stop the police siege of their community when they saw the police force that was deployed.

philly bombingIn the wake of the bombing, the Philadelphia Special Investigation Commission (better known as the MOVE Commission) was formed to investigate

the bombing. After extensive interviews, many of which were of police officers, the Commission said what took place was “criminally evil.” There is eyewitness testimony and evidence, to indicate that the people fleeing the burning building were shot at and shot by the police, as they exited into the back alley of the building. The Commission also stated on record, that this would never had happened “had the MOVE house and its occupants been situated in a comparable white neighborhood.” MOVE Commission Chairman William Brown, stated, “I firmly believe that more people got out than Birdie and Ramona and that’s something that still nags at me. I believe that someone, someday will deliver a deathbed confession …” And the Commission itself noted in Finding Number 28 of its official report that “police gunfire in the rear alley prevented the escape from the fire of some occupants of the MOVE house.

Even though the city of Philly had a Black mayor, Wilson Goode, and a Black city Managing Director, Leo Brooks, this atrocity was still allowed to occur. Even after the mayor had a meeting with 5 influential Black political leaders at his home on the morning of the bombing, he still gave the go-ahead to the police department to execute the dropping of the bombs.

“Were we wanted for rape, robbery, murder? No, nothing,” Ramona Africa, the only living MOVE survivor of that day, told the Guardian newspaper. Africa linked the bombing to the recent police killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Freddie Gray: “These people that take an oath that swear to protect, save lives – the cops don’t defend poor people, poor white, black, Latino people. They don’t defend us, they kill us.

“All you have to do is look at the rash of police murders and the cops not being held accountable,” she added. “That should really alarm and outrage people, but the thing is that it’s happening today because it wasn’t stopped in ’85. The only justice that can be done is people seeing this system for what it is.”

Source:  https://blackmainstreet.net/never-forget-1985-bombing-west-philedelphia-pa/

ABOUT MOVE: Belief and Practice

The MOVE Organization is a family of strong, serious, deeply committed revolutionaries founded by a wise, perceptive, strategically minded Black man named JOHN AFRICA. The principle of our belief is explained in a collection of writings we call “The Guidelines,” authored by JOHN AFRICA. To honor our beloved Founder, and acknowledge the wisdom and strength He has given us, we say “LONG LIVE JOHN AFRICA!”

 

http://onamove.com/about/

 

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“Capitalism vs Communism – Freedom versus Oppression – Propaganda Cartoon – Cold War 1940s” 

“Capitalism vs Communism – Freedom versus Oppression – Propaganda Cartoon – Cold War 1940s” 

 

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“The Story Of The Tuskegee Airmen Documentary – Military Channel” 

“The Story Of The Tuskegee Airmen Documentary – Military Channel” 

Featured image: http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/tuskegee-airmen
The Tuskegee Airmen /tʌsˈkɡ/[1] is the popular name of a group of African-American military pilots (fighter and bomber) who fought in World War II. Officially, they formed the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Forces. The name also applies to the navigators, bombardiers, mechanics, instructors, crew chiefs, nurses, cooks and other support personnel for the pilots.

All black military pilots who trained in the United States trained at Moton Field, the Tuskegee Army Air Field, and were educated at Tuskegee University, located near Tuskegee, Alabama. The group included five Haitians from the Haitian Air Force, and one pilot from Trinidad.[2]

Although the 477th Bombardment Group trained with North American B-25 Mitchell bombers, they never served in combat. The 99th Pursuit Squadron(later, 99th Fighter Squadron) was the first black flying squadron, and the first to deploy overseas (to North Africa in April 1943, and later to Sicily and Italy). The 332nd Fighter Group, which originally included the 100th, 301st, and 302nd Fighter Squadrons, was the first black flying group. The group deployed to Italy in early 1944. In June 1944, the 332nd Fighter Group began flying heavy bomber escort missions, and in July 1944, the 99th Fighter Squadron was assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group, which then had four fighter squadrons.

