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The Daily Poetry Movement

Jan. 11, 1912 Bread and Roses Strike begins in Lawrence , Mass, textile mills. Read the 19th century poems Bread and Roses, Child Labor, The Slaughter of Innocents, The Slave Children of Our Free Land, and take a virtual museum tour of sweatshops, then follow the links to read about modern sweatshops and how to get involved. When Cheyney comes to town they are going to protecting sweatshop goons like Niketown and Gap. But you still have chalk. Let downtown blaze with poetry!
Bread and Roses*
By James Oppenheim
The American Magazine 73 (December 1911).
"Bread for all, and Roses, too" -- a slogan of the women of the West

As we come marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill-lofts gray
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing, "Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses."

As we come marching, marching, we battle, too, for men --
For they are women's children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes --
Hearts starve as well as bodies: Give us Bread, but give us Roses.

As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient song of Bread;
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew --
Yes, it is bread we fight for -- but we fight for Roses, too.

As we come marching, marching, we bring the Greater Days --
The rising of the women means the rising of the race --
No more the drudge and idler -- ten that toil where one reposes --
But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses.


*Long thought to have been inspired by the famous 1912 strike by textile workers of Lawrence Massachusetts, James Oppenheim's poem "Bread and Roses" was actually published a month before the strike began and he attributed the slogan to other workers.


 http://www.boondocksnet.com/labor/history/bread_and_roses_history.html
Link (Bread and Roses: The Lost Histories of a Slogan and a Poem By Jim Zwick)

 http://www.alexanderstreet6.com/wasm/wasmrestricted/law/doc30.htm
Includes 1929 version of the poem as well as this version for comparison.

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In Los Angeles, nearly 70% of immigrant garment workers receive below minimum wage. In several Central American countries, women workers are often forced to undergo pregnancy testing or take contraception. In many Asian countries, workers making shoes are exposed to dangerous chemicals. Sweatshops also exist in other manufacturing industries, such as toys, electronics and agriculture.
 http://www.corpwatch.org/issues/PII.jsp?topicid=108

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Child Labor
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. (?)
No fledgling feeds the fatherbird,
No chicken feeds the hen,
No kitten mouses for the cat --
This glory is for men.

We are the wisest, strongest race:
Long may our praise be sung --
The only animal alive
That lives upon its young!

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The Slaughter of the Innocents
By Rose Trumbull
The Independent, rpt. The Public 15 (Nov. 1, 1912).

"O Mother, see the mill lights in the darkness glow!"
"I see but candles for my dead
At foot and head."
"Nay, see how wrought by childish hands, world-fabrics grow!"
"I see my babes, decrepit, bowed --
They weave a shroud."
"Yet see their golden wage: the purse of wealth is deep."
"The tide of barter at its flood
Gives bread for blood."
"O Mother, with thy visions dark, dost thou not weep?"
"For slaughtered babes upon such biers
There are no tears."


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STOP!!! Take a museum tour online.

 http://americanhistory.si.edu/sweatshops/ virtual museum tour: Between a Rock and a Hard Place: A history of American Sweatshops 1820-present.

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The Slave-Children of Our Free Land
By Mary McNabb Johnston
Boyce's Weekly; rpt. The Public 6 (Jan. 2, 1904).

Ye who have children playing in their gladness,
Watch yonder child who toils in mute despair,
In mine, or mill, or near some cruel furnace!
How would you like to see your own child there?
Is there for fettered childhood no salvation?
In life's fair springtime must the heart grow old?
Open thine eyes, for once, my slumbering nation,
For Christ's dear sake that crime of crimes behold!
Before they faint wrap the flag round the children;
From reeking mill take them to God's pure air;
They'll make thy future, be it strong or feeble,
They are thy future, be it foul or fair.
They are thy future, let me once more say it,
Brain, heart and muscle of thy growing years;
Take them, oh, take them now from greed's inferno,
Give childhood's joy in place of pangs and fears.
For Mammon's use alone upon mere babies
Are pressed the weight and power of labor's gyves;
But marble structures crammed with gilded volumes
Will not atone for darkened, ruined lives.
By every moan of childhood, Mammon-blighted,
By every needless grave that shames our land,
By every mill-worn life, uncheered, unlighted,
Justice will rise and her full pay demand.
The One who loved and cherished little children,
Who bade them come, and all their fears beguiled,
Said once, in tones that pierce our craven silence,
Thrice curst is he who sins against a child.



 http://www.boondocksnet.com/labor/history/index.html


In our ancestors names we fight back. For our children we make this earth safe.

Additional Links:
 http://www.twilightbridge.com/hobbies/festivals/labor/poetry.htm
Labor poetry

 http://boycott-nike.8m.com/ Nike Boycott


 http://www.sweatshopwatch.org/ Sweatshop Watch read about Levi's, DKNY, and other abusive companies, their policies, and a few methods for dissent.

 http://www.corpwatch.org/


 http://nate.clar47.rhno.columbia.edu/usas/ United Students Against Sweatshops

 http://www.sweatshops.org/ Coop America Ending Sweatshops and promoting fair trade

 http://americanhistory.si.edu/sweatshops/ virtual museum tour: Between a Rock and a Hard Place: A history of American Sweatshops 1820-present.
a poem of mine for those hungry 13.Jan.2004 18:52

scottt stream many-nations windlistener_goinghome@yahoo.com

I have a dog now
it is she, today
who stares through the window
out at the tops
of the few evergreens
that stand in the yard of my neighbors
I used to lay and look up at them
and then one can feel
the woods are again soveriegn
and not concrete and tacky archetecture
the trees rather
I live among them
not ruins of heartless living
still infested by a race that once was proud
what pride can be had in a crumbling city
ask others, I have found little

but today it is my pup
that looks to the tree tops
she hungers, she shouts
she tells me how hungry this place leaves her
and she is too young
or too wild
to lay down and accept it
when I do not respond
she wails on
and I feel trapped
crushed between two wilds
yearning to be with each other
one longing to touch
the other dreaming of being touched
as man and woman
and I between
longing as well
for both

O humanity let me be
you wave after wave of pressure
telling me to settle (as you did)
and work for you
what of the earth that cries to be fulfilled?
what of my soul that lies behind with my home?
the home we are kept from because
you have to have your way
and you to loud to listen
to quick to think
or ever notice
that your way is killing everything
and your way is not the only way
and I owe nothing to your way
and your way owes the rest of us
so much
you hold the keys
to the prison your ancestors
force all of us into
and you have hesitated this long
to check your pocket
and discover for yourself
what i mean