Saturday May 2, 1914
New York, New York - Police Attack Socialist and Unionist May Day Rally at Union Square
5,000 STAMPEDED BY POLICE CLUBS
Women and Children Felled in Flight at Union Square May Day Rally.
With Chief Inspector "Schmittberger close behind issuing vain orders to halt and return to their stations, 200 uniformed policemen charged through the May Day gathering of Socialists and labor unionists who celebrated the International Labor Day in Union square yesterday.
The police charge caused a stampede of 5,000 of the 15,000 persons in the Square. Clubs flew right and left, the police jumping over the bodies of prostrate women, men, and boys and even two babies, to reach people beyond them....
Schmittberger's powerful voice was heard above the dim of the stampede and the screams of women and children who had been bowled over.
"Back to your stations, you men! Down with your clubs! Stop this! Stop it at once!" the big Inspector called out and his message seemed to bring the excited policemen to their senses.
As they turned to retreat over a big open space they had cleared they found two little babies rolling in the dirt, with their mother, Rebecca Shulman, trying to crawl to them from a point ten feet away where she had landed on her head. One man, Bola Bologna, of 355 East 184th Street, was bleeding profusely from a wound across his head...
Crowd's Mood Changes.
While the charge was being made Socialist speakers, several of whom were women, were standing on the cottage porch, from which a woman was addressing the multitude. The police advance occurred so quickly that the meeting itself was not disturbed. Speakers continued with their appeals to keep May 1 as a general labor holiday, in harmony with a world-wide movement, for several minutes after the stampede.
But the mood of the crowd was changed. The marches, from 30,000 to 60,000 strong, had been sweeping into the Square for four hours. All had arrived in a cheerful mood, and there had been much singing, while little children by the hundreds mingled with the men and women marchers.
The Times gives a confused account of the reason for the police attack, stating that the police were "protecting" one group at the rally from another group. However, they describe nothing more than a verbal argument between two competing Italian speakers, described as anarchist, and a Socialist who attempted to calm the argument. It was at this point that the police came charging into the crowd, clubbing bystanders left and right. The Times article continues blaming the anarchist and I. W. W. men for the reckless violence of the police:
Anarchists Stir Up Trouble.
From 10:30 o'clock in the morning, when the first police detachments and the first celebrators reached Union Square, until 5:20 o'clock, when the stamped occurred, the police had an anxious day. The source of the trouble always turned out to be Alexander Berkman's group of Anarchists, who were bent on breaking up any movement except their own.
The permit to hod a public meeting in Union Square was held by Morris Steizer, a Socialist organizer. But under a ruling made by Commissioner Woods to expand the free speech policy of previous police administrations, the police were ordered to allow any one to speak from a packing box in front of the cottage while the porch of the cottage was to be turned over to persons holding permits.
When Mr. Steizer arrived, two hours before the May Day parade was due to reach Union Square, he found four I. W. W. men holding forth from a packing box in front of the cottage The police turned over the cottage porch to the Socialists, but said they could not interfere with the I. W. W. men.
A few minutes later a noisy, brawling, yelling group of I. W. W. men and Anarchists arrived at Union Square from Mulberry Park, where they had been for two hours. Berkman was at their head with "Sweet Marie" Ganz on one side of him and Becky Edelson on the other side. The brawlers carried banners containing slogans such as these:Rockefeller is a good Christian. He murders our women and children.Policeman Beatty approached Berkman to ask under what permit he was taking the 500 men up Broadway. For answer a man standing close to Berkman struck the policeman from behind with a heavy cane, felling him. Thirty-five plain-clothes men rescued Beatty from the hooting anarchists. They brought out of the crowd a silver-headed cane bearing the initial "W." with which Beatty had been struck. A gash in his head was sewed up at Bellevue Hospital after which he returned to duty....
Wanted-Volunteers to go to Colorado and fight.
Huerta and John D. Rockefeller-Two bandit enemies of the people.
The focus of the parade and rally this year was the slaughter of men, women and children, by the good Sunday school teacher, John D. Rockefeller Jr.
Band music heralded the first division of the Socialists marching south on Fourth Avenue...Mounted men, aided by several hundred policemen on foot, tunneled a hole for them through the crowd which packed the Square.SOURCE
Lucien Sanial, 83 years old, a veteran of the French Commune, blind, deaf and feeble, led the marchers in an automobile.
In the first division of the parade were 7,000 men, women and children representing the United Hebrew Trades. The second division contained twice as many marchers as the first. The first division formed in Rutgers's Square, and Marched through Canal, Eldridge, Broome, Ridge, East Houston Streets, Second Avenue, Fourth Street, Washington Place to Fifth Avenue,. There it joined the second division if a consolidated parade by way of Fifth Avenue across Twenty-third Street and down
Fourth Avenue to Union Square.
The second section, known as "the up-town parade," was led by the Cloakmakers' Union, with twenty-three bands and a force of men in line estimated at more than 10,000.
Near the end of the parade Anna M. Sloan and Helen Fischer, dressed as Red Cross nurses, marched, carrying a litter into which watchers along the line of march dropped coins and bills. They had fifteen pounds of coins before they reached Union Square.
The transparencies in the parade dealt mostly with the Colorado situation, with some reference to Mr. Rockefeller, the most striking of which wasHe uses Bibles in New York and bullets in Colorado.[emphasis added for banner quotations]
The New York Times
(New York, New York)
-of May 2, 1914
May Day Parade, New York City, 1914
"Bullets in Colorado"
Workers, farmers, we are
The great party of the workers,
The earth belongs only to men,
Idlers can go someplace else.
How many on our flesh eat their fill?
But if the ravens, the vultures
One morning disappeared
The sun would shine still!
- Eugène Pottier - Paris, June 1871