20th Century, History, Intercession, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Politics, Uncategorized

Benson Becomes Governor

J2 1936 p14

Jan 4, 1937
Elmer A. Benson takes office as the state’s 24th governor.* “He was elected in 1936 as Minnesota’s second Farmer-Labor Party governor with over 58 percent of the vote. He was defeated only two years later by an even larger margin. An outspoken champion of Minnesota’s workers and family farmers, Benson lacked the political gifts of his charismatic predecessor, Floyd B. Olson. However, many of his proposals—at first considered radical—became law in the decades that followed.”**

“Although the 1937 Legislature had given Benson–an early Socialist sympathizer–little of what he sought, many of his proposals became law during the 40 years that followed–property tax relief for homesteads; higher income tax rates for high-income individuals and corporations; mandatory workers’ compensation coverage for employees; a state Civil Service system; expanded state aid for schools, financed by income taxes; party designation for legislators.”***

“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof; and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” Ecclesiastes 7:8 NIV

Eternal Father, today we remember Your patience, and applaud Your forbearing spirit! You allow Your children to struggle as we learn, and do not rush to our aid at the first obstacle. You are perfect in holiness, and yet kind in Your judgments.

We remember with You the governorship of Elmer A. Benson today. We see Your image in his heart to correct monopolistic powers, relieve homesteaders, and ease the burdens of farmers. We see Your image in Governor Benson’s patience and faithfulness. His most treasured goals were not accomplished in his term in office, but like so many leaders, by faith, he eventually saw them put into law. We see that he sought to build consensus in his support for unions, and to establish his Progressive ideals through the law rather than might. Will You bless the changes he initiated, and his heart to make life better for those in society that were suffering?

Will You forgive also the sins of his idealism? Where he overstepped the bounds of the Constitution and inserted the government between employee and employer relationship, will You give balance? Though he acted out his ideals in integrity, will You forgive where his actions of benevolent state government actually diminished individual choice and responsibility for ones’ decisions and actions? In Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We ask that You visit with us the utility of the progressive income tax. In one sense, those most able pay more of the costs of society, and those less able pay less costs of the state. To be more exact, those who earn more, pay a higher percentage of their income, and those who earn less pay a smaller percentage of their income. This is my question to You; if some bear more of the financial burden of society than others, will the sense of ownership and participation be increased as one pays more, and diminished as one pays less?

To take the idea further, what other arena of life do we love more as we participate less? You have said, “Where Your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21) If this is true, then would not those paying a lesser percentage of their income also be investing less of their heart in Minnesota, and those who pay a higher percentage of their income be investing more of their heart in our state?

Help me explore some of the math of Your Word, Jesus. We know that the Israelites were commanded by You to bring 10% of their wealth as an offering.
“‘A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.” Leviticus 27:30
But what of the Levites, the priestly lineage, who were not allowed to make wealth, or own property in the same sense of the rest of society?
“And the LORD instructed Moses, Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the LORD’s offering.” Numbers 18:25,26 NIV

So, this is what we can gather from these examples from your chosen people; that You claim 10% of every type of wealth and resource in the land, and that those priests whose income and inheritance is dependent on Your Sovereignty and the gifts of the people must also give back to You 10% of their income. Is this an example of a graduated tithe, which to us may be similar to a tax?

What we do see quite clearly is that giving is proportional, and flexible to the type and amount of wealth one has. Also, it is repeated frequently that no one is exempt from giving to the Sovereign of Israel, but exhorted with the command “none shall appear before me empty-handed”. Please ponder these verses below with the Lord, and see what you think.

“You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the month Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. And none shall appear before Me empty-handed.” Exodus 23:15

“You shall redeem with a lamb the first offspring from a donkey; and if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck You shall redeem all the firstborn of your sons. None shall appear before Me empty-handed.” Exodus 34:20

“Three times in a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses, at the Feast of Unleavened Bread and at the Feast of Weeks and at the Feast of Booths, and they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed.”
Deuteronomy 16:16

While modern society may not relate to commands of this type from You, Good Father, we catch some of Your meaning today. The tithe You command is a parallel to our concept of taxation. Offerings were a parallel of giving beyond the tithe, or what we might think of as charity, from out of a sense of devotion, sharing a blessing, or gratitude, and not necessity or compulsion.

May we find Your way to pay the costs of our society. May the future generations of Minnesotans show respect and humility before Your wisdom in this area. May we all contribute evenly and proportionately to the resources we are allotted by You. May we be free of the greed that comes from too much, and too little. May we not allow the enemy of all to divide us through bitter root judgments of our neighbors’ lineage, rank, or profession. May we trust in Your provision more, and not demand offerings from our community that even You do not demand. May we see the other side of the coin that, perhaps, Governor Benson missed; that failing to give in proportion will also yield a failure of heart commitment to our North Star state! May we all have a sense of participation, ownership, and even joy that comes from not appearing before You or our neighbors empty-handed!

“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.  I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.
Malachi 3:8-12

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** http://www.mnopedia.org/person/benson-elmer-1895-1985
*** http://articles.latimes.com/1985-03-16/business/fi-27186_1_minnesota-politics

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20th Century, Anti-Semitism, Fundamentalist, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized

William Bell Riley and Fundamentalist Anti-Semitism?

Unknown-1

1936
William Bell Riley, pastor of First Baptist Church of Minneapolis, founder of the World Fundamentals Christian Association (WFCA), and president of Northwestern Bible School advocates against socialism of New Deal, the black market, and unionism. His outspoken belief that Jews within the Bolshevist (Communist) movement were committing acts of conspiracy and treason labeled him an “Anti-Semite”.*

“It cannot be understated. Bolshevism was the greatest human slaughter of all time.” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

(The following text is transcribed from the original scans available at the Riley collection at the University of Northwestern).

The Jew and Communism
October 1936

For three successive Sunday nights I have been giving a brief dissertation on Communism, the first of these – “Shivering at the Sight of a Silver Shirt,” the second – “The Red Shirt of Russia and a Shirtless Russia”, the third – “Is There Danger to America in Communism?”, and now tonight,- “What Has the Jew to do with Communism?”
A Paper entitled “Anti-Semitism in America”, a Jewish defender says:-
“Until the last few years it has been the Fundamentalists and Premillennialists who have been noted for teaching kindness to the Jews and for persistently promoting the preaching of the Gospel of the love of Christ to the Jews.”
This is absolutely true! I have been a member of the boards of the two Jewish Missions of this city; I was for years on the Board of Councilors of a New York Mission. As a Fundamentalist and a Premillenialist I accord to the Jews not only a great place in past history, but also a major place in prophecy, or history to come. But I also agree with another statement to be found in that same Jewish Defense Paper, namely,
“The Word of God offers no quarter to individual Jews who may be criminals. There is no warrant for dealing gently with an offender against the peace of society, because he happens to be a Jew.”
“Anti-Semitism” is a sadly misapplied term. If it means anything, it means “opposition to Abyssianians, Arabians, Palestinians, Phoenicians, Syrians, and the countries of the Euphrates and the Tigris;” and everybody knows there is no such opposition. The term adopted covers entirely too much, and in some cases is intended as a cloak against all conceivable crimes.
For instance Guilford and Liggett were brutally and cowardly murdered. They were murdered in the same way and in all probability by the same man (Minneapolis- based Jewish gangster Kid Cann a.k.a. Isadore Blumenfeld), and in each instance by a shotgun. But, when two people, witnesses to the second murder, testified as to the man they saw do the deed, it is very poor taste to cry “Anti-Semitism” and try, thereby, to prejudice the public against the justice that should have been meted out to a liquor vendor Jew!
The same principle applies when Jews are found leading Communistic meetings,- as in Chicago heading Communistic parades,- as in Minneapolis, directing Communistic banditry,- as in China, and murderous revolutions,- as in Russia.**

William Bell Riley, like many religious leaders of the 1920-30’s, was known as a vigorous advocate for his worldview. It was his organization, the World Christian Fundamentals Association that wired William Jennings Bryan urging him to act as counsel for the association in the Scopes Trial.*** He saw the movement of evolution as a force to dilute and delude people from the Word of G-d and His sovereignty over all creation. Academically, he resisted evolution education on the basis that it was neither sound science or necessarily observational. As an example, the fossil records did not record trans-species mutations that would be physical evidence of Darwin’s theory.

For these reasons, he battled and debated evolution in the public arena, and in proposed law.
“…the University of Minnesota, of which the students and president, Lotus Delta Coffman (1875-1938), provided the most effective opposition to Riley’s proposed anti-evolution law. Their resistance, based on the issue of academic freedom, together with lack of support for Riley’s campaign from denominations other than the Baptists and from the general public, doomed the anti-evolution measure. Nevertheless, Minnesota came closer than any other northern State to passing such a law.” ****

This could contribute to Riley’s distrust of academic culture, but how is failure to support evolution as part of the curriculum of the University of Minnesota an act offensive to Jewish culture of the era? Perhaps it can be better explained by the life experiences and fears of both the Fundamentalists’ and the Jewish political Progressives in Minneapolis? At the risk of over generalization, the author will nonetheless cite in broad terms the movements of these camps within the North Star state to further ponder motives.

Often, those in the Fundamentalist camp were Mid-Western in values, and saw life through a spiritual filter first, and one of politics or citizenship secondly. They were distrustful of the Eastern “Establishment” and the powerful influence it had already wielded on their lives. Their issues related to a sense of loss and control of Minnesota’s: farming, railroads, mining, land use, taxation, finance, culture, and a combined faith heritage of mostly Protestant and Catholic Churches. In short, an outsider changes the rules of the game, and picks winners and losers.

In a similar way, religiously observant Jews from Eastern Europe sought shelter in Minnesota, and viewed life through a spiritual filter first, and a political lens secondly. They had survived pograms of Russia, corruption and prejudice against their way of life in Poland, and wanted a place to be free. In many senses, their values aligned with the Mid-West, though their collective memory was longer, and more international in scope.

Conversely, when politically Progressive Jews had arrived here, usually from the East Coast, they exerted a considerable influence on the laws of this time period. They, in a general sense, sought the redemption of humanity not through the law of Moses or the acts of YHWH, but through mostly secular and political means. They also had survived the pograms of Russia, and the suppressions of Polish Catholic Nationalism, and these painful memories rightfully pushed them to distrust “Christian” leadership or the benevolence of the “Church”. For many, Marxism became a new Torah that could overcome the obstacles and stagnancy of the old world, and bring a new way through collectivism and faith in humankind.

It seems, in hindsight, that these Progressives and the Fundamentalists were designed to grind: one valued private property and the other the collectivization of all property, one espoused self-government as a virtue and the other the primacy of the state, and finally, one camp held G-d as the ultimate source of authority and the other deified man. Perhaps Riley actually believed that the political motives of these Progressives were the enemy of our Republic, and not their Jewish identity whether aligning with the religious or non-theistic expressions?

Having explored this premise as a backdrop, we return back to the saga of W.B. and the shirt sermons. Famed University of Minnesota Professor Hyman Berman believed that Riley displayed anti-Semitic behaviors during this epoch. In his book, “Anti-Semitism in Minnesota during the Great Depression”, he uses an example of Riley’s sermon, “Shivering at the Sight of a Silver Shirt” as evidence of the pastor’s bias. While Riley’s word use would make any modern, politically-correct scholar bristle, did they convey in context and intent a heart bent on anti-Semitism? **** Did they convey honest intellectual disagreement, or pass over into advocating hate, violence, and crimes against  the Jewish citizenry of Minnesota?

Let’s take a look at Riley’s actual words from a 1936 reprint of the sermon.

“This series of articles is not in defense of capitalism, nor is it written in defense of the Silver Shirts. We speak because we have noted of late a disposition to attack immediately and almost mercilessly any company of men who are known to stand four-square for the constitution of our land, and vigorously against communism. That is why we speak now of ‘shirts'” p2.******

Is it possible that this great local historian read meaning into the life and work of W.B. Riley that was not expressly noted in writing or implied verbally? Let’ explore the background of Berman to see what, if any conditions, may have filtered his perceptions.

“Berman’s childhood (the son of radical Jewish workers in the garment industry), his acquaintance with union leaders, leftist theoreticians, and writers, time in the U.S. Army, and studies at the City College of New York and Columbia University provided a textured backdrop to his move to the North Star State. In 1961, Berman claimed that he didn’t know Minnesota from Montana and that family members seriously wondered whether there were sidewalks in Minneapolis. Those perceptions changed quickly.” ****** https://cla.umn.edu/history/news-events/story/hyman-berman-1925-2015

So, we learn in this article that his family had radical leanings, he was immersed in unionism and leftism, his perceptions were shaped by CCNY and CU, and that he didn’t know much about the culture of Minnesota upon arrival. Is it possible that Berman “jumped the shark” with his powerful post-humous charges against Riley? We at least record that his educational and cultural backdrop was “designed to grind” against Fundamentalism apart from any offense taken by his faith, culture, or ancestry.