The 99th Fighter Squadron was initially equipped with Curtiss P-40 Warhawkfighter-bomber aircraft. The 332nd Fighter Group and its 100th, 301st and 302nd Fighter Squadrons were equipped for initial combat missions with Bell P-39 Airacobras (March 1944), later with Republic P-47 Thunderbolts (June–July 1944), and finally with the aircraft with which they became most commonly associated, the North American P-51 Mustang (July 1944). When the pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group painted the tails of their P-47s and later, P-51s, red, the nickname “Red Tails” was coined. The red markings that distinguished the Tuskegee Airmen included red bands on the noses of P-51s as well as a red rudder; the P-51B and D Mustangs flew with similar color schemes, with red propeller spinners, yellow wing bands and all-red tail surfaces.

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the United States Armed Forces. During World War II, black Americans in many U.S. states were still subject to the Jim Crow laws[N 1] and the American military was racially segregated, as was much of the federal government. The Tuskegee Airmen were subjected to discrimination, both within and outside the army.

BACKGROUND

Before the Tuskegee Airmen, no African-American had been a U.S. military pilot. In 1917, African-American men had tried to become aerial observers, but were rejected.[4] African-American Eugene Bullard served in the French air service during World War I, because he was not allowed to serve in an American unit. Instead, Bullard returned to infantry duty with the French.[5]

The racially motivated rejections of World War I African-American recruits sparked over two decades of advocacy by African-Americans who wished to enlist and train as military aviators. The effort was led by such prominent civil rights leaders as Walter White of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, labor union leader A. Philip Randolph, and Judge William H. Hastie. Finally, on 3 April 1939, Appropriations Bill Public Law 18 was passed by Congress containing an amendment by Senator Harry H. Schwartz, designating funds for training African-American pilots. The War Department managed to put the money into funds of civilian flight schools willing to train black Americans.[4]

War Department tradition and policy mandated the segregation of African-Americans into separate military units staffed by white officers, as had been done previously with the 9th Cavalry10th Cavalry24th Infantry Regimentand 25th Infantry Regiment. When the appropriation of funds for aviation training created opportunities for pilot cadets, their numbers diminished the rosters of these older units.[6] In 1941, the War Department and the Army Air Corps, under pressure — three monthsbefore its transformation into the USAAF — constituted the first all-black flying unit, the 99th Pursuit Squadron.[citation needed]

Due to the restrictive nature of selection policies, the situation did not seem promising for African-Americans since, in 1940, the U.S. Census Bureau reported there were only 124 African-American pilots in the nation.[7] The exclusionary policies failed dramatically when the Air Corps received an abundance of applications from men who qualified, even under the restrictive requirements. Many of the applicants already had participated in the late-December 1938 unveiled Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP), Tuskegee University had participated since 1939.[8]

Portrait of Tuskegee airman Edward M. Thomas by photographer Toni Frissell, March 1945

 
 

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“Prohibition in the United States: National Ban of Alcohol” 

Detroit police inspecting equipment found in a clandestine brewery during the Prohibition era

Every Day Will Be Sunday When the Town Goes Dry (1918–1919)

Prohibition in the United States was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages that remained in place from 1920 to 1933. During the 19th century, alcoholism, family violence, and saloon-based political corruption prompted activists, led by pietistic Protestants, to end the alcoholic beverage trade to cure the ill society and weaken the political opposition. One result was that many communities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries introduced alcohol prohibition, with the subsequent enforcement in law becoming a hotly debated issue. Prohibition supporters, called drys, presented it as a victory for public morals and health.

Promoted by the “dry” crusaders, the movement was led by pietistic Protestants and social Progressives in the Prohibition, Democratic, and Republican parties. It gained a national grass roots base through the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. After 1900 it was coordinated by the Anti-Saloon League. Opposition from the beer industry, mobilized “wet” supporters from the Catholic and German Lutheran communities. They had funding to fight back but by 1917–18 the German community had been marginalized by the nation’s war against Germany, and the brewing industry was shut down in state after state by the legislatures and finally nationwide under the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920. Enabling legislation, known as the Volstead Act, set down the rules for enforcing the federal ban and defined the types of alcoholic beverages that were prohibited. For example, religious use of wine was allowed. Private ownership and consumption of alcohol were not made illegal under federal law, but local laws were stricter in many areas, with some states banning possession outright.

