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1934: Mill City Revolt

In the year 1934, militant strikes broke across the United States in San Francisco, Toledo, and Minneapolis. This podcast explores the 1934 Minneapolis Teamsters Strike in-depth, discussing the history, theory, and practice of one of the the country's most incredible action by the working class through a leftist perspective.

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Warning: This podcast is a series podcast

This means episodes are recommended to be heard in order from the very start. Here's the 10 best episodes of the series anyway though!

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S1E1 - We Have Been Here Before

Episode Notes My first podcast ever! Hi all, welcome to 1934: Mill City Revolt, a podcast that explores the context, lessons, and play-by-play of the Minneapolis Teamsters Strike. In this episode, I compare the situations of 1934 and today, introduce my Marxist perspective, and layout the roadmap for the rest of our story. This is a totally new experience for me and I am a one-man-show: I do the writing, recording, editing, publishing, etc. Please let me know ASAP if there are audio issues, if I should work on enunciation, speed up the reading, or anything else you may suggest. If you like what you hear, please leave a tip if you can. I need to pay the rent! Correction: In the episode I mention the post-war period as quiet with regard to labor struggles. I actually meant the 1970s and 1980s. Support 1934: Mill City Revolt by donating to the tip jar: https://tips.pinecast.com/jar/1934-mill-city-revolution This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

19mins

2 Aug 2018

Rank #1

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S1E2 - The Dictatorship of the Bourgeoisie

Episode Notes Thank you all for your support! Please check the link to the 'tip jar' below if you would like to support my work! This episode covers the story's major antagonist, the Minneapolis Citizen's Alliance, and its thirty-year war on organized labor. We cover the reasons for its founding, its capitalist ideology (and a Marxist critique of it), and specific historical instances of the organization at work and the tools they used. The title comes from Karl Marx who argued that society was ruled by capitalists, both in the economy and in the state (legislatures, courts, bureaucracy, military, police, etc.). While Millikan does not use this term to describe the Citizens' Alliance, the CA's close alliance with the state and its unusual control of the local economy warranted the description, in my view. I forgot to note that the first strike I cover, the streetcar strike, occurred in 1889. Major historical source: William Millikan, Union Against UnionsThe Minneapolis Citizens Alliance and Its Fight Against Organized Labor, 1903–1947 (Minnesota Historical Society: 2003).

37mins

13 Aug 2018

Rank #2

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S1E3 - Governor Floyd B. Olson and the Farmer-Labor Party

Episode Notes This episode we cover the crucial political developments that form the background of the strike: Minnesota's unique second party, the Farmer-Laborites and its moderate/rebellious gubernatorial leader, Floyd B. Olson. If you can, please consider donating via the tip jar link below or via Venmo @Kele-Cable. Any amount is appreciated! Main Sources:George H. Mayer, The Political Career of Floyd B. Olson by George H. Mayer (UMN Press, 1951).Gieske, Millard L., Minnesota Farmer-Laborism: The Third-Party Alternative (UMN Press, 1979).Valelly, Richard M., Radicalism in the States: The Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party and the American Political Economy (UChicago Press, 1989). Note: The gubernatorial candidate Charles A. Lindbergh I mention is not the aviator, but the aviator's father.

34mins

21 Aug 2018

Rank #3

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S1E6 - Introducing... The Teamsters

Episode Notes An accidental two-part episode! What I recorded came out to over 50 minutes and so I just had to split it in half. If the episode seems to end abruptly, that is why. This week: building towards the first strike throughout the year of 1933. We introduce Farrell Dobbs, the Teamsters and its national president Daniel Tobin, Local 574 and its president, Bill Brown, and their relationships with the Dunne Brothers and Karl Skoglund. We also bring back the Citizens' Alliance and their previous dealings with the Teamsters back in 1916 as well as their choice of mayor and police chief during the Depression, Buzz Bainbridge and Mike Johannes. There's a lot going on even in just preparing for a strike! I failed to note in the episode itself that Farrell Dobbs is one of the major historical sources for the podcast, particularly his book, Teamster Rebellion. So he is both a player in the story and one of its storytellers. Next week: The February Whirlwind Strike! Sources: Teamster Rebellion by Farrell Dobbs.Revolutionary Teamsters by Bryan D. Palmer.A Union Against Unions by William Millikan.The Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934 by Philip A. Korth.American City by Charles Rumford Walker. Support 1934: Mill City Revolt by donating to the tip jar: https://tips.pinecast.com/jar/1934-mill-city-revolution Find out more on the 1934: Mill City Revolt website. This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

29mins

31 Oct 2018

Rank #4

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S1E4 - Marx, Skogie, and the Dunne Brothers

Episode Notes After a longer than intended delay, here is Episode 4, the last of the long background episodes! Today we take on quite a lot: Who was Karl Marx, why did he criticize capitalism and want to overthrow it for socialism? Why did our strikeleaders take on Marx's philosophy? And anyway, who are the strikeleaders? Following an introduction to Karl Marx, the episode introduces Carl Skoglund, the "Old Swede," and the three Dunne Brothers, Ray, Miles, and Grant. Given Skoglund's and Ray Dunne's own membership in their early years, we also discuss the Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies) and their political philosophy. We then turn to the Russian Revolution, the formation of the Communist Party, and its later split, and how all of this influenced the political scene of Minneapolis. Like I say in the episode, this is a lot! But it's all necessary. Because we are discussing the IWW, I want to point out their important ongoing work in helping facilitate the nationwide prison strike. You can read more about it here. Main Sources (not about the Teamsters):For Marx's ideas, straight from the source itself: Karl Marx, Value, Price, and Profit. For another take on Marx's political and economic ideas, this 4-minute 8-Bit Philosophy video on Youtube is a good introduction. For syndicalism, Wobblies, and their interaction with the Bolsheviks: Ralph Darlington, Radical Unionism. For the Russian Revolution: Victor Serge, Year One of the Russian Revolution. For a readable account of and introduction to the Russian Revolution, check out October by popular science-fiction author, China Mieville. Support 1934: Mill City Revolt by donating to the tip jar: https://tips.pinecast.com/jar/1934-mill-city-revolution Find out more on the 1934: Mill City Revolt website. This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

