Sunday, February 28, 2010

Today -100: February 28, 1910: Of trolleys, elevators, nails and x-rays, and suffrage and socialism

The Philadelphia unions vote for that general strike in support of the trolley-car operators, although the start will not be for six days. The violence ramped up again, now that the State Police have left the city to shoot at the Bethlehem Steel strikers instead. At 6th street, a crowd was smashing the windows of trolley cars; a motorman of an approaching trolley turned on full power in order to plow through the – then he got scared and jumped out. The car jumped the rails, hitting the crowd and smashing into a candy store, killing two people, one of them a child.

Chicago elevator operators have voted to strike. There are over 800 of them in the union. Well, I thought that was interesting.

Surgeons at Beth Israel used an X-ray machine to guide forceps in removing a nail from a 9-year-old boy’s lungs (he’d swallowed it).

Yesterday -100 was woman’s day for the American Socialists, which held women’s suffrage meetings all over the country. The NYT has been printing red-scaredy-cat letters for days, warning that women’s suffrage means socialism and socialism means women being shared in common. In New York, there was a large meeting where, as the NYT subhed puts it, “Speakers at Carnegie Hall All Women Except One, and He Denounces Man.” The sex traitor was one Franklin H. Wentworth of Salem, and you can read his speech (which was published) here if you want to, which trust me you don’t, though here’s a not-too-bad bit 20 pages in: “I do not fear the free woman. I fear only the enslaved woman. The man who fears to see his mate walk the earth a free and untrammeled being is himself at heart a slave, unworthy of his mother’s agony. I do not know what woman will do when she is free. I am willing to trust her. I do not even know what man will do when he is free! But what I do know is that all outworn institutions of human tyranny that fear the free man are the same ones that doubly fear the free woman”.

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