The capitalist class is always on strike against the working class.
-Mary R Alspaugh
``````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` Tuesday May 25, 1915
From the International Socialist Review: Mary R. Alspaugh on the Colorado Miners
Readers of Hellraisers will recall the description by Mrs. Alspaugh, featured in the April edition of the Review, which told of the hardships endured by the former strikers in Colorado since the end of the strike. In this month's International Socialist Review, an article by Mary Alspaugh again offers a look into the strike and it's aftermath from the point of view of a class-conscious miner's wife.
Mrs. Alspaugh offers some thoughts about the over-powering forces summoned by the capitalist class to crush the miners and their families as they struggle for a decent standard of living. And she deplores the lack of class-consciousness that prevails in mining camps:
During the strike here the miners' wives and daughters organized a woman's auxiliary. A discussion came up in one of the meetings as to whether or not we should patronize a certain merchant who was accused of being "unfair." In fact, there was strong evidence that he was unfair, but one member objected to any discrimination on the ground that she did not believe in "tearing down what it had taken a lifetime to build up." A very remarkable statement, it seemed to me, to come from a "strong union woman," especially in the face of the fact that this very class of people had robbed us of all we had slaved for all our dull, drab lives, and that the very merchant in question was at that moment undermining the Socialist movement—the hope of the laboring class.
You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
``````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` Wednesday May 24, 1905
From the Chicago Inter Ocean: Labor Editor Luke Grant on the Industrial Unionists
Father Thomas J. Hagerty
Luke Grant, labor editor of the Inter Ocean, took on the subject of the upcoming convention of Industrial Unionist in his column this past Sunday. He had this to say about the intentions of those who favor establishing a new labor body based on industrial organization:
The whole scheme is chimerical and intended to drag the workers into the mire of politics. The new union would simply be a tail to the socialist kite; indeed, that is all that the dreamers who are advocating it hope for.
Grant took particular aim at Father Hagerty's "wheel of fortune," subjecting Hagerty's proposed chart of industrial organization to much ridicule.
The American Labor Union, one of the organizations involved in planing the upcoming convention, also found itself skewered by Grant's sharp pen.
Below the fold our readers can find those portions of Luke Grant's column which pertain to the convention of industrial unionists now scheduled to be held in Chicago on June 27th.
He's in their dungeon, dark and grim;
He stood by us, we'll stand by him!
``````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` Sunday May 23, 1915
From Solidarity: "A Visit to Joe Hill" by Elizabeth Gurley Flynn
On the front page of yesterday's edition of Solidarity we find an account authored by Elizabeth Gurley Flynn of her visit with FW Joe Hill who is now buried alive in the Salt Lake County Jail. The Rebel Song writer has been convicted of murder on purely circumstantial evidence and is under sentence of death. Miss Flynn stopped over in Salt Lake City on her way to California. She was allowed a one hour visit with Hill on May 6th.
Miss Flynn describes meeting Joe Hill:
When he came to us he was guarded on all sides by deputies, he came with a smile and a cheery greeting, with the clear eyed look of one who cannot be crushed. He is tall, good looking, but naturally thin after sixteen months in a dark narrow cell, with a corridor and another row of cells between him and daylight, and nourished by the soup and bean diet of a prison.
A Prisoner of the Class War
Miss Flynn further states:
He's a true soldier in the army of labor, philosophically accepting the status of a prisoner of war and the possibility of death.
And she asks of us:
Shall we fellow workers accept it with him so lightly?
Funds for the Defense Campaign are low, and Gurley Flynn urges that donations be made and made quickly in order to save the life of Fellow Worker Joe Hill.
Definition of Socialism from the Socialist Party of Oklahoma:
Collective ownership and democratic management of things collectively used
and private ownership of things privately used.
