Seeds of Fire: A People’s Chronology

– March –

Recalling events that happened on this day in history.
Memories of struggle, resistance and persistence.

Compiled by Ulli Diemer



March 1919
Publication of Ten Days That Shook the World, John Reed’s account of the Russian Revolution.

Related Topics: Russian Revolution

March 1949
The first issue of Socialisme ou Barbarie, a left-Marxist libertarian socialist journal, appears in France. Published from 1948 to 1965, Socialisme ou Barbarie is critical of Leninism, rejects the idea of a revolutionary party, places an emphasis on the importance of workers’ councils, and sees the daily struggles of working people as creating the true content of socialism.

Related Topics: Libertarian Socialism

March 1

March 1, 1562
French Huguenots (Protestants) in Vassy are massacred by French troops commanded by the Duke of Guise.

March 1, 1886
Start of the Great Southwest Railway Strike: a strike against the Union Pacific and Missouri Pacific railroads involving more than 200,000 workers. Jay Gould, the immensely rich and powerful railway owner, brings in large numbers of scabs to break the strike. He hires private security firms to break up union meetings, beat up union members and sympathizers, and commit acts of violence for which union members are then falsely blamed. Said Gould, “I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.” Faced with massive and violent repression from the employers and the state, the strike ultimately fails. The failure leads to the collapse of the Knights of Labor, and to the formation of a new union federation, the American Federation of Labor.

Related Topics: Labour HistoryStrikebreakingStrikes/U.S.

March 1, 1954
Four Puerto Rican nationalists attack the U.S. Congress in an attempt to highlight Puerto Rico’s struggle for independence from U.S. rule.

Related Topics: Puerto RicoU.S. Imperialism

March 1, 1968
The Battle of Valle Giulia, a clash between Italian left-wing militants and the police at Valle Giulia, in Rome, with students battling the police who have taken control of the Faculty of Architecture. 148 policemen and 478 students are wounded, 232 people are arrested.

March 2

March 2, 1900
Birth of Kurt Weill (1900-1950), German composer and socialist, best known for his collaboration with Bertolt Brecht on The Three-Penny Opera.

March 2 - 6, 1919
The founding Congress of the Communist International (the Third International). After the failure of the Second International, most of whose member parties supported their own governments upon the outbreak of the World War despite their oft-stated anti-militarist and internationalist positions, revolutionary socialists in different countries start to work toward the founding of a new international organization. After the victory of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, a founding congress for a new international is called for Moscow, taking place against the background of the Russian civil war, in which counterrevolutionary forces are supported by military forces from 14 imperialist countries. Fifty-two delegates from 34 parties take part, with a common goal of establishing Communist parties around the world to overthrow capitalism.

Further Reading:
Documents on the Third International 1919-1943.
The Platform of the Communist International.
Manifesto of The Communist International to the Workers of the World.

Related Topics: Communist International (Comintern)

March 3

March 3, 1756
Birth of William Godwin (1756-1836), British journalist, political philosopher and novelist, considered to be the first modern proponent of anarchism.

March 3, 1890
Birth of Norman Bethune (1890-1939). A Canadian doctor and Communist, Bethune developed the first mobile blood-transfusion unit while serving with the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion in the Spanish Civil War. He subsequently went to China and served with the Communist forces fighting the Japanese invaders.

March 3, 1912
Henrietta Leavitt, an assistant at the Harvard College Observatory, publishes a paper in the Annals of the Astronomical Observatory of Harvard College, revealing her observation that the brighter stars seem to have a longer period. After further study, she confirms in 1912 that the Cepheid variables with greater intrinsic luminosity do have longer periods, and that the relationship is close and predictable. Her groundbreaking discovery allows scientists to measure the distances of far-away galaxies and to determine the size of the cosmos. She is considered for a Nobel Prize, but her death of cancer at the age of 53 means the nomination cannot go forward, since the Nobel Prize is not awarded posthumously.

March 3, 1918
Russia’s Soviet government signs the crushingly one-sided Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany, in order to avoid continued German invasion and occupation of even more of its territory. In the treaty, Germany forces Russia to give up huge amounts of territory, containing a quarter of the former Russian Empire’s population, a quarter of its industry, and nine-tenths of its coal mines. The treaty remains in effect for only a few months. In the 11 November 1918 Armistice with Germany that ended World War I, one of the first conditions was the complete abrogation of the Brest-Litovsk treaty. Following the German capitulation, the Russian legislature annuls the treaty on 13 November 1918. In the year after the Armistice, the German Army withdraws its occupying units from the lands gained in Brest-Litovsk.

March 4

March 4, 1865
Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. Having won re-election by vowing to carry on the Civil War to victory (against the Democrats, who want to end the war without achieving its goal), Lincoln is now able to see that the defeat of the slaveholders’ Confederacy is finally close at hand. In his speech, he addresses the need to think of reconstruction and peace, while also stressing his determination to see the fight through to the end. Pointing to slavery as the cause of the war, he suggests that the scourge of Civil War has been God’s punishment for the offense that slavery represents in God’s eyes.
Lincoln concludes his address by saying:
“Fondly do we hope – fervently do we pray – that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, ‘The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.”

March 4, 1976
The first ‘Take Back the Night’ march takes place in Brussels in conjunction with the International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women. 2,000 women from forty countries take to the streets, holding candles, to protest of sexual violence against women.

Related Topics: Violence Against Women

March 5

March 5, 1871
Birth of Rosa Luxemburg, Polish-German Marxist revolutionary (1871-1919). In a time when the socialist movement is evolving in directions increasingly removed from Marx’s positions – Social Democratic reformism on the one hand, and Leninist bureaucratic centralism on the other – Luxemburg is the leading exponent of a Marxism in the spirit of Marx. Luxemburg’s politics are centered on a revolutionary perspective: she supports pressure for reforms within capitalism, but is clear that reforms cannot bring about fundamental change, that socialism can only come about through revolution, and that the activity of socialists and socialist organizations must always be oriented to the ultimate goal of revolution, no matter what the exigencies of the present situation. Luxemburg advocates a principled tactical flexibility, adapting tactics and organizational forms to the situation while remaining clear about goals and principles. She strongly believes in the importance of political organization, but does not believe that a political organization can direct the political struggle along pre-determined lines; rather, she believes that effective organization is as much the product of struggle as its instigator.

Further Reading:
Elzbeta Ettinger: Rosa Luxemburg: A Life
Paul Frolich: Rosa Luxemburg
Rosa Luxemburg Internet Archive

Related Topics: MarxismRevolutionRevolutionary PoliticsLuxemburg, RosaSocialism

March 5, 1910
The Rogers Pass disaster. Sixty-two members of a railway maintenance crew sent to dig out a snowbound locomotive near Rogers Pass, British Columbia are killed in an avalanche; one worker survives.

