Today in Labor History January 7

1910s-1920s

Today in Labor History January 7, 1919: Argentina’s “Bloody Week” (AKA Tragic Week) began in Buenos Aires. Workers were demonstrating for the 8-hour work day. The authorities opened fire, killing four and wounding 30. Clashes with the authorities on the day of the funerals left another 50 dead. In response, they called for a General Strike. Paramilitary groups collaborating with the police attacked it. By January 16 the authorities had fully crushed the strike, killing as many as 700 and wounding 2,000. Many of the victims were Jewish-Russian and Italian anarchist immigrants targeted by racists and anti-Bolshevik hysteria.

Today in Labor History January 7, 1920: The New York State Assembly refused to seat five duly elected Socialist assemblymen.

1930s-1940s

Today in Labor History January 7, 1939: The authorities finally freed Tom Mooney, a labor activist who they wrongly convicted of murder in the San Francisco Preparedness Day bombing in July 1916. The governor granted him an unconditional pardon after 22.5 years of incarceration.

Raatteentie

Today in Labor History January 7, 1940: The Finnish 9th Division defeated the numerically superior Soviet forces in the Battle of Raate Road, which was part of the Winter War.

Today in Labor History January 7, 1948: 25-year-old Captain Thomas F. Mantell of the Kentucky Air National Guard, died in the crash of his P-51 Mustang fighter plane. He was officially in pursuit of an unidentified flying object (UFO). Later investigation by the U.S. Air Force’s Project Blue Book suggested that he probably died chasing a Skyhook balloon. These were top-secret at the time and he would not have known anything about them.

1970s

January 7, 1979: Vietnamese troops conquered Phnom Penh, Cambodia and drove out Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. 18,000-25,000 Vietnamese died in their war with Cambodia. Well over 50,000 Cambodians died in the conflict. 200,000 Cambodian civilians also died, not counting those who starved to death. However, under Pol Pot’s genocidal rule, 1.5-2 million civilians were killed or died of starvation. This amounts to 25% of the country’s entire population at the time.

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