From Allihies to Butte, Montana

Allihies mine pic Nigel Cox

Main engine house at the Mountain Mine at Allihies, built 1862. Photo (c) Nigel Cox and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons licence

 

Tadhg O’Sullivan, Vice chairperson of the Allihies Copper Mine Museum will speak of the tradition of mining at the old Allihies Copper mines and the exodus of the miners in search of similar work to the town of Butte, Montana. Tadhg will speak at 4.15pm on Thursday 31st July at the Firkin Crane Centre in Shandon.

 

For most of the 19th Century, Allihies was a bustling mining town, with everything one would associate with such towns, money, vice, corruption, disease, crime and so on.  It had turned from a sleepy rural backwater to a centre of industry in 1812 and for over seventy years this mining venture continued, with an influx of Cornish miners along with many local workers at different levels of intensity, until the operation was wound down finally in 1884.

 

From around 1865 onwards the Allihies mining community had started to emigrate mainly to Montana and a town called Butte high in the Rocky Mountains.  Butte was beginning to experience the boom times that Allihies had experienced seventy years earlier and the miners and their families followed the work and the money.  It was approximately a 6000 mile journey, a journey many didn’t survive.  But those who did made their mark in this North-West corner of the United States and became the main players and the biggest community in what was one of the richest mining stories ever.

 

Butte today has a population of around 30,000 down from its height of 60,000 in the 1920s when it was one of the largest and most notorious copper boomtowns in America. The rush for riches also saw the growth of trade unionism epitomised by the founding of the Western Federation of Miners (WFM) in 1893 and by the large support enjoyed by the Wobblies (the Industrial Workers of the World) in the town. In many ways Butte became a microcosm of the labour/capital wars of the late 1800/early 1900s and which culminated in the murder of union organiser Frank Little of the IWW in Butte in 1917. The town was later the scene of the Anaconda Road massacre in 1920.

 

The main protagonists were Marcus Daly’s Anaconda Copper Mining Company and the militant Western Federation of Miners, William “Big Bill” Haywood, Charles Moyer and Mother Jones trod the streets of Butte in defence of the miners, many of whom were Irish and some from her very own county. The WFM were a radical union and were to forefront of many strikes, and the campaign for an 8-hour day. Their activities caused some friction with the longer established United Mine Workers of America and attracted the attention of the Federal authorities.

 

Indeed Mother Jones arrived by train from Butte, where she had been organising strikes for better working conditions to West Virginia/Colorado in 1912 at the outbreak of the coal wars in the region (1912-1914). Although always associated with the UMW, Mother Jones maintained extremely cordial relations with the WFM and worked closely with both unions, as usual she just got on with organising workers.

 

Today Butte retains very strong Irish links and has a large St. Patrick’s Day parade. Allihies has constructed a beautiful museum in the old Methodist Church, originally built in 1845 for the Cornish copper miners who arrived in Allihies before the famine. The community run enterprise also has an Allihies Copper Mine Trail. www.acmm.ie

The Spirit of Mother Jones festival 2014 will try to ensure that the story of Mary Harris/Mother Jones from Cork city is again reconnected through the rich and complex tapestry of history to her links with the West Cork copper miners of Allihies and Butte, Montana. All are welcome to attend. The event forms part of the Miners’ Day at the Spirit of Mother Jones summer school with speakers films and music from the USA, the UK, Greece and Ireland.

 

Successful Press Launch for festival lineup

mother jones launch 2014 006

Aoife Delaney as a young Mary Harris at the launch of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival at the Maldron. Aoife will appear at the Mother Jones Gala Concert at 9pm at the Firkin Crane on Wednesday 30th July.

Richard Cooke of the Cork Mother Jones festival committee with Eileen O'Keeffe of the Cork Rokk Choir at the press launch

Richard Cooke of the Cork Mother Jones festival committee with Eileen O’Keeffe of the Cork Rokk Choir at the press launch

A Press Launch to announce the lineup for the 2014 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival was held at the Maldron Hotel, Shandon on Thursday, 26th June.   The launch was attended by members of the Cork Mother Jones committee and by some of the local groups and individuals who will be speaking or performing at the festival which takes place in the Shandon area from 29th July to 1st August this year.

The local media were well represented and continued to take a keen interest in the festival.   The launch included a number of live performances which set the scene for what promises to be a very full and interesting festival.

