Why I Wrote Solidarity Forever
By Ralph Chaplin – American West, 1968; Introduction by Bruce Le Roy
Host: Doug “GoatHollow” on They Were Preppers
In the pantheon of American labor history there is a very special place for Ralph Chaplin, the man and his work. As the poet laureate of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), he is probably remembered best for giving organized labor its fighting them song, Solidarity Forever. But to those of us who were privileged to work with him at the Washington State Historical Society during the last few years of his life, Ralph Chaplin will always be honored for more, much more.
His love affair with the Pacific Northwest was revealed time and again in his writings as well as in his conversation. This rugged region of mountains and Puget Sound, of epic pioneering and great conflicts provided a satisfying backdrop for the unfolding drama of labor history. The “Free Speech” fights at Spokane, Everett, Tacoma, and other cities on the Northwest Coast were milestones to Ralph Chaplin. He reported that crises that exploded into gunfire and tragedy at Everett and Centralia. In the 1960 essay that follows this introduction, Chaplin writes: “Even at this late hour I am more grimly convinced than ever that neither the song itself nor the organization that sparked it could have emerged from any environment other than the Pacific Northwest in the afterglow of the rugged period of American pioneering”. Continue reading Solidarity Forever
The Mormon Colonies of Northern Mexico
By Karl Young from American West Mag.
Host: Doug “They Were Preppers”
The Mormon Colonies of Northern Mexico
South from the border town of Columbus, New Mexico, the Mormon settlements extended like beads on a string all the way to the Sierra Tarhumare: Colonia Diaz first, about sixty miles below the Mexican border; thirty five miles farther south, Colonia Pacheco; then Colonia Garcia, and finally Chuichupa. All of these Chihuahua towns lay on the east side of the Continental Divide, though the mountain towns were not far from the western slopes of the Sierra Tarahumare. Across the mountains, in Sonora, were two other colonies, Morelos and Oaxaca. In name and place the towns were Mexican; but their origins were in the United States, and the story of their foundation was one of the last chapters in the history of the long flight of the Latter-Day Saints. Continue reading The Mormon Colonies of Northern Mexico
The Austramerican (Australian) West on “They Were Preppers“
By John Greemway
Reading By: Doug aka GoatHollow
To go into the Australian West is to go into the past. Yet wherever you go, however remote in distance or in time, America and its own West intrudes. A year ago I went to the edge of the Old Stone Age with a party of Australian scientists to study the water metabolism of the aboriginal natives in the hope of determining how these most primitive of people had adapted their bodies to survive in conditions of great heat and aridity. One particularly hard day, when the temperature stood at 120 degrees in the water bag, I sat in the red dust of Australia’s dead heartland trying desperately to convince myself that I was in the same world as my university halfway around the earth. Except for the main body of natives camped near the half dozen tin-an-transite shacks of the government station twenty-five miles away, our party of seven whites and two dozen natives was the largest group of human beings in two-hundred thousand square miles of desert so barren that – as the Australians say – you could flog a flea across the plain and see him every time he jumped.
The adult natives were asleep in the sand, unmindful of the bush flies and the dust settling in their eyes and ears, but a handful of children played in our waterhole and hunted for lizards to trade for hard candy from the lolly jar.” I had recorded some of the strange mythic songs from their parents earlier in the day, and since the tape recorder was still set up, I asked the children to sing some of their songs for me. They gathered around the microphone, naked, knowing no word of English except “lolly” never having heard a radio or a record player, or seen a movie or television; yet after a moment of conspiratorial giggling, they sang out, loud and confidently: Daby, Daby Crocka, kingada wile frontee. Continue reading The Austramerican (Australian) West
Robert Nelson, the notes of 1901
Host: Mrs. Sidhu
In the spring of 1901, Robert Nelson McFarland, at that time in the 83rd year of his life, was interviewed by the local newspaper, the purpose being that he was the last survivor of the first pioneers to settle Brown County, Illinois in 1824 and they wanted to record his memories. But, as often happens, things intervened. The paper changed hands, Nelson passed away and the notes were lost.
Many years passed before the narrative was found in a box of old papers. In 1922, almost 100 after the events described, Nelson’s story was finally told in the Versailles Sentinal. What a shame it would have been to lose such a priceless treasure. Priceless to me because Nelson’s story is the story of my family. I didn’t have to imagine what they went through because there was a witness. Continue reading Robert Nelson, the notes from 1901
They Were Preppers on A Magic Journey!
Have you ever wondered how your world might change if all the trappings of our modern existence were suddenly stripped from our grasp? Traveling without our four wheeled cocoons, no more to enjoy the coolness of air conditioning gently coming from the vents. What if your world were suddenly stripped away, and you were forced to live the life of our ancestors? E.L. Jacobs in his story from 1967 tells of a journey he took with his parents as a small boy. It was a time before highways, and byways crossed our landscape. Taking place in Oklahoma before the convenience of automobiles existed on the dry dusty roads, and when travel by wagon was still common-place. Come along for the ride, and experience just what we miss in our hustle bustle world. Traveling at only about three miles an hour, the world opens up in an entirely new light. The sounds, and smells, the enjoyment of a campfire meal, or the wonder of a hen suddenly awakened in the night announcing her surprise.
We miss a lot in our modern world. Maybe, just maybe, an existence without the trappings of our “Civilized Technocracy” wouldn’t be so bad after all, in fact maybe magic. Without the distraction of our Cell Phones, buttons to push, and the incessant cackle of the television set in the background of our lives, we might discover the magic that we’re missing. As “Preppers”, we spend so much of our time storing away gadgets, freeze dried rice cakes, and struggling with our might to maintain the lifestyle that we’ve become accustomed to… That we might be overlooking the “Magic” that our uncertain future might just bring within our grasp. As Mr Jacobs puts it in this fantastic story, “There are no heroics in my saga. Yet I have never, I think, taken a more romantic or exciting trip. As I look back on the long ride in a vehicle now vanished, but then to be seen in fair numbers, I remember many things that have stayed with me “
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