Related Topics: DisastersWorkplace Death and Injury

March 5, 1931
Mohandas Gandhi makes a deal with Lord Irwin, Viceroy of India. Gandhi agrees to stop the civil disobedience movement in exchange for the imperial government’s agreement to free political prisoners and allow Gandhi to participate in a conference in London. When he arrives in London, Gandhi finds that the British have outwitted him: having achieved their goal of shutting down the civil disobedience movement, the British refuse to offer any concessions at the conference, let alone discuss Indian independence.

Related Topics: GandhiIndia/Independence Movementi

March 5, 1953
Death of Josef Stalin.

Related Topics: Soviet Union

March 5, 1984
The UK miners’ strike begins, a decisive event in the history of the British labour movement. The strike ends in the miners’ defeat, and allows Margaret Thatcher’s right-wing Conservative government to proceed with a sweeping neo-liberal re-organization of the British economy.

Related Topics: Labour HistoryStrikebreakingStrikes

March 6

March 6, 1665
The first scientific journals, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, begin monthly publication in England.

Related Topics: Science/History of

March 6, 1821
Greek rebels revolt against the Ottoman Empire. The revolt is put down, but it marks the beginning of a ten-year struggle (1821-1830) which results in an independent Greek state, albeit one containing only one-third of the Greek population, and subject to outside interference from other imperialist powers.

March 6 - 18, 1854
The Labour Parliament is convened in Manchester, England. A response to a mill-owners’ lockout of 20,000 striking spinners and weavers, it grows into an ambitious project to create a working-class alternative to the ruling-class Parliament in London. Among the delegates are workers who have been involved in the Chartist movement, which has campaigned for decades to win the right to vote for working people. Over the course of two weeks, the delegates adopt a programme for supporting striking workers and starting agricultural and worker-run co-operatives.

Further Reading:
The Labour Parliament

March 6, 1857
The Dred Scott decision. The United States Supreme Court rules that the federal government has no power to regulate slavery in the territories, and that people of African descent (both slave and free) are not protected by the Constitution and are not U.S. citizens. The decision is the culmination of a concerted push to expand slavery; one of its effects is to permit the unhindered expansion of slavery into the territories, even where territorial legislatures have outlawed slavery. The decision is hugely controversial, and leads anti-slavery forces to organize themselves more effectively.

Related Topics: Legal Systems as Instruments of OppressionSlavery

March 6, 1919
The First World Congress of the Third International unanimously adopts The Manifesto of the Communist International to the Workers of the World.
Written by Leon Trotsky, it concludes with a call for revolutionary action: “Bourgeois world order has been sufficiently lashed by Socialist criticism. The task of the International Communist Party consists in overthrowing this order and erecting in its place the edifice of the socialist order. We summon the working men and women of all countries to unite under the Communist banner which is already the banner of the first great victories.
Workers of the World – in the struggle against imperialist barbarism, against monarchy, against the privileged estates, against the bourgeois state and bourgeois property, against all kinds and forms of class or national oppression – Unite!
Under the banner of Workers’ Soviets, under the banner of revolutionary struggle for power and the dictatorship of the proletariat, under the banner of the Third International – Workers of the World Unite!”

Further Reading:
Documents on the Third International 1919-1943.
The Platform of the Communist International.
Manifestos – Political Statements Programs – Visions

Related Topics: Communist International (Comintern)

March 6, 1925
12,000 miners in Cape Breton go on strike. Their goal: to restore their wages to where they were in 1922, before the company, BESCO, unilaterally slashed their pay.
Company police respond with a campaign of terror in the towns in the area, riding their horses into any group of people they spot, and beating up anyone they catch. BESCO, which owns the utilities and the grocery stores, cuts off electricity and water, and credit in the stores, driving people to the edge of starvation.
On June 11, about 3,000 men and boys gather at the power plant in New Waterford in an attempt to restore power and water. Police fire their guns into the crowd, killing one and injuring two. Several days of rioting follow, and 2,000 soldiers are sent in to ‘restore order’.
In August, the strike ends when the company, under pressure from the provincial government, agrees to the miners’ demands.

March 6, 1957
Ghana becomes the first black African country to become independent of colonial rule.

Related Topics: Ghana

March 7

March 7, 1932
Workers taking part in the Ford Hunger March against the Ford Motor Company are attacked by Dearborn police and Ford security guards. Five workers are killed and 19 wounded.

Related Topics: Killings by PolicePolice Violence

March 7, 1940
Birth of Rudi Dutschke (1940-1979), radical German student leader.

March 7, 1942
Death of Lucy Parsons, American anarchist-communist.

March 7, 1965
The Selma to Montgomery civil rights march is attacked by police. 525 civil rights advocates begin a 54-mile march from Selma, Alabama, to the capital of Montgomery, to campaign for voting rights for blacks. Just after crossing a bridge on the outskirts of Selma, the marchers are attacked by police wielding tear gas, nightsticks, bullwhips and rubber tubing wrapped in barbed wire.

Related Topics: Civil Rights Movement (U.S.)Police Violence

March 8

March 8
International Women’s Day.

March 8, 1857
Women garment and textile workers in New York City stage a protest against terrible working conditions, 12-hour work days and low wages. Police attack and disperse the workers, but not their will to struggle: two years later, the women form their first union.

Related Topics: Labour HistoryWomen’s History

March 8, 1895
American forces intervene in Colombia to ‘protect American interests’.

Related Topics: ColombiaInterventionU.S. Imperialism

March 8, 1908
15,000 women march through New York City demanding shorter working hours, better pay, voting rights and an end to child labour.

Related Topics: Labour HistoryWomen’s History

March 8, 1917
Outbreak of the “February Revolution” in Russia. 200,000 workers go on strike in St. Petersburg. Within days, the Czar is forced to abdicate and a Provisional Government is installed. The Provisional government shares power with the Petrograd Soviet (council), a situation of dual power that eventually culminates in the October Revolution.

Related Topics: Russian Revolution

March 8, 1968
The 1968 Polish political crisis begins when students at the University of Warsaw march for student rights and are beaten with clubs. The following day over two thousand students march to protest the police invasion of their campus and are clubbed and arrested again. On March 11, there are violent confrontations with police when members of the general public join the protests. Twenty days of protest end when the state closes all universities and arrests more than a thousand students.

Related Topics: PolandPolice Violence

March 8, 1971
Members of a group calling itself the “Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI” breaks into an FBI office in Pennsylvania and steals over 1000 classified documents. They then mail the documents anonymously to several American newspapers. Mainstream corporate newspapers refuse to publish the information, but WIN Magazine, a publication associated with the War Resisters League, publishes them. Publication of the documents exposes a range of covert and illegal activities by the FBI, including the COINTELPRO operation, a campaign of spying and sabotage against political dissidents and activists.