Mother Jones and her Children – film premiere

Eddie Noonan of Frameworks Films, filming on location at Mt. Olive cemetery, Illinois with Dave Rathke and Terry

Eddie Noonan of Frameworks Films, filming on location at Mt. Olive cemetery, Illinois with Dave Rathke and Terry Reed.

Emma Bowell of Frameworks Films (right) with author / historian Marat Moore  on location in New York.

Emma Bowell of Frameworks Films (right) with author / historian Marat Moore on location in New York.

 

Eddie Noonan from Frameworks Films on location in Chicago with author Elliott Gorn

Eddie Noonan from Frameworks Films on location in Chicago with author Elliott Gorn

A new documentary on a unique woman from Cork will be screened at 8pm on Friday 1st August in the Firkin Crane, Cork as part of the Cork Mother Jones Festival 2014. ‘Mother Jones and her Children’ has been produced by Frameworks Films, a Cork based film production company, in collaboration with the Cork Mother Jones Commemorative Committee. ‘Mother Jones and her Children’ outlines the life of the most famous Cork woman in America – Mary Jones, formerly Mary Harris. The documentary tells of her extraordinary life – her early years in Cork, her survival of the Famine and emigration to Canada, her move to the US and her marriage to George Jones, her life as a mother to four young children, her tragic loss of her entire family and later her business, her entry into the labour movement and her growing involvement in organising workers to the point where she is dubbed ‘the most dangerous women in America’. With contributions from leading experts on Mother Jones, the documentary will restore her memory, particularly in her native city.

The documentary will also be broadcast on Cork Community Television on Saturday 2nd August 2014 at 8pm (available on Channel 803 on UPC’s digital cable package) and streamed live on www.corkcommunitytv.ie ‘Mother Jones and her Children’ was produced with the support of the Sound and Vision scheme, an initiative of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. For further information, please contact Frameworks Films on info@frameworksfilms.com or 021-4211010.

Children of Mother Jones – song lyrics

Below are the lyrics of Pete Duffy’s new song, “Children of Mother Jones” which you can hear on the previous post sung by Muddy Lee

 

Children of Mother Jones

 

We have freedom

Freedom in our bones

We are the children

Of our Mother Jones

We have freedom

As we fight for liberty

We’ll never be forgotten

While she strives to set us free

 

We were the first to march the protest trail

When the plight of children’s labour she unveiled

In our hearts we knew we could not fail

When Cork’s own rebel daughter told our tales

 

We have freedom

Freedom in our bones

We are the children

Of our Mother Jones

We have freedom

As we fight for liberty

We’ll never be forgotten

While she strives to set us free

 

The policemen had their batons bombs and guns

And drew from endless capitalistic funds

All we had were pockets full of stones

But we were led by fearless Mother Jones

 

We have freedom

Freedom in our bones

We are the children

Of our Mother Jones

We have freedom

As we fight for liberty

We’ll never be forgotten

While she strives to set us free

 

Those were cruel hard depressive times

With no thought they sent us down the mines

For us no school nor children’s nursery

We were the victims of the owner’s greed

 

We have freedom

Freedom in our bones

We are the children

Of our Mother Jones

We have freedom

As we fight for liberty

We’ll never be forgotten

While she strives to set us free

 

Those in power showed her no sympathy

In her fight to set the children free

She lies in Mount Olive Illinois

But Mother Jones’ true spirit never dies

 

We have freedom

Freedom in our bones

We are the children

Of our Mother Jones

We have freedom

As we fight for liberty

We’ll never be forgotten

While she strives to set us free

 

Yes, we have freedom

Freedom in our bones

We are the children

Of our Mother Jones

We have freedom

While we fight for liberty

We’ll never be forgotten

While she strives to set us free

 

Contact Pete Duffy, Tel (087) 2755031

Copyright (C) Frank E Lee and Pete Duffy

Children of Mother Jones – a new song by Pete Duffy

Children of Mother Jones. (c) Pete Duffy

A new ballad by Cork musician Pete Duffy, which will be performed publicly for the first time at 1pm on Thursday 31st July 2014 during “Music at the Maldron” session at the Maldron Hotel, Shandon for the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival with Muddy Lee. All are welcome to attend and sing along at this first performance of Children of Mother Jones for Cork’s famous rebel daughter. A Douglas Writers commemorative project for the Spirit of Mother Jones festival 2014.

