Mike Golash interview, 2021-07-17
Scope and Contents
D.C. Oral History Collaborative (DCOHC) is a citywide initiative to train community members in oral history skills, fund new and ongoing oral history projects, connect volunteers with oral history projects, and publicize existing oral history collections. DCOHC is a project of DC Public Library, HumanitiesDC, and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. This collection contains oral history interviews, transcripts, and indexes produced by DCOHC grantees.
- Creation: 2021-07-17
Language of Materials
Biographical / Historical
Michael Golash was born in Albany, New York where he formed his early political conscious observing the city's political machine. In 1965 he began graduate study at Columbia University, where he got involved in the social movements that were sweeping the country at that time. It was then that he decided to drop out of his graduate program in chemical engineering and dedicate his life to organizing workers. In 1978, he had only been driving busses in Washington, D.C. for two years when he helped to lead a strike that shut down the Metrobus system for 7 days and won the drivers a strong contract. In the decades since he has remained a strong advocate for labor rights, taking on various roles in the Metro union. Retiring from driving buses in 2010, he continued to agitate for workers' rights and communism, again taking an important role in supporting the 2019 Cinder Bed Road bus drivers' strike. Michael Golash continues to live in 16th Street Heights with his wife Deidre. They often play host to their grandchildren in their home near Rock Creek Park.
From the Collection: 855 Gigabytes
In this oral history Michael Golash talks about how his early life influenced his decision to take a leadership role in the 1978 Metro wildcat strike and the ways that the strike played a central role in many of his future decisions. First, Golash speaks about growing up in Albany, New York where observing the city's party-machine helped to formulate his early ideas about politics. The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was another key point in his political development. Golash's politics and life path, were solidified while he was a graduate student at Columbia University, where he took part in the 1968 student strike and participated in organizing efforts in New York's garment district. Convinced that only proletariat revolution would bring true respite to the majority of the earth's people, Golash quit his PhD program in chemical engineering and moved to Washington, D.C. at the suggestion of the communist Progressive Labor Party. Renting his first apartment on Columbia Road, Golash worked a series of working-class jobs before taking an exam to become a bus driver in 1976. Golash reflects on the decisions and strategies that led to the strike that shutdown the Metrobus system for nearly seven days in 1978. He then discusses how these actions led to unprecedented benefits for bus drivers and decades of good contracts negotiated with management always fearing a repeat of the strike. He also talks about other campaigns within Metro, such as his largely successful efforts to encourage bus drivers to not enforce fair collection. Now in his late 70s, Golash speaks about his continued involvement with the Progressive Labor Party, why he thinks their brand of Marxism in increasingly relevant in today's world, and why everyone should join the party.
- 16th Street Heights (Washington, D.C.)
- Friendship Heights (Washington, D.C.)
- Langdon (Washington, D.C.)
- Navy Yard (Washington, D.C.)
- Petworth (Washington, D.C.)