The Minneapolis general strike; “Mongrel Firebugs and Men of Property”
Play • 35 min

“On Tuesday, May 22nd the picketers took the offensive and succeeded in driving both the police and the deputies from the market and the area around the union's headquarters.” Political scientist and historian Michael Munk connects what’s going on in Minneapolis today as workers and the community react to the killing of Michael Floyd with the general strike that took place there in 1934… “It's one of the great mysteries of human history, about when people rise up and why they don't rise up much more frequently than they do given the kinds of indignities and abuses and exploitation that have been the lot of most working people in American history.” Steve Fraser, author of the new book “Mongrel Firebugs and Men of Property: Capitalism and Class Conflict in American History”… “Vast impregnable and immovable barricades of automobiles were set up, blocking all the main arteries into the Ford fortress.” With the AFL-CIO planning car caravans around the country this Wednesday to demand swift action on the pending Heroes bill in Congress to help American workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Meany Archives' Ben Blake reveals that the labor movement has used this technique effectively in the past. “I worked in this quarry 21 years. I was head derrick man. See that shack on the other side? I operated from there awhile. I worked all through here. It's one of the biggest quarries on the hill. There’s still a lot of good stone left in there. All kinds of good stone…”   The latest episode of the “En Masse” podcast takes us inside the New England quarries nearly a century ago, when workers blasted, dug and pried out the stone that built many of the buildings that still stand today in our towns and cities.   Plus we celebrate the life of Rosie the Riveter on Labor History in 2.  

Produced by Chris Garlock with editing by Patrick Dixon; to contribute a labor history item, email

Labor History Today is produced by the Metro Washington Council’s Union City Radio and the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University. Links: Minneapolis general strike of 1934 Mongrel Firebugs and Men of Property: Capitalism and Class Conflict in American History Steve Fraser on "Your Rights At Work" on WPFW 89.3FM AFL-CIO // Workers First Caravan (DC) En Masse Episode 6: "Poor Devil" Labor History in 2

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