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May 30, 2012

This Day in Labor History: The Memorial Day Massacre of 1937

In which the Chicago PD acted as a private army for the steel companies and murdered ten workers on the streets of Chicago. This Day in Labor History: May 30, 1937 - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money
On this date in 1937, Chicago police opened fire on strikers in front of the Republic Steel mill, killing 10 workers. Part of the “Little Steel” strike, where smaller steel corporations refused to follow U.S. Steel into signing contracts with the Steel Workers Organizing Committee (later United Steelworkers of America), the Memorial Day Massacre was one of the last great spasms of organized, lethal state violence against labor in American labor history. The Steel Workers Organizing Committee was a central part of the CIO’s industrial union strategy. Successfully targeting U.S. Steel, they convinced that company to sign a contract on May 2, 1937. This contract standardized pay, granted the 8-hour day, and instituted overtime pay. However, the smaller steel companies were if anything more vociferously anti-union that U.S. Steel and they refused to sit down with their workers. SWOC and the CIO therefore made them the next target. On May 26, 1937, 25,000 people walked off the job in plants in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio. By the 28th, 80,000 were on strike, 46,000 of whom worked for Republic Steel, headed by anti-union die hard Tom Girdler. Girdler hired the Chicago police as a private army, paying for their guns and ammunition. The committee found that the companies had spent $40,000 on weapons for the police. Between 1933 and 1937, the Little Steel companies purchased more poison gas (nausea-inducing rather than fatal) than the U.S. military.

May 28, 2012

First Occupy Wall Street lawsuit thrown out after police lie under oath

It is somewhat harder to lie under oath--commit perjury that is, not that he'll be charged--and railroad an innocent man into prison when hundreds of Americans are videorecording your actions, isn't it? Also in the irony department, the guy on trial was a PRO-police supporter at the OWS rally. He was trying to record police doing awesome things when they arrested him for being in the street while he was standing on the sidewalk. NYPD loses face and first Occupy Wall Street trial — RT
This case could have been a slam dunk for the NYPD, had it not been for one thing: the video showing police claims of disorderly conduct during an OWS protest to be completely untrue. Hundreds have been arrested during the Occupy Wall Street protests, but photographer Alexander Arbuckle’s case was the first to go to trial – and after just two days, the Manhattan Criminal Court found him not guilty. Supporters of the OWS protest movement have already hailed the ruling as a major legal victory. Arbuckle was arrested on New Year’s Day for allegedly blocking traffic during a protest march. He was charged with disorderly conduct, and his arresting officer testified under oath that he, along with the protesters, was standing in the street, despite frequent requests from the police to move to the sidewalk. But things got a little embarrassing for the NYPD officer when the defense presented a video recording of the entire event, made by well-known journalist Tim Pool. Pool's footage clearly shows Arbuckle, along with all the other protesters, standing on the sidewalk. In fact, the only people blocking traffic were the police officers themselves His lawyers said the video proving that testimony false is what swayed the judge, and the verdict a clear indication that the NYPD was over-policing the protests. The irony of the case, however, is that Arbuckle was not a protester, or even a supporter of the Occupy movement. He was there to document the cops’ side of the story.