(Note: The author met with Berman twice before his death, and found him a brilliant, engaging, and liberally-minded thinker. A reasonable man in agreement or disagreement. Also, my parents had first hand knowledge of Dr. Riley and First Baptist Church of Minneapolis. They found no evidence of alleged Jewish bias, rather the simple gospel of its’ most famous congregant; Billy Graham. His gospel, in short, is that as we know the Christ, the Living Torah, we are enabled to fulfill Deuteronomy 6:4,5, Psalm 78:5, Zechariah 14:9, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, and Luke 10:27.

Good Father, we give You thanks that You see beyond the biases of human-beings, and our one-word characterizations of our fellow man! We remember to You the success and failures of Israel and the Church throughout time. We have hated too much, and loved too little. We have bludgeoned each other to death figuratively and literally. We have stolen from our brothers and sisters and dishonored our parents and heirs. We have allowed the laws of men to usurp Your eternal words. Will You have mercy on us?

Today, we bless the justice W.B Riley stood for in his passion for fundamentalism. He truly sought and pursued to know You, to love Your laws, and love Your Word. Yet, those as strong as him in the letter of the law often stumble in that they miss the spirit of the law. Will You forgive him, the WCFA, and his followers where he may have missed and mislead others from the spirit of Your Laws into religious pride?  We disavow where he rejected and spoke evil of his Jewish brothers; will You take these curses up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ? Will You forgive the transference of his fears for the civic well-being on his congregation, and the state of Minnesota? Will You forgive any bitterness against Israel that came from clashes with Jewish advocates of: unionism, collectivism, Marxism, liberalism, and politicalization of science through evolutionism?

Will You forgive observant Jews any judgments made towards Dr. Riley, the Church, or toward Fundamentalists of this era? Will You forgive any transference from them that may have tainted the present, or threatens to skew our common future? Will You graft the Church more tightly to the Olive Tree? We haven’t yet recognized that we need each other to survive.

Will You forgive those who identify as Jews, but believe in the Messiah of Progressivism? Further will You forgive the atrocities of humanistic atheism in their age: the Revolution of 1917, Red Terror Bolshevism, the forced collectivization of the Ukraine 1931-32, Yezhovshchina, Polska Organizacja Wojskova, the Great Purge in Mongolia, and the Katyn Massacre? While these Progressives did not likely participate in these crimes, their worldview had damaged millions by 1936. Will You forgive their denial of this portion of reality? Will You forgive the counter-judgments of Jewish Communists towards: observant Jews, Dr. Riley, the Church, or towards Fundamentalists of this era?

Some of the fears of W.B. Riley have come true within our lifetimes. Our universities are dominated by viewpoints that are considered “secular, non-ideology”, yet are belief systems. The worship of political correctness is exactly like any world religion with all the attributes of a religion; its own vernacular, cultic objects and ceremonies, and a yearning for a future utopia where everything is submitted to tolerant uniformity. Can a student be an Orthodox Jew or Orthodox Christian and make it through a graduate program at the University of Minnesota in the sciences without being forced to publicly betray their faith or even the possibility that You are our First Cause?

Dear Lord, we still find ourselves at an impasse of relationship; perhaps not of religion. We broad-brush the motives of those whose we disagree.  We assume that we can fit an entire people or culture or movement under our neatly defined labels. This is wrong and is sin against You, and Your image within those whom we disagree. Have mercy on us!

Oftentimes, Progressive thinkers seek an external solution to an internal problem. I.E. “Others must change their beliefs, behaviors, and actions for me to be O.K., because I am not secure in my worth and identity.”
Meanwhile, the seekers of G-d search for an internal solution to an external problem.
I.E. “Because G-d has called me O.K., I am worthy and secure, therefore I can accept others’ beliefs, behaviors, and actions.”                                                                                                    Similarly, religious fundamentalists of any stripe can exhibit the same external solutions to inherently spiritual problems. I.E. “My problems can only be solved by legalistic observance to religious knowledge of G-d because I am not secure in in my relational knowledge of G-d.” Finally, sometimes atheists are more in tune with their heart than the members of a strict faith community. I.E. “I don’t care who gets the credit, I just want to see the naked clothed, the hungry fed, and to share with the poor ones.”

So we turn to Your Word, and to You as the Living Word for wisdom!

“A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.”  Apostle Paul in Romans 2:28,29

Further we see examples of Almighty G-d’s benevolently weighing humanity on the dual scales of internal and external justice!

