Jackpine Savages, Bolt Weevils, and Solidarity Tractorcades – History of Radical Rural Protest in the Midwest

When: Every Other Thurs. 7:00 pm, Jan. 19th – May 24th

Where: Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative, 426 W. Gilman

In this Madison Free School course, co-hosted by Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative and the Madison Infoshop, we’ll explore the motivations, contradictions, and potentials behind historic episodes of radical rural political protest in the Midwest. What were the underlying conditions that led miners, lumberjacks, farmworkers, and farmers to challenge ruling elites in such ways? Which strategies were most successful? How can we draw upon this heritage and build more effective rural urban coalitions for our organizing today? This is meant to be an interactive participatory course, so the discussion schedule is open to change. Below is a tentative schedule:

Thurs. Jan 19th – Introduction and Overview
Thurs. Feb. 2nd – 1890s Loggers Strike in the North Woods
Thurs. Feb. 16th – WWI Labor Unrest on the Iron Range
Thurs. March 1st – Wisconsin Milk Strike of 1933
Thurs. March 15th – Farmworker Organizing in the Fields of WI and the Bogs of MI
Thurs. March 29th – 1970s Powerline Revolt in Minnesota
Thurs. April 12th – Hormel Meatpackers Strike of 1985
Thurs. April 26th – Crandon Mine Fight in WI
Thurs. May 10th – 2011 Solidarity Tractorcade and the Cheddar Uprising Thurs. May 24th – Wrap-up and Conclusion
Suggested short readings will be made available the week before each topic. A much more detailed and comprehensive bibliography will also be made available.

For further questions, please contact John E. Peck (jepeck@wisc.edu, #260-0900) John E. Peck grew up on a 260 acre farm in central MN, received his PhD from UW-Madison in Land Resources, and is now the executive director of Family Farm Defenders as well as a part-time instructor of economics and environmental studies at MATC. He has also been a rowdy ever since he was a wee lad growing up near Lake Wobegone.

Selected Bibliography: * Barger, W.K. and Ernesto M Raza. The Farm Labor Movement in the Midwest. (Univ. of TX Press 1993) * Berry, Wendel. Bringing It to the Table: On Farming and Food. (Counterpoint 2009) * Brecher, Jeremy. Strike! – the True History of Mass Insurgence in America from 1877 to the Present. (Straight Arrow Books 1972) * Casper, Barry and Paul Wellstone. Powerline: First Battle of America’s Energy War. (Univ. of MA Press 1981) * Danbom, David B. Born in the Country – A History of Rural America. (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press 2006) * Davidson, Osha Gray. Broken Heartland: The Rise of America’s Rural Ghetto. (Univ. of Iowa Press 1996) * Goodwyn. Lawrence. The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America. (Oxford Univ. Press 1978) * Kornbluh, Joyce. Rebel Voices: An IWW Anthology. (Charles Kerr 1964) * Landsberger, H. A. .H.A. ed. Rural Protest: Peasant Movements and Social Change. (Macmillan 1974). * Mitrany, David. Marx Against the Peasant. (Univ. of NC Press 1951) * Nelson, Daniel. Farm and Factory: Workers in the Midwest, 1890-1990. (Indiana Univ. Press 1995) * Rachleff, Peter. Hard-Pressed in the Heartland: the Hormel Strike and the Future of the American Labor Movement. (South End Press 1999) * Schwab, Jim. Raising Less Corn and More Hell: Midwestern Farmers Speak Out. Univ. of IL Press 1988) * Stock, Catherine McNicol. Rural Radicals: Righteous Rage in the American Grain. (Cornell Univ. Press 1996) * Team Colors Collective. Uses of a Whirlwind: Movement, Movements, and Contemporary Radical Currents in the U.S. (AK Press 2010) * Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States – 1492 to Present. (Harper 2003)

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