|Important Course Pages|
WEEK 3: Labor Movements
The Pacific Northwest, particularly the Seattle area, was very active in the 19th century labor movements. This area held unions for both large and small laborers, including shipyard workers, butchers, telegraphers, and more. The Seattle labor community also consisted of a lot of minority groups participating in the labor movement, including women, African Americans, Filipino Americans, Japanese Americans, Chinese Americans, Jews, Latinxs, and Native Americans. This labor community was also renowned for their incredibly solidarity: during the Seattle General Strike of 1919, many unions bound together to help strike for the shipyard workers and other metal workers of Seattle, striking alongside them as well as, in the case of the Painters' Union, donating their spaces for the cause. This strike, due to its incredible community effort, effectively shut down Seattle for a few days. The laborers of Seattle also bound together to support incarcerated members of the laboring cause in California, striking for Tom Mooney in particular. Though Seattle was certainly a center for labor activity, the IWW and other labor reform efforts were prevalent up and down the I-5 corridor.
WEEK 4: First Wave Feminism, Anarchist, and Populist Movements
Washington state hosted a community of anarchists at the turn of the century. One community in particular, the Home Utopian Anarchist Community, lasted the longest and also sported two different anarchist newspapers: the Discontent: Mother of Progress publication and The Agitator. Discontent published weekly, providing information about the Home community itself as well as news from beyond the community from other sources. It also provided additional information about anarchist activity around the Puget Sound, proving to be a useful resource for anarchists at the time as well as historians now, providing insight into anarchist communities. The Agitator also published editorials with a strong skew towards their ideas rather than neutrality. The Home Community also hosted many famous anarchists that spoke in the community, including the anarcho-feminist Emma Goldman.
WEEK 5: Indian Independence Movement (Satyagraha)
Although the Satyagraha movement for independence (and subsequently rights) was primarily centered in the British colonies of India and Natal (South Africa), prejudice against and the disenfranchisement of Indians did not exclusively exist in these areas. Because Indians could move around the British colonies, many Indians settled in British Columbia looking for job opportunities. Most of the jobs were found in labor, as Chinese immigration into Canada became more restricted, opening up jobs for Indian immigrants. Most immigrants were Sikhs from the Punjab region of India. Immediately, the whites of British Columbia adopted an anti-Indian attitude, fearing the loss of their own jobs as well as complaining that immigration was causing a decrease in wages. In response to pressure placed on the government by white laborers, immigration restrictions were placed on Indians in the early 1900s. Women and children in particular were especially restricted from immigrating to Canada, leading to mainly male communities. In British Columbia, Indo-Canadians and Indians were not allowed to vote in provincial elections due to a law passed in 1908; then, in 1920, the federal government passed a law restricting those disenfranchised by their province from voting in federal elections, meaning that Indians and other Asians were not allowed to vote at all. When India finally achieved independence in 1947, Indo-Canadians and others of South-Asian decent were given the right to vote. Women and children also began to immigrate to India at this time. Though many of Indian decent left Canada during the Great Depression and WWI and WWII, British Columbia especially remains an area greatly populated by Indo-Canadians.
WEEK 6: Anti-Apartheid The Pacific Northwest was a surprising protest hot-spot during the anti-apartheid movement that accompanied Nelson Mandela's jailing and the oppression of the non-whites in South Africa. To support anti-apartheid actions in South Africa such as the sabotage of profitable businesses, residents of the Pacific Northwest organized solidarity actions. For example, there was a call to avoid the Shell corporation, which occupied South Africa and supplied the South African Apartheid military with oil products. College students were also prominent in the protesting movement. All across Oregon, Washington, and the rest of the Pacific Northwest, students attempted to petition their colleges for money to provide to the anti-apartheid movement. They also set up "shantytowns" simulating the horrible conditions that blacks had to live under in Apartheid government to raise awareness of the anti-apartheid movement.
Week 7: The Civil Rights Movement The Pacific Northwest, like much of the U.S., hosted a struggle between white supremacist groups and minority rights groups during the Civil Rights Movement. Both Oregon and Washington faced increasing white suspicion and civil violence toward minorities-- unlike the South, racism was not solely centered on African Americans. Due to an increasing amount of immigrants and laborers of Chinese and Latino descent, restrictions encompassed many minorities. Although Washington did not have formal segregation laws-- in fact, laws prohibited segregation-- many communities still segregated. A great example of this is within housing. Many minorities were pushed out of all-white neighborhoods due to segregational neighborhood covenants, creating ghettos filled with Latinos, Chinese, and African Americans. In some rich Seattle neighborhoods, these covenants still exist in writing, although they are not practiced. The Ku Klux Klan was also active in Oregon and Washington, though the Washington chapter in particular may not have been as violent as other parts of the country. Police violence was also particularly prevalent in cities such as Seattle. However, many minority-rights groups operated in the Pacific Northwest. Washington had a particularly active chapter of the Black Panthers, as well as extensions of the SNCC, CORE, and a Black Student Union. Together, these groups organized protests, ranging from peaceful protests and boycotts to the more violent displays of the Black Panthers, who infamously protested an anti-gun law at the state capitol wielding large (albeit unloaded) weapons. Activists in Seattle also provided "Freedom Schools" and "Freedom Patrols" in order to provide education to African Americans and to monitor police activity.