In the 1920s the laws were widely disregarded, and tax revenues were lost. Very well organized criminal gangs took control of the beer and liquor supply for many cities, unleashing a crime wave that shocked the nation. By the late 1920s a new opposition mobilized nationwide. Wets attacked prohibition as causing crime, lowering local revenues, and imposing rural Protestant religious values on urban America.[1]Prohibition ended with the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment, which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment on December 5, 1933. Some states continued statewide prohibition, marking one of the last stages of the Progressive Era.

Although popular opinion believes that Prohibition failed, it succeeded in cutting overall alcohol consumption in half during the 1920s, and consumption remained below pre-Prohibition levels until the 1940s, suggesting that Prohibition did socialize a significant proportion of the population in temperate habits, at least temporarily.[2]Some researchers contend that its political failure is attributable more to a changing historical context than to characteristics of the law itself.[3]Criticism remains that Prohibition led to unintended consequences such as the growth of urban crime organizations and a century of Prohibition-influenced legislation. As an experiment it lost supporters every year, and lost tax revenue that governments needed when the Great Depression began in 1929.

https://sites.google.com/a/bloomfield.org/roaring-twenties-sydney-brooklin-jp-sofik/prohibition-crime


The Drunkard’s Progress: A lithograph by&nbspNathaniel Currier supporting the temperance movement, January 1846 Consumption of alcoholic beverages has been a contentious topic in America since the colonial period. In May 1657, the General Court of Massachusettsmade the sale of strong liquor “whether known by the name of rumwhiskywinebrandy, etc.” to the Indians illegal.[15][dubious ]
In general, informal social controls in the home and community helped maintain the expectation that the abuse of alcohol was unacceptable. “Drunkenness was condemned and punished, but only as an abuse of a God-given gift. Drink itself was not looked upon as culpable, any more than food deserved blame for the sin of gluttony. Excess was a personal indiscretion.”[16]When informal controls failed, there were legal options.

Shortly after the United States obtained independence, the Whiskey Rebelliontook place in western Pennsylvania in protest of government-imposed taxes on whiskey. Although the taxes were primarily levied to help pay down the newly formed national debt, it also received support from some social reformers, who hoped a “sin tax” would raise public awareness about the harmful effects of alcohol.[17] The whiskey tax was repealed after Thomas Jefferson‘s Democratic-Republican Party, which opposed the Federalist Party of Alexander Hamilton, came to power in 1800.[18]

Benjamin Rush, one of the foremost physicians of the late eighteenth century, believed in moderation rather than prohibition. In his treatise, “The Inquiry into the Effects of Ardent Spirits upon the Human Body and Mind” (1784), Rush argued that the excessive use of alcohol was injurious to physical and psychological health, labeling drunkenness as a disease.[19]Apparently influenced by Rush’s widely discussed belief, about 200 farmers in a Connecticut community formed a temperance association in 1789. Similar associations were formed in Virginia in 1800 and New York in 1808.[20] Within a decade, other temperance groups had formed in eight states, some of them being statewide organizations. The words of Rush and other early temperance reformers served to dichotomize the use of alcohol for men and women. While men enjoyed drinking and often considered it vital to their health, women who began to embrace the ideology of “true motherhood” refrained from consumption of alcohol. Middle-class women, who were considered the moral authorities of their households, consequently rejected the drinking of alcohol, which they believed to be a threat to the home.[20] In 1830, on average, Americans consumed 1.7 bottles of hard liquor per week, three times the amount consumed in 2010.[12]

The 1898 Congressional Record, when reporting on a proposed tax on distilled spirits (H.R. 10253), noted that the relationship between populations, tax on distilled spirits (made from things other than fruit), and consumption was thus: (The Aggregates are grouped by tax rate)

Wikipedia.org

 

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“Native American Indians:  Stolen Lands and Broken Treaties” 

“Native American Indians:  Stolen Lands and Broken Treaties” 

Featured image:  http://wizzyschool.com

TREATIES MADE, TREATIES BROKEN

Kelly wrote that colonization created the condition of poverty on many American Indian reservations today.  Many Americans have misperceptions that poverty should not exist on reservations because Native people’s basic needs are taken care of under treaties.

Over 500 treaties were made with American Indian tribes, primarily for land cessations, but 500 treaties were also broken, changed or nullified when it served the government’s interests.

