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

Saturday May 23, 1914
From The New York Times: Mother Jones Speaks, Tells Women Not to Be Lady-Like

Mother Jones Standing Pointing
"Never mind if you are not lady like, you are woman-like.
God Almighty made the woman
and the Rockefeller gang of thieves made the ladies."
Speaking before a dinner of wealthy women in New York City last evening, Mother Jones encouraged women to be woman-like rather than lady-like. She encouraged them to take to the streets and make their voices heard. When one of the women of the comfortable class whined that she could not make her voice heard without the vote, Mother Jones replied, "I have no vote, and I have raised hell all over this country."

While we at Hellraisers disagree with Mother Jones on the issue of woman's suffrage, we will point out that many of the woman of the Colorado mining camps also have no vote for either they are non-citizens, or if they do have the right to vote, then their vote is stolen by coal companies, as are the votes of their husbands and fathers. For, in the closed company towns, they vote under the supervision of the company guards. The lack of a vote has not stopped these women from raising hell. Perhaps, these wealthy woman have something to learn from their less fortunate sisters of the Colorado strike zone.


Not a Man Allowed at Dinner Given for Agitator by Six of Her Admirers.
Guest Says Colorado Mine Owner Ascribed Control Over the Workers to the Women's Votes.

Mother Jones, the agitator, gave women some lights on suffrage at a dinner given for her at the Café Boherne, Second Avenue and Tenth Street, last evening. Not a man was allowed at the gathering.

Mother Jones spoke an hour and a half, and then read a few facts. She told the women they must stand for free speech in the streets, that it was their right, and they must have it.

"But how can we get it, mother? We haven't the vote," cried a voice from the audience.

"I have no vote," answered Mother Jones cheerfully, "and I've raised hell all over this country."

The entire roomful of women shrieked with glee. The dinner was arranged by six women-Katherine Leckle, Marie Jenney Howe, Edna Kenton, Fola La Follette, Rose Young, and Florence Woolston- and the number of guests was limited to 500. There were writers, artists, women of wealth, a a few suffrage leaders, and women interested in labor movements and philanthropy.

Mother Jones was kept quietly in a rear room while the diner was in progress to conserve her strength, but she showed no weight of her 82 years when she went into the big dining room and stood on a chair to speak. The women, standing, gave cheers of welcome. Mother Jones is fond of the frills and accessories of dress. She wore a figured bodice with the dark skirt of her gown. There were ruffles at the neck and wrists, little dingley ornaments at the latter and her white hair was arranged in the style that was known some years ago as a "French twist." In front it had been cut in something of a bang and fluffed over her forehead. There were two little side combs and a glittering ornament was at the base of the twist.

Behind her gold-rimmed, gold-bowed glasses, Mother Jones's blue eyes twinkled. She likes to talk, and she does not mind using what she calls classic language. Her talk was more or less of a rambling description of different strikes in which she had taken part, with sometimes thrilling and often amusing descriptions.

"There is going to be no speaking," said Miss Leckle, who introduced her, "and only one talk by the biggest woman in the world. She loves every man, woman, and child in it, and we love her."

Mother Jones started in, beginning with Rome, so it was not surprising that it took her nearly two hours to tell the women all about it. The remarks on suffrage were an interlude, and a surprise to many, and she said things about the Colorado women to which some of the guests took exception.

"Some one says I'm an anti-suffragist," said Mother Jones. "Well, that's a horrible crime. I'll tell you something, girls."

The women smiled at that nice little familiar word.

"I'm not an anti to anything that will bring freedom. But I'm going to be honest with you about those women in Colorado. There is no use in throwing bouquets. They have had the vote for nineteen years, and this is what someone who was present at a meeting of mine owners told me. One of the men proposed disenfranchising the women and another jumped to his feet and shouted.

"'For God's sake, what are you talking about. If it hadn't been for the women, the miners would have beat us long ago.'"

There was a gasp of horror from the women in the room, and one woman asked if Mother Jones would not explain that statement.

"You see," said Mother Jones, "the women got the vote without knowing anything about the civic conditions, but now they are waking up, and when the women in America wake up there will be something done. A woman in a comfortable home who is reading her books and amusing her children says to me:

"'Why really, we didn't know anything about these terrible conditions.'

"'Well,' I answered, 'I was 1,800 miles away and I knew all about it.'

"I don't believe in the rights of women or the rights of men, but human rights. No country can rise higher than its women, and I don't have to see the mother to know what she is. I can tell when I see the man she has raised. And there are not as many good mothers as there should be."

In telling the women to go on with their work Mother Jones said:

"Never mind if you are not lady like, you are woman-like. God Almighty made the woman and the Rockefeller gang of thieves made the ladies."

Speaking of Mexico, she told of her acquaintance with Villa. "I went over to see Villa, and I was wishing to God that we had two or three Villas in this country."

Mrs. Havelock Ellis was one of the women at the speakers' table with Mrs. John F. Trow, Dr. Gertrude Kelley, and Miss Livinia Dock. Among others present were Mrs. Frank Cothren, Mess Elizabeth Dutcher, Mrs. Mary Ware Dennett, Mrs. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Mrs. Calvin Tomkins, Mrs. Robert Adamson, Maria Thompson Davies, Lou Rogers, Miss Knox, and Maude Malone.

[emphasis added]

Yes, perhaps the wealthy woman of New York, who believe that they cannot make their voices heard without a vote, should consider the men and women of the southern Colorado coal camps who have been denied their political rights for years, and are, nevertheless, making their voices heard, and heard in the spite of the company-guard infested state militia with their machine guns, mass arrests, and military bastilles. From Walter Fink of the United Mine Workers of America:
The miners of Colorado have never been allowed their political rights. On election day they were driven like so many sheep to the polls The superintendent sent one man in to vote. He marked a ballot, but instead of placing it in the box took it to the superintendent. This was given to a man to place in the ballot box, and he in turn brought out a ballot marked in the same way. Thus the endless chain was continued. Any man who refused to vote was discharged and driven out of the county. At times when even this method would not win an election, some prominent man was arrested. His friends were told that he would be "fixed" if they did not make his followers vote the way of the coal operators.

The New York Times
(New York, New York)
-of May 23, 1914

The Ludlow Massacre
-by Walter H. Fink
Williamson-Haffner, Denver, Colorado


Friday May 23, 2014
The Speech as described in the Autobiography of Mother Jones:

This is certainly the speech described 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 women'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."

The Autobiography of Mother Jones
-by Mother Jones
-ed by Mary Field Parton
-introduction by Clarence Darrow
Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company, 1925
From chapter 22: "You Don't Need a Vote to Raise Hell"

The Rebel Girl - Hazel Dickens

She's the Rebel Girl, the Rebel Girl,
She's the working class, the strength of this world.
From Maine to Georgia you'll see
Her fighting for you and for me.
Yes, she's there by your side
With her courage and pride,
She's unequaled anywhere.
And I'm proud to fight for freedom
With a Rebel Girl.

               -Joe Hill and Hazel Dickens

"The Rebel Girl" as written by Joe Hill


Originally posted to Hellraisers Journal on Fri May 23, 2014 at 11:00 AM PDT.

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

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