Further Reading:
Nelson Blackstock: Cointelpro: The FBI’s Secret War on Political Freedom
COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI’s Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States

Related Topics: COINTELPROFederal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)Political RepressionState-Sponsored Violence

March 8, 1978
The Lesbian Mothers’ Defence Fund is launched by Wages Due Lesbians in Toronto.

March 9

March 9, 1522
Dissident Christians set off the Protestant Reformation in Zurich by holding a protest during which they defiantly eat sausages during a fast period decreed by the Roman Catholic Church.

Related Topics: Protestant ReformationReligious History

March 9, 1763
Birth of William Cobbett (1763-1835), English pamphleteer, journalist, and reformer.

March 9, 1910
The Westmoreland County Coal Strike begins in Pennsylvania. The strike goes on from March 1910 to July 1911 and involves some 15,000 miners at 65 mines. Miners faced with bad working conditions, low pay, and coal company cheating in their measuring output go on strike when the coal companies reduce wages by 16% and announce that miners will have to pay for the equipment, including explosives, they use to mine the coal. The coal companies hire thousands of strikebreakers, most of them East European immigrants unable to speak English, promising them good wages and not telling them they will be working as strikebreakers. Police and hired thugs are brought in to attack miners, miners’ families, and even strikebreakers who try to leave. Police and security guards kill six miners, nine miners’ wives, and one bystander, and injure thousands of others. The strike eventually ends in defeat.

Related Topics: Coal MiningKillings by PoliceMineworkers (Miners)StrikebreakingStrikes/U.S.

March 9, 1965
2,500 civil rights marchers led by Martin Luther King Jr. hold a protest walk two days after “Bloody Sunday” (a violent police attack on the first Selma to Montgomery civil rights march). After the protest disperses, three white ministers who participated in the march are attacked by segrationists, one is killed.

Related Topics: Civil Rights Movement (U.S.)

March 10

March 10, 1906
A disaster at the Courrières coal mine in France kills 1099 miners, including many children.

Related Topics: Coal MiningDisastersMineworkers (Miners)

March 10, 1913
Death of Harriet Tubman (1820 or 1821 - 1913). Tubman, an African-American slave, escaped her owners and then went on to make repeated trips back to the South to help other slaves escape to the northern U.S. and Canada, using the network of activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. When the Civil War broke out, Tubman worked for the Union Army, first as a nurse and cook, and then as an armed scout and spy.

March 10, 1919
Leo Jogiches (1867-1919), Polish-German Marxist revolutionary, is murdered by right-wing militiamen in Berlin.

Further Reading:
History Archive of the German Revolution 1918 - 1923
Neil Faulkner: The German Revolution

Related Topics: Political Murders

March 10, 1922
Mohandas Gandhi is put on trail for ‘sedition’ (i.e. advocating non-violent resistance to British rule in India). He is found guilty and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment, but is released after two years because of ill health.

Related Topics: Gandhi

March 10, 1957
The Murdochville Strike begins when 1000 miners at the Gaspé Copper Mines in Murdochville, Quebec, go on strike demanding the right to unionize. The company refuses to recognize the miners’ union and uses strikebreakers, along with police provided by the reactionary provincial government of Maurice Duplessis, try to break the workers’ union. After a bitter and violent seven-month battle, the strike is defeated, but proves to be a turning point in Quebec labour history, contributing to the eventual defeat of the Union Nationale government and the social changes that follow.

Related Topics: StrikebreakingStrikes/Canadian

March 10, 12-19 1965
Sit-ins at the U.S. Consulate in Toronto protest violence against civil rights activists in the southern United States. (See March 7 and March 9, 1965.)

Related Topics: Civil Rights Movement (U.S.)

March 10, 1993
Dr. David Gunn is murdered in Florida by an anti-abortion terrorist.

Related Topics: Anti-Abortion ViolenceTerrorism

March 11

March 11, 1853
U.S. forces invade Nicaraguan territory to ‘protect American interests’ during political disturbances.

Related Topics: InterventionNicaraguaU.S. Imperialism

March 11, 1922
Birth of Cornelius Castoriadis (1922-1997), psychoanalyst, economist, and radical philosopher, founder of the libertarian socialist journal Socialisme ou Barbarie. Castoriadis published much of his early work under the pseudonyms Pierre Chalieu and Paul Cardan.

Related Topics: Libertarian Socialism

March 12

March 12, 1795
Birth of William Lyon Mackenzie (1795-1861), Canadian journalist, publisher, reformer, politician, and rebel; leader of the 1837 Rebellion in Upper Canada.

Further Reading:
Rebellions of 1837

March 12, 1912
Workers led by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) win the Lawrence, Massachusetts “Bread & Roses” textile strike after 32,000 workers, most of them young female immigrants, half of them under the age of 18, stay out on strike for nine weeks demanding a wage increase, double time for overtime, and safer working conditions.

Further Reading:
Steve Early: Cry for “Bread & Roses” Still Resonates

March 12 - April 6, 1930
A Salt Satyagraha (Salt March) led by Mohandas Gandhi protests the British-imposed tax on salt in India. Gandhi and thousands of others walk 388 kilometres from Ahmedabad to the sea, where Gandhi himself makes salt from the sea in violation of the British edict. Feeling their hold in India threatened by this mass disobedience, the British imprison more than 60,000 people.

Related Topics: India/Independence Movement

March 12, 1934
Nazi Germany annexes Austria (the Anschluss), the day after a coup d’état by the Austrian Nazi Party.

March 12, 2011
Start of the March 2011 protests in Portugal (Movimento 12 de Março), a series of protests in over 10 cities of Portugal, bringing hundreds of thousands of people into the streets to protest government-imposed austerity policies and defend the rights of working people.

March 13

March 13, 1791
Publication of the first part of The Rights of Man, by Thomas Paine. Paine argues that people have inherent rights which no government may infringe or take away, and that governments that abuse or fail to safeguard those rights are illegitimate and may be overthrown by revolution. On this basis, Paine defends the French Revolution against Edmund Burke’s attacks. The Rights of Man is widely circulated and discussed in inns and coffeehouses, and repeatedly reprinted. In England, Paine is put on trail in absentia, convicted of seditious libel, and sentenced to death. However, Paine is in France, and, being a clever fellow, refrains from returning to England to be hanged.

March 13, 1848
Large demonstrations in Vienna, Austria, force the conservative Prince von Metternich to resign as chief minister. He flees to London and a new, more liberal government takes office. In Europe's 1848 "Springtime of Peoples," revolutionary ferment continues throughout the Austrian Empire; freedom of the press and freedom of association are introduced, and competing claims to national self-determination emerge.

March 13, 1904
Birth of Paul Mattick (1904-1981), Marxist writer and activist.

March 13, 1920
The Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch. Right-wing militarists, supported by many of the senior commanders in the armed forces, attempt to overthrow Germany’s social-democratic government. Freikorps (right-wing militia) troops occupy Berlin, and Wolfgang Kapp is proclaimed as Chancellor. Workers resist the coup by going out on a general strike, and civil servants refuse to cooperate with the illegitimate regime. The coup collapses after four days, and its deflated leaders quickly flee the country.

