My Mazamet

Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho

The 1909 Strikes


The more I read the more interesting this place becomes. Above you can see the 1909 strike by the wool workers. A pivotal moment in history as it led to the workers gaining collective bargaining rights, a representative at each mill, and paid vacations! That’s how recent worker’s rights are. 100 years ago they were fighting for something as basic as a paid holiday.

Up until that point the rate of inequality in Europe was shocking. Unrecognisable to most of us today. Exploitation was commonplace. And wealth, well, where it existed it was of extraordinary proportions. Take for example the residence of Mazamet’s most prominent family in the 19th century.

It’s divided into hotel/restaurant/business school/chamber of commerce/reception hall- but in the 19th century it was a family home! Albeit a family home with a ballroom, but still, a family home. Imagine how it must have felt to see that level of luxury while living just one step above poverty, working in a mill separating wet wool from leather.


19 comments on “The 1909 Strikes

  1. makagutu
    October 27, 2016

    How does one live in such a house? I would be lost!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Helen Devries
    October 27, 2016

    And with the ‘gig’ economy here we find ourselves again….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Helen Devries
    October 27, 2016

    Back to the men queuing at the gates of the London Docks – except now I suppose they ‘bid’ for work on their smartphones…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. agrudzinsky
    October 29, 2016

    And they complain about income gap today!


  5. agrudzinsky
    October 29, 2016

    A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. — Marx, 1847

    It was true then, it’s still true now. Marx’s idea of class struggle certainly made sense in late XIX – early XX centuries as it seemed to be THE driving force of society. It’s interesting how the ideas of communism made their way in almost all developed countries through welfare systems. Still, even though those welfare systems and worker’s rights were adopted through democratic processes, Europe and the US went through a lot of tribulation. Other countries, where the oppression and corruption were most severe (like Russia), went through devastating revolutions and wars that lead to the death of millions and uprooted the world economy and geopolitics so that we still feel the consequences. And all this violence lead to even worse oppression and corruption.

    Interesting that in the Bible, oppression and corruption always lead to the devastation of the country. This seems to be the case today. The U.S.and Europe still pay the price for slavery and colonialism even though the slavery was abolished 150 years ago and colonialism ended about 50 years ago. The current problems in Ukraine and Syria also seem to stem from oppression and corruption. And what is going to happen in Russia when Putin loses his grip and the economy weakens to the point when there is no money to pay the police, the army, and maintain the propaganda machine, is hard to imagine. But I’m pretty sure that the oppression and corruption in Russia will have devastating results on a huge scale yet again.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. acflory
    October 29, 2016

    Mazamet really is an amazing place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think Agrudzinsky put it well when he made the allusion to Forrest Gump. The town has been part of all sorts of things, but most people never heard of it 🙂


      • acflory
        October 29, 2016

        lol – sorry but the only thing I remember from Forrest Gump is that life is like a box of chocolates. 😀


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This entry was posted on October 27, 2016 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , .
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