Anne & Betty United by the Struggle, with Ian Clayton. Published by Route.


This publication is a rarity. Working-class women who fight for social justice seldom get an opportunity to tell their own story in their own voices.Social, union and labour history is sometimes interpreted by  far removed from the day to day lives and experience of those directly involved. The contributions of working class women remains unacknowledgedisible when it comes to their absence of their names and images on the public monuments and street names of our cities and towns. 
Anne Scargill and Betty Cook did not come together until the beginning of the Miners’ strike in 1984 when they joined The Women Against Pit Closures Movement. What followed was a roller coaster of practical action such as feeding their striking neighbours and taking direct action to protect their communities. 
However it also led to a personal journey for each of them. Both were married with families at the start of the strike but through the tumult of the mining war in the North of England, along with education and a passion to stand against exploitation of people, they achieved their own personal independence and freedom in spite of the disastrous outcome of the miners strike. In the midst of defeat, Anne and Betty emerged with the power to act and they had discovered their own voices. 
Their accounts of their early lives in Barnsley and Brick Lane are told in raw unvarnished personal accounts, without self pity, without preaching or seeking acceptance…… life was tough in the coal fields. Yet they tell their stories with gritty humour, compassion and fierce direct humanity in spite of personal tragedy and upheaval in their lives.The chapter on Rent A Mob, Rent a Gob leaves one angry and yet uplifted.  
Today they look back on a life of standing firm against the exploitation of workers and they do so with a sense of pride. Betty retired from a call-centre at the age of 81, she is worried that ” a lot of working-class people are against one another” while Anne announces that “anybody who needs help on a picket line only has to pick up the phone and I’ll be there”. Their trip to the women miners reunion in Appalachia 2013 organised by Marat Moore (see below) led to the founding of The Daughters of Mother Jones group in the UK and their interest in Mother Jones. Few will forget their powerful rendition of Mal Finch’s song “Women of the Working Class” at the Cork Spirit of Mother Jones festival in 2014.
In these dark times for working people with ongoing political upheaval and Covid-19 lockdowns, Anne & Betty United by the Struggle illuminates and shines warmly through adversity, hard times and the necessity to keep fighting against injustice. 
This book is highly recommended and is available from annescargillbettycook@gmail.com
Photo 1 Anne & Betty United by the Struggle.


Photo 1 Anne & Betty with their Daughter of Mother Jones banner at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival in 2019. (Courtesy of Claire Stack).


Photo 2 Anne & betty helping striking SIPTU workers in Dublin in 2014 (Courtesy J Thomson)


Photo 3 Marat Moore, Rosemary Feurer and Elliott Gorn with the Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr. John Buttimer in 2012.

John Jefferies RIP

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of John Jefferies, a founding member of the Cork Mother Jones Committee. John passed away at his residence in Cobh on February 10th 2020.

John was a member of our committee since 2011 and managed the Spirit of Mother Jones festival
website and Facebook pages. His knowledge of history, heritage, politics and people was quite extraordinary and his meticulous research and understanding of public and community history was unsurpassed.

Like Mother Jones, from whom he took much inspiration, John spoke for the underdogs in society and supported social justice and human rights issues.

At the 2015 festival he highlighted the important role of Cobh born, union organiser, Jack Dowling. In 2017 he published his book Death on the Pier …the Cobh Pier Head Shooting and the Story of the Moon Car.

John’s contribution to the work of this committee laid the foundations for many festivals. He focused on the history and story of ordinary working people and the trade union movement.

On behalf of the Cork Mother Jones Committee we wish to express our sympathy to his family and friends.

The Spirit of Mother Jones Festival

Beginning on Saturday 1st August, the Cork Mother Jones Committee in conjunction with Cork Community TV are making available on television, some of the talks and presentations, which have been delivered at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festivals and Summer Schools since 2012.

The original series of Mother Jones annual lectures, will be shown on Saturday next while during the month of August, further talks delivered over the years at the Summer School will be televised. These will feature Margaret Aspinall, Louise O’Keeffe, Fr. Peter McVerry, Chris Mullin, Anne Twomey and many others.

These are free to view, thanks to Frameworks Films and Cork Community TV, for allowing us to celebrate Mother Jones during August.

The 2020 festival will be held in late November 2020. Further talks and speakers, will be televised during the November Festival.

To see the schedules or tune into the live stream please visit www.corkcommunitytv.ie

Mor tune into Virgin Media Channel 803.

Spirit of Mother Jones Festival Cork

Mother Jones Lives.

Some photos of past speakers, throughout the years.

