Editorial Notes

Lawrence Gives the Signal

(April 1931)

Written: April 1931.
First Published: The Militant, Vol. IV No. 7, 1 April 1931, p. 2.
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The Lawrence strike ended suddenly in a compromise, but the twelve-day demonstration of the textile workers there had a nationwide significance. It was heard from one end of the country to the other like a thunder-clap in a dead calm, warning of a coming storm. There is no doubt that it had a heartening influence on the conscious sections of the workers everywhere, stirring them with the thought that the signal for struggle had been sounded by an authoritative voice.

Lawrence is a name to conjure with. The tradition of 1912 has lost none of its luster with the passing of the years. The memory of that heroic example is a part of the armament, not only of the workers of Lawrence, out of the entire labor movement of America. That is why the militant, if short-lived, demonstration of the past weeks was a national bugle call.

The masters of America, sitting uneasily on a volcano of working class misery in the crisis, were no less alarmed than the workers were inspirited by the strike. This was shown by the feverish attempts to get it settled before it could consolidate its organization and extend its scope. The frenzied persecution of the strike leaders was prompted by their terror, as also were their concessions to the strikers, offered so soon after the strike began – a procedure quite unusual in the textile industry. The direct and immediate intervention of the federal government, with deportation warrants against some of the strike leaders, was a clear recognition that the strike was regarded by the capitalist overlords as a national affair.

The National Textile Workers’ Union appeared in Lawrence as the organization for the strike. That is also a sign of the times. A militant organization is the prerequisite for an effective struggle by the textile workers of Lawrence or anywhere else. To allow the corrupt machine of McMahon the right of way in a textile workers’ strike is to condemn it in advance to betrayal and defeat.

A real and serious preparation for the great battles yet to come in this field presupposes the strengthening of the National Textile Workers’ Union as against the treason machine of the U.T.W. This must never be forgotten. To help the N.T.W. prepare for the coming days means also to insist on a correct policy and a correct regime within it. This must not be forgotten either.

Last updated on: 14.12.2012