Erik Loomis Profile picture
Historian. Occasionally compared to Philip Marlowe. Wrote A History of America in Ten Strikes. Exiled Oregonian. Cranky. Strong opinions.
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Oct 6, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
The other thing to note about where the left finds itself vis-a-vis the worst Democrats like Manchin is that right-wingers have spent 50 years turning the Republican Party into what it is today. It will take the rest of our lives to turn this wreck of a nation around. We have to play the very long game while also focusing on the short-term battles. We have to run as many Ocasio-Cortez-like candidates as possible when we can, replace a generation of lame Democrats, and organize to win in areas we haven't. That takes decades.
Oct 6, 2018 7 tweets 2 min read
The Idaho Republican Party is literally trolling Idaho reporters because this is all the Idaho Republican Party stands for. Well, that and racism. .@IdahoGOP finds out about Native and other downwinder people in Idaho dying from radiation poisoning from nuclear blasts 50 years ago and finds it to be an ideal policy for the future.
Oct 4, 2018 37 tweets 7 min read
This Day in Labor History: October 4, 1978. Nine Ellis Prison inmates in east Texas went on strike against the unpaid labor they had to do every day, refusing to pick cotton in hard labor. Let's talk about how prison labor was and remains a huge problem in this country. Prisoners at Ellis Prison, located twelve miles north of Huntsville, were expected to pick between 200 and 300 pounds of cotton a day. The fields were racially segregated, with black, white, and Mexican-American work crews.
Oct 2, 2018 28 tweets 6 min read
There's not much that's cooler than book release day. Amazingly, this book, which was much harder for me to write than anticipated, is actually released. And more amazing, people seem to like it.… I am celebrating in the most glamorous way possible--spending the day preparing for tomorrow and Friday's classes. But let me take a quick break from that for a few words on what this book means to me and I hope can mean to you.
Oct 1, 2018 36 tweets 6 min read
This Day in Labor History: October 1, 1910: Leaders of the International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers blow up the Los Angeles Times building because it is so anti-union. Let's talk about this strange moment in the American labor movement. In the early 20th century, Los Angeles was arguably America’s most conservative city. An hotbed of anti-union extremism, organized labor was almost entirely nonexistent. No one did more to push this policy than Harrison Gray Otis.
Sep 29, 2018 55 tweets 8 min read
This Day in Labor History: September 29, 1917. The Army sends Colonel Brice Disque to the Northwest to solve the labor problem in the forests. Let's talk about the government intervened in this labor conflict to crush the IWW during World War I. Disque was a military officer who enlisted in 1899, playing a role in capturing Filipino freedom fighter Emilio Aguinaldo. He retired from the military in 1916 to take a position as warden of the Michigan State Penitentiary but reenlisted when the nation entered World War I.
Sep 28, 2018 41 tweets 6 min read
This Day in Labor History: September 28, 1874. The U.S. military forces the Comanches to surrender at Palo Duro Canyon in Texas. This is the end of an entire history of work and let's talk about how Native work ways is as much labor history as any factory job. The Comanche were, up until the late 17th century, a relatively small tribe living primarily in Colorado and Kansas. This all changed with the advent of the horse.
Sep 28, 2018 28 tweets 4 min read
This Day in Labor History: September 27, 2002. The Pacific Maritime Association locks out the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union, leading to government intervention. Let's end this terrible day by talking a little recent labor history. The ILWU had been a thorn in the side of west coast shippers for decades. Once led by the radical Harry Bridges, the ILWU slowly lost its aggressive edge as Bridges aged, but it remained a strong and independent union.
Sep 25, 2018 28 tweets 5 min read
This Day in Labor History: September 25, 1891. Two black cotton workers are murdered by whites angry about their organizing other sharecroppers into the Colored Farmers Alliance. Let's talk about rural black worker organizing in our history. The Farmers Alliance began in 1877, developing out of a series of white farm movements in the South and Great Plains, largely based on the inequalities of the Gilded Age for rural America, particularly the dominance of eastern capital and railroad monopolies over their lives.
Sep 21, 2018 35 tweets 6 min read
This Day in Labor History: September 21, 1908. The IWW holds its 4th annual convention, in which it finally figures out what it takes to be successful, gets its act together. Let's talk about how this happened and what we can learn today from a seemingly minor episode. Founded in 1905, by 1908 the IWW hadn’t really done much of anything and its future was murky. This is not to blame the IWW.
