There’s an interim time of development here. . . . a shadow history of the Pacific Northwest, that not many people are fully aware of.
I happened to work for a young man who informed me about his studies – the research he’d been doing for the Ph.D thesis he was working on at the time.
It was on the history of the unions in the Pacific Northwest . . . I showed interest in what he was speaking of and mentioned the unique but great movie I’d recently watched – “Matewan”, and later asked him if the WOW hall here in Eugene had anything to do with the left-wing unions; his eyes lit up and he proceeded to tell me “yea; it was; it was the old Workers of the World Union hall” and how it all came about.
Back in the early tooling up of Detroit and the industrialization of the eastern U.S., building unions, specifically the IWW, the old “Workers of the World”, the communist unionizing, was a force that had to be reckoned with.
As they began their strikes, and began to become successful because of what they considered to be low wages and poor working conditions, the companies ended up hiring company-thugs and strikes and the subsequent confrontations erupted into violence. As the anger and violence grew, and when the arson and bombings began, the law was called in, but the union activists just disappeared moving on, to another union organizing project; because of suspecting the crossing of state lines, the FBI was called in to look for them in other states where there was also union activities.
Eventually, those on the “wanted lists” had to run and hide, going deep underground. The best place turned out to be working here in the Pacific Northwest’s logging camps. It was a dangerous job, but they were rough and tough guys and they survived, moving from camp to camp where, as union brothers, they looked out for each other.
As things calmed down, over the decades, these radical leftists, having become comfortable here, came out of hiding and settled in here – many into the mainstream of society; some, like-minded leftists began communes, still known today as former Wobblies (IWW members) – one I know of, though warned by the feds to get out of the industrialized eastern part of the nation, is here now because of that and has a government contract, delivering mail.
They tended to be more liberal or progressive as they grew and settled in, and that societal atmosphere attracted like minded people here, resulting in the extreme political views of what is legitimately called “The Left Coast”.
I moved here during the onset of the recession of 1980; I had realized the area was pretty liberal, but didn’t know the history; I survived here by as a locksmith, which brought my attention to the high crime rate here; the liberal attitude had allowed drugs to be accepted and eventually legalized.
That, of course, attracted more users, and even more criminal types, which resulted in my profession being needed more . . . . the reason I was able to survive here, even during the recession.
As Paul Harvey would say, . . . . “And now you know, . . . the rest of the story.”