Related Topics: CoupsGeneral StrikesGerman History

March 13, 1933
Establishment of the Ministry of Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda under Josef Goebbels in Nazi Germany.

March 13, 1954
The start of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam, the decisive confrontation between the Viet Minh national liberation forces and the French colonial army. The battle ends on May 7 with the total defeat of the French army, forcing France to withdraw all its forces from the region and give up its claims to possess what it had called French Indochina.

Related Topics: ColonialismNational Liberation MovementsVietnam

March 13, 1968
Clouds of nerve gas drift outside the U.S. Army’s chemical warfare facility in Utah, killing thousands of sheep in a nearby valley.

Related Topics: Chemical WeaponsWeapons of Mass Destruction

March 14

March 14, 1883
In London, at 2:45 in the afternoon, a stateless refugee named Karl Marx draws his last breath. Eleven people attend his funeral four days later, including his life-long friend Friedrich Engels, who gives a eulogy in which he says:
“Before all else, Marx was a revolutionist. To collaborate in one way or another in the overthrow of capitalist society and of the State institutions created by that society; to collaborate in the freeing of the modern proletariat ... this was his true mission in life. Fighting was his natural element. Few men ever fought with so much passion, tenacity, and success....
“Because he was an active revolutionist, Marx was the best hated and most calumniated man of his time. He was shown the door by various governments, republican as well as absolute. Bourgeois, ultra-democrats as well as conservatives, vied with one another in spreading libels about him. He brushed these aside like cobwebs, ignored them, only troubled to answer them when he positively had to. Yet he has gone down to his death honoured, loved, and mourned by millions of revolutionary workers all over the world, in Europe and Asia as far eastward as the Siberian mines, and in America as far westward as California. I can boldly assert that, while he may still have many adversaries, he has now hardly one personal enemy.
“His name and his works will live on through the centuries.”

Related Topics: Karl MarxMarxism OverviewsRevolutionary Politics

March 14, 1910
The Lakeview Gusher, a huge oil spill, erupts in California. In the eighteen months it takes to bring it under control, it spills 9 million barrels of oil, making it the largest accidental oil spill in history. (By comparison, the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the gulf of Mexico spilled about 4.9 million barrels.)

Related Topics: Oil Spills

March 14 - 15, 1910
Rosa Luxemburg’s controversial article The Next Step is published, challenging the timidity of the German Social Democratic Party. Written in the midst of widespread agitation for the reform of the Prussian electoral system, which guarantees control to a reactionary ruling class, Luxemburg argues for an escalating struggle. She says the current strategy of holding regular demonstrations will eventually lead to discouragement, if the demonstrations produce no results and do not move on to more forceful means. Specifically, she argues that moving on to mass strikes must be on the agenda, as a possible development that the SPD should embrace and encourage. In response to the party leadership’s fears that radical tactics could bring down government repression on the party, she criticizes “the peculiar conclusion that the greater and stronger our organization, the less capable of action, the more hesitant we become.”
She adds, “Of course the mass strike is not a miraculous method guaranteeing success under all circumstances. In particular, the mass strike must not be regarded as an artificial, unique and mechanical method, a neatly applicable way of exerting political pressure according to regulations and commands. The mass strike is merely the external form of an action which has its own inner development, logic, intensification and consequences... The mass strike ... is certainly not the final word on the incipient political campaign. Rather it is the campaign's first word at its present stage.”

Related Topics: Revolutionary PoliticsRosa LuxemburgSocialismVoting Rights (Suffrage)

March 14, 1916
A group of leading anarchists, including Peter Kropotkin and Jean Grave, publish a manifesto supporting the ‘Allied’ (Russian-British-French) imperial powers in the war against German-Austrian imperialism in the First World War. The original statement is signed by 15 prominent anarchists; another 100 sign later.

March 14, 1970
The SS Columbia Eagle incident. Two American merchant marine sailors, Clyde McKay and Alan Glatkowski, use guns they have smuggled on board to take over the SS Columbia Eagle, an American supply ship carrying napalm to US bases for use in attacking Vietnam. The sailors force the ship to sail into Cambodian waters, and then ask for asylum.
About Napalm: Napalm, the production and use of which was condemned by the Stockholm War Crimes Tribunal, is a form of jellied gasoline used by the United States in aerial bombing of ‘enemy’ peasant villages in its war against Vietnam. When it hits and ignites, the burning napalm splatters over a wide area, consuming every burnable thing which it strikes, including especially human flesh. An added feature that makes the use of napalm especially vicious is that flesh ignited by napalm is extremely difficult to extinguish. Water doesn’t work. People hit by it keep on burning. Napalm is particularly indiscriminate because the fires it causes continue to spread, destroying everything in a large area. It is also effective against people hiding in bomb shelters or tunnels because it suddenly pulls all the oxygen out of the tunnel by its enormous gulp of combustion, thus suffocating anyone inside.

Related Topics: Vietnam War

March 15

March 15, 1830
Birth of Élisée Reclus (1830-1905), French geographer, and anarchist, author of the 19-volume work La Nouvelle Géographie universelle, la terre et les hommes.

March 15, 1848
Start of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. Demonstrators march through the city of Pest to the buildings of the Imperial Governing Council. They have a list of demands (the “12 Points”), including freedom of the press, abolition of censorship, a government responsible to the people, civil and religious equality before the law, a national guard in place of a standing army, the freeing of political prisoners, and abolition of the feudal land tenure system. In the face of the massed demonstrators, the Imperial governor agrees to accept all their demands, and a new reformist government is put in place.

March 15, 1917
Czar Nicholas II abdicates in Russia, swept away by the revolution that erupted a week earlier. A provisional government is formed.

Related Topics: Russian Revolution

March 15, 1919
Delegates from unions across western Canada meet in Calgary and vote to hold a referendum among union members on a proposal to form a revolutionary socialist union to be called the One Big Union. The referendum passes with overwhelming support, and in June the One Big Union is officially formed. By 1920 the OBU has 50,000 members from northern Ontario to the west coast.

Related Topics: Labour History

March 15 - 16, 1939
German troops invade and occupy Czechoslavakia.

March 16

March 16, 1649
A large Iroquois war party destroys Huron villages in the vicinity of Lake Simcoe (near present-day Toronto). They then continue their invasion deeper into Huronia; by May 1, they have destroyed all the Huron/Wendat villages, and killed a large part of the Huron population. The Huron/Wendat survivors retreat to a barren island in Georgian Bay. Many of them die of starvation the following winter; the survivors flee to Quebec in the spring.

Related Topics: Huron/Wendat HistoryHuroniaIroquois (Haudenosaunee)

March 16, 1792
Denmark becomes the first western country to outlaw the slave trade.

