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union and enjoying themselves at the same time. It was a great experience, tremendous, like summer camp.


It seems that at that time issues like popular culture versus elite culture were not issues at all in the way that they would be now, because the left does not have deep roots in many ways in the working class, and therefore is not perhaps as easy with popular culture.


Well, the strains of pop culture were very different then than they are now. There was at that time a great emphasis on dances. The people who were involved in these movements were primarily young people, at least in the unions that I was identified with. Now, there were old people there, you know. Department store unions were notorious in the sense that the membership included people who had come into the stores to work for pin money to spend one or two nights, and they were going to leave and they ended up spending their entire lives there. So that you had these big gradations. You had elderly people to whom the store, a job, was their living. Then you had these young people coming in who looked at the job as something that they were passing through. While they were passing through, they were going to do whatever they wanted to do. They were involved in going to school, they were doing a lot of things at the same time that they were working.

Wages were relatively low. It wasn't considered a very important job on the economic ladder of income, but it had certain benefits that other jobs didn't have. For example, there was a certain glamour for the young people to be in a department store. Also, you got the big discount on shopping, and so a lot of members were always shopping in the store. But, there was a permanent group of people who lived and worked there, and for them it was their lives. But the culture itself, remember, this is a period when to go to a Broadway play was very inexpensive. To go to a movie was a quarter, thirty-five cents. You could get into a Broadway play for fifty cents. That doesn't mean that all these people went to Broadway plays, but it was much more accessible to people.

The other thing is that unions like 65 were notorious in the sense that 65 attempted to become your entire life. When they bought the building, what was then called the Tom Mooney Hall, now 13 Astor, located at 13 Astor Place, they saw it as a center, almost in the tradition of the old labor centers of the Twenties that grew up in various sections of the city. Because they had a young workforce, these were workers, these were largely unskilled workers, they came

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