minewar.org documenting the 1930's Illinois Mine War

“We Can’t Lose”
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“WILSONVILLE, ILL., May 25 (1937) — Bearing banners, grade school students of Wilsonville, today marched from the building and paraded through streets and to the mine near their city where more than 350 men are underground in a sit-down strike. ” newspaper unknown. Photo from http://hinton-gen.com/

This week marks the 78th anniversary the Wilsonville Sitdown Strike which occurred in May, 1937. I’ve written on that strike here and here.

Here’s the complete image courtesy of Wayne Hinton and his website, http://hinton-gen.com/


I hope to learn which newspaper published this image during the strike.

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2 Responses to “We Can’t Lose”

  1. Joan Kenevan says:

    Why did the PMWA not support the strike?

  2. minewaro says:

    Hi Joan

    My earlier post on sitdown strikes details the internal rift within in PMA – http://www.minewar.org/?p=727. The Superior Mines near Wilsonville were represented by PMA Local 1. My understanding is that Local 1 was the largest local in the PMA. I think Local 1 believed it had the right to call a strike – with or without the consent of the national Progressive Miners union officers.

    Also at least some leaders of Local 1 opposed the work of PMA Pres. Joe Ozanic to affiliate the Progressive Miners with the AF of L. I suspect that part of the impetus for the strike was to embarrass Ozanic in front of the AF of L leaders. By calling a wildcat sitdown strike at the same instant that Ozanic was lobbying the AF of L for affiliation, Local 1 demonstrated that Ozanic did not have control of his membership. Further Local 1 sitdown strikers were publicly accepting help from the newly-formed CIO. At least some of the Local 1 leadership believed that the PMA should have pursued affiliation with the CIO instead of the AF of L. But since the CIO was led and financed by John L. Lewis (who had taken the UMWA out of the AF of L), the PMA leadership considered a CIO affiliation unthinkable.

    As you can see, it’s a little complicated but radical democracy can be messy.

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