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

Saturday March 5, 1904
From The Labor World: Citizens' Alliance Gives Testimony Against W. F. of M.

Representatives Are Making Strong Charges at Washington.
Makes Wholesale Accusations Against Colorado Unionists. Nevertheless Not One Trade Unionist Has Been Convicted of Crime. Committee Presses Questions and Assailant Hedges.

Washington, D. C., March 3.-Ten years of alleged lawlessness, with the trade unions of Colorado scheming to take the lives of nonunion workmen and to blow up the mines in which free labor was employed, with such diabolical cunning as to prove the complicity of more than one master murderer, was described to the House judiciary committee today by J. C. Craig, president of the Denver Citizens' alliance.

Mr. Craig appeared in opposition to the anti-injunction bill, and declared the wholesale murder he described was only checked when the power of the courts had been invoked. He more than hinted a free laborer's life would not be worth a minute's purchase were the bill passed.

After he had described the ten year's orgy of plot and death he was asked how many trade union members had been convicted of complicity in the crimes.

"None," he answered, "not a single one has been convicted; but I attribute this to the sympathy of the police, who are recruited from the ranks of labor, and have to return to them when a change of administration throws them out of an official position."

Union men, he declared, however, had been guilty of rolling kegs of dynamite into shaft-houses and then connecting the elevators by cords to cocked revolvers so that when the elevator moved the pistol would be fired and the dynamite exploded. Horrors of this sort were of daily occurrence till the Citizens' alliance was formed and injunctions obtained. At the same time he was careful to explain that his alliance did not oppose trade unionism as such, but merely the lawlessness of which, he said, organized labor was guilty.

Charles F. Waltz, representing the Cincinnati Employers' association and the National Citizens' Industrial association, in describing the alleged anarchic utterances of labor leaders, said Mr. O'Connell, president of the International Association of Machinists, had said in Chicago: "We will work for a nine-hour day with ten hours' pay, and when we get that we will work for an eight-hour day with the same pay."

At this point a member of the committee spoke up and said:
That does not appear criminal.
Perhaps the good committeeman does not understand the views of the Citizens' Alliance. For, according to the Citizens' Alliance, this is the real "criminal conspiracy" of Organized Labor: advocating shorter hours and higher pay, and a better life for millions of workers, whether organized or unorganized.

And in a clever turn of phrase, the "free" laborer is the the worker who comes before his employer alone, hat in hand and head bowed, without any Organization to back him up.

The Labor World
(Duluth, Minnesota)
-of Mar 5, 1904


Thursday March 5, 1914
New York, New York - 200 Unemployed Men Arrested at St. Alphonsus' Catholic Church

Mary Heaton Vorse
Some 200 unemployed men were arrested during a blizzard last night as they sought shelter at St. Alphonsus' Catholic Church. Frank Tannenbaum is being held on a felony charge with his bail fixed at $5,000. The others could be bailed out at the cost of $1000 each, were that amount available. The men are being held at four different prison: the Tombs, Jefferson Market, West 57th Street, and West 53rd Street.

At the Jefferson Market prison, the men are being kept in a large pen without cots and with only eight blankets for 50 men. Conditions at West 57th are much the same. At the Tombs and the West 53rd Street prison, the men have been crowded five and six to cell, and are being kept in unsanitary conditions described as vile.

Mary Heaton Vorse explains how the arrests came about:

[Last night] Frank Tannenbaum, [Frank Strawn] Hamilton and [Charles] Plunkett had asked Father Schneider of St. Alphonsus if they might have shelter in his church. Father Schneider had refused on the ground that the Blessed Sacrament of the Body of our Lord was exposed and it would be sacrilege to allow men to sleep in the church at such a time.

The crowd of unemployed had not understood their instruction to wait outside and had started going inside to sit down in the back seats. A police officer told Tannenbum to go into the church and bring the men out. Tannenbaum obeyed. The doors were closed and locked on him as soon as he went inside. The arrest followed before he could speak to the men. The papers had been told that the Catholic Church was going to stand for no nonsense and there was a battery of reporters and cameramen ready for the trouble.

It so happens that the newly formed Labor Defense Conference was holding its first meeting at the home of Mary Heaton Vorse and her husband, Joe O'Brien, the same night that the men were arrested. The Conference was organized by Big Bill Haywood of the Industrial Workers of World, and has attracted what Vorse calls "a strangely assorted group." All of them are committed to defending workers, whether currently employed or not.

In the middle of the meeting, Heber Blankenhorn entered the room, and said, "We have your first case for you. Frank Tannenbaum and a crowd of two hundred men have just been arrested down at St. Alphonsus'."

The Labor Defense Conference launched into action immediately. Justus Sheffield was contacted and will act as the attorney for men.

A Footnote to Folly:
Reminiscences of Mary Heaton Vorse

NY, 1935

Photo: Mary Heaton Vorse

I Ain't Got No Home In This World Any More - Billy Bragg

Now as I look around, it's mighty plain to see
This world is such a great and a funny place to be;
Oh, the gamblin' man is rich an' the workin' man is poor,
And I ain't got no home in this world anymore.

               -Woody Guthrie

Originally posted to Hellraisers Journal on Wed Mar 05, 2014 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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