Justus Ebert's pamphlet on the Lawrence textile strike and the trials of Ettor, Giovannitti and Caruso, IWW organizer falsely charged with murder in connection to the strike. Written in 1913.
CHAPTER ONE: THE INDUSTRIAL DEMOCRACY ARRIVES.
On the morning of the 12th of January, 1912, the riot call was sounded on the bells of the City Hall at Lawrence, Mass. It was the first time in nineteen years that the call had been heard; and then only as a test. The call required the presence of every police officer in the city; regular, special and reserved; plain-clothes men, nightmen, in fact, all the guardians of peace and property.
The call came like a thunderbolt from a clear sky. There had been no previous indication of any need for the entire police resources of the community. Lawrence was, apparently, a peaceful and prosperous city, too active to be riotous, and too contented to be destructive. All its classes were, to all appearances, living in mutual harmony and accord. Why then this riot call? Why this hurry and scurry, this rush from all directions, this reporting at headquarters, of all its police, armed and ready for every possible affray?
The answer is one typical of the times.
Lawrence is renowned as a textile center. It outranks any other city in the nation in the production of woolen and worsted goods. In addition, its cotton industry is important. Lawrence is situated on the Merrimac River, whose immense water power has made it a favorable location for big mills.
In Lawrence, the hand loom of the early New England farm and the small mill of the last century with its tens of thousands of capital, have both been replaced by the Woolen Trust, the Whitman-Morgan combination of cotton and woolen interests, and other powerful organizations of capital, with their tens, nay, hundreds of millions of financial backing. Lawrence is, accordingly, a city dependent on corporate wealth. The mill corporations are its chief tax-payers and the chief employers of its inhabitants. Of the 85,000 population of Lawrence, over 35,000 are enrolled in the army of mill employees. They have no property rights in the mills; and are, for the most part, mere tenders of machines, without skill, and principally of foreign birth, as were the Pilgrim fathers who preceded them; and who murdered the native Indians who opposed their coming. These armies toil for the enrichment of stockholders who do not live in Lawrence and who take no part in its production of textile goods; who, in brief, are far more foreign to Lawrence, than are the most recent arrivals from abroad. Under the benign protection of Schedule K of the tariff laws of this country, they exact exceptional dividends, with more ferocity than Shylock exacted his pound of flesh. In all of which, they do not differ from the capitalist class in general, whose riches and fame are primarily due to the surplus values, that is, the wealth stolen from Labor in the form of profits, interest and rent.1
Let us look at these mills, therefore, a little closer; for, in looking at them, we are looking at the real Lawrence. They are the basis of its prosperity, its heart and soul! Just as the shoe and electric industries are the material basis and the heart and soul of Lynn; or the industries of any place and time are the basis of the material, legal and moral institutions—the heart and soul—of that place and time.
The principal mills in Lawrence are those of the American Woolen Company. This company is the largest single corporation in the textile industry. It is a consolidation of 34 mills, located mostly in New England. For these reasons it is known as "the Woolen Trust." The American Woolen Company does about one-ninth of the woolen and worsted manufacturing in the United States. Its 1911 output was valued at $45,000,000.
The Wood Mill of the American Woolen Co., located in Lawrence, is claimed by the company to be "the largest worsted mill in the world." It is 1,900 feet long, 300 feet wide and contains 1,300,000 square feet of floor space. The output for 1911 is said to be valued at $9,000,000. The Washington and Ayer Mills adjoin the Wood Mill. They supply the raw material to the other mills of the company, located outside of Lawrence.
All three mills—Wood, Washington and Ayer—are situated on the South side of the Merrimac. They are modern brick structures, six stories high, almost a half-mile long altogether; and surmounted by an ornate clock-tower. A bridge at Union Street connects them with Lawrence proper. 16,500 persons, or almost one-half of the mill workers of Lawrence, are employed by the American Woolen Co. Its general offices are in Boston.
The American Woolen Co. always pays 7 per cent on its capitalization of $70,000,000. This is said to be largely water. It is alleged in some quarters that its entire plant can be replaced at a cost ranging from $10,000,000 to $20,000,000. It is a well-known fact that its leading officers and stock-holders are connected with mill machine and construction companies that batten on its resources. William Wood, the president, owns two palatial residences. When asked in court, "how many automobiles have you," he replied, "I don't know. I haven't any time to count them." Necessity doesn't require that he should take time to count his wealth. He has so much of it, as to render the performance superfluous.
Another noteworthy corporation on the South side of the Merrimac, is the Lawrence Dye Works. This is the leading corporation in the consolidation of four mills known as the United States Worsted Co., whose properties it owns, besides its own. This $2,500,000 corporation makes a speciality of dyeing and finishing worsted goods. From 1884 to 1900 over 100 per cent was paid from its profits. Since then, the average yearly dividend has been nearly 20 per cent. The stockholders of the Lawrence Dye Works now receive in five years that for which they formerly had to wait seven. The United States Worsted Co. itself pays 7.37 per cent annually. It manufactures fancy worsted and woolen goods in a six-story modern brick and concrete weaving mill overlooking the power dam at Lawrence.
