Sunday 24 May 2015

Our father's father moves motions at 1921 Convention of Shoe Workers Union

At the Fifteenth convention of the Boot and Shoe Workers’ Convention in May 1921 St Louis, Missouri

Morris Rosen, (our father's father) delegate from Brockton, Mass. moved the following motion:
WHEREAS, the world war is over—has been over for two and one-half years—and we see no good reason why there should still be men and women behind prison bar's for no other reason than that they had certain convictions and exercised what they thought to be their constitutional rights in publicly expressing them; and

WHEREAS, our country stands alone today as the only one of the leading nations of the world that has not granted amnesty to its political and industrial prisoners; and

WHEREAS, Eugene V. Debs, who has given a life-time of loyal service to the working class, is now occupying a felon's cell; likewise, there are some two hundred and fifty other political and industrial prisoners in the federal Jails of our country; Now, therefore, be it that we demand of the United States Government the immediate release and the granting of amnesty to all persons whose political belief formed the basis of their persecution, trial and imprisonment.

He also moved this motion at the same Convention: 

By Delegate Morris Rosen, Union No.
WHEREAS, the workers of Russia
after suffering untold persecution, mis-
ery, and hardships for many years un-
der the rule of tyrants, have thrown
off that yoke, and
WHEREAS, the Workers' Govern-
ment of Russia has now been estab-
lished for more than three and one-
half years, and from all information
available it is the kind of government
the people in that country want; there-
fore, be it
RESOLVED: that we demand of our
government that there be established
an immediate resumption of trade and
diplomatic relations with the Russian
Workers' Republic.

ps I've called him my 'father's father' rather than our 'grandfather' because he was estranged from his children and we, the grandchildren,  never knew him. A year after this Convention, he and his wife, Rose, separated. She returned to England with three of their five children - our father, his sister and baby brother - he stayed in the US and they didn't see him again. 

He was born in Poland, had emigrated to London, met Rose, had two children in London, emigrated to Brockton, Mass., had three more children including our father, before the separation in 1922.  He died in 1950, in the 'Mattapan' - Boston's largest mental institution at the time. He is buried in the Jewish Workmen's Cemetery in Melrose - a cemetery set up and run by the 'Arbeter Ring' or 'Workmen's Circle' - a Jewish workers' self-help organisation. It was part of what is known as the 'Bund' - a union of Jewish workers set up in Vilna, in 1897.