Photo 1.
Fr. Peter McVerry at the plaque in 2015.

Photo 2.
Louise O’Keeffe receiving the Spirit of Mother Jones Award in 2018 from James Nolan and Ann Piggott of the Cork Mother Jones Committee.

Photo 3.
Sue Roberts, Margaret Aspinall, Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Catherine Clancy, and Professor Simon Cordery in 2013.

Photo 4.
Marat Moore, Professor Rosemary Feurer, Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. John Buttimer, and Professor Elliott Gorn in 2012.

Photo 5.
Former miner, Marat Moore in 2012.

Photo 6.
Kaiulani Lee with Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. John Buttimer in 2012.

Photo 7.
Warren Davies in 2017.

Photo 8.
Anne Twomey in 2016.

Photo 9.
Lord Mayor of Cork, Mick Finn, with the Mother Jones’, Joan Goggin, Aoife Delaney and Loretta Williams.

Photo 10.
Luke Dineen in 2016.

Photo 11.
Loretta Williams with Dominic O’Callaghan, Cork Mother Jones Committee in 2018.

The remarkable Wallace sisters.

Documentary on One – The Little Shop of Secrets by Bill Murphy.Saturday July 18th at 1pm on Radio 1
In the early decades of the last century two sisters, Nora and Sheila Wallace, ran a small newsagents in the centre of Cork City. However, their customers were unaware that when they bought their Irish Times or Cork Examiner, that this small shop also traded in military secrets during the Irish War of Independence – from deciphering codes, to keeping the inventory of armaments for the Cork No. 1 Brigade, Irish Republican Army. 
Sheila and Nora Wallace grew up in rural north Cork, before coming to live and work in Cork City in the 1900s where they rented the premises on Brunswick Street (now St Augustine’s Street) in the centre of the city. On the very narrow street in the shadow of the large St Augustine’s Church, the shop sold newspapers, sweets, cigarettes, magazines and religious items such as statues and rosary beads. 
Over the shop the sisters lived in small, meagre quarters. Interested in nationalist and socialist ideals, Sheila and Nora became friendly with figures such and James Connolly and Countess Markievicz. Because of their deep-rooted sense of nationalism, they also came to know prominent local nationalist figures in Cork such as Tomás McCurtain, Terence MacSwiney, Florence O’Donoghue, Seán O’Hegarty, as well as Michael Collins.  
As the nationalist movement gained more popularity throughout Ireland, the Wallace Sisters became deeply involved with the Irish Volunteers. After the shutting down of the Cork Volunteers headquarters in Sheares Street in 1917, the Wallaces’ small shop became more than a meeting place for the leadership of the Cork Volunteers. It was essentially the Brigade headquarters where the intelligence and communications activities in the city and county were co-ordinated during the War of Independence. 
Records show that Sheila became a Staff Officer in the IRA, making her one of the highest female rank holders in the organisation at the time. Meetings of Cork No. 1 Brigade leadership were held in the kitchen at the back of the shop, where raids and ambushes were planned. Dispatches went through the shop for IRA operations. Spies in the Crown forces were recruited and handled by the Wallaces and British Army codes were deciphered by them. They also kept meticulous records of the armaments and equipment held by the Brigade, effectively acting in the role as quartermasters.
In The Little Shop of Secrets, Bill Murphy – grandnephew to Sheila and Nora Wallace – pieces together the remarkable story of two young women who placed their lives in grave danger by running an intelligence centre, safe house and spy network from their little shop in the centre of Cork City during the War of Independence, right under the noses of the Royal Irish Constabulary and British Crown forces. 
Contributors to the documentary include Dr. John Borgonovo and Gabriel Doherty from the History Department in University College Cork, local historians Anne Twomey and Gerry White, Commandant Daniel Ayiotis of the Bureau of Military History, Daniel Breen of Cork Public Museum, Bernadette Wallace – niece to Nora and Sheila Wallace, Ted Murphy – grandnephew to Nora and Sheila Wallace.
Saturday 18th July, 1pm, RTÉ Radio 1Sunday 19th July, 7pm, RTÉ Radio1 Narrated by Bill MurphyProduced by Bill Murphy and Sarah Blakewww.rte.ie/doconone
Note:On 30th July 2016, Anne Twomey of the Shandon Area History Group gave a talk on “The Wallace Sisters” at the 2016 Spirit of Mother Jones Summer School before a packed audience which included Bernadette Wallace, a niece of the sisters.The remarkable story of the sisters came as a surprise to many who attended, which showed how quietly these two extraordinary women went about their business.  

