Socialist Feminism: Bread and Roses Strike


  1. We Demand the Right to Bread, as Well as to Roses!” by Tatiana Cozzarelli
  2. Bread and Roses Song


  1. Pass out printed lyrics of the “Bread and Roses” song and listen to it. 
  2. Break out into small groups and discuss the following questions.
    Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.”

What do you think the writers mean by bread in this line? What do they mean by roses? Overall, what do you think this song is saying? (There are no wrong answers – everyone can interpret this differently.)

  1. When the work week for women and children was reduced from 56 hours to 54 hours, bosses retaliated by proportionately lowering these workers’ pay. What are some contemporary examples of retaliation in the workplace?
  2. What does the importance of prior organizing in the Bread and Roses strike mean for us as members of a youth-wing of a socialist organization? What kind of work does your chapter do or could it do that may resemble this long-term, on-the-ground work?
  3. In the Bread and Roses strike of 1912, the strike committee consisted of four representatives from each ethnic group. Organizers involved in the strike translated meetings into over 30 different languages. What are some ways organizers can overcome differences in order to establish working class solidarity? What can organizers do to make participation open to people with all kinds of families? Why are these essential to building a working class movement?
  4. Strikes often rely on harnessing the support of the community to win. In the case of the Lawrence Mill Strike, violent actions by the police provoked a strong response from the community. What does this show in terms of the importance of having control over the framing of police and activist tactics in campaigns?
  5. The word “un-American” is often weaponized against protesters or dissenters taking action against injustice. How does this accusation oftentimes serve to sustain the oppression of people-of-color, and especially women-of-color? In other words, what type of “American” is assumed here?