Related Topics: Slave TradeSlavery

March 16, 1921
War Resisters International is founded, with sections in Britain, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands. The founding declaration states “War is a crime against humanity. I am therefore determined not to support any kind of war and to strive for the removal of all causes of war.”

Further Reading:
War Resisters International website

Related Topics: Anti-War MovementPeace Movement

March 16, 1968
The My Lai Massacre. American soldiers slaughter hundreds of unarmed civilians in the Vietnamese hamlets of My Lai and My Se. Most of the victims are women, children, infants, and elderly men. Many of the women are raped, and then mutilated after being killed. The U.S. military first covers up the event, as it routinely does in the case of war crimes. When news leaks out eighteen months later, it claims the deaths occurred during a fierce firefight and lies about the number of dead. Eventually under intense public pressure, the army charges 26 soldiers, and then acquits all but one. The only man convicted, Lt. William Calley, serves a three-and-a-half year sentence – under house arrest in his own house.
Noam Chomsky writes: “this was no isolated atrocity, but the logical consequence of a virtual war of extermination directed against helpless peasants: ‘enemies’, ‘reds’, ‘dinks’“.

Further Reading:
Noam Chomsky: After Pinkville

Related Topics: Vietnam WarWar Crimes

March 16, 1988
Iraqi forces attack the Kurdish village of Halabja with poison gas, killing about 5,000 people, mostly women and children. This is part of Saddam Hussein’s al-Anfal campaign, in which more than 2000 villages and towns are emptied and levelled and tens of thousands are killed.

Further Reading:
Joost R. Hiltermann: A Poisonous Affair: America, Iraq, and the Gassing of Halabja

Related Topics: Biological and Chemical WarfareCrimes Against HumanityKurdistan

March 16, 2003
Rachel Corrie, a member of the International Solidarity Movement, is killed by an Israeli military bulldozer while attempting to stop the destruction of Palestinian homes.

Further Reading:
Rachel Corrie Presente!

Related Topics: GazaIsraeli MilitaryPalestine/Occupation

March 17

March 17, 1901
Police brutally disperse demonstrators protesting against autocracy in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Related Topics: Police ViolenceRussian History

March 17, 1968
A large anti-Vietnam War demonstration in Grosvenor Square, London leads to confrontations between protesters and police. Eighty-six are injured, 200 arrested.

Related Topics: Anti-War MovementVietnam War

March 17, 1978
The oil supertanker Amoco Cadiz runs aground and loses its entire cargo of 1.6 million barrels of oil. An oil slick 18 miles wide and 80 miles long pollutes approximately 200 miles of France's Brittany coastline.

Related Topics: Oil Spills

March 17, 1988
The United States sends a large military force to Honduras, ostensibly to ‘protect’ Honduras against Nicaragua. At the same time, American-armed ‘contra’ mercenaries are using bases in Honduras to launch attacks on Nicaragua.

Related Topics: HondurasInterventionNicaraguaU.S. Imperialism

March 18

March 18, 1871
The Paris Commune. An uprising in Paris turns into revolution. France has just been defeated in a war with Prussia. In Paris, hundreds of thousands of citizens, predominantly workers, are part of the National Guard militia. National Guard units elect their own officers, and closely reflect the mood of the population, which is increasingly demanding radical changes, summed up in the slogan “a democratic and social republic.”

The French government, led by Adolphe Thiers, fears the workers of Paris more than it fears the Prussians. It sends regular troops to seize the cannons belonging to the National Guard. The citizens resist, and instead of carrying out their orders, the soldiers fraternize with the National Guard and the citizens in the street. Two army generals who order their soldiers to fire on the crowds are arrested and executed. The government flees.

The Central Committee of the National Guard is now the only effective authority in Paris. Elections are called for March 26 for a Communal Council, and on March 28 the Paris Commune is proclaimed. It is the first working-class-led revolution to hold power anywhere in the world.

In the two months of its life the Commune takes a series of radical measures, including:
- Abolition of conscription and the standing army;
- Abolition of the ‘morality police’ which polices the morals of women;
- Separation of church and state and the abolition of all state payments for religious purposes;
- Removal of church influence from the schools;
- Confirmation of the right of foreigners to be elected to the Commune Council because the red flag of the Commune “is the flag of the World Republic:”
- Abolition of night work in the bakeries;
- Closing down pawnshops;
- Cancelling interest on debts;
- Recognizing the right of workers to take over factories abandoned by their owners.

The Commune takes over the provision of public services for the whole city, as well as the defense of the city, and makes plans for a series of further reforms, including publicly funded continuing education and technical training.

The Commune terrifies both the French ruling class and the Prussian ruling class. They forget about their war, and unite to crush the Commune. The Prussians release the French troops they are holding as prisoners of war, and return them to the command of the Thiers government to use against Paris. The Commune resists heroically, but in May, after a week of fierce fighting, the Paris Commune is crushed by overwhelming military force and its defenders are massacred. An estimated 50,000 people are killed, including many who are slaughtered in mass executions after the defeat of the Commune.

Further Reading:
Manifesto of the Paris Commune
Karl Marx: The Civil War in France
Friedrich Engels: On the 20th Anniversary of the Paris Commune
Maurice Brinton and Philippe Guillaume: The Commune, Paris 1871
Neil Faulkner: The Paris Commune: the face of proletarian revolution
Keith Mann: Remembering the Paris Commune
The Paris Commune of 1871: The View from the Left

Related Topics: French HistoryParis CommuneRevolutionRevolutionary Moments

March 18, 1905
Four days after his 26th birthday, a young physics graduate, working as a patent clerk in a Swiss government office because he has been unable to find an academic job, mails a paper he has written to the science journal Annalen der Physik. The paper, “On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light,” is accepted for publication, and eventually earns its author, Albert Einstein, a job, and a Nobel Prize for Physics.

March 18, 1907
U.S. forces intervene in Honduras to ‘protect American interests’.

Related Topics: HondurasInterventionU.S. Imperialism

March 19

March 19, 1885
The NorthWest Rebellion: Métis in Saskatchewan establish a provisional government, with Louis Riel as political leader and Gabriel Dumont as military leader. Riel hopes that the Canadian government will agree to enter into negotiations leading to the settling of Métis grievances and recognition of Métis rights. However, instead of negotiating, the Canadian government sends in the military. The Northwest Rebellion ends with the defeat of the Métis and their Cree allies. Riel is subsequently put on trial for treason, and hanged.

Related Topics: MétisMétis History

March 19, 1915
The United States invades Mexico with an army of 10,000 men commanded by General John Pershing.

Related Topics: InterventionMexicoU.S. ImperialismU.S./Mexico Relations

March 19, 2011
NATO forces begin bombing Libya, ostensibly acting under a UN resolution to impose a no-fly zone to ‘protect civilians’, actually with the intention of overthrowing the Libyan government headed by Muammar Gaddafi.