“The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, and you will love Him with all your heart and all your soul, so that you may live.” Deuteronomy 30:6

“Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, remove the foreskins of your hearts, O men of Judah and people of Jerusalem. Otherwise, My wrath will break out like fire and burn with no one to extinguish it, because of your evil deeds.” Jeremiah 4:4

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will punish all who are circumcised yet uncircumcised…” Jeremiah 9:25

“The one who is physically uncircumcised yet keeps the Law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.” Romans 2:27

Lord, help our unbeliefs and lack of relationship to those we perceive as enemies, or those who genuinely oppose us. May we love our enemy in Minnesota. May we love the enemies of the Jewish faith. May we love the enemies of the Christian faith. May we love the enemies of the Progressive faith. Put us in right relationship so we can listen to each other. Give us Your worthiness so we have something to offer our neighbor. May we find all solutions in El Roi, may we receive “I Am” and live in the present! Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on this broken relationship! Will You bless our future with real chesed; right relationship with G-d and all people?

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** Pulaski, Clement., “William Bell Riley and Fundamentalist Anti-Semitism”. July 14, 2017. Cited in http://faithful-nation.com/2017/07/14/william-bell-riley-and-fundamentalist-anti-semitism/
*** Numbers, Ronald L. “Creationism in 20th-Century America”., Science 218 (5 November 1982): pp 538-544
**** Szasz, Ferenc M., “William B. Riley and the Fight against Teaching of Evolution in Minnesota.” Minnesota History 1969 41(5): 201-216.
***** Berman, Hyman. “Anti-Semitism in Minnesota during the Great Depression”., New York : 1979.
****** Riley, W.B. “Shivering at the Sight of a Silver Shirt”. Publ. L.W. Camp: Mpls., MN. 1936. https://www.worldcat.org/title/shivering-at-the-sight-of-a-shirt/oclc/59759935

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20th Century, Business, History, Unions

1st Sit-Down Strike in U.S.

history-1926-george-jay.1498491076

hormelfoods.com

1933
Workers at George A. Hormel and Company stage the first sit-down strike in the U.S., taking over the Austin meat-packing plant for three days. The tactic works; Hormel agrees to submit wage demands to binding arbitration. The success of this strike re-invigorates the labor movement, which had been in decline through the 1920s.*

To offer a backstory, we must look at the character and practices of a father and son.
George A. Hormel founded the company in 1891, and survived the Panic of the 1893-1897 by setting the standards for success himself. “People talked of Hormel’s passion for efficiency and quality and of his eagerness to work in the plant beside his employees.” Hormel often insisted on doing the key butchering operations himself.**

Jay Hormel was the only son, actually the only child of the G.A. Hormels’. He had an excellent education at Shattuck School for Boys and Princeton University. After schooling he pursued a career as a jazz pianist with some modicum of success.

Though trained by his father through two years of work at the plant, perhaps he did not retain the personal identity with the town of Austin, his staff, or the business. He married a foreigner, and moved his family out of Austin to a large French style estate.

Fast forward to the landmark strike. A group of workers at the hog killing floor were unsuccessfully persuaded to join the “voluntary” insurance program being pushed by management. At issue were the further loss of wages, 20 cents per week, and the expectation that those who didn’t join could be fired. The incensed workers shut down the killing floor for only 10 minutes, yet their exasperations had a ripple effect.

In response, hundreds of employees joined the newly formed International Union of All Workers (IUAW), and contributed $600 to achieve its aims. These are out lined below:

“1. An increase in the hourly rate for all workers who are members of the union of 20 cents an hour over and above the rate of November 1, 1933.
2. An increase in pay for those workers on a scale other than the hourly rates so they might receive an increase in pay equal to those on the hourly basis.
3. The abolition of the bonus system and the rate of those affected by the abolition be set by an hourly rate plus a bonus.
4. That when females replace males in the plant, the rate of compensation be the same as that paid to the male workers.
5. An agreement whereby either company or union may present each other with formal requests in writing, the receiving party acknowledging receipt of the request and arranging provisions for a conference within 24 hours of receiving it.” **

The occupation of the plant pushed Hormel into reaching out to both FDR and Governor Floyd Olson for help. Neither of these politicians were in the mood to enact a strike bust, but rather approaching the issue as mediators. Ultimately Governor Olson, without security, calmed the situation and led to the writing of an agreed plan between workers and management.

