See radicalism's roots in this digitized vintage political poster collection

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The first poster caught my eye right away. The park where the picnic was held was only a mile from where my grandfather established his tailor shop and I’m always keen to find anything I can about his life. I even zoomed in on the photo of the group of men on the odd chance that he might actually be there. Then I realized that there were no Italian speakers scheduled for that event, which isn’t surprising considering that Italians were among the most hated immigrants at that point in history. After checking some old family records, I also realized he couldn’t have been at that particular event because in May,1918 he was either hunkered down in a trench somewhere in the Ardennes trying not to get his head blown off or in a field hospital recovering from mustard gas poisoning. Like many young immigrant men of that time, he had enlisted in the army on the promise that it would put him on the fast track to gaining citizenship. After the war, the government reneged on that promise and it took him more than 20 years to become naturalized.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.


There were some Italian-American leaders in the IWW at the time, so I’m a bit confused by the lack of Italian speakers.

The Wobblies were and still are explicitly anti-racist as an organisation, often taking members who were rejected membership of other unions. I don’t know why there weren’t any Italian speakers at that event, but I doubt it was intentional discrimination.


Isn’t “radicalism’s roots” redundant phrasing?

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We (the IWW) didn’t go anywhere…
You just let the government imprison and marginalize us during ww1
Then you bought into the hollow promises of the AFL/CIO and their revolving door to the industries they are supposed to be organizing to oppose.
Yes oppose… unions aren’t supposed to work with industries they are supposed to protect us from the bosses in those industries.

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I believe (having not been born for the better part off a century after the fact) that the folks from Italy tended to be straight line anarchists rather than syndalcalists.
I’m guessing that the people of Italian extraction in the IWW just weren’t where these things were…And many of them probably didn’t travel by rail because that’s exactly where the man would seek to waylay them.

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