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Tom Scribner: A Tribute to a Labor Organizer

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This statue of Tom Scribner (1899-1982) was created in 1978 by artist Marghe McMahon. It is located right outside Bookshop Santa Cruz on the Pacific Garden Mall. In his older years, Tom made a practice of supporting buskers and street musicians by playing his saw on the Mall.

Tom had been a logger, and a labor organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World (aka the Wobblies). The Wobblies were active from 1905 to WWI, and their aim was to organize unskilled workers all over the world into "One Big Union". "Solidarity Forever" was their slogan. He also editied a local newspaper called "The Redwood Ripsaw" during the 60's.

It is said that even though his skills at the musical saw were negligible, he did manage to play with the likes of George Harrison and Leon Russell. He was a raconteur and humorist, which I am sure helped his performances immensely. He also founded the annual Musical Saw Festival, which now takes place each year at Roaring Camp. Tom is rolling in his grave at that one, I am sure.

shadrivers, cjanebuy, tonyleah, and 3 other people added this photo to their favorites.

  1. Old Sarge 114 months ago | reply

    In Portland, OR the IWW are still kicking.

  2. musicmuse_ca 114 months ago | reply

    With all of the moves towards globalization, there is even more need of organizing workers worldwide than ever before. That is cool to know. Thanks!

  3. The Gifted Photographer 101 months ago | reply

    Thank you for sharing this statue and its history here in Flickr! I have seen it over and over and now understand the background more fully .. many thanks!

  4. musicmuse_ca 101 months ago | reply

    @Gifted Gourmet: Thanks! He was still around when I first visited Santa Cruz many years ago, before I moved here.

  5. SundanceChile 92 months ago | reply

    Amazing picture. I love the fall background especially.

  6. musicmuse_ca 92 months ago | reply

    thanks so much!

  7. maria.petra 75 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Downtown Santa Cruz, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  8. Bob Elderberry 68 months ago | reply

    Howdy, love to have this photo in the Santa Cruz Art group pool. Here's more than you even want to know about the email list, website, etc: santacruzart.net

  9. scrib132x 28 months ago | reply

    He also performed with Woody Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie (of "Alice's Restaurant" and The City of New Orleans" fame") Country Joe McDonald, Neil Young and many others I can't think of right away.

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