Hormel’s attitude towards his employees did a complete u-turn. Instead of seeing workers as his opponents, he saw them as his team. His “Master Plan” was putting out fires before they start; a system of anticipatory welfare capitalism. This plan gained acceptance and trust of laborers so throughly that it pre-empted the necessity of union actions in most cases. When asked by other business men how to deal with labor, Jay Hormel replied; “labor troubles would not occur if business could understand labor.” **

Shall we pray? We give thanks to You, Lord of All Workers, because You truly understand the backstory of everyone who works. We thank You for Your intimate knowledge of each human’s psyche, work ethic, and motives. Will You enhance our watching of this event in history, and bring revelation to Your people everywhere?

Initially we see an example of a father and son, and their differing approaches to the same task of owning and managing a business. We thank you for the leadership style of George Hormel who: lived locally, married a girl from town, and was an active participant in all stages of his company. Will You bless Him, the Hormel family, and those like him in Minnesota’s food processing businesses? It is hard to fault one who leads by practical example.

We also thank You for the leadership style of Jay Hormel who: thought outside his own town, loved music, and married outside his culture. We thank You that though he originally was known for his weakness to relate to his labor, he discovered that he could change. We give thanks that he was humble enough to learn from his failures in this strike, and grow as a businessman and human being. Will You bless his family and companions in the food trade, both past, present, and future?

We give thanks for the workers and strikers of this event. We recognize their pains and fears in this era. Will You remember those tasks that were done at an immediate and personal loss to them? Will You remember the days and years where they did not complain though they were increasingly chafed at the increase of employer demands with lack of job security? Will You remember how they were faithful to Hormel, and forgive the ways they weren’t? Will You bless them, their families, and generations in their labor to “do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men”? ***

We remember the insufficient nature of the “isms” at play in this event. Will You temper our collectivists to remember the individuals in their ranks? Will You protect our unions from judgments that can chain them to a permanent state of envy? Will You give the capitalist the humility to see that money doesn’t solve the problems of workers hearts and needs for respect? Have mercy on our business. Have mercy on our strikes. May we receive Your contentment whether on the killing floor on making a killing? Amen.

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** Conatz, Juan (2014, July 21)https://libcom.org/history/we-were-poor-people-hormel-strike-1933-larry-d-engelmann
*** Colossians 3:23

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20th Century, History, Logging, Minnesota

Sawmill Workers Strike

Unknown

1917
Workers at the Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Company sawmill, the largest in the world, strike for higher pay and safer working conditions. Organizers from the radical International Workers of the World spread the strike to the logging camps before police break it up with arrests and force.*

Minnesota’s history of logging in this era is rife with irony. On one hand, it is a shining example of cooperation and productivity.
“The VRL Lumber Co. was the largest on earth producing on average a million board feet of lumber a day seven days a week. Production on such a vast scale required an enormous supply of virgin white and red pine harvesting a total of four billion board feet over a 20 year period.**

On the other hand it was pitifully negligent in its care for its workers’ health and well-being.
“Toilet facilities were primitive in the extreme. Privies were no more than shallow, open pits with a roof and some poles for seats. Excrement was only rarely treated with lime or even covered with dirt. State inspectors repeatedly and despairingly observed that “there seems to prevail an idea that toilet facilities in a camp are superfluous.””
Safety precautions were ignored, too. Engaged in strenuous manual labor with lethal tools in frigid weather, lumberjacks had an extremely high accident rate. Although immediate first aid was therefore the jacks’ greatest medical need, a survey of logging
camps several years before the strike revealed that “in none . . . were there any facilities for giving first aid to the injured.”**

Below is the an eye-witness testimony regarding the ‘jacks accommodations.
“Prospects of a major IWW walkout were enhanced, however, by the working and living conditions of the lumberjacks. Typically, jacks lived in rough-cut lumber shanties. A bunkhouse 30 feet by 80 feet by 11 feet would house anywhere from 60 to 90 men in rows of double-decked wooden bunks lining each wall. Each individual bed with its mattress of loose straw slept two men. Each jack received two or three woolen blankets from the camp (sheets were unknown). The turnover was so high that four or five men might easily use the same blankets each season.

Virtually all the beds, blankets, and men were infested with lice. In 1914 inspectors from the State Department of Labor and Industries observed that “the conditions under which the men were housed made it impossible for men to keep their bodies free from vermin.”

