It commemorated the first ever usage of the word “scab”, meaning “strikebreaker”, being used in print for the first time in July 1777, which became one of the most important words in the working class vocabulary.
By the late 16th century the word “scab” had come to be used as an English insult, somewhat akin to “lowlife” or “scoundrel”. But at some point it began to be used by workers in industrial disputes as a label for workers who crossed picket lines and worked while their colleagues were striking for better pay or conditions. It first appeared in print in the Bonner & Middleton’s Bristol Journal, during a strike of shoemakers, where it reported “The Conflict would not been [sic] so sharp had not there been so many dirty Scabs”. On scabs, author Jack London famously wrote the following: “After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, the vampire, He had some awful substance left with which He made a scab. A scab is a two-legged animal with a cork-screw soul, a water-logged brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles.”
About the design: This month’s design was by Indonesian illustrator Nanu.