``````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` Friday May 21, 1915
From the Appeal to Reason: "Preachers Fear Landlord's Ire" by H. G. Creel
In the latest edition of the Appeal, Comrade Creel continued his series on the investigation conducted by the Commission on Industrial Relations into the conditions of tenant farmers in Texas and Oklahoma. The hearings took place this past March in Dallas under the capable guidance of Chairman Frank P. Walsh. Creel described testimony from a Socialist preacher who stated that he must "stifle" the preaching of the Bible as he understands it, or risk raising the ire of the Landlord.
Creel further reported how some of the witnesses were brought to tears by descriptions of the hardships endured by the women with small children, particularly the story of a woman struggling to care for a tiny baby as she picked cotton on her hands and knees, while dragging behind her her new-born on its improvised bed of cotton balls.
From the Appeal of May 15th:
Preachers Fear Landlord's Ire
BY H. G. CREEL
Staff Correspondent Appeal to Reason.
Herr Glessner Creel
"To land a man with plenty of force (a large family of children), who'll get up early, work late and push a mule down the rows between times is the sole philosophy of southern landlordism," declared W. T. Davis, witness before the United States industrial relations commission at Dallas.
Davis is a farmer tenant of A. [J.] Tom Padgitt, the Coleman county (Texas) landlord who says he is capable of deciding weighty questions for an entire community and who announced that he would rent no more land to Socialists. Davis is now a small land owner. He told a vastly different story than either Padgitt or his overseer, Rieves. The former tenant declared that most of the people of the community were in hearty accord with Socialism and that because of its rapid growth the landlord and overseer decided to stamp it out. He told of preachers who joined the Socialist local on Padgitt's place and related that he was the local Sunday school superintendent when he took out membership in the party. He declared that commissary prices were 50 per cent to 60 percent higher than elsewhere.
Country Preacher's Position.
The Rev. John C. Granberry followed Davis. Granberry is professor of sociology and economics at Southwestern University, Georgetown. He testified:
The country church and the country preacher are keys to the whole situation. I have been a rural preacher and I know what I'm talking about. The man who enters and remains in the rural ministry today is either a fool or a hero. The books he studies were written in a bygone age. They do not deal with present-day problems. But his Bible deals very definitely with matters of today. It teaches "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof." It declares that land shall not be sold forever. It thunders against usury. It gives the preacher every encouragement to mount his pulpit and say "The Heavenly Father put oil in the earth for all of his children and you, Mr. Oil Monopolist, are only one of them."
But what's going to happen if he does that? He'll certainly lose his job. Whether he stifles himself and makes sure of a living for his family or says what his book teaches him to say and is kicked out he's either a fool or a hero. I don't know which.
If they want to fight, let them come on.
We will call out every member of our union rather than give up.
-Teamster President Cornelius Shea
``````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` Saturday May 20, 1905
Chicago, Illinois - School Children Enter the Teamsters' Strike, Arrested and Jailed
School children went on strike this past week in Chicago after noticing that scab coal had been delivered to their school. Fifty children were arrested for being "disorderly."
From the Rock Island Argus of May 16th:
FIFTY STRIKING CHICAGO SCHOOL CHILDREN
ARRESTED AND JAILED
Movement Grows, 1,500 Going Out
MEN STILL DETERMINED
Decline to Take Steps Looking to Peace---
Threaten to Tie Up the City.
Blockade at State and Madison Streets
Chicago, May 16.-Three hundred colored strike breakers arrived in Chicago today from St. Louis. They were largely recruited from river towns. Another gang came in from Cincinnati. Nearly a score of the latter deserted when they reached here claiming they were told no strike was prevailing here. One deserter said the coaches in which they traveled were locked during the entire trip.
Over 100 of the Postal Telegraph company's messengers struck this morning. The boys occupied themselves chiefly in jeering at nonunion teamsters.
Two colored men were severely beaten in Fourteenth street today by a mob which the police dispersed by the free use of their clubs.
More Pupils Quit.
Pupils of the Fallon public school also struck when two loads of coal from the Peabody Coal company were delivered at the building. The Fallon school and the Graham school are in adjoining districts on the south side.
