The Columbia University Strike of 1932

Many may remember the infamous, and violent, Columbia riots of 1968 — but few know about the strike two generations previous that overtook the Morningside campus in 1932.  This is that story — told in authentic, historic, photographs and captions — that I was able to purchase and share with you today.

Protesting the expulsion of Reed Harris, crusading editor of the “Columbia Spectator”, undergraduate daily, a one day strike was called on April 4th, by more than a thousand students at a mass meeting in New York. The students applauded speakers attacking Dean Herbert E. Hawkes, who expelled Harris, and President Nicholas Murray Butler, Harris first gained recognition when he attacked the conduct of Athletics at Columbia University as “semi-professional”. The photo shows a general view of the thousands at the mass meeting. 4/4/32

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Teachers in France Have The Right Idea: Strike!

The other day, I was watching television and I saw a commercial for a certain credit card company that showed a teacher shopping for their own school supplies. I was reminded how bad our education system currently is — bad enough that it supplies teachers with a certain budget for the year but when that budget is exhausted, as it often quickly is, they have to pony up if they want to give their students crayons or colored paper or project supplies — regardless of how important those supplies may be for their education. I couldn’t imagine a bank teller being told by their employer that they could only have a certain number of pens at their station, and that they would have to pay for any others if they needed them.

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Paranoid People and Physical Threats

Have ever been in an argument with someone — even to the point of ever-increasing voices and into shouting — only to have the person you are arguing with suddenly say something like, “Are you going to hit me, now?”  Instead of getting angrier, you are instead left dumbfounded as “hitting” your verbal opponent never crossed your mind.

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What Did the Writers Guild Win?

The Writer’s Guild strike is over after a measly 100 days.

What was gained? If you strike, you don’t strike to win parity or a cast off breadcrumb.  You strike to win big.  You strike to take the ball back. Did the WGA win big?  No.

Some believe the strike cost $2 billion dollars to the Hollywood economy in lost production, catering closures, florists dying, valets being laid-off, hotels churning empty rooms, restaurant workers waiting on nobodies and costume-houses going dark. 

The WGA gobbled up a breadcrumb concession on payments from online entertainment.  That’s it.

On December 7, 2007, the Guild was rightfully demanding the unionization of Animation writers and Reality show writers as well as the right to Sympathy Strike.  On February 11, 2008 — when the strike ended — they won none of those demands.

The Writers Guild was whupped by the producers, and in the bloodletting, thousands of people lost their jobs, a few lost their homes, and everyone lost their respect for a Writers Guild strike that turned out, in the end, to be spineless and pointless.

Union Rage and Labor Equity

The unionized labor market is on fire and that continued rage of discontent will carry over into the next year as the Writers and Local One, the Broadway Stagehands Union, in New York are joined by the Director’s Guild and the Actors in violent and visual protest against untenable labor equity.

Are these work actions merely about money and respect or is something deeper going on here? Is there a revolt against condemning the Common Man while the rich become wealthier and crueler?

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Comments on the Writers Guild Strike

There is a Writers Guild strike that is currently and deliciously finally meting out justice to producers who do not value the written word despite their phony, opposite, claims, and I fully support the strike and the effort for writers — the instigators of original inspiration and creation — to get their fair share of future DVD and online entertainment profits.

Fight to the death.  Let the producers find their bloody end.

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A Racist Strike in the Name of Rosa Parks

The New York City transit strike was about one thing and one thing only: Racial Hatred. If we had a Black or Latino mayor no strike would have been called. Time and again the Transit Workers and their minority leadership said the strike was about “respect and dignity” and neither of those terms have anything to do with salary or health and pension benefits. The transit workers’ strike against the City of New York was Racist and rotten at its core. Respect and dignity, in the sense the union was referencing, is a street term and not an intellectual argument for higher wages.

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