Utah Blahs

Matthew X profrv at nex.net.au
Wed Apr 28 19:56:43 PDT 1999

BOOK REVIEW ?JOE HILL¹ By Gibbs M. Smith, Peregrine Smith Books, Salt Lake 
City 1984, Originally Published 1969 HD8073 H55563 1984 ?Joe Hill¹ was 
published in 1969 to mark the 54th anniversary of the execution by firing 
squad in Utah in 1915 of Joe Hill I.W.W. songwriter and activist. Joe Hill 
(Hillstrom) a Norwegian immigrant entered the United States in 1902 and 
joined the I.W.W. in 1910. While working in Utah in 1913 he was arrested, 
tried and executed in 1915 for the murder of a Salt Lake City grocer in 
what was little more than a show trial. Tens of thousands of people, both 
in the United States and overseas including the President of the United 
States Woodrow Wilson, appealed to the Utah authorities for clemency with 
no success. Hill¹s execution was a direct consequence of the anti I.W.W. 
hysteria in Utah. He was convicted primarily on inconclusive circumstantial 
evidence. Interestingly two members of the I.W.W. in Golburn in New South 
Wales, Australia were executed in 1917 for the murder of a policeman as a 
consequence of the anti I.W.W. hysteria that was whipped up in Australia 
because the I.W.W. spearheaded the struggle against conscript in Australia. 
While their deaths were virtually ignored, the execution of Joe Hill in 
Utah made Hill into a working class legend. The legend of Joe Hill has 
survived as a consequence of the legacy of his songs, songs that in some 
cases have been incorporated into popular working class culture. Although 
other songwriters had written songs for the I.W.W., Joe Hill¹s songs 
encapsulated the mood of the times. His first song ¹The Preacher and the 
Slave¹ was a parody of the Salvation Army Hymn ?In the Sweet Bye and Bye¹. 
Hill¹s fading memory has been kept alive by the song ?I Dreamed I Saw Joe 
Hill Last Night¹, a song set to music by Earl Robinson from a poem written 
in 1925 by Alfred Hayes. Paul Roberson¹s rendition of ?I Dreamed I Saw Joe 
Hill Last Night¹ assured Hill of immortality. Gibbs M. Smith¹s ?Joe Hill¹ 
is a well researched 280 page analysis of the man and the legend. The book 
has over 70 pages of references and notes for any reader who is interested 
in doing further research on Joe Hill (Hillstrom). Gibbs M. Smith¹s book on 
Joe Hill could be available from the remainder bin of one or two radical 
bookshops. The difference between Gibbs¹ book on Joe Hill and other books 
on Hill is Joyce Kornbluh¹s introduction to Gibbs¹ book. In her 
introduction Kornbluh gives an excellent summary of the history of the 
Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.).
DENVER — A federal appeals court this week revived a lawsuit brought by 
animal activists who claimed they were protected by the First Amendment 
when handing out pro-vegetarian leaflets near a Utah school.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, appealed a ruling by 
a federal judge that animal-rights activists cannot picket on a sidewalk 
next to a school because it interferes with school activities.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Aug. 5 reversed a lower court's 
decision granting summary judgment to school officials.
Maybe if they were preaching creationism they'd be getting fucking PAID.

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