Related Topics: ImperialismInterventionLibyaNATO

March 20

March 20, 1852
Publication of Harrier Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. A powerful anti-slavery statement, it is immensely popular and becomes the best-selling American novel of the 19th century, helping to create widespread popular support for the abolitionist cause, in the U.S. and internationally. It is also much criticized, primarily by defenders of slavery who say that it unfairly depicts slavery in a bad light, but also by later critics who object to its sentimentality, clichés, and stereotyping of blacks.

Further Reading:
Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Related Topics: Anti-SlaverySlavery

March 20, 2003
The U.S. and its allies attack and invade Iraq. They justify their attack by fabricating stories that Iraq possesses “weapons of mass destruction” which supposedly pose an imminent danger to world peace. The imaginary weapons of mass destruction are never found, but the very real weapons wielded by the U.S. and its allies cause the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

Further Reading:
Chomsky: The Case Against US Adventurism in Iraq
Chomsky: It’s Imperialism, Stupid
Diemer: The Iraq Crisis in Context
Rutherford: Weapons of Mass Persuasion

Related Topics: ImperialismIraqIraq WarNATOU.S. Imperialism

March 21

March 21, 1937
The Ponce Massacre: A peaceful demonstration in Ponce, Puerto Rico commemorating the abolition of slavery and protesting the U.S. government’s imprisonment of independence activists, is attacked by police armed with machine guns. Acting under the orders of the U.S. governor, Blanton Winship, police fire on the peaceful crowd, killing 20 and injuring hundreds. As people flee, they are pursued by police who club them and in some instances shoot them. A subsequent investigation by the United States Commission on Civil Rights finds that the event was a deliberate massacre carried out by the police. None of the killers are punished. Today, the Ponce massacre is commemorated annually in remembrance of Puerto Ricans who perished or were wounded for their political beliefs.

Related Topics: Killings by PoliceMassacresPolice ViolencePuerto Rico

March 21, 1960
The Sharpeville Massacre. Black South Africans protesting the apartheid regime’s pass laws, which serve to severely limit the right of non-whites to move about freely, are fired on by police in Sharpeville. 69 people are killed and 180 injured. Many of those killed and injured are shot in the back as they are running away. A wave of protests sweeps South Africa in the aftermath, accompanied by demonstrations in other countries. A week later, the government declares a state of emergency, and arrests and detains 18,000 people. The African National Congress and the Pan-Africanist Congress are both declared illegal organizations; both organizations respond shortly after by forming underground military resistance organizations. Today, the date is commemorated as a public holiday to honour human rights and remember those killed.

Related Topics: ApartheidKillings by PoliceMassacresPolice ViolenceSouth Africa

March 21 – 25, 1965
The third Selma to Montgomery March. After two previous attempts (March 7th and 9th) by civil rights activists to walk from Selma to Montgomery Alabama were attacked and halted, a third march sets out. They reach Montgomery County on the 24th; the following day Martin Luther King Jr. delivers a speech at the State Capital Building in which he says “The battle is in our hands. And we can answer with creative non-violence the call to higher ground to which the new directions of our struggle summons us. The road ahead is not altogether a smooth one. There are no broad highways that lead us easily and inevitably to quick solutions. But we must keep going.”

Related Topics: Civil Rights Movement (U.S.)

March 22

March 22, 1622
Opechancanough, the leader of the Powhatan Confederacy in what is now the U.S. state of Virginia, seeing no other way to stop the British colonists who have been continuously seizing native land since 1607, initiates military action against the Jamestown colony. A third of the English settlers are killed in the conflict, but the natives are unable to carry out their aim of expelling the colony. New colonists keep arriving, eager to take over native land to plant tobacco for export.
In 1644, Opechancanough, by this time more than 90 years old, makes a final attempt to expel the colonists, but again the attempt fails. In 1646, Opechancanough is taken prisoner, and murdered by a soldier who shoots him in the back.

Related Topics: Aboriginal HistoryColonies/British

March 22, 1933
The first Nazi German concentration camp is opened at Dachau, near Munich, 51 days after Hitler comes to power. From 1933 to 1938, Dachau is used mainly for political prisoners, especially Communists. During the time of the Nazi regime, more than 3.5 million Germans are sent to prisons or concentration camps for political offences. After the outbreak of the war, Dachau is used to hold prisoners of all kinds, including Jews and prisoners of ‘foreign’ nationalities. It is estimated that more than 200,000 people were interned at Dachau, and that 35,000 died there and in the satellite camps. The camp is liberated by the U.S. Army on April 29, 1945.
Dachau and other Nazi camps follow the example of previous internment and concentration camps, used by the U.S. government against native Americans and later against Filipinos, by the Spanish Empire in Cuba, and by the British and German Empires in southern Africa in the early years of the twentieth century. In turn, Dachau becomes the model for the other concentration camps set up by the Nazi regime.

Related Topics: Concentration CampsNazi HistoryPolitical Prisoners

March 22, 1968
Student protesters at the University of Nanterre in Paris form the Movement of 22 March (Mouvement du 22 Mars) and occupy the university’s administration building. They are protesting class discrimination in the education system and French society, as well as heavy-handed bureaucratic policies and structures within the university. The university calls the police to expel the occupying students. Conflicts between students and the administration continue, and on May 2 the administration shuts down the university, leading to mass protests not only at Nanterre but throughout Paris. The events are among the sparks igniting the May 1968 revolt in France, which comes close to toppling the government.

Further Reading:
The Beginning of an Era
May 1968 Graffiti

Related Topics: 1968

March 23

March 23, 1900
Birth of Erich Fromm, Marxist-humanist author, philosopher, psychoanalyst, and social critic.

Further Reading:
Erich Fromm: Character and Social Process
Erich Fromm: Escape from Freedom
Erich Fromm: Foreword to A.S. Neill: Summerhill
Erich Fromm: Human Nature and Social Theory
Erich Fromm: Individual and Social Origins of Neurosis
Erich Fromm: The Sane Society
Paul Mattick: Fromm’s Sane Society
Raya Dunayevskaya: On the anniversary of the birth of Erich Fromm

March 23 - 30, 1903
U.S. forces intervene in Honduras to ‘protect American interests’ during a revolutionary outbreak.

Related Topics: HondurasInterventionU.S. Imperialism

March 23, 1918
Capitalist justice: The trial of 101 members of the Industrial Workers of the World charged with opposing World War I begins in Chicago. All are found guilty.

Related Topics: Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)Legal Systems as Instruments of Oppression

March 23, 1933
The ‘Enabling Act’ strips the German parliament of its powers and transfers legislative power to the executive, i.e. to the Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler.

Related Topics: FascismNazi HistoryTotalitarianism

March 23, 1942
The U.S. government begins moving all those of Japanese ancestry, including some native-born U.S. citizens, from their west coast homes to indefinite imprisonment in detention centres.