Interesting films at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2014

Film has beenfilm reel an important part of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival since the beginning.  This year we will be showing five films covering the struggles of  people in extraordinary situations in the fight for justice and rights.  All film showings are free of charge. All welcome.

Tuesday 29th July – Friday 1st August 2014 

Admission is free and all are welcome. Firkin Crane Centre Shandon 6.00: “Mother Jones, America’s Most Dangerous Woman” a film by Rosemary Feurer and Laura Vazquez.     Mother Jones: America’s Most Dangerous Woman is a documentary about the amazing labor heroine, Mary Harris Jones, known as Mother Jones. Mother Jones’ organising career influenced the history of early 20th century United States. She overcame class and gender limitations to shape an identity that allowed her to become an effective labor organizer in the early 20th century. Mother Jones transformed personal and political grief and rage about class injustices into an effective persona that led workers into battles that changed the course of history. The terrible conditions and labor oppression of the time motivated her to traverse the country, in order to organise against injustices.

Release Date: May 2007 (Canada)Runtime: 24 min

Thursday: 31st July  

(Firkin Crane Centre downstairs)   11am:              Film: The Battle for Orgreave, (A film by Yvette Vanson, Producer/Director. www.yvettevanson).   In this film we witness the violent struggle of miners trying to save their jobs in what became one of the biggest public disturbances Britain has ever seen. The camera focuses on the blood covered face of an angry protester, he looks defiant as he is led away by riot police. This is no criminal but a man trying to protect his livelihood. 55 miners faced long prison terms because of their involvement in the disturbance at Orgreave. This film looks at their fight for justice. Orgreave in the North of England was the focal point for a mass protest by miners in June 1984. At this time miners were angry over proposed pit closures and reacted by striking and pressurising other pits to close. The culmination of these protests was a mass gathering of miners from all over the country at Orgreave. On the morning of 18th June miners were escorted into Orgreave. At this point police tactics already resembled a military campaign. After a push by the miners the police acted with force charging the pickets on horses. The protest soon turned violent with the police using heavy-handed tactics such as dogs and batons in an attempt to suppress the riot. In this film we interview defendants about their experiences of being at Orgreave and the tactics used by police.

Release Date: 1985   Runtime: 52 min   5.30 pm     

 

“Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre” a film from Greece by Lamprini    Thoma and Nickos Ventouras. (Irish Premier)   The Ludlow Massacre and the assassination of Greek immigrant and labor leader Louis Tikas (Elias Spantidakis) is one of the decisive moments of the American labor movement, an event that connects, a century later, the United States of 1914 to the labor and immigrant demands of Greece of 2014. Lamprini Thoma and Nikolaos Ventouras examined the memories, the history and the legacy of Louis Tikas and the Ludlow massacre in Colorado, talked with prominent historians, artists and descendants of Ludlow miners, and documented the scars left by this tragedy on the body of working America. Release Date: 2014 Runtime: 92 min http://www.palikari.org/

Friday 1st August. Mother Jones Day. 

(Firkin Crane Centre downstairs)   11am:        The extraordinary life and death of Tadhg Barry from Blarney St.         (Frameworks Films) with Trevor Quinn SIPTU, Jack O’Sullivan CCTU.   This documentary tells the story of Tadhg Barry (1880-1921), a native of Cork city, who has largely been forgotten. It seems hard to believe that a man whose funeral closed shops and factories could be relegated to a footnote in history. And yet this is what has happened to a man who was one of the last people to be killed by British forces during Ireland’s War of Independence, just weeks prior to the signing of the Treaty.

Release Date: 2013

Tadhg Barry Remembered has been produced by Frameworks Films in collaboration with the Cork Council of Trade Unions for broadcast on Cork Community Television. It was first broadcast on Cork Community Television on Sunday 5th May at 8pm. The documentary was funded under the Sound & Vision scheme, an initiative of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

8.00 pm:   “Mother Jones and her Children”.  (Firkin Crane upstairs.) Documentary Premiere by Frameworks Films. Release Date: 2014

Music in the Garden

The Spirit of Mother Jones Festival committee is very happy to report that the Lion Youth Brass Band from Cheshire will play at the Garden party in Shandon on Mother Jones Day (August 1st) starting at 4.45.

