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

Monday May 18, 1914
From The Brooklyn Daily Eagle: Mother Jones Speaks at Brooklyn Labor Lyceum

Mother Jones in cold cellar cell, Military Bastille, smaller
Mother Jones spoke yesterday afternoon at the Brooklyn Labor Lyceum. She spoke out about the rule of the Rockefellers in Colorado, and called for government ownership of the mines. She took a stand against Women's Suffrage, a stand which Hellraisers does not support. However, we will point out that it was a Democratic Governor in Colorado, lickspittle for the Rockefeller interests, elected with the help of Colorado's women voters (as well as the Labor Vote), who was ultimately in command of the Colorado National Guard at the time of the Ludlow Massacre. It was this same Governor who allowed for the reign of Military Despotism which kept Mother Jones locked up in the Military Bastilles of Colorado, including the cold cellar cell in Walsenburg which had already claimed the life of a striking miner.


Labor Men Stirred to High Pitch of Enthusiasm by Mother Jones.
Blames Colorado Conditions Upon Mine Owners-Resolutions to Be Sent To President Wilson.

Declaring that if Christ came to New York he would be kicked out church by John D. Rockefeller, ordered arrested by Mayor Mitchell and thrown into jail; decrying the present system of Government and murders by the militia of Colorado and emphatically denouncing Women's Suffrage. "Mother" Jones held an audience that filled the Brooklyn Labor Lyceum yesterday afternoon, while she related the hardships miners and their families have been forced to undergo in Colorado and elsewhere. The white haired speaker of four score and two years told how the militiamen set fired to a tent colony inhabited by miners and their families, and stood ready to shoot down those who tried to escape from the flames and smoke that wiped out a score or more of lives.

Throughout her address, "Mother" Jones was wildly cheered. Following her speech resolutions were adopted denouncing the Rockefellers, father and son, of Colorado for ordering the militia to the miners camps, and demanding that President Wilson confiscate the coal mines there and operate them in the interests of the people, until Congress enacts Legislation providing for a government ownership of the natural resources of the country. A copy of the resolutions will be forwarded to the President and to congress by the Central Labor Union of Brooklyn, under whose auspices yesterday's meeting was held.

It was shortly before 4 o'clock when President Maurice De Young introduced "Mother" Jones. Clad in purple silk waist and a black skirt, with a little bonnet covering her snowy hair, she was in striking contrast to the fashionably dressed women who surrounded her. Pathos and humor mingled throughout her address of two hours and forty minutes. She showed remarkable vitality for a woman of her years. Almost immediately she set about to denounce the present system of government, John D. Rockefeller and John D. jr. She blamed these two men for the conditions in the coal mine regions. She mocked the Rockefeller interests in foreign missions, saying that they spent money to educate the Chinese, while their employees were not even paid sufficiently to support a church. "They send Jesus to China," she said, while the crowd laughed, "because they are afraid to face Him in this country.

"If Jesus Christ came to New York today and went to the church of Mr.Rockefeller and told him of the manner in which his men are killing innocent men, women and children in the West, Mr. Rockefeller would grab him by the back of the neck and throw him into the street; then Mayor Mitchel would have a squad of police arrest him and throw him in jail.

The women of many states are crying out for the ballot. What are they going to do with it when they get it? I want to tell you men to do all in your power to discourage such a thing. The states where the franchise has been granted, despotism, grafting, murdering and crookedness reign. In Colorado, where women have had the ballot for twenty-one years, conditions are worse than any other state in the union. While the gunmen, whom you people call soldiers, shot down the people of that state the women there asked that more murderers be sent to mow down more mothers and babies."

The trouble with Mexico, said the speaker, is because Rockefeller cannot have his way there. She praised the Mexicans, said they were never known to "scab it" in a strike, and that the much talked of wholesale killing of Americans in Mexico is but a drop in the bucket in comparison whit the wholesale killing of Americans in Colorado.

