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Minneapolis Teamster Strike, 1934


Minneapolis Teamster Strike, 1934. Early in the 20th century, Minneapolis, a medium sized city in the state of Minnesota, had a reputation for being one of the biggest scab towns in the country, though, where trade unions were consistently kept out of the shops, some militant unionists were able to get elected into public office. Prior to the outbreak of WWI the mayor and several other city positions were won by socialists. Mayor Van Lear had a platform of taking the utilities companies away from the capitalists, and public education reforms. Their main opponents were the Citizens Alliance, a group a capitalists who kept union activities quiet until the depression hit.

Charles Lindberg, Sr., father of the pilot and prairie populist, was one of the Citizen's Alliance biggest foes. Among his targets were JP Morgan and banking practices, the Catholic church and the creation of the Federal Reserve. Lindberg and other populists were members of the Non-Partisan League, which later joined with the Farmer Labor Party to become the DFL.

After WWI, the Red Scare was much to the advantage of the Citizens Alliance. It was now their candidates that ruled Minneapolis and other local offices. When the depression hit, that changed again with the help of some of the most successful leadership in the history of the US labor movement. Most notably there was Teamster organizer Vincent Dunne, (one of five Dunne brothers that played a role), along with Carl Skogland and Farrell Dobbs.

Intense and hard fought clashes resulted in many injuries and three deaths during the 1934 strike. Governor Olson called out the National Guard for crowd control. The Citizens Alliance was eventually broken, and the Teamsters won their right to organize. Minneapolis was now a main center of the Socialist Workers party and militant labor activity. For more details about the strike see the series of articles, The 1934 Minneapolis Strike from Revolutionary History.

In time, sectarianism and legal battles began to take their toll. Trotskyist Vincent Dunne was the subject of many heated attacks by CPer brother, Bill Dunne, editor of a rival newspaper.

In 1941 was the famous sedition trials where 13 SWP members were tried and convicted for violation of the Smith Act. For related material see also oral histories, films, archives, pamphlets, books, newspapers. For related material see also oral histories, films, archives, books, newspapers.(SR)

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Last updated: 16.2.2005