The Labor Movement’s Resurgence during the Great Depression

(Written in September 2017)

The Labor movement’s explosive growth in the 1930s was a direct result of the National Industrial Recovery Act’s Section 7a putting protections in place for organized labor, but this growth would not have occurred at the same magnitude if the working class had not been largely homogenous at the time. Workers were able to organize in large numbers during the Great Depression because many of the divisions inside of the working class had disintegrated by this point. The high unemployment rate led workers to value their jobs more than ever; they sought to improve their quality of life through demanding better treatment from employers and they slowly won this fight, one battle at a time.

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Trotsky’s Terrible Tuesday

(Written in April 2019)

It’s the tail end of a gorgeous summer day in Coyoacán. It’s August 20, 1940; the Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky and his wife Natalia Sedova are drinking mint tea in the garden of their villa in this rural borough of Mexico City. They’re sitting on a stone bench under the shade of many tall royal palmetto trees, facing the garden of tropical flowers and rare cacti which Trotsky has meticulously cultivated these past few years. Thoroughly-needled tubes of mammillaria glochidiata cacti are backed by a shrub of pink dahlias with thousands of small tongue-like petals. Clucking comes from their nearby enclosure of chickens and the resonant plucking of a guitarrón is heard in the distance.

The stress from years of exile has aged the pair. Both of their hairs have faded to gray and Trotsky has put on a few pounds. The quiet lifestyle of this Mexican villa suits them, however, and it shows in their relaxed apparel. He is wearing a sleek white button-down and gray trousers (having ditched the suit jacket in this climate) and Natalia is in only a thin striped blouse and a long black skirt.

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