Paterson 1913: The Silk Strike

Game in Development | Available to Download

Paterson 1913: The Silk Strike is a five-session game that examines the struggles of silk manufacturers and silk workers to find both prosperity and economic justice for themselves and their community.   As the game opens, workers have declared a strike against one mill, a common tactic for skilled workers to demand changes on working conditions.  However, a branch of the Industrial Workers of the World call in their heavy-hitters—national leaders of the Chicago school of the IWW—who urge a general strike of the entire silk industry.  Meanwhile the mayor of Paterson calls on his police chief to nip labor unrest in the bud, preventative measures that lead to violations of freedom of speech and assembly.  While two factions, the Manufacturers and the Workers, put pressure on one another in the hope of negotiating a settlement, townspeople face the impact of a long-term strike in an industrial city.  These indeterminates try some pressure of their own in the hope of surviving the strike and, perhaps, becoming the next leaders of Paterson.
 
Issues that emerge in the game:
 
Labor:   How does new technology change the way we work and live? Can an artisan tradition survive in an industrialized U.S.?  What pressure does technology place on the manufacturers as well as the workers?  How can labor successfully improve working conditions?  
 
People and ideas: How does mass immigration change the way we work and live?  How do immigrants survive in an industrial American city?  How does a city respond to foreign and outlawed ideas? Should authorities violate constitutional freedoms in order to make a city safe from labor unrest?
 
Social change: Does industrial America need a revolutionary change such as that posed by the IWW and anarchist movements? Can electoral politics bring sufficient reform? Can the arts change hearts as well as minds?
 
Paterson 1913 can be used as a prequel to Greenwich Village 1913: Suffrage, Labor, and the New Woman or as a stand-alone game.
 
About the Author:
 
Mary Jane Treacy is Professor of Spanish and Women’s Studies at Simmons College, where she is also Director of the Honors Program. She has published Campo abierto: lecturas sociopolíticas de Latinoamérica as well as studies on narrations of war, violence, and memory in Central and South America. Her current project centers on conquest and memory in colonial Cuba.