Next in rank to the Woolen Trust mills are the Pacific Mills, located on the North side of the Merrimac, in Lawrence proper, This company manufactures cotton and worsted dress goods. Its attorney, is also attorney for the Morgan railroad interests in New England. Men conspicuous on the boards of directors of these railroad interests are also conspicuous on the board of directors of the Pacific Mills. The Pacific Mills is erecting new mills at South Lawrence, east of the Wood Mill, whose total capacity is said to exceed that of the latter. Its employes number 6,000.
The Pacific Mills has a capital stock of $3,000,000; and a surplus of $5,141,817. Its assets in two years—1909-1911—increased from $11,015,281 to $12,838,279, or a total of $1,822,998. This corporation paid dividends: 1907, $320; 1908, $120; 1909, $160; 1910, $120; 1911, $120; this is on non-taxable shares with a par value of $1,000. The total return to investors, in ten years, was 148 per cent. This is an average yearly return of 15 per cent. In other words, in ten years, the shareholders of the Pacific Mills not only ate their cake more abundantly than they made it, but they also have it now more abundantly than ever before. This is due to the kindness of the present system of capitalism, which takes from labor all it produces; giving in return therefrom wages, that is, enough of labor's product for labor to subsist on and reproduce more labor.2
After the Pacific Mills, in importance, come the Arlington Mills, owned by the Whitman interests, so-called after William Whitman, its president and principal stockholder; who is also a director in six textile corporations, closely allied to the one over which he presides. Whitman is credited on inside circles with being the father of Schedule K; also with having Morgan backing.
The Arlington Mills is capitalized at $8,000,000. Its annual output reaches the total value of $t5,000,000. Its dividends were six per cent from 1877 to 1903, eight per cent from 1903 to 1912. In 1905, the Whitman Mills also declared a stock dividend of thirty-three and one-half per cent.3
Its mills in Lawrence employ over 5,000 operatives; and are continually expanding in size and importance. Like many other New England mills, the Arlington Mill is increasing its capacity out of its earnings. Dividends grow and so does the value of the property producing them; thanks to the productivity of Labor.
In addition to the Pacific and the Arlington Mills, there are in Lawrence proper, the Atlantic, Pemberton, Everett, Kuhnhardt, Duck and 13 other mills, whose combined capital runs well up above the Century mark. The brick buildings they own are mostly of an older type than those of the Woolen Trust, already described, and are built in close succession to one another, making them look as one. They are surmounted by belfries and smoke stacks. Fences and walls surround them. Entrance is through gates that are reached by bridges, which cross a power canal running parallel with the mills and feeding them. This canal cuts off the mills from the city, just as the moats of a medieval castle cut it off from the surrounding country.
The mills are on a private street called, very appropriately, Canal Street. A railroad runs right along side of them and pierces them in order to get to a bridge crossing the river. All of which helps along the isolation and fortification.
All the mills on the north side of the Merrimac, thus isolated and fortified, are good dividend payers. The point is well illustrated in a story gleaned from the press and told by William D. Haywood, about Mr. Turner, Prest. of the Duck Mill, as follows:
Mr. Turner is a man of many wives and some wards. He married the last ward after he got rid of his wives. She lived in Brooklyn. They took a honeymoon. It was to Chicago. They had a palace train. Two Pullman cars were reserved for the bride's dogs. When those two carloads of dogs arrived in Chicago with their mistress, they were taken to a fashionable hotel, registered, assigned to private rooms and were fed on the choicest cuts of meat; porterhouse steak.4
None but the extremely wealthy, like the Woods, Turner and the textile barons of Lawrence, can indulge in such wasteful extravagancies. To even the moderately wealthy middle class, it is not given to have more automobiles than one can count; or to provide Pullman cars, fashionable hotel suites and porterhouse steaks for the dogs belonging to one's latest of many brides similarly indulged before. Such expenditures are only possible among those possessing multimillions, such as come out of the mils of Lawrence.
Contrast now the wealth, expansion and luxury of Lawrence's corporation magnates with the poverty, degradation and misery of Lawrence's wealth producers.
Despite consolidation, tariff, and perfected machinery, the wages and conditions of textile workers show a steady decline. According to the United States Census, from 1890 to 1905, textile wages had decreased 22.0 to 19.5 per cent of the value of the gross output. This is a difference of $53,686,035; a stupendous sum to these poorly-paid workers, as will be shown further along.5
This decline is made possible by increasing the number of looms to the worker, while at the same time, reducing the pay, through the competition of those thus displaced. In August, 1911, a call was issued for a general organization of all the textile workers along the Merrimac River, in order to more effectively combat the tendency to reduce wages and intensify labor at one and the same time.
The appeal opens thus:
One hundred cotton weavers are fighting against the following conditions which the Atlantic Mills are trying to impose upon them.
Twelve looms instead of seven, at 49 cents per cut, instead of 79 cents; those are in a few words, the conditions against which the weavers are revolting.
