The Chris Chandler Show

  • Muse and Whirled Retort 2017

    T.H.E. .M.U.S.E. .A.N.D. .W.H.I.R.L.E.D. .R.E.T.O.R.T.  MAY 2017

    Sacramento, CA
    May, 4 2017
    “Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

    with conquering limbs astride from land to land.”

    Let us make America Great again!  

    For America has done some truly great things.  

    But these days they are rarely recognized.

    “Here at our sea-washed,
    sunset gates shall stand
    a mighty woman with a torch...”

    Which is why today - on the anniversary of the Hay Market Martyrs - let us not forget those that have made “America great” in the first place.

    It is ironic that today that such a phrase has become a rallying cry for those that are against American immigration. For we could not be who we are today, without the sweat and labor of the immigrant workers.

    “Whose flame is the imprisoned lightning,
    and her name:  
Mother of Exiles.”

    In the 1870s and 80s much of Europe was in a perpetual state of flux - wars of shifting alliances - exploiting a  peasant population that was continually being conscripted into military service.  Manifestos from Marx and Engels organized peasants to revolt against the status quo. Their European Masters wanted them gone.  America called!

    “From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome.”

    The industrial age was entering adolescence. The 1880s was known as the guilded age -  but Americans lived in company towns, worked endless hours surviving on company food.  Many Americans were protesting this quasi slavery and the Industrialists had to rely on an expanding vulnerable Immigrant population.

    Flyers were distributed throughout Germany and Eastern Europe with promises of work in the United States.

    “Her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.”

    Chicago became a hub of immigration, but this new labor force found themselves employed at a buck a day and working 60-80 hour weeks.  Protests for better working conditions were met with thugs, goons, private armies and strike breakers.  The newspapers - owned by the same corporations - were propaganda machines against the workers demands.

    But Ahhhh... America!  
    The land of the free... press.

    '“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!'
    cries she
 with silent lips.”

    The clickety-clack of printing presses could be heard from basements: a rallying cry written in the languages of the new immigrants.  They proposed something radical.  

    The eight hour day.

    Newly organized Labor Unions denounced socialism, while anarchists called for a more radical agenda - the end of capitalism itself.  Both sides protesting against the Industrialists who had perhaps the most radical agenda of all:  The status Quo.

    Yes, the status quo was -- and still is-- the radical agenda for the status quo was work camps, 10-18 hour work days, child labor, appalling conditions. Indentured workers were forced to buy from the Company Store.

    However, the trade unions and the anarchists linked arms.

    In late 1884 they joined forces and strategized to give the Industrialists plenty of time to prepare for their reasonable demands.  

    “An eight hour day with no cut in pay”.

    The date was set for a year and a half later, May 1, 1886.

    May Day was declared “International Workers Day”.  

    It was chosen because it was a traditional festive holiday - a springtime rebirth ritual celebrated since ancient times with May Poles and dances.

    However, as May Day approached, the industrialists had not budged, and a general strike was called.  Across the United States nearly a million workers walked off the job - in New York, Portland, Detroit, New Orleans, Milwaukee and Chicago.  

    Let us make America great again!

    It was the biggest strike this country had ever experienced. There was a heavy police and private militia presence at rallies through out the country.

    Violence erupted at many of the demonstrations, particularly in Chicago where strikers were dispersed by by the hired Pinkerton Guards.  

    After four days of strike tensions were high.  

    In Chicago on May 4th at the Hay Market Square, from early morning to early evening, speakers inspired the crowd, with even the Anarchist speakers insisting on non-violence to ensure their message would be heard.

    However by evening, the Police without warning charged the crowd on horse-back with billy clubs.  A bomb went off killing seven of them. Police began firing indiscriminately into the crowd killing four and wounding hundreds.  Panic ensued.

    Although it is unknown who planted the bomb, a kangaroo court quickly convicted seven leading organizers, sentencing them to death.

    Many historians, including Howard Zinn, suggest that the bomb was planted by... well a plant - someone hired by the industrialists to pose as an anarchist.

    Public support at first was for the officers. But with the sham verdict, public opinion began to shift, creating world wide sympathy for the Hay Market Martyrs.

    It united immigrant workers with their American brothers. Scandinavian and Eastern European laborers linked arms.

    Songs were written.  Paintings and sculptures unveiled.  Monuments erected.

    "Give me your tired, your poor,

    Your huddled masses
    yearning to breathe free,"

    May Day became the rallying cry for workers rights, and is truly one of our greatest contributions to the world.

    “The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

    Send these,
    the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,”

    Yes, let’s make America great again!

    “I lift my lamp
    beside the golden door!”’

    Great again!

    Some Dates:

    Thursday, May 11
    Hosting the monthly Storytelling Open Mic
    at The Monkey House in Berkeley.

    Saturday, May 27th, 2017  10 AM
    Costa Mesa Scotish Games with Jen Delyth and Celtic Art Studio
    Orange County Faire and Event Center
    Costa Mesa, CA

    Sunday, May 28th, 2017  10 AM
    Costa Mesa Scotish Games with Jen Delyth and Celtic Art Studio
    Orange County Faire and Event Center
    Costa Mesa, CA

    Wednesday, June 7th, 2017  Sundown
    Threadgill Sundown Concert
    Quiet Valley Ranch with John Elliott
    Kerrville, TX

    Now booking Dates in the NW USA in Mid July.
    If you would like to present The Chris Chandler show.  drop me a line.

    updated: 5 years ago