Dobie and unionism in the book out of this furnace by thomas bell

Advertisements Part One Part one focuses on Kracha, the first-generation immigrant of the family from Austria-Hungarynow eastern Slovakiawho sails to the US to find work and start a new life. He is told to seek out White Haven, Pennsylvania where he will find a brother-in-law, Andrej Sedlar, and a job on the railroad section gang. During his trip over, he meets a young woman named Zuska with whom he becomes infatuated.

Dobie and unionism in the book out of this furnace by thomas bell

The Steel Workers Organizing Committee Remembers the Homestead Strike Joel Woller CapitalMarx writes that The organization of the capitalist process of production, once it is fully developed, breaks down all resistance.

Direct extra-economic force is still of course used, but only in exceptional cases. This essay is about the significance of extra-economic compulsion and the memory of it — in particular, the collective public memory of employer and state violence — in working class culture, social movements, and politics.

The Homestead Lockout and Strike of is among the most significant and well-remembered labor actions in history. This dramatic course of events in showed that even the mightiest craft union could be smashed by the combined power of a determined employer and a compliant state.

The exceptional case of Homestead, moreover, exposed weaknesses in the anarchist movement of the nineteenth century and signaled the decline of the ideology of labor republicanism, opening the door for the emergence of the pure and simple business unionism of the American Federation of Labor AFLthe social movement industrial syndicalism of the Industrial Workers of the World IWWand the political activities of the Socialist Party.

At several moments — for instance, during the rise of the Congress of Industrial Organizations CIO in the s and early s, and again during the fight against the shutdowns in the s and s — collective public memory of the Homestead Strike of has informed and motivated labor activism.

Opening the Floodgates The repressive atmosphere in Homestead, which was maintained by local government as well as by The Corporation, prevailed until the s.

He accurately described the SMWIU as a widespread communistic movement that has been gaining momentum for months past. I have known every move they have been making lately, and I have been able to break up the organization in Homestead, but other districts are not so fortunate. Although Perkins had successfully challenged the atmosphere of repression in Homestead, the floodgates of collective public memory did not open until the day between US Independence Day and the 44th anniversary of the Battle with the Pinkertons — Sunday, July 5, Drawn by an appeal to demonstrate that had been initially issued by Steve Bordich, a Homestead steelworker, as many as four thousand gathered at the 17th Street playground.

Under the watchful eye of the Homestead police and an assistant general superintendent of the Homestead works, the crowd listened with excitement to speeches by young maverick judge Michael Musmanno and Lieutenant Governor Kennedy, a New Deal Democrat. We steel workers do today solemnly publish and declare our independence.

We say to the world: Locally and in print, this tradition had in the past already been appealed to repeatedly with respect to the Homestead Strike. We shall make real the dreams of the pioneers who pictured America as a land where all might live in comfort and happiness. They have interfered in every way with our right to organize in independent unions, discharging many who have joined them.

Opening the Floodgates

They have set up company unions, forcing employees to vote in their so-called elections. They have sent among us swarms of stool pigeons … even in our homes. They have kept among us armies of company gunmen, with stores of machine guns, gas bombs, and other weapons of warfare.

On October 5,near the company town of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania just upriver from Pittsburgh on the Ohioa private army in the service of Jones and Laughlin Steel had shot 21 men, killing one.

This was not an isolated incident: This memory of became explicit at the conclusion of SWOC rally. Cush remembered where six of the seven strikers who had been shot dead nearly 44 years earlier were interred — five in unmarked graves.

Dobie and unionism in the book out of this furnace by thomas bell

He had a wife and two young children. They went away after he was killed and nobody ever heard of them again. The Depression period was by no means the first time that the strike had been commemorated in public, or had been voiced in connection with contemporary labor activism.

Mother Jones and William Foster, for instance, had appealed to memories of in their comments on the Steel Strike. First, the demonstration was part of a mass movement rooted in part in memories of The extent and significance of steelworker self-activity in the s and early s must not be underestimated.

Grassroots steelworker union organizing preceded the CIO drives; indeed, it was the success of local steelworker organizing that catalyzed the initiatives headed by Lewis.

Despite inept and lethargic leadership, the Amalgamated underwent a resurgence, the first of its new lodges being founded in Homestead on June 16, They might have chosen to remind themselves that in the past they had won victories as well as endured losses; they might have named themselves after the militant and successful strike offor example, in order to rally optimism for their cause.

A second feature which distinguishes the SWOC rally from previous public representations of the Homestead Strike is this: The first verse spells out the issues so urgently remembered in the s: We are asking one another as we pass the time of day, Why men must have recourse to arms to get their proper pay; And why the labor unions now must not be recognized, While the actions of a syndicate must not be criticized.

Indeed, the Homestead Strike figures prominently in the narrative logic of the novel, which identifies the emergence of the CIO, the Americanization of the immigrant community, and the regeneration of America via a new revolution.

Damming Memory

Bell exaggerates the distance immigrants kept from the issues of By misleadingly casting Kracha as uninvolved in the union and his grandson Dobie as the complete opposite, Bell underscores the very real changes which have taken place in Homestead between and Out of This Furnace is a historical novel and the best-known work of the American writer Thomas Bell (–).

The novel is set in Braddock, Pennsylvania, a steel town just east of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania along the Monongahela River. Tuesday: Thomas Bell, Out of this Furnace: A Novel of Immigrant Labor in America (Kracha’s story) Thursday: Thomas Bell, Out of this Furnace (Mike Dobrejak’s story) Film: “Salt of the Earth”.

In Out of this Furnace, unionism at the outset of the depression was referred to as “merciless repression.†This was evident through the mere 6 percent labor force that belonged to the Unions. But with the new climate inspiring men like Dobie from Out of This Furnace and aid from the fe. Thomas Bell, Out of this Furnace (; Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh, ) Burgoyne, Homestead Few steelworkers were in attendance, “due to the steel mills’ decision to keep operating through the holiday for the sake of defense,” observed the Daily Messenger of Homestead (Demarest ).

The book Out of This Furnace is a work of historical fiction written by Thomas Bell, in which the lives of four different individuals are told and woven together, and consequentially describe the changes taking place in different generations of immigrant workers in America.

Out of This Furnace is an historical novel and the best-known work of the American writer Thomas Bell (–). The novel is set in Braddock, Pennsylvania, a steel town just south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania along the Monongahela River.

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