To International Workers’ Day Celebrating Labor


Thomas Hart Benton, “Strike”, 1933

The soldier has already shot down one striker and is about ready to shoot the other two unarmed strikers from behind the iron defensive architectural façade. The commander is sitting on the sideline as if in his office while preparing bullets to help his soldiers against the workers. We see a strike placard in the hand of the worker, but we don’t discern anything written on it. Benton and all of us know, for sure. Workers are without any weapons. They are fighting with… their placards – they just want to explain why they are on strike. For this attempt to explain, to justify strike they will pay with their lives. The reason why Benton didn’t place any text on the placard poster, it seems, means that the strikers will not get what they want from the owners anyway. Strikers have only words of protest against the armed soldiers.


Thomas Hart Benton, “Strike”, 1933, (BW)


Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975)