Youngsters Put in Jail.
The youngsters became so disorderly 50 of them were arrested and jailed. The others quickly disappeared from the streets. The strike of school children assumed larger proportions today when 1,500 pupils of the Graham school refused to enter the building. Officials say no "unfair" coal has been delivered at the school.
Looks Like Spread.
Chicago, May 16.-The possibility of a tieup in all delivery business in Chicago including funerals grew definite at a meeting today of President Shea, with W. J. Gibbons, business agent of the Cab and Livery Wagon Drivers' union and representatives of the liverymen's and undertakers' associations...
Below the fold Hellraisers offers further news on the Chicago Teamsters strike from the past week.
You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
``````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` Friday May 19, 1905
Chicago, Illinois - Teamster Strike Continues With City in Turmoil
Today and tomorrow, Hellraisers presents a series of newspapers articles intended to update our readers on the progress of the Chicago Teamsters Strike now engulfing that city in turmoil. We begin today, with this article from the Chicago Daily Tribune of May 10th:
NEGROES PROTEST AGAINST RACE PREJUDICE
Stirring Speeches Made at Massmeeting Attended by
More than One Thousand Persons.
More than 1,000 negroes assembled at the Bethel African Methodist church, Thirtieth and Dearborn streets, last night and adopted resolutions read by Mrs. Ida Wells Barnett protesting against the action of the Department Store Drivers' union, which, the resolution asserted, circulated a "slanderous" letter against negro drivers, declaring them to be "loafers," not willing to work.
This charge was denounced as a willful and malicious falsehood urged against men who proved their value by risking their lives to obtain work. The resolutions also called upon the mayor to "save hard working citizens from the kind of protection which lets the rioter go free and sends the victim to the jails and hospitals."
The speakers were the Rev. A. J. Carey, pastor of the church; ex-County Commissioner Edward H. Wright, Dr. George C. Hall, Mrs. Ida Wells Barnett, and George T. Kersey.
"We deplore the fact that in this controversy between labor and capital race prejudice should have a part when there is no race issue in the strike that now holds our city in its grasp," said Mr. Carey.
"As long as the negro remains a law abiding citizen he should have the right to labor and be protected at his labor," said Mr. Wright. "This is a public right and should not be influenced one way or the other because of the color of a man's skin."
Dr. George C. Hall said: "We must be allowed to go upon the streets peacefully and not be subjected to the infamous treatment which we have received at the hands of both these agents. We are not going to ask the people to stop this; we are going to stop it ourselves."
Right now all entranceways to Terminal 5 in the Port of Seattle are blocked in protest of Shell's plans to drill in the Arctic. Hundred of people converged on the terminal around 7:am this morning. It is the top news event on local TV channels.
“Everyone is out here today, we have scientists, teachers and city councilmembers risking arrest because they understand the severity of this moment,” said Sarra Tekola a student with Divest University of Washington who recently won a vote to divest their school’s endowment from Coal. “Climate change isn't a polar bear issue it's a human rights issue, climate change displaces people from their countries, 40 years ago desertification kicked my father out of his country in Ethiopia and it's going to get worse. This is our lunch counter to sit on, this is our history to be made, we hold the world in our hands.”
A loose network of several dozen groups calling themselves the sHell No! Action Council (SNAC) organized today’s action. SNAC has focused their opposition to Arctic Drilling on the impacts of Global Warming on the impacts on peoples in the Global South and indigenous communities.
The newspapers were hammering me,
and the priests and the ministers were hammering me,
but I am alive yet,
I am still here, hammering them.
``````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` Tuesday May 18, 1915
Washington, D. C., - Mother Jones Wraps Up Her Testimony Before Walsh Commission
On Friday May 14th, Mother Jones appeared before the Commission on Industrial Relations to conclude her testimony. She was questioned on that day by Chairman Walsh and by Commissioner Weinstock.
She made many memorable statements on during these interrogations.
