November 19th marks the 100th anniversary of the execution of activist and labour organiser Joe Hill by the hands of the state.
A Swedish immigrant, a songwriter, Joe Hill was a worker and a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, the Wobblies. He was a prolific songwriter for his union, which contributed to the IWW’s growth in the early 20th century.
While working in Utah, he was accused of a double murder, which he did not commit. Despite an international campaign to save him, which included the Swedish ambassador and President Wilson, he was executed for those murders. The State of Utah condemned Joe Hill and his union as troublemakers.
Joe Hill died a labour martyr on 19th November 1915.
To celebrate the life and legacy of this labour activist, anarchists in Derry created a wall mural to mark the 100th anniversary of his death but also to mark the relevancy of his words and actions today and the need for us to organise and unionise our communities and workplaces.
Both Stormont and Westminster have new plans for 'A Fresh Start' but in reality this signifies further attacks on our class with more welfare cuts while big business look forward to tax reductions.
As we celebrate the life of Joe Hill 100 years on we are ever mindful of his final words:
"Don’t waste any time in mourning - organize!" (Joe Hill. November 1915.)