Public Education and Trade Unionism

21 09 2009

Public Education

Free public school was still a new concept in the 1800s and was not widely available for all. By 1958, public education got a big boost from the Government with the Defense of Public Education Act which used government funds to help boost the accessibility and quality of public education. This Act did not come easily as a century of debates went on about whether the state should fund such a large social service. Imagine if we didn’t have Public Education today, how many of us would be able to afford private education? Would our parents be working somewhere else, say the sewing factory or warehouse? Do we take our education for granted? How do these structures, these institutions and everyday right get established?

The Working Man’s Party promoted free public education as a way out of poverty. They were established 1828 and were considered to be the first official union in the United States. They had demanded more just work hours of 10-12 hours however they had racist sentiments and gender biased demands.

The Chinese Must Go

The Chinese Must Go

“The Chinese Must Go!”

“We have made no secret of our intentions.  We make none.  Before you and before the world we declare that the Chinaman must leave our shores.  We declare that white men, and women, and boys, and girls, cannot live as the people of the great republic should and complete with the single Chinese coolie in the labor market.  We declare that we cannot hope to drive the Chinaman away by working cheaper than he does.  None but an enemy would expect it of us; none but an idiot could hope for success; none but a degraded coward and slave would make the effort.  To an American, death is preferable to life on par with the Chinaman.”

-Dennis Kearney (1847-1907):  An Irish immigrant, sailor, and founder of the Workingman’s Party of California (HQ: San Francisco) ; jailed several times for inciting riots against the Chinese in San Francisco; writer of the anti-Chinese Manifesto of the Workingman’s Party. Read the rest of this entry »