Veterans of the 1848 German revolution immigrated to America with three passions burning in their hearts: barbells, beer, and socialism.
Devin Thomas O’Shea’s writing has appeared in the Nation, Protean, Current Affairs, Boulevard, and elsewhere.
England’s Luddites are often dismissed as kooky technophobes. In reality, theirs was a gutsy pre-Marxist workers’ movement that prioritized people and nature over private property.
During the Great Depression, St Louis’s Funsten Nut Factory was racially divided. Black workers, mostly women, worked harder and made less than their white counterparts. So they went on strike — and got their white coworkers to join them on the picket line.
The United States has forgotten the radical German American immigrant socialists who spilled blood for antislavery and other liberatory causes.
At the height of his fame, Mark Twain schmoozed with robber barons like John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. But he remained sharply critical of the unequal system they presided over.
Heir to the Busch family fortune, Trudy Busch Valentine was once crowned queen of St Louis’s Veiled Prophet Ball, an annual event at which wealthy good old boys made toasts to racism and strikebreaking. Now she wants to join another elite club: the Senate.
In July 1877, workers in St Louis waged a general strike that saw them briefly take the reins of power. Frightened elites compared it to the Paris Commune — and we should celebrate this extraordinary moment of radical democracy today.