The video below about policies toward the Lakota gives many examples of this, and the practice was not limited to tribes in the Plains. It is also true that some tribes have no treaties and many tribes remain unrecognized as tribes by the federal government; this leaves them without reservation trust land and federal programming. The fact is that many Native American people are suffering and we should all care about that.

http://blog.nativepartnership.org/treaties-made-treaties-broken/


 
 

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 “The History of Labor Unions” 

 “The History of Labor Unions” 

Featured image:  http://geekestateblog.com/labor-thoughts-on-labor-day/

Unions began forming in the mid-19th century in response to the social and economic impact of the industrial revolution. National labor unions began to form in the post-Civil War Era. The Knights of Labor emerged as a major force in the late 1880s, but it collapsed because of poor organization, lack of effective leadership, disagreement over goals, and strong opposition from employers and government forces.

The American Federation of Labor, founded in 1886 and led by Samuel Gompers until his death in 1924, proved much more durable. It arose as a loose coalition of various local unions. It helped coordinate and support strikes and eventually became a major player in national politics, usually on the side of the Democrats.

American labor unions benefited greatly from the New Deal policies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s. The Wagner Act, in particular, legally protected the right of unions to organize. Unions from this point developed increasingly closer ties to the Democratic Party, and are considered a backbone element of the New Deal Coalition.

Post-World War II

Pro-business conservatives gained control of Congress in 1946, and in 1947 passed the Taft-Hartley Act, drafted by Senator Robert A. Taft. President Truman vetoed it but the Conservative coalition overrode the veto. The veto override had considerable Democratic support, including 106 out of 177 Democrats in the House, and 20 out of 42 Democrats in the Senate.[14] The law, which is still in effect, banned union contributions to political candidates, restricted the power of unions to call strikes that “threatened national security,” and forced the expulsion of Communist union leaders (the Supreme Court found the anticommunist provision to be unconstitutional, and it is no longer in force). The unions campaigned vigorously for years to repeal the law but failed. During the late 1950s, the Landrum Griffin Act of 1959passed in the wake of Congressional investigations of corruption and undemocratic internal politics in the Teamsters and other unions.[15][16]

The percentage of workers belonging to a union (or “density”) in the United States peaked in 1954 at almost 35% and the total number of union members peaked in 1979 at an estimated 21.0 million. Membership has declined since, with private sector union membership beginning a steady decline that continues into the 2010s, but the membership of public sector unions grew steadily.

After 1960 public sector unions grew rapidly and secured good wages and high pensions for their members. While manufacturing and farming steadily declined, state- and local-government employment quadrupled from 4 million workers in 1950 to 12 million in 1976 and 16.6 million in 2009.[17] Adding in the 3.7 million federal civilian employees, in 2010 8.4 million government workers were represented by unions,[18] including 31% of federal workers, 35% of state workers and 46% of local workers.[19] As Daniel Disalvo notes, “In today’s public sector, good pay, generous benefits, and job security make possible a stable middle-class existence for nearly everyone from janitors to jailors.”[20]

By the 1970s, a rapidly increasing flow of imports (such as automobiles, steel and electronics from Germany and Japan, and clothing and shoes from Asia) undercut American producers.[21]By the 1980s there was a large-scale shift in employment with fewer workers in high-wage sectors and more in the low-wage sectors.[22] Many companies closed or moved factories to Southern states (where unions were weak),[23]countered the threat of a strike by threatening to close or move a plant,[24]or moved their factories offshore to low-wage countries.[25] The number of major strikes and lockouts fell by 97% from 381 in 1970 to 187 in 1980 to only 11 in 2010.[24][26] On the political front, the shrinking unions lost influence in the Democratic Party, and pro-Union liberal Republicans faded away.[27] Union membership among workers in private industry shrank dramatically, though after 1970 there was growth in employees unions of federal, state and local governments.[28][29] The intellectual mood in the 1970s and 1980s favored deregulation and free competition.[30]Numerous industries were deregulated, including airlines, trucking, railroads and telephones, over the objections of the unions involved.[31] The climax came when President Ronald Reagan—a former union president—broke the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) strike in 1981, dealing a major blow to unions.[26][32]

Republicans, using conservative think tanks as idea farms, began to push through legislative blueprints to curb the power of public employee unions as well as eliminate business regulations.[25][33][34]

Wikipedia.org

 

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