Australia’s Vietnam Moratoriums.

It was a time of great upheaval in Australia, when the ordinary people said “enough is enough”, and went out into the streets to protest.
The conflict in Vietnam was going poorly because the American and Australian Governments  had so badly underestimated the strength and purpose of the North Vietnamese people.
The Vietnam Moratorium held in Melbourne on 5 May, 1970, was huge with veteran Labor Politician Jim Cairns taking centre stage in a stinging rebuff to the Coalition Government for its blind support of the American Government’s policies in South Vietnam.
FXJ272193Leading the Moratorium March Jim Cairns and Tom Uren (Front Row: fourth and third in from the right).

The Miners Who Exposed the Horrors of Black Lung.

Harry Fain, coal loader. Inland Steel Company, Wheelwright #1 & 2 Mines, Wheelwright, Floyd County, Kentucky. 1946.via Wikimedia Commons
Jessie Wright-Mendoza
From the Mine Wars to Bloody Harlan, the coal miners of Appalachia have a long and storied history of fighting for the rights and protections often denied to them while mining the region’s rich bituminous coal.
So when men who had worked their whole lives underground began dying in increasing numbers from a chronic respiratory illness, their lungs literally blackened from years of inhaling coal dust, Appalachians did as they have often done.
As labor studies scholar Alan Derickson writes, they organized a grassroots movement to challenge the deadly working conditions in the coal mines.
Coal mining has always been a dangerous job, but by the 1950s, technological advances that automated some of the miner’s tasks, like the continuous miner, had succeeded in reducing the number of deaths and injuries from mechanical accidents.
But the new equipment also significantly increased miner’s exposure to coal dust, leading to a spike in the number of workers afflicted by black lung disease.
Eventually, over 40,000 workers participated in a strike that advocated for better workplace safety measures.
Black lung, also known as coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, is a terminal respiratory condition caused by long-term exposure to coal dust. Particles of dust settle into the lungs, progressively weakening the organs and causing shortness of breath and coughing fits.
Later stages of the disease cause chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Because black lung can lie dormant for years, appearing long after a miner had left the job, coal operators denied the connection between coal mining and black lung for decades.
According to the Department of Labor, more than 76,000 miners have died from the disease.
Read on via Source: The Militant Miners Who Exposed the Horrors of Black Lung | JSTOR Daily

Augusta Zadow, champion for Women’s Rights, 1846-1896.

Zadow, Christiane Susanne (Augusta) (1846–1896)
by Helen Jones
Christiane Susanne Augustine (Augusta) Zadow (1846-1896), trade unionist and factory inspector, was born on 27 August 1846 at Runkel, Duchy of Nassau, daughter of Elizabethe Hemming and Johann Georg Hofmeyer, gardener.
Educated at Wiesbaden and, on a scholarship, at the Ladies’ Seminary, Biebrich-on-Rhine, she became a companion and governess, travelling through Germany, France, Russia, Siberia and England.
Just over four feet (122 cm) tall, she was warm-hearted, alert and fluent in several languages. Having seen women reduced to ‘veritable beasts of burden’, on settling in London in 1868 she worked as a tailoress and helped oppressed female clothing workers in the East End.
At the register office, Westminster, on 30 May 1871 Augusta (as she now styled herself) married Heinrich Christian Wilhelm Zadow, a tailor and a political refugee from Germany.
Seeking a just society, they embarked with their 3-year-old son in the Robert Lees as assisted migrants bound for Adelaide.
Arriving in 1877, they lived at Goodwood. Augusta laboured tirelessly to assist the increasing number of Adelaide’s female workers in the newly-mechanised clothing trades.
To overcome the injustice of their penurious wages, she planned for structural change.
Although a proposed women’s co-operative clothing factory was not achieved in her lifetime, she was the major force in establishing the Working Women’s Trades Union in 1890: she was its foundation treasurer and, from late 1891, a delegate to the United Trades and Labor Council.
With Mary Lee and David Charleston, she drew up a log of wages and prices for use in Adelaide.
Read more via Biography – Christiane Susanne (Augusta) Zadow – Australian Dictionary of Biography.

The Haymarket Square Rally, 4 May, 1886.

