Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, ‘Rebel Girl’ of the US labour movement

Elizabeth Gurley FlynnBy Jone Johnson Lewis:

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

Joe Hill‘s song, “Rebel Girl,” is based on a real-life rebel, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.

She was an organizer with the Wobblies (IWW, Industrial Workers of the World) and a founder of the ACLU.

Read more about Elizabeth Gurley Flynn:

* Elizabeth Gurley Flynn Profile (short biography)
* Elizabeth Gurley Flynn Biography (more details)
* Elizabeth Gurley Flynn Quotes
* More About Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

A song with the same title Rebel Girl, but with different lyrics and music, by US punk rockers Bikini Kill: see video.

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn to be inducted into labor hall of fame: here.

Joe Hill: here.

8 thoughts on “Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, ‘Rebel Girl’ of the US labour movement

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  8. On November 30, 1915, Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) organizer Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was found innocent of charges of “inciting to personal injury” during the Paterson silk mill strike of 1913. The IWW, a revolutionary-syndicalist organization that opposed World War I and sought to put an end to capitalism, had been heavily involved in that strike and a host of bitter struggles of various sections of workers, including some of the most oppressed and exploited.

    Flynn was accused of having advised a meeting of strikers on February 25, 1913 to drive the scabs from the mills even if they had to “club them out, beat them out, or kick them out,” and to use “extreme force” if necessary.

    Flynn denied the charge and the IWW fought the case as an attempted labor frame-up. She commented to the press, “I feel I have been tremendously vindicated. I feel sure the people of New Jersey do not cherish the same ideas as the Paterson manufacturers and the police regarding the right to free speech, and I shall certainly continue my fight.”

    The jury took little more than an hour to deliberate and it was reported that only one ballot was taken. After the verdict, Flynn, who was accompanied by prominent IWW leaders Carlo Tresca and Joseph Ettor, both Italian immigrants, declared her intention to continue speaking in Paterson.

    Henry Marelli, the IWW’s lawyer, declared, “It is not unusual for cops to lie and ‘frame up’ people, and the longer they are on the force the better liars they become.” Less than two weeks prior to Flynn’s acquittal, Joe Hill an IWW member famous for his radical songwriting, had been executed in Utah on a frame-up murder charge.



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