The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times and Legacy of Joe Hill.
by William M. Adler
This is the new, definitive, well-illustrated biography of Joe Hill, legendary American songwriter and labor hero, with explosive new evidence pointing to his innocence of the crime for which he was executed nearly a century ago.
In 1914, Joe Hill was convicted of murder in Utah and sentenced to death by firing squad, igniting international controversy.
Many believed Hill was innocent, condemned for his association with the Industrial Workers of the World — the radical Wobblies.
Now, following four years of intensive investigation, William M. Adler gives us the first full-scale biography of Joe Hill, and presents never before published documentary evidence that comes as close as one can to definitively exonerating him.
Joe Hill’s gripping tale is set against a brief but electrifying moment in American history, between the century’s turn and World War I, when the call for industrial unionism struck a deep chord among disenfranchised workers; when class warfare raged and capitalism was on the run.
Hill was the union’s preeminent songwriter, and in death, he became organized labor’s most venerated martyr, celebrated by Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, and immortalized in the ballad “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night.”
The Man Who Never Died does justice to Joe Hill’s extraordinary life and its controversial end. Drawing on extensive new evidence, Adler deconstructs the case against his subject and argues convincingly for the guilt of another man.
It reads like a murder mystery set against the background of the raw, turn-of-the-century West.
The former transport union official Frederick Blake, recalled: “When the Dagenham girls came down to see Barbara Castle [then employment minister] in 1968 I was asked to sit in a separate room because she wanted to see them on their own, which is fair enough.”
Mr Blake was described by newspapers at the time of the strike as “the leader of the new suffragettes”.
“Although I was in charge of the union for the Ford factory I stayed in the background because I didn’t want people to think that a man was leading the women,” he added. “I was asked by the bosses to tell them to go back to work so we could keep negotiating, but I wouldn’t do that until we had a good settlement because there were men doing the same job and getting paid far more. It wasn’t fair.”
Mr Blake explained that he was an advocate of women’s rights long before the 1968 strike that made history: “When I came home after fighting in Burma in the Second World War and saw the damage that the bombs had done to the country, I thought,
‘Why don’t the women get medals for what they’ve had to put up with, too?’ That’s what first made me think about equality.”
Image: A scene from the 2010 movie “Made in Dagenham”
.When women machinists at Ford’s Dagenham plant downed tools in 1968 in protest at the fact that they were classed as unskilled workers, while male colleagues doing the same job were thought to be skilled and paid much more for their efforts, they couldn’t have imagined the ramifications.
The three-week strike brought production at the factory – which was the focus of the UK car industry at the time – to a standstill, and the dispute was resolved only when Barbara Castle was brought in to negotiate a settlement.
The Ford machinists went back to work after agreeing to be paid 92 per cent of male machinists’ wages, and the strike speeded up the introduction of the Equal Pay Act of 1970, which made it illegal to have different pay scales for men and women.
The women on the picket line in 1968 endured jeers when a photographer snapped one of their banners declaring “We Want Sexual Equality” partly unfurled, so that it read “We Want Sex”.
The machinists were also supported by the union representative Bernie Passingham, and many had the backing of husbands who worked in the factory.
At the time the practice of women being paid less than men for the same jobs was widespread – a tradition that hasn’t entirely died out
Read on via Made in Dagenham
Stop the Coalition from getting rid of Our ABC
Even more concerning, Pauline Hanson is mounting a hostile parliamentary review of the ABC and SBS, designed to interfere with their charters and editorial content.
It’s a dream come true for Rupert Murdoch and the Conservative think tanks who’ve been fighting for years to cut, gut and destroy our ABC.
We have to fight back.
Fortunately, the ABC is one of the most liked and respected organisations in Australia
Here’s just a small sample of what may never have come to light without our ABC:
- The horrors of the live export trade, sparking a huge campaign8
- Institutional child abuse in Don Dale detention centre, which lead to a Royal Commission
These new cuts are clear political payback for the ABC’s honest reporting on the Government’s corporate tax cuts and for daring to describe Tony Abbott as ‘destructive’ on climate change
If they go through, it could have a chilling effect on ABC reporting on our elected leaders.
It’s not just the fate of our ABC that’s at stake, but also the right of all Australians to hold the government of the day to account.