A Brief Look at the American Communist Party and Labor Unions: Background information when reading The Last Ballad

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The Last Ballad

by Wiley Cash

The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash X
The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2017, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2018, 300 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Gary Presley

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A Brief Look at the American Communist Party and Labor Unions

This article relates to The Last Ballad

Eugene V. DebsAmerica prospered at the turn of the 20th century, but that prosperity wasn't reflected in working conditions or compensation for laborers. Many on the left felt the American Federation of Labor leadership was corrupt and began to support Eugene V. Debs' Socialist Party. There was then a further schism, created by those who felt Debs' party continued to ignore the most oppressed workers, and that allowed the Communist Party to step into the void. From that wing sprang the radical Industrial Workers of the World in 1905, a communist union.

Unions, socialist or communist, found no better place to fight for their causes than within the cruel industrial engine of manufacturing, mills, and mines. The horrid conditions explored in Cash's novel, The Last Ballad, seem near slavery to a modern worker: 12-hour shifts 6-days a week, company housing and company stores that consumed every dollar earned, and poor or nonexistent medical care and workmen's compensation in ...

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