The Fragile Bridge: Paterson Silk Strike, 1913
In this full-length study of the 1913 Paterson silk strike, Steve Golin examines the creative collaboration between the silk workers, organizers from the Industrial Workers of the World, and Greenwich Village intellectuals. Although the strike was defeated, this alliance could become a model for the American left because it suggests the possibilities of connecting economic, political, and cultural struggles.Combining perspectives from labor history, social history, and intellectual history Golin argues that while the silk workers began the 1913 strike and controlled it themselves, the IWW helped them create institutions that supported the strike and reinforced its radically democratic character. The deadlock in Paterson dictated the need for a "bridge" to New York that was facilitated by a growing mutual trust between the Wobblies and intellectuals from Greenwich Village. At the height of the struggle, the IWW and the Village radicals joined the workers in presenting a powerful strike pageant in Madison Square Garden.The story of the 1913 silk strike is important because it challenges long-held conservative assumptions about labor history, including the elitist role of skilled workers, the bureaucratic function of union organization, and the irrelevance of intellectuals. Although the strikers were ultimately defeated, the strike's failure had more damaging consequences for the IWW and the intellectuals than for the workers themselves and Golin views this loss as a major turning point for the American left. Author note: Steve Golin is Professor of History at Bloomfield College in New Jersey.
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Chapter One Bimsons Mistake
Chapter Two The Strike as a Way of Life
Chapter Three Deadlock
Chapter Six The Paterson Pageant
Chapter Seven Defeat
Chapter Eight Defeat Becomes Disaster
Conclusion View from the Bridge
13 June 14 March 21 April American Silk Journal anarchists April arrested artists audience became Bimson bosses broad-silk weavers class struggle Conlin defeat Dodge's dye workers dyers Eastman Elizabeth Gurley Flynn four-loom Golzio Haledon Hapgood Hay wood helpers Helvetia Hall Heterodoxy Hutchins Hapgood Ibid immigrant Industrial Workers International Socialist Review Italian IWW organizers IWW speakers IWW's jail Jersey Jewish John Reed July June Koettgen labor movement later Lessig loomfixers looms March Margaret Sanger Mary Heaton Vorse mass meetings Max Eastman militant Osborne Pageant Passaic County Paterson silk workers Paterson strike Patrick Quinlan Pennsylvania picket line police Politics of Disorder radical Rebel Girl Report of C.I.R. revolutionary ribbon weavers Sanger Silk Industry Silk Journal 32 silk manufacturers silk mills silk strikers social Solidarity speech strikebreakers Tresca Turn Hall union Village intellectuals violence wages week Wobblies women York Call York Globe