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The story of Marjorie Mazia and Woody Guthrie.

Saul Schneiderman, (below alongside a Mother Jones marker), editor of Friday’s Labor Folklore has sent us the following link to the story of Marjorie Mazia and Woody Guthrie.

Marjorie and Woody were married in 1945 and had four children, Cathy Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie, Joady Guthrie and Nora Guthrie.

Woody was one of America’s greatest working class singers and wrote many union songs including Union Maid.

To receive many other stories from the history of the Labour Movement send an email and say “Subscribe me” to
fridaysfolklore@gmail.com

https://conta.cc/2Z79HTh

Spirit of Mother Jones Festival Cork.
Mother Jones Lives.

Mother Jones Dedication -Film

 

The Cork Mother Jones Committee received the following film from Saul Schniderman, the person who discovered the site of Mother Jones’ death (1930) in Adelphi, Maryland. The Maryland Historic Trust has placed a marker there, on Powder Mill Road, before the Hillandale Baptist Church.
The film shows the dedication of the Mary Harris “Mother Jones” Elementary School on May 16, 2003. The film was made by Dave Zahren who worked for the Prince George’s County Board of Education, Television Resources division.
To view film Click here
(This YouTube clip will play after one minute.)
“This film celebrates the opening of Mary Harris “Mother Jones” Elementary School in Adelphi, MD, which opened in 2000. The film features footage from the dedication, including interviews from students, faculty, and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. The film also includes a video shared with the audience on the day of dedicating the school, which includes additional interviews and more background on the school.
The film also features archival footage of Mother Jones, including a rare recording of her voice where she says, “…And I long to see the day when Labor will have the destinies of the nation in her own hands, and she will stand a united force and show the world what the workers can do.”
This film was produced by Prince George’s County Public Schools Office of Television Resources, and donated to the Meany Labor Archive by Mother Jones historian Saul Schniderman, also featured in the film.”
The Mary Harris Elementary School now has almost a thousand students and these comprise children from many nationalities. Mother Jones would have been extremely proud of this educational establishment named in her honour.

Cork Mother Jones Festival 2020 postponed.

The Cork Mother Jones Committee, wishes, to announce the postponement of the ninth Spirit of Mother Jones Festival (2020), from its original date (29th July-1st Aug), to the final weekend in November. (November 27th -30th).
James Nolan, spokesperson for the festival and summer school stated.
“We are postponing the festival in the interests of the safety of those attending, and those taking part, due to the uncertainty as to the conditions under which it could take place.
We feel the November date allows for more certainty and gives us time to ensure the safety of those attending. It also gives us the option of perhaps using online technology to ensure the festival can go ahead.
Mother Jones died on the 30th November 1930, so we will commemorate the 90th Anniversary of her passing at the forthcoming festival in November.
The fact that in the past week the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins invoked the famous quote of Mother Jones, “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living” to honour our front line and emergency workers, as an acknowledgement of her role in protecting workers and ensuring decent working conditions for millions of people. Today, thousands around the world still draw inspiration from her work.
Indeed as an indicator or her resilience, it should be remembered that she herself survived three fever pandemics……. the Great Famine here in Cork, the Yellow Fever outbreak in Memphis in 1867, which took her family and the Flu pandemic of 1918/19.” She continued to practice as a nurse in Memphis until the fever outbreak was over.
We also intend to ensure she will be remembered around the period of July/August and closer to the original dates we will see the most practical way to celebrate her birth in Cork.”
The Festival Facebook pages and the website at http://www.motherjonescork.com will continue to update the position.
Picture 1: Mother Jones in 1901.
Picture 2: Joan Goggin, Cork’s own Mother Jones (Courtesy of Andy Jay).
Picture 3: March of the Mill Children, in Shandon, in 2019 (Courtesy of Claire Stack).
Picture 4: Mother Jones, meeting, President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge.

Mother Jones May Day We Shall Rise Party

Join our live celebration on zoom. WE SHALL RISE!
Preregister at link recommended. Join Sara Nelson (AFA/CWA), Cecil Roberts (UMWA) & Daniel Mulhall, Ireland’s Ambassador to the U.S., Brian Obrien, Ireland’s consul general for Chicago & Midwest.& MORE !
Toasts from Cork Ireland, Mother Jones’ birthplace & Mother Jones
Monument, Mt. Olive Illinois.
Learn about our MJ Chicago sculpture
project in Chicago from our artists.
Registration recommended. We’ll give the live meeting info on the day of the meeting

Recommend you register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUudeiuqz4jGtJDDe7kzRBgt59G

 

zoom poster