An IWW protest

James N. Stewart wrote, "The IWW paper recently carried a cartoon relevant to this point. It showed a worker who couldn't find a job robbing a bank to get the money he couldn't earn so he is imprisoned for his crime and put to work in the prison. The way things are going the only way to get a job is going to be to go to jail. How come we gripe about products being manufactured in foreign prisons and then encourage capitalists to use American prisoners as slave labor?"

Part of this mirrors an actual mass protest organized by the IWW in Saint Louis during the Depression. The city reused to set up soup kitchens, so the Wobblies took masses of workers to the finest restaurant in town, where each ordered a full meal. When the check came, they said, "Charge it to the mayor." After they were all arrested and carried off to jail, the Industrial Worker's headline read, "Victory in Saint Louis! Workers Fed By the City!" (I'm writing from memory of Fred Thompson's account. Don't hold me to exact quotes.) City- supported soup kitchens quickly followed.

Ken Lawrence