The Industrial Workers Movement and the Modern Civil Rights
The Industrial Workers Movement and the Modern Civil Rights
There are many similarities in the struggles of different organizations to achieve their goals, particularly when those goals are in themselves so similar. This is the case with the Industrial Workers Movement in the 1920’s and 1930’s, and the modern Civil Rights movement in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Both of these massive movements were human rights based and both of them took place largely in the United States; it is due to the activists within certain unions and groups that people today enjoy certain rights in their workplace and in their daily lives.
The Industrial Workers of the World is a group that was founded in 1924 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and this organization has been responsible not only for raising awareness of the plight of industrial workers at home in Ohio and throughout the United States, but also worldwide. In the early 20th century, industry was booming in America and very often the actual working conditions within factories was dangerous and workers were not properly compensated or cared for.
Factories that produced steel, machinery parts, fabrics and other products often employed young boys and girls and poverty-stricken people who had no other recourse to an income. These people were easier exploited because of their living situation and so owners of many factories were able to pay very low wages, provide little safety training and precautions and therefore turn a vast profit. It was the aim of the Industrial Workers of the World and the other related organizations to unite industry workers together under a common banner that would allow them to demand better pay and workplace rights and safety measures.
Before this time, there was no such thing as a workers union, and given that the mere idea of a union was considered a socialist or communist ideal, Americans were slow to accept the theory of a workers union. Despite this initial mistrust, however, workers in industrial jobs soon realized that they required such measured within their work environment, if not only to care for themselves then to ensure that their families were cared for in case of an on-site accident or death.
The crowing achievement of the Industrial Workers Movement in the early 20th century is the incorporation of the union into industry jobs. Now, workers hired on for dangerous jobs could band together to achieve those things they decided were necessary for secure employment: decent wages, job security, insurance, and better safety measures. This is a framework that has held strong since its inception and today workers in every corner of the American economy may employ the services of a union representative to make sure that they are being given all that they deserve from their employers.
It is the role of the workers union, no matter what industry they are employed in, primarily to serve the rights of the worker instead of the employer. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s was another time period that would change the way we behave today. This kind of movement took place all over the world with many different groups demanding different things, however in the United States the main focus was the equality of African-Americans and Caucasians.
Throughout the United States there were issues with equality, and this was particularly true of certain southern States who operated under local laws that actually prohibited black people from using the same buildings or service centers where white people would be present. The result was that black people were segregated right from childhood; taken to different schools or split schools, drinking from different water fountains, working in different buildings and therefore different industries, and furthermore being excluded from an entire world that was virtually operated by white people.
The result of such oppression was to spawn the creation of very vocal black rights groups, who were often known to be violent in their demand for attention and equality. One of these groups was the Black Panther Party, intent on not only establishing a strong black nation within America but on placing blame directly on the white population of the country for putting them in such a low order of society.
With the help of these groups and with the cooperation of non-black populations who gave their solidarity to the cause, enough attention was brought to the plight of America’s black people to change traditional segregation laws and bringing the two races together in all facets of society. What these two great American movements have in common is how they worked to achieve their goals; it is the methodology of the people responsible for both the Industrial Workers Movement and the Civil Rights Movement that connects the two.
Both of these movements were based on the doctrine of one major or several different groups with common goals in mind. In the case of the industry workers, better wages and working conditions were needed; in the case of the civil rights advocates, equality between the different races of America was the goal. What finally brought success for both groups was the actual fact that they had organized themselves into group form and decided to work together to decide what exactly they wanted from the rest of the country or their employers.
Although there were major and minor differences between the two events, such as the violence inherit in the fight for civil rights and the specification in the push for industry unions, what makes them similar is the process. In both cases, there was a very large percentage of the American population who were being mistreated, and it was the unity of both these groups of people that allowed them to gain a voice within the nation and gain what it was they needed from those in power above them. Works Cited Piven, F. F. , and Cloward, R. A. Poor People’s Movements: Why they succeed, how they fail. New York: Vintage Books.