Illustration of U.S. marshals guarding a freight train from a large mob.

The 1877 St. Louis Commune Was a Landmark Event for the International Workers’ Movement

The often forgotten takeover of St. Louis by workers showed that the U.S. isn't immune to Paris Commune–style eruptions of class consciousness.
Sketch of workers with clubs attacking a national guardsman during the Great Railroad Strike, 1877.

The 1877 Class War That America Forgot

In 1877, one million workers went on strike and fought police and federal troops in cities across America.
Lithograph of crowd gathering around a train.

The Great Upheaval of 1877 Sheds Light on Today’s Protests

Spontaneous strikes led by the working class in 1877 resulted in violent clashes with police.
Detail from a Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers graphic, 1877.

America’s Oldest Railway Union Must Break With Its Right-Wing Past

Why does the government have the power to break massive union strikes? Part of the story is a history of conciliatory railway unionism.
Map of the Baltimore B&O railroad

The B&O Railroad From Municipal Enterprise To Private Corporation

A cautionary tale about the costs and benefits of public/private partnerships.
Illustration of Jesus Christ showing anger at money changers in the temple

When Did Jesus Become a Capitalist?

How did a radical social activist, killed for his politics, become the figurehead of capitalist and imperial power?

No Place to Make a Vote of Thanks

On the long tradition of Black third-party activism.
Painting called "Hudibras’ Discomfiture at the Hands of the Skimmington," by Francis Le Piper, seventeenth century.

American Charivari

The history and context of the made-up aesthetics of the early Ku Klux Klan.
1877 political cartoon of a skeleton descending on a railroad, reading "the rioters' railroad to ruin."

Strikers, Octopi, and Visible Hands: The Railroad and American Capitalism

The railroad company remains a site for Americans to grapple with key questions about the nature of American capitalism.
Illustration depicting workmen and firemen dragging a fireman and engineer from a Baltimore freight train during the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad strike.

The Railway Labor Act Allowed Congress to Break the Rail Strike. We Should Get Rid of It.

Congress was able to break the rail strike last week because of a century-old law designed to weaken the disruptive power of unions.
Lithograph of federal troops crushing an 1877 rail strike.

Freight-Halting Strikes Are Rare, and This Would be the First in 3 Decades

Some rail unions are resisting government pressure to accept a new employment contract, but history suggests the authorities will keep the trains running.
Photograph of author Mike Davis.

Mike Davis Revisits His 1986 Labor History Classic, Prisoners of the American Dream

The late socialist writer's first book was a deep exploration of how the US labor movement became so weakened.
Illustration of T. Thomas Fortune

Abolition Democracy’s Forgotten Founder

While W. E. B. Du Bois praised an expanding penitentiary system, T. Thomas Fortune called for investment in education and a multiracial, working-class movement.
Three drawings of the Veiled Prophet, a figure in robes and a pointed hat, holding a staff and a pistol.

The End of the Veiled Prophet

After over a century, the unelected mascot of St. Louis is finally losing its place in public life.