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Note: In view of the fact that 2015 was the 100th anniversary of Joe Hill’s execution and that memorial events took place all around the country and the world, it’s worth noting the connections that Slaughter in Serene makes between Joe Hill and the historic Colorado coal strikes. Further, a portion of Hill’s ashes were scattered at a 1989 ceremony which unveiled a monument to six unarmed IWW Columbine strikers, buried in Lafayette, Colorado.

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, men 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 a man 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: the Columbine Coal Strike Reader 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.

  Slaughter in Serene: The Columbine Coal Strike Reader $19.05 ea.
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