This 1886 engraving was the most widely reproduced image of the Haymarket affair. It inaccurately shows Fielden speaking, the bomb exploding, and the rioting beginning simultaneously.
The rally began peacefully under a light rain on the evening of 4 May, 1886.
August Spies spoke to the large crowd while standing in an open wagon on Des Plaines Street with a large number of on-duty police officers watching from nearby. According to witnesses, Spies began by saying the rally was not meant to incite violence.
Historian Paul Avrich records Spies as saying “there seems to prevail the opinion in some quarters that this meeting has been called for the purpose of inaugurating a riot, hence these warlike preparations on the part of so-called ‘law and order.’
However, let me tell you at the beginning that this meeting has not been called for any such purpose. The object of this meeting is to explain the general situation of the eight-hour movement and to throw light upon various incidents in connection with it.”
The crowd was so calm that Mayor Carter Harrison, Sr., who had stopped by to watch, walked home early.
Samuel Fielden, the last speaker, was finishing his speech at about 10:30 A.M. when police ordered the rally to disperse and began marching in formation towards the speakers’ wagon.
A pipe bomb was thrown at the police line and exploded, killing policeman Mathias J. Degan. The police immediately opened fire. Some workers were armed, but accounts vary widely as to how many shot back.
The incident lasted less than five minutes. Several police officers, aside from Degan, appear to have been injured by the bomb, but most of the police casualties were caused by bullets, largely from friendly fire.
In his report on the incident, John Bonfield wrote he “gave the order to cease firing, fearing that some of our men, in the darkness might fire into each other.”
An anonymous police official told the Chicago Tribune “a very large number of the police were wounded by each other’s revolvers. …. It was every man for himself, and while some got two or three squares away, the rest emptied their revolvers, mainly into each other.”
About 60 officers were wounded in the incident along with an unknown number of civilians. In all, seven policemen and at least four workers were killed.
It is unclear how many civilians were wounded since many were afraid to seek medical attention, fearing arrest.
Police captain Michael Schaack wrote the number of wounded workers was “largely in excess of that on the side of the police.”
The Chicago Herald described a scene of “wild carnage” and estimated at least 50 dead or wounded civilians lay in the streets.
Source: Haymarket Affair – New World Encyclopedia

The Iconic ‘Potemkin Stairs’, Odessa.


Made famous by Sergei Eisenstein’s epic movie Battleship Potemkin (1925), the Potemkin Stairs in Ukraine’s third largest city Odessa, is the city’s most iconic symbol.
It’s a vast staircase located on the seaward side of the city and formally functions as the entrance into the harbor from the direction of the sea. Odessa being perched on a high steppe plateau, needed direct access to the harbor below it.
Before the stairs were constructed, winding paths and crude wooden stairs were the only access to the harbor.
In 1837 a decision was made to build a “monstrous staircase”; an Italian architect Francesco Boffo was called upon to design the stairs and an English engineer named Upton was entrusted with the responsibility of construction.
The stairs were constructed between 1837 and 1841 using Greenish-grey sandstone imported from the Austrian port of Trieste (now in Italy). The staircase extends for 142 meters and rises up to 27 meters, and originally consisted of 200 steps.
The staircase was so precisely designed that it creates an optical illusion so that those at the top only see a series of large steps, while at the bottom all the steps appear to merge into one pyramid-shaped mass.
In 1933, the eroded stairs were repaired and the sandstone was replaced by rose-grey granite, and the landings were covered with asphalt.
The lowest eight steps are lost today under the sand when the port was being extended, reducing the number of stairs to 192.
On the left side of the stairs, a funicular was built in 1906 to transport people up instead of walking.
After 50 years of operation, the funicular was outdated and was later replaced by an escalator built in 1970.
The steps are officially known today as the Primorsky Stairs, but they were originally known by various names such as the Boulevard steps, the Giant Staircase, or the Richelieu steps.
It was not until 1935, after the Soviet revolution, that the Primorsky Stairs were renamed Potemkin Stairs to honor the 30th anniversary of The Battleship Potemkin, a movie that presents a dramatized version of the mutiny that occurred in 1905 when the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin rebelled against their officers of the Tsarist regime.
It was on these stairs where soldiers opened fire on the people on June 14, 1905.
Most Odessites still know and refer to the stairs after their Soviet name.
via Potemkin Stairs, Odessa | Amusing Planet.

Protest Art in New York.


Alice Mizrachi/Ginko Press
by Steven Heller.
Defiant, farcical, profane: These are the words that come to mind when attempting to describe the street art that photographer Yoav Litvin has chronicled on the streets of New York for the past few years.
Semi-sanctioned, quasi-legal, or downright illegal, the works that draw Litvin’s eye—those created by alternative painters, graffiti artists, collagists and muralists—are compiled in his new book, Outdoor Gallery: New York City (Ginko Press).
The resulting collection makes a compelling case that ephemeral street art is a cultural treasure.
Although society tends to look at these outdoor works as vandalism, Litvin takes a longer view.
The book profiles 46 artist, mostly pseudonymous personalities—Toofly, Miyok, Icy and Sot, Gaia, Kram and Bunny M being just a few—to prove street art’s current wave impacts contemporary aesthetics just as powerfully as the Salon de Refusés did in the nineteenth century.
Much of that has to do with exposure: While posting on private and city-owned surfaces ensures these works won’t be around for long, the street provides enviable visibility while they last.
These days the format is distinguished by its rebellious edge, too: As Litvin told me, “I can appreciate the rush and risks artists take when putting up pieces in public.
I also really admire their generosity in taking these risks to share their vision.”
Read on further via Street Art’s Momentary Protest, Made Permanent – The Atlantic.