Regarding the time spent in the cold cellar cell at Walsenburg, Colorado, she said:
And so I was put in the cellar. It was cold, it was a horrible place, and they thought it would sicken me, but I concluded to stay in that cellar and fight them out. I had sewer rats that long every night to fight, and all I had was a beer bottle; I would get one rat, and another would run across the cellar at me. I fought the rats inside and out just alike.
Speaking of a mass meeting held in Philadelphia before the March of the Mill Children, she declared:
I showed them children with their hands off, a sacrifice on the altar of profit, giving to this Nation maimed and useless citizens.
I spoke to the ministers, and asked them if they were not carrying out Christ's doctrine, suffer little children to come unto me, they are all that is pure and holy, and you say "Suffer the little ones to go into the slave pens, and we will grind them into profit." And that is what is done.
When asked by Commissioner Weinstock if she had respect for Law and Order, she replied:
I certainly do, but when the law jumps all over my class and there is no law for my class, and it is only for the other fellow, then I want to educate my people so as to put my people on the bench...
And she further stated:
I am always in favor of obeying the law; but if the high-class burglar breaks the law and defies it, then I say we will have a law that will defend the Nation and our people.
When asked for recommendations that the Commission could take to the U. S. Congress, one of Mother's suggestions was public ownership of the mines:
Now, I believe in taking over the mines, Mr. Weinstock. They are mineral, and no operator, no coal company on the face of the earth made that coal. It is a mineral; it belongs to the Nation; it was there down the ages, and it belongs to every generation that comes along, and no set of men should be permitted to use that which is nature's. It should be given to all of nature's children in other nations.
Note: emphasis added to above quotations.
Below the fold, Hellraisers offers excerpts from the May 14th testimony of Mother Jones.
I don't want any mercy from any court,
I don't do anything but what is my duty to do as a citizen of this nation,
and I don't ask you for mercy.
I am asking for justice, and not mercy,
and I told the judge not to have any mercy on me.
``````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` Monday May 17, 1915
Washington, D. C. - The Testimony of Mother Jones Before the Walsh Commission
On the 13th and 14th of this month, Mother Jones came before the Commission on Industrial Relations, now in session in the nation's capital. Mother gave testimony regarding her many years of service to the American man, woman, and child of the working class. Newspaper accounts describe the tears streaming down her face as she told of the horrors of the many industrial struggles waged by the producers of the nation over the past many years.
Today's Hellraisers is pleased to offer excerpts from her testimony given on May 13th when she was questioned exclusively by Chairman Frank P. Walsh. Tomorrow we will cover her testimony from May 14th, on which day she testified regarding labor and the law.
I reside wherever there is a good fight against wrong-all over the country.
Wherever the workers are fighting the robbers I go there.
``````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` Sunday May 16, 1915
Washington D. C. - Mother Jones Testifies Before Walsh Commission
Mother Jones at Ludlow
Mother Jones was called before the Commission on Industrial Relations last week and gave testimony regarding her many long years as an active participant in the struggles of working class men, women, and children to gain a better life under the present industrial system. At times she wept as she recounted the horrors of the industrial wars that she has witnessed first-hand.
Testimony of Mother Jones on May 13th
As reported by the Chicago Daily Tribune:
'MOTHER' JONES TELLS OF AID
TO 'BOYS' ON STRIKE
Industrial Board Paves Way to Hear
Her Cure for Unrest;
Haywood Again on Stand.
Washington, D. C., May 13-Tales of industrial wars from Pennsylvania to California during the last thirty-five years were recounted before the federal industrial commission today by Mrs. Mary Jones, the "Mother" Jones of scores of strikes.
"Mother" Jones told the history of her connection with industrial disturbances preliminary to her examination regarding causes and cures for unrest which will be undertaken tomorrow.
The commission today heard Prof. Frank J. Goodnow, president of Johns Hopkins University, and Harry A. Cyphers of South Bethlehem, Pa., on the treatment of labor in the courts, and concluded the examination of William D. Haywood of the Industrial Workers of the World...
"Mother" Jones on Stand.
"Mother" Jones was the next witness. When Chairman Walsh asked her residence she replied:
I reside wherever there is a good fight against wrong. I live wherever the workers are fighting the robbers.
Beginning with the Pennsylvania railroad strike at Pittsburgh in 1877, "Mother" Jones told of her efforts to help "the boys" in their various "fights." She told of leading an "army" about from mine to mine in the Pennsylvania coal strike of 1900, "Pulling out" the men at work.
She related a long story of strikes in West Virginia, Maryland, and Colorado. She described night marches with bands of strikers, battles with the militia, and of caring for strikers, killed and wounded, in strike riots.
The witness told of being carried out of Colorado by militiamen and of hurrying back on the heels of the escort that took her to the state line.
She described the horrors of industrial wars and at times tears streamed from her eyes as she told of the treatment of men, women, and children.
I am speaking for the working class, and I am a partisan of the workers.
-Big Bill Haywood
``````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` Friday May 14, 1915
Washington, D. C. - Big Bill Haywood Speaks for Working Men, Women, and Children
Big Bill Haywood
During the coarse of his testimony before the Commission on Industrial Relations, Big Bill Haywood, Secretary-Treasurer of the Industrial Workers of the World, was questioned by Commissioner Harris Weinstock, a California businessman. Fellow Worker Haywood explained how government might operate when the working people have a voice through their union, as opposed to the present system of government under which most working men and women, and all working class children, are disenfranchised.
"I AM A PARTISAN OF THE WORKERS"
Commissioner Weinstock. Well, then, will you briefly outline to us, Mr. Haywood, how would you govern and direct the affairs under your proposed system of 100,000,000 of people, as we are in this country to-day?
Mr. Haywood. Well, how are the affairs of the hundred million people conducted at the present time? The workers have no interest, have no voice in anything except the shops. Many of the workers are children. They certainly have no interest and no voice in the franchise. They are employed in the shops, and of course my idea is that children who work should have a voice in the way they work—in the hours they work, in the wages that they should receive—that is, under the present conditions children should have that voice, children who labor.
The same is true of women. The political state, the Government, says that women are not entitled to vote—that is, except in the 10 free States of the West; but they are industrial units; they are productive units; from millions of women. My idea is that they should have a voice in the control or disposition of their labor powers, and the only place where they can express themselves is in their labor union halls, and there they express themselves to the fullest as citizens of industry, if you will, as to the purposes of their work and the conditions under which they will labor. Now, you recognize that in conjunction with women and children.
The black men of the South are on the same footing. They are all citizens of this country, but they have no voice in its government. Millions of black men are disfranchised, who if organized would have a voice in saying how they should work and how the conditions of labor should be regulated. But unorganized they are as helpless and in the same condition of slavery as they were before the war.
This is not only true of women and children and black men, but it extends to the foreigner who comes to this country and is certainly a useful member of society. Most of them at once go into industries, but for five years they are not citizens. They plod along at their work and have no voice in the control or the use of their labor power. And as you have learned through this commission there are corporations who direct the manner in which those foreigners shall vote. Certainly you have heard something of that in connection with the Rockefeller interests in the southern part of Colorado. You know that the elections there were never carried on straight, and these foreigners were directed as to how their ballot should be placed.
They are not the only ones who are disfranchised, but there is also the workingman who is born in this country, who is shifted about from place to place by industrial depressions; their homes are broken up and they are compelled to go from one city to another, and each state requires a certain period of residence before a man has the right to vote. Some States say he must be a resident 1 year, others say 2 years; he must live for a certain length of time in the county; he must live for 30 days or such a matter in the precinct before he has any voice in the conduct of government.
