Today in Labor History December 27, 1913: IWW workers in Edmonton, Alberta Canada began a rebellion that ultimately forced the city to house 400 unemployed during winter. At the time, Edmonton, was a major railroad center. Thousands of workers from all over Canada and the U.S. had come for work. However, they ended up stuck there without jobs or money.
The authorities refused to help. So, the IWW created the Edmonton Unemployed League. They demanded that the city provide work to everybody regardless of race, color or nationality. Furthermore, they demanded a wage 30 cents per hour and three 25-cent meal tickets per worker per day, redeemable at any restaurant in town. They backed these demands with mass protests that continued, despite police beatings and arrests. Finally, on January 28, 1914 the city council provided a large hall for the homeless. Additionally, they passed out the free meal tickets and hired 400 people on a public project.
Today in Labor History December 27, 1918: The Revolutionary Insurgent Army of Ukraine (RIAU) seized 7 airplanes, establishing an Insurgent Air Fleet. The RIAU was an anarchist peasant army led by Nestor Makhno. During the Ukrainian War of Independence, they created a stateless libertarian communist society known as the Free Territory. It lasted from 1918 to 1921, when it was ultimately crushed by the Bolsheviks.
Today in Labor History December 27, 1929: Stalin ordered the “liquidation of the kulaks as a class.” Kulaks were prosperous peasants who the Soviet leaders vilified as counter-revolutionaries and enemies of the state in order to justify expropriating their land. During the first five-year plan (1929–1932) they deported over 1.8 million peasants and killed 530,000–600,000 through starvation, disease and mass executions.
Today in Labor History December 27, 1943: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt seized the railroads in attempt to block a nationwide rail strike. He placed the railroads under the “supervision” of the War Department, which prompted the five railroad brotherhoods to accept his offer to arbitrate the dispute.
Today in Labor History December 27, 1978: Spain became a democracy after 40 years of fascist dictatorship.
December 27, 2008: Israel launched a 3-week siege of the Gaza Strip. They killed 1,166-1,417 Palestinians in the war. 13 Israelis died, including 4 from friendly fire. Both sides used human shields. However, the Israelis used white phosphorus, which is illegal under international law.