Bunkhouses were ventilated only by doors at each cud and one or two small skylights in the roof. One or perhaps two iron stoves, kept fired all night, provided heat. The poor ventilation compounded sanitary problems.

The men worked 11-hour days in the cold northern Minnesota winter and generally wore two or three sets of underwear in addition to their outer garments. The combination of wet snow and hard labor soaked the jacks’ clothes every day, but the men were without washing facilities either for themselves or what they wore.

Since most of them put on all the clothing they owned, dozens of sets of wet-from-sweat clothes hung near the stove every night to dry for the next day. The steam from the clothing joined the stench of tightly-packed, unwashed bodies in the bunkhouse, prompting one Wobbly to comment that “the bunk houses in which the lumber jacks sleep are enough to gag a skunk.” Testimony of Jay Hall; Sixteenth Biennial Report, p. 117; Boose, in International Socialist Review, 14:414**

“Chronology
December 24, 1916
Timber mill workers at the Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Company draw up a list of demands.
December 26, 1916
Workers present their demands to the superintendent of manufacturing, Chester R. Rogers.
December 27, 1916
Mill workers decide to go ahead with the strike.
December 28, 1916
Pickets begin at the company’s gates. One thousand workers go on strike. Flying squads (IWW messengers) head north to lumber camps.
January 1, 1917
One thousand lumberjacks walk out of the camps.
January 2, 1917
A thousand more lumberjacks strike. Lumberjacks are banished from Virginia, Minnesota.
February 1, 1917
The lumber strike is officially called off.”***

So, what was the aftermath of this strike, and how did it improve the lives of lumberjacks and those that worked the sawmill? Below is an excerpt from Wobbly (IWW) records:

“The mill workers returned to their jobs in the last week of January. The lumberjacks held on a bit longer and neither the Virginia and Rainy Lake Company nor the International Lumber Company was able to reopen logging operations until February. What remained of the Wobbly lumber strike leadership gathered in Duluth. On February 1 the leaders called off the strike, claiming a partial victory by way of improved conditions.
Most companies did attend to their camps better after the strike. The ILC bought new blankets for the men and raised slightly the base pay. The quality of food seems to have been improved, too, in most camps. In 1917 the Virginia and Rainy Lake Company spent nearly 20 per cent more per man for food than earlier. Wartime price inflation accounted for part, but not most, of the increase.”****

What say You of this event and the broken relationships between loggers, their representatives in the IWW, and the V.R.L. company managers and International Lumber Company (ILC) owners? We invite Your timeless knowledge, and graceful judgment into their circumstance Ruach Ha Kodesh. How do we begin to make right this wrong from Your perspective? How have we offended You and the principles of Your kingdom?

You have said clearly through the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians:
“Do I say this from a human perspective? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Isn’t He actually speaking on our behalf? Indeed, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they should also expect to share in the harvest.” I Corinthians 9:8-10

We acknowledge, first, our offense to You through the judgments of Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Company and the ILC. We offend You as employers when we do not provide a Sabbath rest. We offend You when do not provide for the lives and safety of Your workers. We offend You when we fail to provide food, clothing, and adequate shelter for those in our care. We offend You when profit becomes an idol that forgets the contributions of the employees to the health of the corporation. Will You forgive VRL Co. and the International Lumber Company in this era, and create right relationships that lead to blessing in our timber industry’s management both in the present and future?

Similarly, we have offended You through the judgments of the lumberjacks and sawmill workers towards the VRL Company’s owners and ILC managers. We offend You when we do not take a Sabbath where it is offered. We offend You when we expect our employer to solve our unmentioned problems, and fail to be proactive in our own needs. We offend You as workers through the misbelief that profit is a given, therefore, the company has unlimited resources to spend on labor. Will You forgive the lumberjacks and millworkers of VRL Co. and ILC of this era, and create new
interconnections between laborers, labor unions, and executives of our logging industry that lead to present and future blessings for all?

Above all, we especially ask for the release of the victims of the injustices of this era from the prisons of their counter-judgments. We know that there are those who lost life and limb. We know that there are those who were circumstantially hemmed in who felt they had no choice but to submit to abusive work conditions to survive.