Sep 19, 2018 34 tweets 5 min read
This Day in Labor History: September 19, 1981. The AFL-CIO holds its Solidarity Day march to protest Reagan's policies. Let's talk about unions in this dark time and how they at least tried to stand up to conservatives. In the aftermath of Reagan busting the air traffic controllers’ union, organized labor realized what was to befall them: a new era of union-busting and the decimation of the welfare state unions had fought so hard to build, if incrementally, over the previous half-century.
Sep 18, 2018 34 tweets 6 min read
This Day in Labor History: September 18, 1873. The Panic of 1873 begins when the speculations of the vile financier Jay Cooke collapsed. Let's talk about the rich routinely throw workers' lives into terror in order to make money unless the government steps in, then and now. The Civil War created the conditions for the rapid growth of industrial capitalism. But it did not create the corruption that dominated the Gilded Age. Capitalists in the Gilded Age would become famous for their naked graft, but that was developing in the 1840s and 1850s.
Sep 17, 2018 29 tweets 5 min read
This Day in Labor History: September 17, 1989. 98 miners and one minister conducted a peaceful takeover of the Pittston Moss 3 Coal Preparation Plant in what will lead to one of the few major victories for labor in the late 20th century. Let's talk about this inspirational moment The Pittston strike was one of the most brutal and hard-fought of the last three decades. The sit-in was part of a 10 month strike that pitted the United Mine Workers of America versus the Pittston Coal Company.
Sep 10, 2018 29 tweets 5 min read
This Day in Labor History: September 10, 1897. Luzerne County sheriff deputies slaughtered 19 unarmed coal miners striking outside of Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Let's talk about how this brutal massacre was all too typical of the state response to strikers in the Gilded Age. The 1890s saw a rise in immigration from Germany and eastern Europe; thousands of those migrants came to the coal mines of eastern Pennsylvania.
Sep 9, 2018 25 tweets 5 min read
This Day in Labor History: September 9, 1739. The Stono Rebellion takes place in South Carolina, the largest slave rebellion and the largest instance of labor resistance in colonial America. Let's talk about the centrality of this to American labor history. We sometimes don’t immediately think of the history of slavery as labor history, but of course, it’s absolutely fundamental to any understanding of labor history in the American South (and to a lesser extent in the North) both before and after the Civil War.
Sep 6, 2018 32 tweets 5 min read
This Day in Labor History: September 6, 1919. New York theater owners and striking actors sign an agreement to end a bitter and acrimonious strike based around the really horrific working conditions the actors faced, transforming this industry. The late 1910s were a fascinating time for organized labor. World War I brought both unprecedented acceptance of labor into the halls of power and an official state crackdown on radicalism.
Sep 6, 2018 6 tweets 1 min read
Here's a voice many people hoped had disappeared from left discourse.… And you have to love someone for whom the blame for any problem is always "LIBERALS!"
Sep 5, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
This person can go fuck themselves. You work for Trump, you are either a fascist or are enabling fascism. You want to be a Republican who resists Trump, you have a model. His name is John Dean.… I love this--"Sure, Donald Trump signs every bill that I support tearing about immigrant families, giving more money to the extremely wealthy, and promoting judges who love fascism. But I resist him by working for him." OK.
Sep 5, 2018 33 tweets 5 min read
This Day in Labor History: September 5, 1934. The North Carolina governor calls out the National Guard to crush the textile strike, part of the general repression of that critical movement. Let's talk about the impact of this incredibly important moment on our history. When the New Deal began, the Roosevelt administration pushed for the National Industrial Recovery Act. The NIRA was intended to eliminate the cutthroat competition that destroyed profits in many industries of this time, including textiles.
Sep 3, 2018 37 tweets 6 min read
This Day in Labor History: September 3, 1991. The Hamlet chicken plant in Hamlet, NC burns, killing 25 workers. Let's spend Labor Day talking about employers don't care if you live or die. The building where the chicken factory was located was built in the early twentieth century and had been used in various food processing operations in the past, including as an ice cream factory.
Sep 2, 2018 40 tweets 6 min read
This Day in Labor History: September 2, 1885: Whites in Rock Springs, Wyoming decided to ethnically cleanse their mining town and rioted against the Chinese, killing about 28. Let's talk about white supremacy and the American working class, which still plagues us today. White Americans hated the Chinese.