"In San Diego, Jack White, a Wobbly arrested in a free-speech fight in 1912, sentenced to six months in the county jail on a bread and water diet, was asked if he had anything to say to the court. A stenographer recorded what he said:

"The prosecuting attorney, in his plea to the jury, accused me of saying on a public platform at a public meeting, "To hell with the courts, we know what justice is." He told a great truth when he lied, for if he had searched the innermost recesses of my mind he could have found that thought, never expressed by me before, but which I express now, "To hell with your courts, I know what justice is," for I have sat in your court room day after day and have seen members of my class pass before this, the so-called bar of justice. I have seen you, Judge Sloane, and others of your kind, send them to prison because they dared to infringe upon the sacred rights of property. You have become blind and deaf to the rights of man to pursue life and happiness, and you have crushed those rights so that the sacred right of property shall be preserved. Then you tell me to respect the law. I do not. I did violate the law, as I will violate every one of your laws and still come before you and say "To hell with the courts." ... The prosecutor lied, but I will accept his lie as a truth and say again so that you, Judge Sloane, may not be mistaken as to my altitude, "To hell with your courts, I know what justice is." "


"The IWW took its slogan "One Big Union" seriously. Women, foreigners, black workers, the lowliest and most unskilled of workers, were included when a factory or mine was organized. When the Brotherhood of Timber Workers organized in Louisiana and invited Bill Haywood to speak to them in 1912 (shortly after the Lawrence victory), he expressed surprise that no Negroes were at the meeting. He was told it was against the law to have interracial meetings in Louisiana. Haywood told the convention:

"You work in the same mills together. Sometimes a black man and a white man chop down the same tree together. 'You are meeting in convention now to discuss the conditions under which yon labor... . Why not be sensible about this and call the Negroes into the Convention? If it is against the law, this is one time when the law should be broken. Negroes were invited into the convention, which then voted to affiliate with the TWW. ""

"In 1900 there were 500,000 women office workers-in 1870 there had been 19,000. Women were switchboard operators, store workers, nurses. Half a million were teachers. The teachers formed a leachers League that fought against the automatic firing of women who became pregnant. The following ''Rules for Female Teachers" were posted by the school board of one town in Massachusetts:

  1. Do not get married.
  2. Do not leave town at any time without permission of the school board.
  3. Do not keep company with men.
  4. Be home between the hours of 8 P.M. and 6 A.M.
  5. Do not loiter downtown, in ice cream stores.
  6. Do not smoke.
  7. Do not get into a carriage with any man except your father or brother.
  8. Do not dress in bright colors.
  9. Do not dye your hair.
  10. Do not wear any dress more than two inches above the ankle."


"Labor struggles could make things better, but the country's resources remained in the hands of powerful corporations whose motive was profit, whose power commanded the government of the United States. There was an idea in the air, becoming clearer and stronger, an idea not just in the theories of Karl Marx but in the dreams of writers and artists through the ages: that people might cooperatively use the treasures of the earth to make life better for everyone, not just a few. "

"Around the turn of the century, strike struggles were multiplying-in the 1890s there had been about a thousand strikes a year; by 1904 there were four thousand strikes a year. Law and military force again and again took the side of the rich. It was a time when hundreds of thousands of Americans began to think of socialism. "




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