Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Bay View Massacre Memorial May 1st

The Wisconsin Labor History Society re-enacts a tragic event along the road to the eight-hour workday.

By Russ Bickerstaff
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There’s been a bit of a glitch in Madison with the installation of Generic bureaucrat template A with the right-wing supply-side option. Like all supply-side models, he’s a bit twitchy. There have been demonstrations. We’re going to have to replace him pretty soon. Due to the inner workings of the machine, we can’t pull him out of Madison for another year or so. In the meantime, in the interest of keeping up a pleasant profile, he’s allowed to hide his apathy for blue-collar state workers under a shroud of concern over the state’s budget. It’s all very civil and cosmetic.

It’s difficult to imagine an era prior to sophisticated public imaging machines and image consciousness. There was a time when there was open apathy for the wellbeing of those people who essentially did all the work. Blue-collar working conditions were abysmal in the late nineteenth century. Workers had to fight just to get an eight-hour day. A major event in that fight for the eight-hour workday happened in Bay View on May 5th, 1886. Thousands of Milwaukee workers marched on Bay View Rolling Mills. On orders from Republican governor Jeremiah Rusk, the state militia fired on the crowd, killing seven people including a child. It was the bloodiest labor disturbance on the history of the state. Remembering tragedies like that keeps everything civil—it keeps things like that from happening again.

On Sunday, May 1st, at 4pm, The Milwaukee Labor History Society, Milwaukee Public Theatre and the Milwaukee Mask and Puppet Theatre present a theatrical re-enactment of the tragedy at the State Historical Marker Grounds on East Russell Ave and South Superior Street in Milwaukee.(That's right across from the Palomino.)

Participating in the re-enactment are Dan Mooney, Michael Rosen, Milwaukee Public Theatre and the Milwaukee Mask and Puppet Theatre.

The re-enactment is free and open to the public.

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