 

Lion Youth Band

The Lion Youth Brass Band

This 40 member community youth band formed in 1989 is on their first trip to the South of Ireland and is taking in the Limerick City of Culture, the Waterford Spraoi Festival and has now confirmed that it will also play at the historic Butter Market in Shandon.

 

“This Brass Band recital will be a lovely way to finish off the four day long festival of film, talks, discussions and music” stated Jim Nolan of the Cork Mother Jones Committee.

 

He continued “we are organising a party for all our guests from America, the UK, Greece and elsewhere to round off the festival and we are really delighted that the Lions Brass band have selected the Shandon event as a place to show off their musical ability and of course we will show off our Shandon Bells to our visitors”

 

“Of course later that evening we will have the famous Butter Exchange band, which will also provide music for a recital on John Redmond Street at the Mother Jones Plaque, where Professor Jim Green and Rosemary Feurer will give an account of her life” declared Jim. “It promises to be a wonderful day of music in and around Shandon to crown a fantastic week of activity about Mother Jones”

 

The Band currently has over a hundred members, who come from schools in the South Cheshire area and in 2014 it received a gold award in the Championship section at the National Youth brass Band Championships of Great Britain. They have competed local, national and international competitions winning many including The National Youth Championships of Great Britain twice.

Oops!

Some of our eagle-eyed readers may have noticed an error on the site over the last few  days.   We added a “countdown clock” and managed to put the wrong starting date for the conference on it!    No need to panic, we haven’t changed the date.    The conference will start on schedule with the official opening on Tuesday, 29th July at 5.00pm.

Apologies for any confusion caused.

The Battle for Orgreave – 30 years on

Orgreave Festival poster 2014

Orgreave Festival poster 2014

Paul Winter of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Committee (OTJC) will speak at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival on Wednesday morning 30th July 2014 at 12 noon at the Firkin Crane, where as an eye witness he will describe the events of 30 years ago at the Orgreave Coking works during the British Miners Strike.

Paul’s account of his experiences will be preceded by the classic film The Battle for Orgreave by Journeyman Pictures and shown with the kind permission of producer/director Yvette Vanson. 

Paul Winter

Paul Winter

The Battle for Orgreave was a major event during the British Miners strike. Orgreave was the site of a Coking Works in the North of England which had been subject to picketing in an effort to bring production to a halt during the strike. It then became a focal point of the miners’ anger on the morning of 18th June 1984 when a mass gathering of pickets from all over Britain converged on Orgreave.

The events of that day have left a lasting legacy of bitterness all across mining communities ever since. Organisations such as the Orgreave Truth and Justice Committee (OTJC) have continued to campaign for the full story of Orgreave to be told. What happened at Orgreave, and the scenes of brutality involving a full scale charge on horseback on the miners by the police gave rise to some of the most horrifying images of violence ever seen in an industrial dispute anywhere!

While Mother Jones in her day would have experienced extreme violence against miners, the scenes at Orgreave were reminiscent of the violence perpetrated on the ordinary workers of Dublin during the infamous 1913 Lockout.

The events of the day formed an essential element of the efforts by the Thatcher government to defeat the miners by any means whatever. The use of the police in this manner by Margaret Thatcher ensured that the events would never be investigated and like the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, the payback was made by official cover ups and lies.

The Cork Mother Jones Committee is extremely grateful to have received permission from Yvette Vanson, the Producer/Director of the film “The Battle For Orgreave” to permit a showing of the film at the Spirit of Mother Jones festival. This was first shown on Channel 4.

This will be followed with a talk by Paul Winter of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Committee. Paul is an ex miner from Barnsley who worked in the mining industry from 1980 to 1993 and was present at the Battle For Orgreave. Paul will describe the events of the day and will discuss the impact of the miners strike on his small but proud and passionate community. An understanding of the sometimes ignored events at Orgreave on that morning in June 1984 is essential to understanding the wider anger and raw feelings of injustice in the mining communities which remain to this very day!

Full programme of 2014 Festival now online

MJ poster 2014The full programme of events for the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2014 is now available to download on this site and printed version is currently in production.

This year’s festival runs from Tuesday 29th July to Friday 1st August.  You can download the full programme by clicking on the link below:

Programme 2014

You can also download the official poster for the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2014 by clicking on the following link:-

 

Mother Jones poster 2014