From our IWW family in Southern Maine!
Two hundred years ago, the Industrial Revolution made major changes to the the way people work. Wherever it spread, the capitalist factory system put pressure on the feudal agricultural system to adapt, and many social traditions were strained. Some of the countryside was privatized, and many people who had previously grown their own food and made crafts by hand had to move into the cities to find jobs that paid wages.
Many of the new jobs in the capitalist workplaces were miserable, and workers who didn’t like being exploited produced a number of responses. Some workers formed cooperative businesses in which everyone voted on what to do with the profits. Other highly skilled workers — shoemakers, for instance — formed craft unions to protect their livelihoods from the cheaper competition coming from the capitalist-controlled factories.
Both of these systems were able to protect their followers from exploitation to…
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