In “How Does the Past Look From Here? Notes from a historian” SLU faculty member Joshua Freeman compares today’s pandemic and politics to the events preceding and following the flu epidemic of 1918, and argues that this time, the yearning for a return to “normality” may be misplaced.
Read it here in Moyers on Democracy.
Photo Credit: Influenza Hospital Ward (Library of Congress)
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we’ve heard comparison after comparison to the Spanish flu of 1918. But, observes SLU professor Joshua Freeman in Jacobin, we rarely hear about the strikes waves that began at the same time. He writes:
It is rarely noted that the greatest burst of labor militancy in the history of the United States, the 1919 strike wave, overlapped with the worst health crisis in the country’s history, the 1918–19 influenza pandemic. Four million workers struck in 1919, one-fifth of the workforce, a proportion never since equaled.
Strikes that year were startling not only for the sheer number of workers involved but also for the way they fundamentally challenged the status quo. Continue reading Joshua Freeman: Pandemics Can Mean Strike Waves