39mins

11 Sep 2018

Rank #5

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S1E8 - The Unrest Before the Storm

Episode Notes In this episode we cover the events of February through May as the aftermath of the February Whirlwind Strike continues to take shape. Local 574 continued its impressive organizing campaigns, the unemployed led marches agaisnt the Roosevelt administration, Farrell Dobbs joins the Communist League, small strike within the city faced mixed results, and the Farmer-Labor Governor Floyd B. Olson returns (from Episode 3), endorsing the "union idea." Even when the Teamsters weren't striking, the Minneapolis working class remained in motion. For more on the unemployed movement, see Poor People's Movements by Frances Fox Piven & Richard Cloward and Impatient Armies of the Poor by Franklin Folsom. Support 1934: Mill City Revolt by donating to the tip jar: https://tips.pinecast.com/jar/1934-mill-city-revolution Find out more on the 1934: Mill City Revolt website. This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

18mins

12 Dec 2018

Rank #6

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S1E7 - The February Whirlwind Strike, or, the Dress Rehearsal

Episode Notes We have finally arrived! The first strike of 1934! This episode is technically the second part of what I wrote for episode 6, but to save you from a 50 minute episode, I split it in half. We discuss the Labor Boards, Local 574 organizers' maneuvering around conservative labor bureaucrats, their strategies for timing the strike, and then the 3-day coal yard strike itself. As the title implies, this was only a practice run for the next two strikes in May and July-August. Also, watch out for the first of the newspaper episodes to come out soon! Support 1934: Mill City Revolt by donating to the tip jar: https://tips.pinecast.com/jar/1934-mill-city-revolution Find out more on the 1934: Mill City Revolt website. This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

23mins

15 Nov 2018

Rank #7

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S1E9 - Negotiations and Preparations

Episode Notes In the last episode, we discussed the aftermath of the February Whirlwind Strike and the run-up to the May strikes. In this episode, we discuss the negotiations and preparations each side took in the first weeks of May. We finish with a reading from Ray Dunne's article in Militant, the Communist League's newspaper, in which he assessed the situation just prior to May 15th. The next episode: The first few days of the strike, including the Tribune Alley Plot, setting the stage for the Battle of Deputies Run. I recorded the first minute a few weeks after the rest, so there is a sudden voice change. I apologize for not being able to keep the audio consistent across episodes -- I need a studio! Happy New Year! Let's Make 2019 A Year of Struggle! Support 1934: Mill City Revolt by donating to the tip jar: https://tips.pinecast.com/jar/1934-mill-city-revolution Find out more on the 1934: Mill City Revolt website. This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

23mins

3 Jan 2019

Rank #8

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S1E11 - The Battle of Deputies' Run

Episode Notes One of the most explosive events of the 1934 Minneapolis Teamsters Strike: The Battle of Deputies' Run! Over the course of two days -- May 21-22 -- the Minneapolis City Market became a battleground of class war. Thousands of strikers, supported by crowds numbering over 10,000, fought with over a thousand policemen and special deputies (the private army of businessmen, professionals, and frat boys). As striker Jack Maloney said later, "the employers were ready and determined to kill if needed to maintain their control. I was determined to make them prove it and so it was with so many men at that time. They knew what to expect on Monday or the next day and they were ready to ‘go for broke.’ At Bearman’s the pickets had a sample of what to expect. The cops won that battle but on Monday the pickets gave their receipt for Saturday.” Look on the Facebook page for the podcast for photos and footage! Sources:Teamster Rebellion by Farrell Dobbs, American City by Charles Rumford Walker, The Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934 by Philip Korth, Revolutionary Teamsters by Bryan D. Palmer, and Union Against Unions by William Millikan. Support 1934: Mill City Revolt by donating to the tip jar: https://tips.pinecast.com/jar/1934-mill-city-revolution Find out more on the 1934: Mill City Revolt website. This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

21mins

4 Feb 2019

Rank #9

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S1E10 - The Strike Machine and The Tribune Alley Plot

Episode Notes The May Strike begins! In this episode, we cover the first four days of 1934's second strike. We discuss Teamster Local 574's tactics and strike headquarters, Governor Olson's attempts to reconcile the two forces, the Mayor's hiring of 500 additional cops plus the Citizens' Alliance formation of a private army, a small battle on Saturday morning, and a treacherous ambush later that night. The next episode: The Battle of Deputies' Run. Sources:Teamster Rebellion by Farrell Dobbs.The Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934 by Phillip Korth.American City by Charles Rumford Walker.Revolutionary Teamsters by Bryan D. Palmer. Support 1934: Mill City Revolt by donating to the tip jar: https://tips.pinecast.com/jar/1934-mill-city-revolution Find out more on the 1934: Mill City Revolt website. This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

26mins

16 Jan 2019

Rank #10