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bassen the Little Red Songbook--I.W.W. (93* d) RE: the LITTLE RED SONGBOOK--I.W.W. 25 May 01

This thread was one of the reasons I got hooked on the Mudcat. BS notwithstanding, the information, reminiscences and factual information about and around folkmusic that is accumulating here is amazing. I'd like to add a small voice to this Wobbly thread. My wife's greatgreat uncle Ed emigrated to the US from Norway in 1890. He fought in the Philippine-American war around 1902 and worked his whole life as a lumberjack in Washington. He sent home letters regularly until his death in the early 1950s. The following is an excerpt from a letter he sent home in 1919, translated from the original Norwegian. Maybe someone can find a song in this; its place in this thread is selfexplanatory.


Seattle Washington August 10 1919

Dear Brother ... Concerning daily wages for a lumber jack, they're pretty good now but everything we need to buy is double the price it was in 1914 before the war. ... Yes it's terrible how they hold the working man down, here in America there are strikes here and there all over the country over low wages and the high cost of living. They have a union here that the owners don't like at all and that's the Industrial Workers of the World in other words I.W.W. They demand to be paid fairly for the work they do and want to change things so that if the Capitalists want to eat, then they must work too, just like in Russia.

Bolshiviki they call them here. I figure that in a year or two there'll be some big changes made here in America, there are thousands of Europeans going back to their homes in Europe, the people here hate Europeans now, but at the same time don't like to see them go because they take a lot of money with them and you know they don't like that. Also it won't be so easy for the bigwigs to get a hold of cheap workslaves. It's the Europeans who are trying to get better conditions for the working man by trying to get together in one big union, so that when they go on strike everyone all over the country will quit and you know that will be hard on the Capitalists' wallets and larders.

I'm a member of that IWW union. ... I'll close now in the hope that all of you are well and doing fine

From your brother Ed

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