This article explores the largely unknown world of militant Italian labor organizers and the rank-and-file Italian immigrants they led in labor struggles in the western coalfields of the United States in the early twentieth century. Building on the recent “transnational turn” in immigration scholarship and employing a close reading of an important Italian-language newspaper, Il Lavoratore Italiano; official Italian consular records and police archives; and previously unused American federal and state prison records, the authors analyze the ways immigrant workers and their immigrant radical leaders (focusing especially on Carlo Demolli, a United Mine Workers of America and Western Federation of Miners organizer and newspaper editor from northern Italy) launched intense labor actions in these years. The language of Italian solidarity that emerges from these sources helped a militant ethnic minority of Italian migrants sustain a major six-month strike in 1903–4 that crossed local, regional, national, and transnational material and symbolic boundaries, despite intense legal and military opposition from coal operators and the aligned forces of local, state, and U.S. officials and Italian consular officers.
Research Article| May 01 2011
Italian Militants and Migrants and the Language of Solidarity in the Early-Twentieth-Century Western Coalfields
Labor (2011) 8 (2): 89–121.
Stephen Brier, Ferdinando Fasce; Italian Militants and Migrants and the Language of Solidarity in the Early-Twentieth-Century Western Coalfields. Labor 1 May 2011; 8 (2): 89–121. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15476715-1159102
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