Oscar Ameringer was a socialist planner, a publisher, and an architect as well. He was born on August 4th, 1870 in Achstetten, Germany but he later moved to the U.S as a teenager where he furthered his education. It was while he was in America that his career as a socialist was at its peak. Being a leader and an organizer of the Oklahoma Socialist Party was one of Ameringer’s greatest achievements. He later died on November 5th, 1943 at the age of 73 in Oklahoma City. This paper is about Oscar Ameringer based on his book, “If You Don’t Weaken: The Autobiography of Oscar Ameringer.”
In the book, Ameringer says that he was born on 4th August 1870 in a place called Achstetten in Germany. This period when Ameringer was born was largely characterized by wars. As he puts it, “My earliest recollections are concerned with wars and rumors of wars” (Ameringer 3). He belonged to the Aryan race which according to him originated from India during the second Ice Age and assumed that he was a generation of the earliest European families.
When Ameringer was 6-years old, his father convinced his mother to sell the land which she had been given by her first husband. This was because Ameringer’s father, who had been a professional cabinet architect and a former guild master did not like the peasant life. Ameringer’s father had used his savings from farming to buy a home at a place called Laupheim where he also established his cabinet workshop. While there, Ameringer says that he enrolled in Laupheim which he totally hated for the most part of his childhood. As he puts it, “there I spent the most miserable years of a long life, my seven years of school” (16). The hate he had was deep such that he even wished that the teacher would die and the school would burn down during those years. Ameringer had developed this attitude mainly due to the ‘tatzen’ which were used by teachers to instill discipline among the students. Despite this, Ameringer considered himself as one with a unique personality, He says that he did not become angry easily, was quick at forgiving, kind, and only lied when necessary (17).
Ameringer had developed a great interest in artistry work during his early years in school. In the book, he indicates that he was naturally born to be a musician, an artist, a writer, or all the three. For instance, with regard to music, Ameringer writes that “at school I usually sang second, indicating that if not my voice, at least my ear was above the average” (19). After completing his primary education, Ameringer spent a lot of time mastering woodwork in his father’s cabinet shop before deciding that he wanted to go to America. As he writes, “there were only two courses for young hellions like me. Gallows and hell-or America” (40).
Ameringer moved to America and specifically in Cincinnati, Ohio 8 months before his sixteenth birthday. His older brother was already there and helped him to secure a job in a furniture factory whose operations were totally different from what Ameringer was used to in his father’s shop back home. He sought membership in the Knights of Labor In 1886 as the group’s objectives were similar to his. He writes that “all I knew was that what these organizers talked about was what I wanted” (44). Ameringer also took a lot of jobs while in Ohio including being an on-stage musician and an instrument player.
He afterwards became part of the American Federation of Musicians in 1903, and after a short while found an opening into journalism and became involved in an association paper that was based in Columbus in Ohio. This paper, which was titled the Labor World, acquainted Ameringer with the employment battles in South America, and he later became one of the key participants in a severe work conflict in Louisiana. When Ameringer had quickly arranged laborers in Louisiana, he relocated to Oklahoma and made his contributions in the Socialist Party. In the wake of 1907, Ameringer began his initial campsite gathering voyage through Oklahoma shifting from one town to the other and depending on the cordiality of neighborhood ranchers thoughtful to his motivation. Even though he was known for inspiring discourses loaded up with funniness and mind, Ameringer subscribed to the thought that “something more than schoolhouse meeting, encampments and soap-box preaching was needed if the world was to be saved”(278).
It was in 1909 that Ameringer alongside different like-minded leaders designed the Industrial Democrat. However, the publication’s first task that was based on a discussion on a suggested correction to debilitate state control over partnerships triggered a break amid Ameringer as well as the paper. He was terminated from being the proofreader, but secured a job with the Socialist movement’s paper which had been formed known as the Oklahoma Pioneer. He was additionally a devoted enthusiast of the privileges of the burdened. Ameringer played a significant role in establishing the Oklahoma Renters’ Union in 1909 to advance the privileges of tenant farmers, and a quarter-century. Afterwards, his courses encouraged the creation of the Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union. He drove the battle opposing the “grandfather clause” in 1910 and this disappointed many African-Americans. Ameringer was unequivocally against WW I, he, together with his wife, Freda, came up with the Oklahoma Daily Leader in 1917 which elevated quiet resistance to the conflict.
Ameringer was involved in a noteworthy fight on legislative issues, seeking to be the city hall leader in Oklahoma in 1911. He accumulated almost a quarter of the total votes and “came within a few hundred votes of being elected” (280). Obviously, the prominent impressionist depicted the misfortune as a near disaster for Oklahoma communism and him as well. During the wake of 1913, Ameringer had officially shifted to Milwaukee so that he could fill in as the province coordinator for the Socialist Party in the County and engage in a writing and editorial management position on their paper titled the Milwaukee Leader (285). After another fruitless invasion into legislative issues in Wisconsin, in which his battle was wrecked by his capture and prosecution for the block of enlisting by the United States armed force, Ameringer chose to move once more. He asserts in his life account that “the idea behind the sensational arrests was to destroy [him and other Socialists] politically” (340).
In 1918, regardless of oversight and a government arraignment, Ameringer ran a solid contest for U.S. Congress position in Wisconsin. After a standout amongst the greatest exceptional battles of partisan constraint ever in the U.S., the Oklahoma Socialist Party became dissolved, prompting Ameringer to form the Farmer-Labor Reconstruction League, an energetic union which resembled the independent association of South Dakota. This alliance aided in “Our Jack” Walton being chosen as an anti– Ku Klux Klan senator. At the point when Ameringer was double-crossed by Walton, he concluded that, politics being the craftsmanship whereby lawmakers acquire battle commitments from the wealthy people and votes from the socioeconomically deprived individuals and promise to shield one group from the other.
Ameringer was highly pivotal in founding and modifying, the American Guardian in 1931, a paper that turned into a globally regarded communist paper. He additionally edited the Illinois Miner and wrote a humorous parody, together with a segment named the “Adam Coaldigger,” a book termed The Life and Deeds of Uncle Sam that was purchased in large numbers in addition to the “Dumdum Bullets,” a narrative which incited Ameringer’s arraignment. If You Don’t Weaken, an account of Ameringer’s personal story was distributed in 1940. Regardless of Ameringer’s misery based on the demolition of the Socialist Party in addition to the flare-up of WW II, his intelligence prevailed.
In the last pages of his autobiography, Ameringer says that even though the world is full of many trials and tribulations as well as other evil things such as greed and cruelty, he still considered the best place he ever got into. He adds that “my deepest regret is that the days are growing short and there is still so much to see, love, learn, enjoy, and do” (565). He concludes by advising the reader that life is good if you do not weaken and as for him, he had not weakened.
Ameringer, Oscar. “If you don’t weaken: the autobiography of Oscar Ameringer”. University of California, (2005): 1-465.