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

Wednesday May 25, 1904
San Francisco, California - Speech by Mother Jones Condemned as "Blasphemous"

Mother Jones
The San Francisco Chronicle made clear its disapproval of the speech given by Mother Jones at the Alhambra last Sunday night, which disapproval, we suspect, concerns Mother Jones not at all. This description of the speech appeared in Monday's edition of the Chronicle:


Audience at Alhambra Listens to Invective and Blasphemy Against Law and Order.

At a socialistic meeting last night at the Alhambra Theater, with Frank R. Whitney in the chair and the red badge much in evidence, Mother Jones made a two hours' address on the evils of the "the cannibalistic commercial age in which the toiler unbosoms his breast to the lash of the men who crucify babes." The chairman announced that this was the first gun in the campaign of Eugene V. Debs for President of the United States and Benjamin F. Hanford for Vice-President.

Mother Jones' speech was largely of a nature unfit for print and her most unseemly and blasphemous execrations and jibes were hailed with delight by the audience. She directed part of her tirade at the members of the press who were reporting the meeting and addressed them with personal insult. In this she was aided by some sympathizers in the crowd, who took occasion to violate the laws of good breeding and grammar at the same time.

Mother Jones took up an hour in reciting the incidents of the Colorado trouble. She inquired loudly "What specha [species?] of woman gave birth to United States deputies," and hailed President Roosevelt as the man "who armed robbers against workingmen." She referred several times to "ministers, priests and the whole pack of parasites," and finally descended to such unutterable blasphemy that even her adherents held their breath and gasped.

The cry which aroused the most enthusiasm was to "take your bullet and your bayonet and clean the troops and officers off the face of the earth." She afterward added that she stood for law and order and the ballot box.

Striking coal miners, April 1904, Price, Utah, under arrest, in bullpen, under armed guards. Charles DeMolli  seated in foreground
Striking coal miners, April 1904, Price, Utah, under arrest, in bullpen, under armed guards.
Charles DeMolli  seated in foreground
Mother Jones came to San Francisco from the strike zone of Carbon County, Utah, where she was prevented from assisting the strikers by being placed in "quarantine." Conditions there are described in this report from the strike zone to the Salt Lake Tribune:

Special to The Tribune.

WEST JORDAN, Utah, May 23. The Salt Lake Tribune of Sunday morning, May 22, contains an article on the "Bull Pen for the Strikers During the Trouble at Helper." Let me contrast the conditions as pictured in that article and as they exist. "A question without two sides is no question at all."

Things have been pictured in such colors in regard to so many Italians working and on strike there. Perhaps the public is not aware of the actual conditions. During the convention recently held in Salt Lake by the different trades unions of this State, the coal miners had as their representatives, two Americans, Jones and Phillips, and one Italian, not a Dago, but an Italian, understand. Delegates are elected by the membership of local unions. Jones has lived and worked in the strike district for twenty-five years; he is an American citizen. Phillips has lived and worked there for a good many years, and he is an American citizen. Bergera, the Italian, speaks the English language and can distinguish between right and wrong.

The Utah Fuel company has endeavored to win its point by working upon the race prejudice of the people and stooped to use every tool, and others willing to sacrifice their fellow-man upon the altar of wage slavery. Americans are entirely lost sight of in the company's endeavor to produce race prejudice and win its point.

In regard to "Demolli, the Agitator," and wages,-it is asserted that from $75 to $175 per month was made at the time the strike was called. If this is true, why haven't the young men who were strong and husky, having more strength than sense, been able to make expenses? Why is it they have left the camp discouraged because they could not make both ends meet?

Is it altogether because they are inexperienced? No. It Is because the Utah Fuel company is looking out for number one even at the price of honor and does not care what means are employed to hoodwink a community that is forced to pay the price of  the company's loss. Any system that can be raked up to produce a prejudice is used.

Now as to the flag. It was not trailed in the dust, although a mistake was made and the boys placed it on the standard inverted for which they are and have been sorry. They apologized for it through their leaders. The "Red Rag" is the Socialist party's banner, and the only "rag" that at the present stands for "equal rights to all and special privileges to none." The American flag at present stands not for liberty, but for military rule and the advancement of every end of the corporations, regardless of the cost to and the misery of the working man. The once-glorious flag of freedom is used to drive every spark of patriotism from the breasts of the American workmen.

Why do the corporations fear "Mother" Jones? Because they know she is immune from the influence of their money. Because she speaks the truth; and the truth hurts. Because she has seen the inside workings of their schemes and she is not afraid to tell the world the truth. Why did the officers not prosecute her for breaking quarantine? Because they were afraid to force things for fear the truth would be too well known.

If Capt. John F. Cory and his colleagues can find any glory by dropping into the camps of unsuspecting and unarmed men and women at daybreak, and with threats, to drive them from their beds as if they were cattle, on a cold, bitter April morning, they are welcome to it.

The truth will out and labor must and shall be respected. A. W. CHARTER.


The San Francisco Chronicle
(San Francisco, California)
-of May 23, 1914

The Salt Lake Tribune
(Salt Lake City, Utah)
-of May 24, 1904

See also:
hellraisers+Mother Jones+helper

1). Mother Jones Standing
2). Striking Coal Miners of Carbon County, Utah, in Bullpen, April 1904

The Death of Mother Jones-Gene Autry

O'er the hills and through the valley
In ev'ry mining town;
Mother Jones was ready to help them,
She never turned them down.
On front with the striking miners
She always could be found;
And received a hearty welcome
In ev'ry mining town.


Originally posted to Hellraisers Journal on Sun May 25, 2014 at 11:00 AM PDT.

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

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    God spare me the Heart to fight them... I'll fight the Pirates forever. -Mother Jones

    by JayRaye on Sun May 25, 2014 at 11:00:17 AM PDT

  •  Carbon County, Utah, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye, rat racer, AoT

    Much as El Paso County in Colorado, still hears echos of the past struggles. It has been a solid Blue until the Democrats, gasp, presented a Black Presidential candidate. It still remains one of the few swingy areas in the red, LDS State.
    Where Never Forget is still heard.

    "the northern lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see. Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee". - Robert Service, Bard of the Yukon

    by Joe Jackson on Sun May 25, 2014 at 05:39:43 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for the info, Joe. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rat racer

      I really appreciate hearing about these old mining regions and how they are doing nowadays.

      God spare me the Heart to fight them... I'll fight the Pirates forever. -Mother Jones

      by JayRaye on Sun May 25, 2014 at 06:01:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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