She related how the Rockefeller managers of the mines did their utmost to keep the true facts concerning their deeds from the newspapers by intimidating the newspapermen: how reporters risked their lives to get the news and were arrested. She praised the newspapers of the country, and lauded the newspaper men, saying they are fearless when it is a matter of obtaining news or bringing to light the things that the high-class thieves of the country are doing."

"Mother Jones" dwelt for some length of time on the Mexican situation. She bitterly attacked the idea of sending troops and ships to that country because it refused to salute the American flag, when in Colorado she said, the American soldiers have time and again torn down the flag, trampled upon it, and set fire to tents over which it flew.

"I am not of the Sunday school class, nor of the suffragette pink tea squad," she said, in ending. "I belong to the army of the world's fighting women."

Applause that shook the building followed.

[emphasis added]


The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
(Brooklyn, New York)
-of May 18, 1914

Photo: Mother Jones in Cold Cellar Cell


Sunday May 18, 2014
More on Mother Jones and Women's Suffrage:

"You don't need a vote to raise hell!"
Let me plainly say that I disagree with Mother Jones on the subject of Women's Suffrage, but I will say that she had a point: the women of Colorado had had the vote for many years at the time of the Ludlow Massacre, and their votes had not done much good for the miners and their families. What Mother Jones failed to point out was that it was also the votes of men, including the men of Labor, which had elected Governor Ammons to office on the Democratic Party ticket. And it was Governor Ammons who was ultimately responsible for the conduct of the Colorado National Guard during the strike.

In her Autobiography, Chapter XXII "You Don't Need a Vote to Raise Hell," Mother Jones gives an account of a speech made in New York City to group of women. These were most likely society women, I am guessing from her tone (she did not use words like "meow" when speaking of her fellow working class women). Her antipathy towards society women was well known, and documented by Mary Heaton Vorse, and others. Being an invited speaker did not prevent Mother Jones from lashing out at them as we can see here:

Five hundred women got up a dinner and asked me to speak. Most of the women were crazy about women suffrage. They thought that Kingdom-come would follow the enfranchisement of women.

"You must stand for free speech in the streets," I told them.

"How can we," piped a woman, "when we haven't a vote?"

"I have never had a vote," said I, "and I have raised hell all over this country! You don't need a vote to raise Hell! You need convictions and a voice!"

Some one meowed, "You're an anti!"

"I am not an anti to anything which will bring freedom to my class," said I. "But I am going to be honest with you sincere women who are working for votes for women. The women of Colorado have had the vote for two generations and the working men and women are in slavery. The state is in slavery, vassal to the Colorado Iron and Fuel Company and its subsidiary interests.

"A man who was present at a meeting of mine owners told me that when the trouble started in the mines, one operator proposed that women be disfranchised because here and there some woman had raised her voice in behalf of the miners. Another operator jumped to his feet and shouted, 'For God's sake! What are you talking about! If it had not been for the Woman's vote the miners would have beaten us long ago!'"

Some of the women gasped with horror. One or two left the room. I told the women I did not believe in women's rights nor in men's rights but in human rights. No matter what your fight," I said, "don't be ladylike! God Almighty made women and the Rockefeller gang of thieves made the ladies. I have just fought through sixteen months of bitter warfare in Colorado. I have been up against armed mercenaries but this old woman, without a vote, and with nothing but a hatpin has scared them.

"Organized labor should organize its women along industrial lines. Politics is only the servant of industry. The plutocrats have organized their women. They keep them busy with suffrage and prohibition and charity."

[emphasis added]

The Autobiography of Mother Jones
-ed by Mary Field Parton
Charles H Kerr Pub, 1990
Pittston Strike Commemorative Edition

Men and steel
-by Mary Heaton Vorse
The Labour Publishing Company ltd., 1922

Photo: Mother Jones: "You don't need a vote to raise hell!"

I Am A Union Woman-Deborah Holland

I am a Union Woman
As brave as I can be.
I do not like the bosses
And the bosses don't like me.

                  -Aunt Molly Jackson


Originally posted to Hellraisers Journal on Sun May 18, 2014 at 11:00 AM PDT.

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

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