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“The Depression has Changed People’s Outlook”: The Beuschers Remember the Great Depression in Dubuque, Iowa by David Shannon

June 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Before the Great Depression of the 1930’s the Beuschers—he was a sixty-two-year-old railroad worker; she was the mother of their eleven children—had been fairly prosperous: they owned their home and had several life-insurance policies serving as savings. But by the time the Works Progress Administration (WPA) interviewed them in 1937, their lives had dramatically changed: the father had lost his railroad job and the mother was taking in sewing. This interview summary, published by the WPA, showed how they struggled to make ends meet during The Great Depression. Read more…

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Update + idea on Dubuque Pack

September 10, 2013 Leave a comment

Imp916

It’s been quite a long time since this blog has been updated. I started this blog when I was still living in Iowa, and while the interest is still there, the time isn’t. For those who are interested, I moved from Iowa in Spring of 2011 to Madison, WI to briefly work for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in assisting their efforts in trying to get a general strike going in response to the right-wing Governor’s efforts to crush unions. Another IWW organizer and I wrote a report of our activity called The general strike that didn’t happen: a report on the activity of the IWW in Wisconsin.

After that, Minneapolis was my destination, which is where I currently reside. Most recently, I’ve been the co-editor of The Organizer, the official blog of the Twin Cities IWW General Membership Branch, assisted with union campaigns, and helped run Recomposition, a website that centers on stories about and by workers themselves.

For a long while, writer’s block consumed me, and all writing, and nearly all editing, came to a halt. Finally snapping out of that, all sorts of ideas have come back to me. One of them is rooted in one of the places that could be considered home, Dubuque, Iowa.

Moving to the Dubuque area in the early 90s, The Pack always held a special place in the way I thought of the town. As I became older, and familiar with books and stories that centered around oral histories from working people like Rank and File: Personal Histories by Working-class Organizers or The American Worker, I became more indepthly interested about the people who used to work there.

Although never having taken on a project this large, I’m interested in trying to sketch a project like this out. What kind of people worked there? Where did they originally come from? What were their lives like? What was there experience working there? What were the conditions? What did they do to make these conditions better?

If you’re from Dubuque and are seeing this, what are your thoughts on this?

-Juan Conatz

End of Hiatus

June 14, 2011 3 comments

Hi everyone,

Juan Conatz just added me as a contributor on this blog.  I’m a history nerd and anarchist living in Iowa.  I’m currently reading Solidarity & Survival, and I’m going to try to get access to Pearl McGill’s letters in the near future.  I’ll be posting excerpts from both of those in the coming weeks.

Categories: Miscellaneous

Hiatus

April 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Hey folks. I didn’t run out of material to add to the blog, I just haven’t had much time lately, as I’ve been in Wisconsin and involved in the situation there. Here are some pieces, the first two written by me, on what’s going on in Madison. The third link are a number of articles hosted by libcom.org on the subject. I will return to this blog to add material when I eventually have time to dig around.

Impressions of Madison

Wisconsin: Why a general strike hasn’t happened yet…

Libcom: Wisconsin Protests

Categories: Miscellaneous

Floyd Dell in Davenport

February 17, 2011 Leave a comment

From University of Iowa Special Collections

Dell strengthened his unconventional image by publicly embracing socialism. He had leafletted plant gates for the presidency of Eugene V. Debs in 1904 and had joined the socialist local in Davenport. He adopted a brand of socialism which combined municipal ownership of public services with the more utopian outlook of George Bernard Shaw and the Fabian Society in England. As a teenager, Dell thought that socialists “believed in another kind of world than the one we lived in, and were helping to bring it about-a world of justice and beauty and order.” [22] The rhetoric of socialism provided Dell with solace for his own family disappointments, and the meeting of the local replaced the hours spent at the library. Dell’s fictionalized self, Felix Fay, “found happiness at last. It seemed that he entered, at first only for moments, and then for long golden hours, an enchanted land in which there was neither desire or fear — only the solace of magic words. ” [23] Read more…

Iowa ACLU History

January 6, 2011 Leave a comment

From American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa

75 Years of Fighting for Civil Liberties

In 1935, three-quarters of a century ago, a group of forward-thinking Iowans formed what was just the fifth American Civil Liberties Union affiliate in the country. The only other affiliates were based in urban centers: Boston, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

The enlightened creation of a dedicated civil liberties presence in Iowa was sparked by an unsuccessful attempt to repeal the Iowa criminal syndication law. This law was raising concern because it was being misused to prosecute dissenters who spoke out publicly against the government.

So what was then dubbed the Iowa Civil Liberties Union (ICLU) was organized. It wasn’t until 2006 that the group was renamed the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa to better reflect its more interconnected working relationship with the national organization.

Here is a brief history of our affiliate with an emphasis on legal cases, for which we have the most documentation. Read more…

Categories: Miscellaneous

1999 Pieing of Free Market Biotechnology Advocate at Grinnell College

December 30, 2010 Leave a comment

From Sare.org

For Immediate Release: April 8, 1999

Grinnell, Iowa–The Biotic Baking Brigade (BBB) delivered yet another pie
to a deserving recipient today, this time to free market biotechnology
advocate Dennis Avery at the “Biotechnology and Agriculture” conference on the campus of Grinnell College. Read more…

Categories: Miscellaneous