Will You forgive those who were ensnared through the maintenance of offense towards the abuses of Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Company and the ILC? Will You give them gifts of grace that look to You for justice, while not resubmitting themselves to abuse? Will You take these judgments and counter-judgments up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ? Will You remove the log from the eyes of all in the logging industry?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**http://monarchtreepublishing.com/Ilets/1916-Lumbering-Strike.pdf

***Chronology and an excellent brief summary by Anja Witek can be viewed at this MNopedia link. http://www.mnopedia.org/event/iww-lumber-strike-1916-1917

****https://iww.org/node/1524

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20th Century, History, Industry, Intercession, Jesus, Labor, Mining, Minnesota

Iron Range Strike

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Jun 3, 1916 to Sep 17, 1916
Forty miners walked off the job on June 3, beginning the 1916 strike. The unorganized miners soon realized they needed help. Unlike the 1907 strike, this time the Western Federation of Miners was not interested in organizing the miners. Instead, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies) responded, sending in some of their top organizers. Many of the strikebreakers from 1907, ironically, became instrumental in the 1916 strike. The number of strikers swelled to over 8,000. The 1916 strike was marked by violence and repression. Unlike 1907, strikebreakers were not as readily available and other tactics were employed to end the strike. The civil liberties of strikers were violated, mine guards and police used force to intimidate strikers, union leaders were jailed, economic pressure was exerted on merchants who extended credit to strikers, and finally, the Oliver Iron Mining Company refused to negotiate with the strikers. The strike was called off on September 17.*

Praying for the Iron Range Strike of 1916 is unsettling, Lord. We can empathize with both the ones who own the business, create jobs and make useful products for society, (Oliver Iron Mining Co.), and those who do the work, (the miners as represented by the IWW). Will You illuminate this moment of history, and lead our prayers and reflections this day, and leave us with a blessing for the future?

Your Word informs of the importance of both why we work, and how we work because it reflects both our character and our assessment of your character. To begin, we work because it is necessary for our survival, and provision for those in our care.
“For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.’ “ 2 Thessalonians 3:10 NIV**

Yet, You also challenge us to take joy in our tasks?!
“And do all that you do with all your soul, as for Our Lord, and not as for the children of men.” Colossians 3:23 Aramaic Bible in Plain English***
Perhaps You want us to take pride in work because it balances our employers reaction of our performance to the pleasure that a job well done gives You?

What’s in Your heart for the working man or woman? What of those who own nothing but their labor? What is the position of Your Kingdom towards their employers?
“Do not defraud or rob your neighbor. “Do not make your hired workers wait until the next day to receive their pay.” Leviticus 19:13 NLT****
Your Word connotes that those of us who own a company are obliged by the Owner of All Property to account honestly and pay employees on time.

So, what heart should a CEO have towards his staffers, laborers, hired hands, and factory workers?
“For the Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and, ‘The worker is worthy of his wages.’ “ I Timothy 5:18 BSB****
In Your economic model, the boss is to remember those with noses to his grindstone are essential as employees, and people of infinite worth as human beings. These Scriptures are a counter-balance to the common lie both the executive and small businessman misbelieves while making payroll; “I’m paying these guys way too much.”

With this in mind, we pray about this strike. Lord, will You forgive the pain caused to Oliver Mining Company by the judgments of the Wobblies? Will You forgive the discontent of these miners towards their bosses, and indirectly with Your means of provision for their lives? Will You forgive their rebellions against Minnesota statute and the laws of Your dominion? Will You forgive their envy?

Conversely, we remember the sins and separations of the Oliver Iron Mining towards You and its workers. Will You forgive the injustices of the “contract labor system”?******* No one should have to participate in graft or bribery to one’s boss to maintain employment! Will You forgive the pain caused to the miners and their unions? (IWW-Industrial Workers of the World and WFM-Western Federation of Miners) Will You forgive their failures as leaders to understand that right principles alone do not make right relationships or satisfy Your chesed?

Your Honor, will You change our defiance towards You in the maintenance of antagonistic relationships between labor and industry? Will You bless the future of mining in Minnesota, and create fellowships between companies and unions that enhance, not limit, the growth of the other? Will You break our strike against Your peaceful resolutions for our workplaces? Amen.
“Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.” Psalms 89:14 KJV

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**http://biblehub.com/2_thessalonians/3-10.htm
*** http://biblehub.com/colossians/3-23.htm
****http://biblehub.com/leviticus/19-13.htm
*****http://biblehub.com/1_timothy/5-18.htm
******http://biblehub.com/psalms/89-14.htm
*******https://www.minnpost.com/mnopedia/2015/10/breaking-1916-iron-range-strike

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