1877 St. Louis General Strike: lessons for today (video)

On July 16, a group of labor and community activists gathered in Granite City, Ill., to remember the 1877 St. Louis general strike. It was a festive occasion with speakers, music and food.

Northern Illinois University professor Rosemary Feurer and Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees leader Ed Sadlowski both spoke about the lessons of the 1877 strike for today’s struggles against union busting. Both speakers keyed in on the on-going struggles in Wisconsin and other states.

For several hours, labor and community activists exchanged experiences and ideas about how to roll back the attacks on workers and their unions. Much of the discussion centered on how to build labor unity, and on how to broaden out the coalitions needed to stop the multiple assaults on the working class.

St Louis 1877 General Strike from Scott Marshall on Vimeo.

Photo: Flier.




Scott Marshall
Scott Marshall

Scott Marshall is a vice chair of the Communist Party and chair of its Labor Commission. Scott grew up in Virginia where he first became active in the civil rights movement in high school, working on voter registration and anti-Klan projects in rural Southern Virginia and Tennessee. He was also active against the war in Vietnam.

Scott has been a life long trade unionist and was active in rank and file reform movements in the Teamsters, Machinists and Steelworkers unions in the 1970s and '80s. He was co-chair of the Save Our Jobs committee of USWA local 1834 at Pullman Standard in Chicago and active in nationwide organizing against plant shutdowns and layoffs. He was a founder of the unemployed organization Jobs or Income Now (Join), in Chicago, and the National Congress of Unemployed Organizations in the 1980s.

Scott has worked for the Communist Party since 1987 when he became the district organizer for the party in Illinois, a post he held until he was elected chair of the National Labor Commission in 1997. Scott remains active in SOAR (Steelworkers Active Organized Retirees). He lives in Chicago.