Book Notes: Protest Politics in Minnesota

Rhoda Gilman, activist and historian, has released “Stand Up!” a brief account of protest politics in the North Star State. Published by the Minnesota Historical Society, the author provides a perfect orientation for the student or activist who would like to relate today’s events to what has gone on before.

Readers will learn that entrenched power can be overcome because it has been overcome. Business interests in Minneapolis dictated that city’s policy and maintained its own private army to enforce its will. Dissatisfied workers weren’t merely laid off, they were laid out — beaten or killed for opposing what was euphemously called the “Citizens Alliance”.

The most important lesson which today’s activists should learn from history is that those who seek massive amounts of money and the power that goes with such wealth will do anything to win. This means lying, stealing, bribing, election-fixing, physical violence and murder. Changing the world won’t be a picnic in the park.

Gilman’s STAND UP! is the hors d’ouvre for what should become a 12-course meal in reading. Bon appetit!


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