The Industrial Workers of the World pioneered a radical unionism that built a small but incredibly dedicated group of unionists and union supporters — which is why American capitalists and politicians quickly decided they needed to stop the union.
Ahmed White is a professor of law at the University of Colorado-Boulder and the author of The Last Great Strike: Little Steel, the CIO, and the Struggle for Labor Rights in New Deal America.
The first Red Scare that began a century ago with the Palmer Raids wasn’t rooted in irrational hysteria. The government agencies that carried out the raids had an unambiguous goal: to destroy the radical left in the United States.
Eighty years ago, striking workers in Chicago were shot down by police. It transformed the course of labor rights in the US.