March 24

March 24, 1834
Birth of William Morris (1834-1896), British artist, designer, author, and socialist. Morris sees work as a necessity of human life, not merely as a means of obtaining a livelihood. He maintains that nothing should be made which is not worth making, or which must be made by labour degrading to the makers.

Further Reading:
William Morris: Art and Labour
William Morris: Art and Socialism
William Morris: A Dream of John Ball
William Morris: News from Nowhere
William Morris: Socialism and Anarchism
The William Morris Internet Archive
E.P. Thompson: William Morris: From Romantic to Revolutionary

March 24, 1853
The abolitionist newspaper the Provincial Freeman is founded by Mary Ann Shadd and Isaac Shadd in Windsor, Ontario. Published from 1853 to 1857, the Provincial Freeman proclaims itself “Devoted to Anti-Slavery, Temperance, and General Literature.” Mary Ann Shadd is the first African-American woman publisher in North America.

Related Topics: Anti-SlaveryBlack Canadians

March 24, 1890
Birth of Agnes Macphail (1890-1954), social reformer, journalist, and politician, an advocate for farmers, women, miners, immigrants, and prisoners, the first woman elected to Canada’s House of Commons.
Quote: “Never apologize. Never explain. Just get the thing done, and let them howl.”

Further Reading:
Rachel Wyatt: Agnes Macphail: Champion of the Underdog

March 24, 1897
Birth of Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957), radical psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and author, originator of controversial theories about sexuality and orgasms.

Further Reading:
Wilhelm Reich: The Mass Psychology of Fascism
Wilhelm Reich: Sex-Pol Essays 1929-1934
Wilhelm Reich: The Sexual Revolution
Wilhelm Reich: What is Class Consciousness?
Paul Robinson: The Freudian Left: Wilhelm Reich, Geza Roheim, Herbert Marcuse
Richard King: The Party of Eros: Radical Social Thought and the Realm of Freedom
Bertell Ollman: Social and Sexual Revolution: Essays on Marx and Reich

March 24, 1906
Birth of Dwight Macdonald (1906-1982), American writer, social critic, and radical. Originally a Trotskyist, Macdonald breaks with Trotsky after a debate over the Bolsheviks’ repression of the Kronstadt rebellion. Later, Macdonald happily quotes Trotsky’s comment that “Everyone has the right to be stupid, but comrade Macdonald abuses the privilege.”

Further Reading:
Dwight Macdonald: Politics Past
Dwight Macdonald: Kronstadt Again
Dwight Macdonald: Once More Kronstadt

March 24, 1918
Canadian women over the age of 21 get the right to vote in federal elections. Excluded are Native (First Nations) women, and women not born in Canada.

Further Reading:
Women’s Suffrage (Canada)

Related Topics: Suffrage

March 24, 1926
Birth of Dario Fo, Italian playwright, political activist, and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature. His works include “Accidental Death of an Anarchist”, “Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay!” and “Mistero Buffo”, denounced by the Vatican as “the most blasphemous show in the history of television.”

March 24, 1937
The Duplessis government in Quebec passes the ‘Padlock Act’: anyone convicted of printing or publishing matter propagating communism is subject to imprisonment for one year, without appeal; any building used for propagating communism or bolshevism can be closed for one year by the attorney general. The law is declared unconstitutional in 1957, not because it is repressive, but because the Supreme Court says that this kind of repressive law can only be passed by the federal government.

March 24 -25, 1965
The Ann Arbor Teach-in, the first teach-in on the Vietnam War. Anti-war faculty at the University of Michigan, after originally considering a tactic of not teaching for a day as a protest against the war, decide instead to hold an intensive series of lectures, debates, and discussions. More than 3,000 students take part, including a small group of pro-war protesters who try to disrupt the discussions by heckling and chanting. The event is so successful in raising awareness of the war that the Teach-in tactic is widely adopted on other campuses.

Related Topics: Vietnam War

March 24, 1980
Archbishop Oscar Romero is assassinated by a right-wing death squad in El Salvador, one day after delivering a sermon in which he called on Salvadoran soldiers to obey God, and stop participating in the government’s repression and violations of human rights.

Related Topics: El SalvadorPolitical Murders

March 24, 1989
The oil tanker Exxon Valdez runs aground in Prince William Sound and spills hundreds of millions of barrels of crude oil along the Alaskan coast. Immediate effects include the deaths of 100,000 to 250,000 seabirds, thousands of marine mammals, and an unknown number of fish. Long-term effects still continue. A court ruling orders Exxon to pay $287 million in actual damages and $5 billion in punitive damages, equivalent to one year’s profit for the company. Exxon spends the next 20 years fighting the case; in the end, the capitalist courts reduce the punitive damages to one-tenth the original amount.

Related Topics: Oil Spills

March 24, 1999
U.S. and NATO aircraft begin a major bombing campaign against Serbia and against Serb positions in the secessionist Serbian province of Kosovo. The bombing, illegal under international law, continues until June 10.

Related Topics: BombingsKosovoNATOSerbia

March 25

March 25, 1807
The Slave Trade Act abolishes the slave trade in the British Empire.

Related Topics: Anti-SlaverySlavery

March 25, 1872
Toronto printers go on strike, demanding a 9-hour work day and a 54-hour work week.

Related Topics: Strikes/Canadian

March 25, 1873
Birth of Rudolf Rocker (1873-1958), anarcho-syndicalist writer, editor, and activist.

Further Reading:
Rocker: The Reproduction of Daily Life

March 25, 1894
A protest march by unemployed workers known as “Coxey’s Army” heads for Washington to demand that the U.S. government launch public works projects to create jobs.

March 25, 1911
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. A factory fire in New York City kills 146 garment workers, 129 women and 17 men, most of them recent Jewish and Italian immigrants. Factory managers had locked the doors to the building to prevent workers from taking unauthorized breaks. Trapped workers try to escape the flames by leaping from the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors. The owners of the factory are charged with manslaughter, but quickly acquitted. Their insurance payout substantially exceeds their financial losses from the fire, netting them a profit of about $400 per dead worker, this at a time when an average worker earned $7 per week.

Related Topics: Workplace Death and Injury

March 25, 1965
Viola Liuozzo, a white woman who has come to Alabama to participate in the Selma to Montgomery civil rights march, is murdered by the Ku Klux Klan.

