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What is the full form of STFU

STFU: Southern Tenant Farmers Union

STFU stands for Southern Tenant Farmers Union and was established in 1934 to unite tenant farmers in the Southern United States. During the Great Depression, the STFU was initially established in July 1934 to assist tenant farmers and sharecroppers in negotiating better terms with landlords. They were keen to enhance their working conditions and a portion of profits or subsidies. The STFU was founded in response to the Agricultural Adjustment Administration's policy. The AAA program, a part of the New Deal, gave subsidies to landowners, who were then expected to give them to their tenants. The program's objective was to lower production and raise prices for commodities. President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the program to revive the American agricultural sector and boost the country's ailing economy.

STFU Full Form

The AAA advocated for decreased food production, leading to a controlled food shortage and increased food prices due to supply and demand. The intended outcome was for the agricultural sector to flourish due to the greater value and provide more money for farmers. The AAA compensated farmers to keep a portion of their land out of cultivation to reduce the amount of food produced; the money was provided to the landowners. Tenant farmers were supposed to get some of this money from the landowners. The majority of landowners did not share the income, while a tiny proportion of them did.

When accepting members of all races in the 1930s, the Southern Tenant Farmers Union was one of the few unions. They encouraged nonviolent resistance to obtain their just part of the AAA funds. They advocated for the idea of whites and blacks cooperating well. Landowners and local public authorities resisted the Farmers Union fiercely. Leaders of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union experienced frequent harassment, assault, and several fatalities.

The 1930s saw active union states in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Tennessee, and others. Later, after occasionally joining forces with larger national labor federations, it extended into California and the south-eastern states. Memphis, Tennessee, served as its primary administrative centre. Its base was in Washington, D.C., from 1948 to 1960. Its latter incarnations were the Agricultural and Allied Workers Union and National Agricultural Workers Union, respectively.


The overproduction of grains during World War I prevented the southern agricultural sector from fully recovering. The natural disasters of the 1920s and 1930s contributed to the agricultural decrease in the southern states. The southern agricultural industry inherited flimsy roots when the Great Depression started. Through the New Deal, the federal government, led by the Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration, began to ease this industry by encouraging plantations to produce less, which reduced the demand for farmers and sharecroppers in the fields.

The consequences of these measures led to a sharp increase in tenant farmer evictions and unemployment. Sharecropper and socialist Harry Leland Mitchell noticed that plantation owner received most of the federal subsidies, leaving tenant farmers and sharecroppers without financial assistance from the federal government. Clay East, the owner of a gas station, agreed. In Tyronza, Arkansas, East and Mitchell founded the Unemployed League and other farmers to protest against the local plantation owners withholding government relief funds under the New Deal. Soon after the Unemployed League disbanded, Delta's land workers could receive this assistance.

In 1934, the STFU was established, reviving the cause and the organization. Tenant farmers receiving New Deal subsidies from plantation owners was STFU's principal objective in advocating on their behalf. Later, the STFU leadership decided to transform the union into a recognized collective bargaining entity, much like the industrial unions found in major cities. However, the STFU leadership and its members were subjected to acts of violence and intimidation by plantation owners, which prevented them from ever securing a formal negotiating stance. Using William H. Stultz, the union's president, as an example, Lucien Koch, the visiting director of Commonwealth College in western Arkansas, was carried away at an STFU meeting, beaten up, and imprisoned.

The union's first move was to sue Hiram Norcross, which was one of its initial moves. This was done to guarantee that sharecroppers' rights were upheld and that they received a portion of the government subsidies as the act intended. The union wrote numerous letters condemning the eviction of hundreds of farmers. The STFU dispatched five members to Washington to deliver a message to Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace.

Connection to Other Organizations

When the STFU noticed a chance for expansion, it joined the United Cannery, Agricultural, and Allied Workers of America, a branch of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, but in 1939, the STFU decided to leave the CIO out of fear that the communist UCAPAWA leadership may acquire power and that UCAPAWA methods might fracture the racial alliance of blacks and whites in the STFU. Following the coalition's dissolution, UCAPAWA decided to abandon the agricultural sector and focus its labor campaign on employees in the food processing industry.

By 1934, the Communist Party was open to forming coalitions with socialists and progressives. It started by offering support to organizations from the South that agricultural workers partnered with to forge a stronger Popular Front. Numerous unions participated in this Popular Front, including the STFU; because the Front's groups supported one another in demonstrations and conflicts with plantation owners, the STFU benefited from its affiliation with the Communist Party. The STFU didn't have all Communist Party members. Few people identified as communists; most belonged to other political organizations or ideas.

The STFU did not feel completely at ease with their affiliation with the Communist Party. The alliance between the STFU and the Communist Party was broken by several issues (including poor financial management, the party's lack of financial support delaying the union's mission, conflicts of interest between the organizations, and the Communist Party's lack of interest in STFU members). As a collaboration between white and black employees and members was essential to the organization's identity and program, cutting ties with the Communist Party allowed the union to continue the such partnership.

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