Slaughter in the Serene

The Columbine Coal Strike Reader

Lowell May & Richard Myers (Eds.)     2005     198p     8 x 6

The state of Colorado deployed machine guns, bomber aircraft, and cannons to control the miners. Their message: we have the authority and the power; you, the out-of-control workers, must submit. But the workers were not just any workers. These were miners, laborers who descended on a rickety cage into the dark maw of hell every workday of their lives. They worked with blasting powder; they fought with coal car mules. They waded through black water floods; they chiseled a living from the depths. How can you intimidate someone who faces death daily? But the strikers had another surprise, another front that would not be intimidated.

The women of the 1920s coal camps became the miners’ most valuable allies. Slaughter in Serene uncovers a history that had nearly been forgotten. It is a history of triumph and tragedy, of working class dreams and rapacious corporate greed. Eric Margolis, Joanna Sampson, Phil Goodstein and Richard Myers! present a compelling history of the 1927 coal strike led by the Industrial Workers of the World. This was the first strike in which Colorado miners were not defeated utterly. This was the last strike in which a state militia played their dubious role. Sadly, it was just one of a number of strikes in which miners and their families confronted violence perpetrated by the power of the state. A wonderful slice of oral history from below, copiously illustrated with original photographs, and extracts from IWW and not so sympathetic papers…



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