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

Wednesday June 22, 1904
From The Inter Ocean: Bitter Fight at Chicago Federation of Labor, Mother Jones Speaks

Charles Moyer, President of Western Federation of Miners
Before we get to the story on the struggle within the Chicago Federation of Labor, we are pleased to report that President Moyer of the Western Federation of Miners has been safely transferred from Telluride to Cripple Creek where we are sorry to report that he remains imprisoned, this time in the county jail. Readers of Hellraisers will remember that there was concern regarding his safety during the transfer.

From Monday's Inter Ocean:

Landed Safely in Cripple Creek-
Marched in Hollow Square.

Special Dispatch to the Inter Ocean.

CRIPPLE CREEK. Colo., June 19.-Charles S. [sic] Moyer, president of the Western Federation of Miners, was landed safely in the county jail today.

An engine and one coach, carrying a small detachment of the National guard, met the regular train having on board the prisoner and two deputy sheriffs a short distance outside the district, and they were transferred to the special.

There was a short stop at Victor, where a number of miners gathered. Soldiers lined the platform. There was a repetition of the Victor scene in this city. On leaving the car a hollow square was formed with Moyer in the center and the march was formed with Moyer in the center and the march was made to the jail.


John Fitzpatrick
The same issue of The Inter Ocean also reported, with some alarm, on amendments brought before the Chicago Federation of Labor. Labor Solidarity is viewed as far too "radical" by this newspaper, and we are pleased to note the Mother Jones, who gave a speech before the delegates, was included among those considered to be "extremists." In a grand show of solidarity, John Fitzpatrick rose to advocate for the amendment brought before the C. F. L. by L. W. Washington of the Colored Waiters Union:


Radicals and Conservatives Clash-
"Fools and Rascals" and "Labor Fakers" Are Terms Hurled.
Each Side Wins a Point-
That of Extremists May Mean Wholesale Sympathetic Strikes-
"Mother" Jones Calls Peabody "Murderer."

Radicals and conservatives clashed in the Chicago Federation of Labor yesterday in one of the bitterest fights that has ever been witnessed in the central labor body. It was a fight between the unions of skilled and unskilled workers, in which one faction was referred to as "fools or rascals" and the other as "labor fakers." Each side scored one point, and when the battle was over the leaders on both sides were trying to figure out whether they had won or lost.

The clash came on the proposed amendment to the constitution to make all future agreements with employers expire in May. The old-time leaders saw in the proposition a possibility of their unions being involved in innumerable controversies to aid the "mushroom" unions of unskilled workers. They were out in force to fight the amendment. The unions of unskilled workers, led by L. W. Washington of the Colored Waiters' union, fought hard to have the amendment adopted.

After three hours of oratory on both sides the amendment was stricken out by a vote of 132 to 104. But the radicals had not been beaten and they came to the front in adopting the next section, which is about as radical as the one that was defeated.

Means Sympathetic Strikes.

That section provides that "if one agreement is violated by an employer, all other agreements between that employer and other unions are thereby abrogated." It means the wholesale introduction of sympathetic strikes if it is ratified by the rank and file of the unions when it is submitted to a referendum vote. Despite the efforts of the "old guard" the amendment was adopted by a vote of 119 to 56, many of the delegates having grown weary of the contest and left the hall.

While the debate was in progress "Mother" Jones, the socialist agitator, who was lately driven out of Colorado by the militia, was and interested observer. She showed her sympathy with the radical element, and, made the most revolutionary speech ever made in a meeting of the Chicago Federation of Labor. She referred to the Governor of Colorado as "Murderer" Peabody, and said the militia "were a lot of kids and dudes dressed up in monkey uniforms."

"It took six of them to drive this old woman, 65 years of age, out of the state," she said.

When the debate on the amendment to make all agreements expire in May was opened, L. W. Washington made an impassioned appeal for its adoption, declaring that "the injury of one was the concern of all."

Points Out Danger.

R. H. Crosby of the Carpenters' union followed, pointing out the danger in such an amendment and declaring that his union would make agreements to suit its members regardless of what the central body might think about it.

John J. Fitzpatrick, usually regarded as a conservative, made a plea for the adoption of the amendment.

'We want to have this body of some practical use," he said, "which it is not as it now stands. I do not care whether it is the month of May or some other month, but we must act together and throw the shackles off our necks. Are the 200,000 organized unskilled workers in this city to be sacrificed in the interest of a few selfish skilled trades? I belong to a skilled trade myself, but we are willing to cast our lot with the great army of wage-workers of this city."

J. J. Linehan of the Carpenters' union attacked the proposed amendment, winding up by declaring that the man who introduce the idea was "either a fool or a rascal."

A storm of cheers and hisses greeted this sally, and Organizer Fitzpatrick, on a question of personal privilege, said that the committee which drew up the amendments was not composed of fools, nor yet of "labor fakers." Linehan tried to reply, but was hissed down.

The debate was not so long or bitter on the next amendment, some of the delegates saying that even if is should be adopted, it would confine sympathetic strikes to one concern, which was not as dangerous as the first proposition.

"Mother" Jones Speaks.

The rest of the amendments were laid over until next meeting and "Mother" Jones was given a chance to speak. When the little gray-haired woman, who has been through every strike of miners for the last eight years, mounted the platform, she was given a great reception.

I have just come from Colorado," she said, "where the militia under "Murderer" Peabody is shooting down union miners, leaving their helpless children to starve. You say it does not concern you because the miners belong to the Western Federation of Miners, but I tell you they are of your class. May they ever be right, but right or wrong, I am with them against the common enemy.