http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/uw-project-sheds-light-on-ku-klux-klan-as-force-in-the-state/ ; http://depts.washington.edu/labhist/about.shtml ; http://depts.washington.edu/civilr2/teach/bpp/BPPteachwmv_files/frame.htm ; http://depts.washington.edu/civilr/BPP_documents.htm
Week 8: Sexual Revolutions Vancouver in the late 1960s and 1970s was home to a host of second-wave feminist movements. Part of this had to do with its strong student population; Simon Fraser University, in particular, was a hot-spot for the New Left political movement, focusing on student-led social change. Female activists at SFU were not just students-- faculty members in the disciplines of Anthropology, Political Science, and Sociology bound together with students for equality at SFU. In 1968, activists formed the Feminine Action League (later changed to the Woman's Caucus) to advocate for birth control education for students. The Women's Caucus lobbied for the university to provide information to students about birth control as well as asked the university to open a birth control clinic where students could access safe and accessible contraceptives in response to a high number of illegitimate abortions and unplanned pregnancies. In 1969, the Caucus moved downtown and renamed itself the Vancouver Women's Caucus, proceeding to attract housewives, female workers, single mothers, and social workers. The Vancouver Women's Caucus drew mostly from women's liberation movements, which was often reflected in their non-hierarchical structuring and their dramatic styles of nonviolent protest, such as "guerrilla" political theater. Arguably the most famous act of the Vancouver Women's Caucus was their 1970 Abortion Caravan. This trek across Canada, deliberately spanning Mother's Day weekend, consisted of guerrilla theater stops, recruiting new members, and giving talks on birth control and abortion. The final stop was the country capitol, in which the women successfully shut down Parliament and left a coffin full of coat hangers on the PM's doorstep. Though abortion laws were not changed until 1988, these women paved the way for other birth control activists. https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/canadian_historical_review/v090/90.3.sethna.pdf http://nvdatabase.swarthmore.edu/content/vancouver-womens-caucus-fights-reproductive-rights-abortion-caravan-canada-1970
Week 9: Red Power Native Americans in Washington State have fought a historical battle for their fishing rights. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Native American activist groups protested against tightening governmental restrictions on traditional indigenous rights to fishing by hosting "fish-ins," protests mirrored after the Civil Rights Movement's famous sit-ins. Washington State, when first settled by colonists in the mid 1800s, allowed indigenous peoples to exercise their full rights to fishing, as settlers were more focused on industry development and housing. When the Dawes Act was passed, forcing indigenous resettlement and cultural assimilation, indigenous peoples still participated in traditional fishing practices, though their ability to do so was somewhat limited. In the 1930s and 1940s, Native Americans received more rights to self-governance, allowing them to continue traditional fishing practices, which positively contributed to community well-being as many natives had still not adapted agricultural lifestyles. However, in the 1960s, Native American rights to their lands decreased again, as Washington State passed legislature slowly infringing upon indigenous rights and self-governance. Native-power activist groups developed in response to these laws, such as the Survival of the American Indian Association. The SAIA was integral in state granting of indigenous rights, starting with smaller acts of civil disobedience and finally developing into the fish-ins. Fish-ins were a direct protest of state monitoring of specific fishing areas in order to conserve fish species. These fishing areas, however, were always the most accessible fishing spots, which meant they attracted Native Americans who did not have the means to access more secluded spots. This resulted in a disproportionate amount of Native American arrests for fishing as well as the crippling of Native American societies which relied on fish for sustenance. Fish-ins were enacted by Native Americans but progressed to include support by non-natives as well as the opposition by white sporting groups. The inevitable conflict between police and natives eventually garnered national attention, leading to a 1974 Supreme Court decision granting Native Americans a substantial share in state fisheries, fulfilling all of their demands. https://depts.washington.edu/civilr/fish-ins.htm Week 10: Environmental Movements
The Pacific Northwest region has long been intertwined with environmentalism and conservationist efforts, though its abundant resources have caused tension between environmentalist agendas and industry agendas. For example, Washington in particular has faced two recent threats to indigenous species: the Spotted Owl and the Chinook Salmon. Industries integral to Washington local and state economies, such as hydro-electric power industries, logging and other forestry industries, fishing, as well as associated processes like road building, severely damaged habitats of indigenous species. While Washingtonians were concerned with the extinction of these indigenous species (in fact, the Chinook salmon is a species particularly important to Native American groups in Washington, as many tribes are coastal), the potential impacts of extinguishing these resource-based industries were a widespread economic threat. Many communities were fully reliant on such industries for job opportunities, and many more fully relied on such industries economically. This made conservation actions problematic-- where the best solution to the diminishing of Chinook salmon would be to remove the dams along the Columbia and Snake rivers, economically, this was not feasible for most dams, albeit 1 or 2. Dam-maintaining solutions consist of increased water flow to help salmon successfully climb the fish ladders, however, this solution does not fully eliminate the decrease in survival rates that salmon face when ascending the river. Although these short-term solutions, along with others, have been implemented to ease the impacts that industries in Washington have had on the environment and indigenous species, long-term conservation is still an issue that many activists in Washington are attempting to address.