Related Topics: De-segregationPolitical Murders

March 26

March 26, 1974
The Chipko movement: A group of peasant women in Reni Village in the state of Uttarakhand, India surround and hold on to trees in their forest to prevent them from being cut down by a lumber company given cutting rights by the government. The confrontation grows out of growing resistance to the commercial logging that is destroying the traditional forests that local people rely on for their livelihoods. On this day, knowing of the villagers’ resistance, the government has used a ruse to lure the men of the village to a distant location so they will be away when the loggers arrive. However, when loggers appear on the scene, the women of the village rush out to confront them. When it seems that logging will begin regardless, the women start hugging the trees to prevent them from being cut down. After a four-day stand-off, the loggers leave. When news of the success of the tactic reaches other villages, a movement of resistance to commercial logging quickly spreads, leading to hundreds of grassroots actions. The tactic is originally known by the Garhwali word “angalwaltha” but becomes more widely known by the Hindi term “Chipko”.

Related Topics: Forest ConservationIndiaTrees

March 26, 2003
Over one million people demonstrate in Spain against the Spanish government’s support of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Related Topics: Iraq War

March 27

March 27, 1848
About 1500 Icarians, members of a French Utopian movement founded by Etienne Cabet, land in New Orleans intending to start a communal settlement in the United States. They establish several settlements, but the communities, beset by financial struggles and internal disagreements, fail to thrive. The last Icarian settlement is dissolved in 1898.

Related Topics: CommunesCommunismIntentional CommunitiesUtopian Socialism

March 27, 1912
Beginning of the Fraser River railway strikes in British Columbia. Railway workers who have organized themselves as members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) walk out of construction camps to protest terrible working conditions. By April 2, 8,000 workers are on strike and work has ceased on 640 km of construction line; workers on the Grand Truck Pacific line then also join the strike. The main demands are strict enforcement of the Provincial Health Act, a 9-hour work day, and a minimum wage of $3 per day. The IWW sets up camps to feed the strikers and organizes pickets at employment offices in Vancouver and other cities to prevent strikebreakers from being hired. The government sets out to break the strike with violence and arrests, and largely succeeds, though the workers win some concessions, as well as a knowledge that it is possible to organize to defend their rights.

Related Topics: Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)Strikes/Canadian

March 27, 1917
The Petrograd Soviet addresses “the people of the whole world” declaring an earnest desire for peace, an end to World War I, without annexations or indemnities. (March 14 old calendar.)

March 27, 1921
The ‘March Action’ in Germany. In the midst of intense labour conflict in the industrial regions of central Germany, Communist leaders decide to launch an insurrection which they hope will spread throughout the country and lead to a revolution. They have misjudged: hundreds of workers die, thousands are imprisoned, and many workers leave the Communist Party in dismay. In Moscow, Lenin calls the action “a lunatic ultra-left tactic.”

Related Topics: Revolts

March 28

March 28, 1868
Birth of Maxim Gorky (1868-1936), Russian author and socialist.

March 28 - April 1, 1918
Anti-conscription riots break out in Quebec. The federal government invokes the War Measures Act and sends troops to put down the riots. Five people are killed, and about 150 injured.

Related Topics: Riots

March 28, 1968
Martin Luther King Jr. leads a march in support of striking black sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. He is assassinated six days later.

Related Topics: Strikes/U.S.

March 28, 1979
A cooling system failure causes a partial meltdown of the reactor core at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania.

March 29

March 29, 1826
Birth of Wilhelm Liebknecht (1826-1900), German socialist.

March 29, 1831
The Bosnian Uprising: Bosnians revolt against Turkish rule.

Related Topics: Revolts

March 29, 1857
Mangal Pandey, a soldier (“sepoy”) in the Bengal Native Infantry rebels against his British commanders. He is court-martialled and hanged, and his regiment is disbanded by the British because they no longer trust its loyalty. The British actions cause spreading anger among the sepoys which culminates in the protracted Indian Rebellion of 1857, also known as the Sepoy Mutiny.

Related Topics: IndiaMutinies

March 29, 2012
Strikes and mass demonstrations protest against Spain’s drastic new labour reforms. The reforms overhaul the labour market by slashing the cost of firing workers and easing conditions under which they can be dismissed.

Related Topics: Labour LawSpain

March 30

March 30, 1880
Birth of Sean O’Casey (1880-1964), Irish playwright, author, and socialist.

March 30 - April 21, 1903
U.S. forces intervene in the Dominican Republic to ‘protect American interests’ during a revolutionary outbreak.

Related Topics: Dominican RepublicInterventionU.S. Imperialism

March 30 - April 1, 1914
The 1914 Sealing Disasters. 132 sealers on the ship S.S. Newfoundland are stranded on an ice floe for two days after their captain sails the ship away while they are on the ice. 77 men die, many of the survivors lose limbs to frostbite. At the same time, another sealing ship, the S.S. Southern Cross, sinks while crossing the Gulf of St. Lawrence: all 174 men on board die.

Related Topics: DisastersSealing

March 31

March 31, 1492
King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella order all Jews who refuse to convert to Christianity to be expelled from Spain.

March 31, 1797
Death of Olaudah Equiano, a former slave who purchased his freedom and became an author, merchant, and active member of the movement to abolish slavery.

Further Reading:
Olaudah Equiano: The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings

Related Topics: Anti-SlaverySlavery

March 31, 1872
Birth of Alexandra Kollontai, Russian communist and women’s rights advocate.

Further Reading:
Alexandra Kollontai: The Autobiography of a Sexually Emancipated Communist Woman
Alexandra Kollontai: The Workers Opposition
Abra Quinn: Meeting Alexandra Kollontai
Teresa L. Ebert: Alexandra Kollontai and Red Love

March 31, 1927
Birth of Cesar Chavez, American labour organizer, co-founder of the United Farm Workers.
Quote: “The only way I know how to organize is to talk to one person, and then you talk to another person, and then you talk to another.”



Seeds of Fire is compiled for Connexions by Ulli Diemer. References used include the Connexions Library generally, and Connexipedia specifically, Wikipedia, Sources, the Peace History feature on, the books and articles of Noam Chomsky and William Blum (marvellous antidotes to historical amnesia), and a wide, wide variety of other sources.

For more information about some of the events and people mentioned, see the following pages in Connexipedia and in the Connexions Subject Index:

Events Listed in Connexipedia
Organizations & Movements Listed in Connexipedia
Persons Listed in Connexipedia
History Focus page
Oral History and Memoirs Focus page
Radical & Left History Focus page
Aboriginal History
Agricultural History
Arab History
Art History
Black History & Identity
Canadian History
Capitalism/History of
Chinese History
Economic History
Egyptian Revolt 2011
European History
French History
French Revolution
Gay & Lesbian History
General Strikes
German History
German History/World War II
Greece/Modern History
History/Twentieth Century
Hungarian Revolution 1956
Immigrant History
Irish History
Jewish History
Killings by Police
Labour History
Left History
Marxist Theory of Revolution
Oral History
Reference Sources/Chronologies
Revolution/Study of
Russian History
Russian Revolution
Revolutionary Moments
Sixties (1960s)
SOURCES: History experts & sources
Soviet History
Spanish Civil War
State-sponsored Violence
State Violence
United States History
Urban History
Women’s History
Workers’ History

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