The factory girls of Merrimack Mill are finished—finished breaking their backs to fill a rich man’s pockets, finished lining their lungs with sickness, finished playing their roles as good religious girls. And now, they’ve begun something new. In the dead of night, they have gathered in the mill to cast a spell, bidding none of them return to their machines until their demands are met. Safety, decent pay, better hours—it’s not too much to ask. But from cruel bosses and witless middle management to starving families and scabs, the binds of their spell—and their community—will be tested on all sides.
C.S. Malerich’s new novella, The Factory Witches of Lowell, is a charming, hopeful little treat for the queer anti-capitalist witches among us. There’s many a reason to be cynical these days, but Malerich weaves together forgotten histories of labor victories and fantastical possibilities alike with the skill and passion of an awakened proletariat. It has its faults—as all struggles for justice do—but is full of heart, full of promise, and full of girls fighting for each other and, well, for each other.