The Last Crisis Had Solutions

Politicians may pretend that there are no answers to the unemployment crisis, but history shows that they lie. In the last great unemployment crisis, Americans (including Texans) formed unemployed councils that demanded jobs. They carried out some of the most dramatic labor actions of American history, even though they were up against lies and, sometimes, even bullets. Union organizers helped the unemployed. When they got jobs, they joined the union. Some of America's greatest unions, especially the United Auto Workers, were greatly helped in their efforts by men and women who had previously been in unemployed councils.

The greatest achievement of the unemployed movement was to win government programs for jobs. Although most of the work was in construction, many other kinds of jobs were provided by federal government programs. Woody Guthrie wrote songs for the Work Projects Administration (WPA), and some of the best labor histories were written by unemployed writers. Here are some links to the true stories of our history as lived and written by America's millions of unemployed:

Unemployed Councils:

Work Projects Administration: WPA history in Texas. "Under the WPA 600,000 persons in Texas were helped to provide subsistence for themselves and their families."

The Great Depression:
"The CCC, a nationwide program for young men that focused on natural resources from 1933 to 1942, was very active in Texas. At its peak in 1935 the corps had twenty-seven camps in Texas constructing recreational parks and an additional seventy camps for work in forest and soil conservation. Because assignment to states was random, many Texans participated in other states' CCC camps, joining some 2,500,000 men across the country."

Dr George Green's account of the coming of industrial unionism to Texas: