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You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
                                                      -Mother Jones

Wednesday November 18, 1903
Cripple Creek District, Colorado - Rail Released from the F. & C. C., Union Men to Bullpen

Early Tuesday morning General Bell was notified of an incident on the F. & C. C. railroad near Anaconda. It seems that, acting on a "tip," Engineer William Rush stopped his train to make an investigation. He found that the spikes had been removed from from the ties, thereby releasing the rail. Engineer Rush called forth the train crew and the passengers (who included both union and non-union miners) to witness the deed, and then a report was made to the General.

Now, without stopping to consider who stood most to benefit from such a dastardly deed, the General immediately fixed the blame upon the Western Federation of Miners. Arrests of union men began immediately. Majors McClelland and Naylor along with twenty cavalrymen and twenty infantrymen arrested Charles McKinney. P. H. Mullaney was arrested in Altman.

While searching Altman, the militia broke down the door of the home of Thomas Foster after Mrs. Foster refused to grant them entrance. Brother Foster was not at home, but hearing that the militiamen were searching for him, he presented himself to the sheriff, asking for protection from the military.

McKinney and Mullaney are now being held in the military bullpen. General Bell has released this statement:

The prisoners will be protected, though even every man in the Cripple Creek district made an attempt to secure custody of them, and every man who makes an attempt to get to the prisoners will be promptly shot. None will escape should a forcible attempt be made to secure possession of the prisoners. The men are not only under a heavy infantry guard, but there is a double cavalry patrol, and the men are absolutely safe from any violence. The lives of every member of the National Guard in Camp Gold field will be sacrificed to protect the two prisoners.
Mrs Emma F. Langdon of Victor wonders:
Protected from whom? Not, their brother union miners, the writer hopes..
Mrs. Langdon points out that the military has repeatedly claimed that the miners are the only lawless element in the district, and thus, wonders who else might harm the prisoners. Surely not the mine owners! Surely not the Citizens' Alliance who has never, not once, been accused of lawlessness by the military. And so, she wonders, who is it that might harm the prisoners?

The Cripple Creek Strike
-by Emma F Langdon
(Part I, 1st pub 1904)
NY, 1969

Tuesday November 18, 1913
From the Miners' Bulletin: Copper Bosses' Imported Gunmen Attack Striking Miners

An article titled "McNaughton's Veracity," concerning the truthfulness, or lack of thereof, of Mr. McNaughton, takes up almost half of the front page of the current edition of the Bulletin. Suffice it to say that Mr. McNaughton is not happy with the recent speech made by Secretary of Labor, William B. Wilson:

...McNaughton hollers "liar, liar." McNaughton's reputation for truth and veracity is at such a low ebb in this community that those long distance, epithets makes the average person smile, for instance, he stated at the beginning of this strike that 85 per cent of his employees were willing to return to work but were afraid although he had 2,500 militiamen and 1,000 gunmen at his disposal....
There then follows a list of falsehood after falsehood put forth by Mr. McNaughton. But, on the same front page is a story about the effectiveness of the gunmen, imported into the strike zone by the copper bosses:

Yesterday morning while a large number of strikers were holding their usual morning parade, and when near the Quincy mine, they were joined by quite a number of mounted police who rode amongst them until a point opposite the Quincy was reached when the parade was met by a large force of gunmen. At this juncture, the mounted guards lined up on each side of the parade wilst the gunmen poured a volley into the ranks of the strikers. One striker was badly shot in the hip while it is believed several others were slightly injured by the firing of lead missiles. One guard was badly injured by being trampled upon by one of the frightened horses. The attack was no doubt planned beforehand as the concerted action of the mounted guards and gunmen would imply.
The parade consisted of men, women and a scattering of children, all of whom were quiet and were marching on the county road. The guards and the gunmen had not the least provocation for making this dastardly assault upon peaceable citizens who have a perfect right to parade on the public highway. After the melee, six of the paraders were arrested and taken to jail, but were later released. Assistant states attorney Nichols will make an investigation of this dastardly assault and in all probability will bring the guilty parties to justice.
Somehow, we suspect, that the last sentence is meant as a bit of sarcasm.

Miners' Bulletin
"Published by authority of
Western Federation of Miners
to tell the truth regarding
the strike of copper miners."
-of Nov 18, 1913

Photo: The 1913-14 Michigan Copper Strike and Italian Hall Book Project
(Photo not of actual parade, used to represent strikers' march.)


Monday November 18, 2013
More on the founding of the U.S. Department of Labor in 1913:

The bill establishing the Department of Labor was signed on March 4, 1913, by President William Howard Taft, the defeated and departing incumbent just hours before Woodrow Wilson took office. Although Taft had misgivings about creating a new Cabinet-level Department, he realized that the new Congress and new President would surely reenact it if he did apply a veto. A Federal Department was the direct product of a half-century campaign by organized labor for a "Voice in the Cabinet." Also, the Department was an indirect product of the Progressive Movement of the early 1900s which promoted the achievement of better working conditions.....

Woodrow Wilson's appointee as the first Secretary of Labor was William B. Wilson (no relation), Secretary-Treasurer of the United Mine Workers of America and later a Congressman who led the legislative drive that created the Department of Labor. In his first annual report Secretary Wilson enunciated a philosophy echoed in various forms by many Secretaries since, namely that: the Department was created "in the interest of the wage earners", but it must be administered in fairness to labor, business and the public at large.....

Written in 1988 for the 75th anniversary of the DOL by Judson MacLaury, Departmental Historian.

History of the Department of Labor, 1913-1988

Chapter 1: Start-up of the Department and World War I, 1913-1921

The Popular Wobbly-David Rovics

Oh, the "bull," he went wild over me.
And he held his gun where everyone could see;
He was breathing rather hard, when he saw my union card,
He went wild, simply wild, over me.

                    -T-Bone Slim

Written by a Wobbly, but dedicated here to all the Officers, the Organizers, the Strikers and their families, of the Western Federation of Miners' who fought the good fight during the Michigan Copper Strike of 1913-14.

Originally posted to Hellraisers Journal on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 11:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Shamrock American Kossacks, In Support of Labor and Unions, Anti-Capitalist Chat, and History for Kossacks.

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