Now, if a man was not a subject of a state or nation, but a citizen of industry, moving from place to place, belonging to his union, wherever he went he would step in the union hall, show his card, register, and he at once has a voice in the conduct of the affairs pertaining to his welfare. That is the form of society I want to see, where the men who do the work, and who are the only people who are worth while—understand me, Mr. Weinstock, I think that the workingman, even doing the meanest kind of work, the workingman is a more important member of society than any judge on the supreme bench; than any other of the useless members of society. I am speaking for the working class, and I am a partisan of the workers.
4:16 am CT, 5/13/15. When you get a certain age, the bathroom comes calling in the middle of the night, and it is "a great blessing" that you have the strength to answer it. You think of your father, for months not able to take care of himself, and the discomfort and indignity he somehow endured. But "thank goodness" he is better now.
You are not supposed to look at the computer in the middle of the night because that triggers a daytime response in the brain. You do anyway, and you type out a little diary. And then your computer crashes before you can finish the diary because of some kind of Windows update that has taken over, but you have convinced yourself by serendipitous experience to try not to get upset because you have "faith" that the computer crashing means something is wrong with the approach you were taking for some reason that will become clear. For some reason that "precious" content you lost was meant to be lost. You don't know why, but it will become clear (or maybe it's just that redrafting helps). So you switch to the kids' old computer that barely works anymore and then proceed to "finish" the diary in a somewhat different way.
Then just before you publish for some reason you look at the headlines and see that another tragedy has occurred, this time on the passenger train system you love. Your thoughts go with the families and friends of those who have died and with those who are suffering, and for a while you can't bear to publish that now rewritten diary. It seems so frivolous. You think of the good times you have had on that train system going to see family. The universal connections are present, even when we sleep, type, or think we are alone in the bubble of our own isolation.
Others are suffering in an acute way, right now, you now know. So many tragedies. For others the suffering is "merely" chronic, with life filled with unnecessary cruelty and insults to injury. That serendipity theory is often contradicted as bad things happen to good people. Prosperity gospel is a false god. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
We somehow must hallow the ground and each other despite the suffering of human existence. The earth is amazing. Life is beautiful. We can only try through our mundane lives to give as much love as possible in the time we have. We cannot prevent every tragedy, much less every indignity, but let us resolve ourselves not to accept the preventable tragedies and indignities of our brothers and sisters as fate from which we can go to the bathroom and wash our hands.
Here is the diary I wrote, which states "my" political philosophy in a nutshell. Nothing is original ("Love your neighbor as yourself."), but still it seems so egotistical to raise an audacious voice of challenging hope, particularly on a day like today. Please forgive me if the timing is wrong. Too much tragedy and too much indignity, and the challenges of prevention seem so insurmountable because of greed and fear.
But is there ever a just time to ignore suffering and the preventable conditions that cause it? It seems embarassing and hopeless on a day like today to be wildly ambitious about protecting fragile humanity on a fragile planet, and may I not be acting imprudently, insensitively, or out of ego. But when will we stop listening to the liars and skeptics who say it is foolhardy to implement anything other than the cruel budget-cutting, climate-destroying, suffering-ignoring prescription of neoliberalism? Their profit-grabbing lies and skepticism are anything but new. We can do this.
A lot of people have some idea about what democratic socialism is or should be, especially these days. Please don't think that my views are necessarily the views of any other democratic socialists much less are intended to be imposed upon others. However, I have spent a lot of time over the last couple of years honestly assessing what I believe politically, and it comes down to what I call "garden variety" democratic socialism. That led me to start a little hobby "save the world" website with an international focus as my effort to testify.
Although I live in Nowheresville, Deep South, U.S., about as far away from the excitement as you can get, I believe that I am connected to you and you are connected to me wherever we live. And with the intertubes, a half-Hispanic hick from Nowheresville is capable of contributing to the conversation. So here is my distilled contribution to the conversation. Everything else I write comes back to this.
It is written in the third person of my other pseudonym, Francisco Nejdanov Solomin. So this is kind of a Bob Dole moment, except for the tobacco industry part and other world family matters.