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Red Kerchiefs in the country of dollar

(After Harry Eisman)

 

 

The story of the Young Pioneer Movement in the United States was written by one of the former American Young Pioneers, Harry Eisman, whs has lived in the U.S.S.R. since 1931. In 1974 he visited New York, where he went to see his old school and other places of his childhood.

 

Young Pioneer detachments were first formed in Chicago in 1923. In the beginning they were young pioneer clubs, where children learnt revolutionary songs, studied the history of the workers' movement, went in for sports and games. But life in the United States was very hard in those days for the workers' families and the young pioneers took an active part in the workers' struggle for their rights.

 

One of the most important events of those days was the strike of the textile workers in New Jersey, which went on for eleven months. The owners of the textile mills did everything to break the strike. They engaged strike-breakers to work in the mills, sent the police to arrest the workers' pickets around the mills, but the workers did not stop the strike. They were supported by progressive people all over the country. A powerful national campaign of solidarity was begun. Everywhere people collected money, clothes and food. The pioneers also took an active part in this struggle. They organized children's clubs with kitchens to feed the children of the striking workers.

 

Young pioneers also visited many flats and collected money and warm clothes.

 

One day they decided to visit Passaic and meet the children of the striking workers. Louis Obgiler had a small Ford wagon. He loved children and decided to help them. On Saturday morning his wagon, all decorated with calls to support the strike, stood ready to receive the pioneers. It was too small to take all those who wished to go, so some had to remain in New York.

 

They arrived in Passaic on Sunday and went at once to the strike committee where the children were already waiting for their New York guests. The New York pioneers had collected enough money to open a kitchen where the children whose fathers or mothers were on strike could get a hot meal. After the meal the children remained to play, sing songs and listen to stories about the workers struggling against the capitalists.

 

In those years in sixty-three cities and towns of the United States there were young pioneer detachments. Pioneers were given membership cards and before receiving them they took the Young Pioneer Oath: «I promise to be true to the Workers' Red Banner and to the cause it serves. We have one aim in our life — to liberate the working class».

 

Every young pioneer meeting began with these words. The young pioneers had red kerchiefs but they could not wear them in school because pioneer activity was forbidden in schools, they wore them only on the First of May, at a workers' meeting or in the pioneer camp.

 


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