‘May Day in Portland, Oregon’ by Tom J. Lewis from International Socialist Review. Vol. 11 No. 1. July, 1910.

‘Portland Reds enjoying themselves.’
‘May Day in Portland, Oregon’ by Tom J. Lewis from International Socialist Review. Vol. 11 No. 1. July, 1910.

ONCE more has the day of International Solidarity made its cycle, and the hosts of labor demonstrated. Here in Portland we had been preparing to celebrate for several weeks and May Day was given a right welcome. Slowly, but surely, the wage-slaves gathered at 309 Davis St. until 1:30 P.M., when the band appeared on the scene. All the comrades wore red ribbons and bore red banners and the air was rent with cheers as the strains of the old Marseillaise reached our ears. Then the call to fall in line was given, and, as if by magic, 1,500 fellow workers began to sing. The command to “Forward-March” was given and a historic parade of wage-slaves was wending its way down the streets – historic because composed of proletarians and its lack of the conservatives who ask “a Fair Day’s Work for a Fair Day’s Pay.” The Civic Federation groups were noticeable by their absence. Believers in the Gompers-Mitchell dope had gone to church, no doubt, to get some more peace-on-earth good~will-to-men from the sky pilots and think about “that identity of interests between employer and employed.” But we marched and the women wheeling baby carriages in the parade, looked very inspiring. And we did not fail to ask the boys on the curb if they were afraid to join us, either.

We marched without police protection or police interference to some newly purchased land to be used for a school house, which, by the time Chairman Ben Whitman had opened the meeting, was filled with over 4,000 people. There in the bourgeois district, led by Comrade Mildred Lewis, we sang the Red Flag and the Marsellaise. We held forth for three hours; good speaking and good will abounded, and in the evening we sang, lunched and danced in the Finnish Hall I until midnight. And so passed off one of the greatest May Day celebrations in the history of Portland. It did wonders to ward removing prejudices against socialism and made new friends for the movement. Even the capitalist papers declared the celebration was a great success. It exceeded our expectations and the comrades of Local Portland are proud of it. Things are doing. The workers are waking from a long sleep. A few more May Days, a little more intelligence, one good organization for the final effort – political and economic, and the chains will fall and we will be free!

‘Then Raise the Scarlet Standard high!’

The International Socialist Review (ISR) was published monthly in Chicago from 1900 until 1918 by Charles H. Kerr and critically loyal to the Socialist Party of America. It is one of the essential publications in U.S. left history. During the editorship of A.M. Simons it was largely theoretical and moderate. In 1908, Charles H. Kerr took over as editor with strong influence from Mary E Marcy. The magazine became the foremost proponent of the SP’s left wing growing to tens of thousands of subscribers. It remained revolutionary in outlook and anti-militarist during World War One. It liberally used photographs and images, with news, theory, arts and organizing in its pages. It articles, reports and essays are an invaluable record of the U.S. class struggle and the development of Marxism in the decades before the Soviet experience. It was closed down in government repression in 1918.

PDF of full issue: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/isr/v11n01-jul-1910-ISR-gog-Corn-OCR.pdf

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