Upon reaching Ellis Island, Government inspectors asked immigrants a list of twenty-nine probing questions, such as: Have you money, relatives or a job in the United States? Are you a polygamist? An anarchist? Next, the doctors and nurses poked and prodded them, looking for signs of disease or debilitating handicaps. Usually immigrants were only detained 3 or 4 hours, and then free to leave. If they did not receive stamps of approval, and many did not because they were deemed criminals, strikebreakers, anarchists or carriers of disease, they were sent back to their place of origin at the expense of the shipping line. In this image, medical official examine a group of Jewish immigrants, c. 1907.

Photo credit: Underwood & Underwood — at Ellis Island.


The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 began on July 14 in Martinsburg, West Virginia, and ended some 45 days later after it was put down by local and state militias, as well as by federal troops.

anonymous asked:

Have you read any good anarchist defenses of strikebreakers? Also, are you familiar with nihilist anarchism and Stirner egoism?

1.  Yes, the case of the strikebreaker (or ‘scab’) is handled in Walter Block’s Defending the Undefendable (the audio version is about 8 mins), here is Block’s conclusion:

'Scabs’ obviously have been unjustly maligned. Employment does not give the employee and proprietary privileges closed to workers who wish to compete for the same job. 'Scabbing’ and free competition are opposite sides of the same coin. 

2.  Aware of but not anything I’d call 'familiar’ with. Neither has ever been of really any interest to me. And what little I know of them hasn’t made me want more.

Top 5 Simpsons Moments:
Grandpa Simpson: “We can’t bust heads like we used to. But we have our ways. One trick is to tell stories that don’t go anywhere. Like the time I caught the ferry to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe. So I decided to go to Morganville, which is what we called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt. Which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels at bumblebees on ‘em. Give me five bees for a quarter, you’d say. Now where was I? … Oh yeah. The important thing was that I had an onion tied to my belt, which was the style at the time. You couldn’t get white onions, because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones …“

After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, and the vampire, He had some awful substance left with which He made a scab. A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul, a waterlogged brain, and a combination backbone made of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles.
When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and the devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out. No man has a right to scab as long as there is a pool of water deep enough to drown his body in, or a rope long enough to hang his carcass with. Judas Iscariot was a gentleman compared with a scab. For betraying his Master, he had character enough to hang himself. A scab hasn’t.
Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. Judas Iscariot sold his savior for thirty pieces of silver. Benedict Arnold sold his country for a promise of a commission in the British Army. The modern strikebreaker sells his birthright, his country, his wife, his children, and his fellow men for an unfulfilled promise from his employer, trust, or corporation.

The Scab, Jack London

h/t to bougie-student-vanguardist for sending this to me.


A few shots ripped from the pages of the labor movement…

Violence was often directed toward “scabs,” or replacement labor, which chiefs of industry hired in order to break strikes and keep production high. 

Tracking the origin of the word “scab,” Stephanie Ann Smith writes in her book, Household Words: "From blemish…to strikebreaker, the history of the word scab…shows a displacement of meaning from the visceral or physical to the moral register…Just as a scab is a physical lesion, the strikebreaking scab disfigures the social body of labor—both the solidarity of workers and the dignity of work.“

Three thousand workers took over the town and surrounded the plant in order to shut out the strikebreakers. When 300 Pinkertons arrived on a barge on the Monogahela River (which bordered the plant) the steelworkers would not let them disembark. Shots rang out…

from Dissent: The History of an American Idea by Ralph Young

Image: Burning of Pinkerton army boats at Homestead Steel Strike by E. Benjamin Andrews, 1892

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