I have been up against the capitalists guns for seven long years, and I say now that there is no government under the sun as cruel and oppressive as that which flourishes under the Stars and Stripes. In Russia when men are banished a place is provided for them, but under the Stars and Stripes men are driven from their homes, driven to box cars with the militia with fixed bayonets following behind, and deported out of the state without any place being provided for them.

The Inter Ocean
(Chicago, Illinois)
-Monday Morning, June 20, 1904

1). Charles Moyer
2). John Fitzpatrick
(Scroll about 3/4 way down to p. 216.)

Sunday June 22, 2014
More on L. W. Washington, John Fitzpatrick, and the Chicago Federation of Labor

A search for L. W. Washington brought great results:

L. W. Washington of Colored Waiters Union, p. 108
Chicago Union Labor Directory and Business Guide
T.P. Quinn & Company, 1904
(Search with "L. W. Washington" and choose page 108.)

The Broad Ax
(Chicago, Illinois)
-July 23, 1904
"The Afro-American Waiters of Chicago" by L. W. Washington

This was a Chicago newspaper, Chronicling America has it as a Salt Lake City newspaper for some reason. L. W. Washington contributed articles over a period of several years.

The Broad Ax African-American Newspaper Chicago Illinois July 1904

John Fitzpatrick was a long time labor leader in the city of Chicago:


Chicago labor leader John Fitzpatrick was the youngest of five brothers. He was born in Athlone, Ireland on April 21, 1872. He attended Irish grammar schools for five years but was brought to America by an uncle in 1882, shortly after his father's death. John's mother had died before he was one year old.

Not long after John arrived in America, his uncle died leaving young John to make his own way in the world. He worked on the killing floor of the Chicago Union Stock Yards and learned the trades of blacksmith and horseshoer. He became a member of Local No. 4 of the Chicago Journeymen Horse Shoers Union, a membership he retained until his death, and one of the first paid organizers for the Chicago Federation of Labor in 1902 and also worked many years as an organizer for the American Federation of Labor. Fitzpatrick served as president of the Chicago Federation of Labor in 1900-1901, 1906-1946.

The Chicago Federation of Labor has been a leader among Central Labor Councils for many years:

Founded in 1896, the Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL) quickly emerged as the nation's most powerful central labor council. Owing to its ability to forge unified militancy from a politically diverse membership, the CFL proved an enduring working-class organization in Chicago, achieving its greatest prominence in the first half of the twentieth century.

The Broad Ax of July 23, 1904

Solidarity Forever-UAW Members

Is there aught we hold in common with the greedy parasite  
Who would lash us into serfdom and would crush us with his might?  
Is there anything left to us but to organize and fight?  
For the union makes us strong

Solidarity forever, solidarity forever
Solidarity forever
For the Union makes us strong

              -Ralph Chaplin, 1915


Originally posted to Hellraisers Journal on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 11:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Shamrock American Kossacks, In Support of Labor and Unions, Anti-Capitalist Chat, History for Kossacks, Retail and Workplace Pragmatists - Members and Editors, and Team DFH.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (19+ / 0-)

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

    by JayRaye on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 11:00:19 AM PDT

  •  Solidarity Forever....... (7+ / 0-)

    While always difficult to achieve, it seems that in politics and economic activism of all sorts solidarity has become very selective and ephemeral as advocated by the power centers and organizers from the "left."

    It's bothered me for a long time now, when speaking about the destitute, the under-employed, and the unemployed, most celebrities, among whom today we can safely include wealthy politicians and noted activists from any profession, speak down from a great distance.  The tone is always one of "those people," some more artfully conveyed than others.

    Love this song inspired by the Irish Cork festival recently created in her memory.  I'm afraid that in the US for most on the "left" that she's become only a vague symbol.

    Sir Toby to Malvolio in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night: "Art any more than a steward? Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale?" (virtuous=puritanical)

    by blueoasis on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 11:53:39 AM PDT

  •  Nice historical work (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Galtisalie, YucatanMan, JayRaye

    Nice historical work.


  •  Thanks for reminding us (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan, ChicDemago, JayRaye

    how the Chicago workers fought long and hard for all of us, year after year.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 10:19:00 PM PDT

    •  Yes, Chicago. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I think every major union in the country should move their HQ to Chicago and every contract should expire on May 1st.

      Just imagine that for a moment!

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

      by JayRaye on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 05:54:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's a damn shame that Chicago, a place (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye, PhilJD

    where so much blood, sweat, and tears were shed to gain labor rights is also the place which gave its name to the school of economics dedicated to ripping labor rights to shreds.

    The Chicago School of Economics is the no-regulation, no controls, no-anything "Free Market" solution to everything.

    Despite the fact that real events have proven this ridiculous tenet false over and over again, most all of our leaders cling to that belief and repeat it over and over.  And that includes our current president, unfortunately.

    Great diary again, JayRaye!

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 11:19:07 PM PDT

    •  It is sad, very sad, YucatanMan.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And so many martyrs buried there,

      "how could they peaceful lie...."

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

      by JayRaye on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 05:45:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  From Battle of Jericol by Mary Lou Layne (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Bless the miners who are buried
        In the coalfields of these great hills
        Lord, spirits are among us
        Oh how could they be still
        On the mountainside of a non-union mine
        How could they peaceful lie
        If there's a reason for the rich to rule
        Please, Lord, tell us why

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

        by JayRaye on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 05:51:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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