Seven looms producing two cuts a week at the rate of 79 cents per cut leaves a salary of $11.06 per week; 12 looms producing two cuts each per week at the rate of 49 cents per cut gives a salary of $11.76.
Admitting that each weaver can make 24 cuts each on 12 looms, which is practically impossible, he will necessarily have to operate five looms, and produce 10 cuts more each week for the sum of 70 cents; so that it is really a theft of $7.20 per week which the corporation will make on each and every weaver, and at the same time throw two employees out of five on the streets.6
This method of doing more work with less men at less wages than formerly, was also introduced into the Woolen Mills. Here also the employees fought the two loom system, which meant a doubling up of their toil and the cutting in half of their numbers, with the inevitable reduction of wages that the competition of the unemployed made possible. Numerous strikes were inaugurated to combat this tendency. But all of them failed, because they were partial and sporadic; fought by the craft directly involved alone, while the other crafts remained at work and scabbed on it, that is, assisted the corporations to victory.7 This tendency was further emphasized by the speeding up, encouraged by the premium system, which added to the nervous strain, while gradually lowering wages.
Accordingly, wages in the Lawrence mills have become mere pittances. The $11.76 per week for weavers, specified above, are exceptionally good wages. The report of Commissioner of Labor, Charles P. Neil, shows that, for the week ending Nov. 25, 1911, 22,000 textile workers in Lawrence averaged $8.76 in wages. This average is for a good week only; and is inclusive of the Wages paid to all grades of labor. The commissioner reports that almost one-third of the 22,000 earned less than $7, while only 17.5 per cent earned $12 and over for the select week in which the pay-roll was averaged.8
It is pointed out in Lawrence that over 13,000 workers are not accounted for in the commissioner's investigation. These certainly are numerous enough to be considered. It is also claimed that during the pay week preceding Jan. 12, 1912, the pay-roll for 25,000 employees amounted to $150,000 or an average of $6 for the week. Thus the commissioner's figures are to be taken with qualifications when put forth as representing actual conditions.
The actual wages paid in some of the mills make startling reading. They recall the time in the eighties when Henry Ward Beecher is alleged to have said: "A dollar a day is enough pay for any American laborer to live on"— a statement that aroused, furious opposition. In the American Woolen Company's spinning, winding and beaming departments and dye houses, wages were $5.10, $6.05, $6.55, $7.15, and $7.55 per week in 1911. This is for a full week only; often, when work is slack, such wages as $2.30 and $2.70 a week are the rule.9 The writer met in Lawrence weavers who informed him that they averaged $5.00 a week following the panic of 1907. And these were men with wives and families.
Custom often reveals conditions where all else may hide them. In Lawrence, it is the custom to demand weekly rents for tenements occupied by the working class. Where wages are small and employment unsteady, it is realized that monthly rents are difficult of accumulation and collection. The rents vary from $1 to $6 per week. They are higher on the average than in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland, Buffalo and Milwaukee. In addition, Lawrence offers none of the various social advantages of these larger cities. Boarders or lodgers were found in 58 per cent of the homes visited by Federal investigators. They are necessary to the raising of rent.10
Instalment houses also do a thriving business in Lawrence. "Easy Payments" is the deceptive means by which extortionate prices are made possible of payment by the workers who are already badly fleeced in the mills.
Lawrence is also the scene of much experimenting in co-operative enterprises, several of which have been successful. Where wages are low, as in Belgium and England, the economies and thrift made possible by co-operative buying and selling, becomes imperative. Especially is this true, in view of the increasing cost of living. Lawrence is by no means exempt from the latter. For instance, anthracite coal was $10.50 a ton in Lawrence during the winter of 1911-1912. The cost of living is higher in Lawrence than elsewhere.
Congestion is worse in Lawrence than in any other city in New England, Boston excepted. Frame houses and rear houses are more numerous than in the congested districts of Manchester, N. H., Lowell, Salem, Fall River and New Bedford, Mass. A terrible conflagration is always possible; the construction being regarded as "extra-hazardous."11
In addition, the rear houses are entered by alleyways and long narrow passages leading from them which make deadly flues and fire traps. These alleyways and passages are also dirty and dark, mouldy and foul-smelling. They are the playgrounds of the children who inhabit them. Juvenile offenders are numerous in Lawrence.12 The cause is evident.
"Our valuation did not increase with our population," said Commissioner of Public Safety, C. F. Lynch, addressing the Berger Congressional investigation of the Lawrence strike; "and consequently we were faced with a serious financial problem." As a reflex of Lawrence's poverty and squalor this needs no comment.
Malnutrition and premature death are common in Lawrence. The textile industry is a "family industry." Its subdivision makes possible the employment of all of the members of the family. It also makes possible, consequently, the destruction of the textile family.
Of the 22,000 textile workers investigated by Commissioner Neil, 12,150 or 54 per cent are males, and 9,772 or 44.6 per cent are females; 11.5 per cent of all of them, being under 18 years of age. The mill workers claim that over 50 per cent of Lawrence's operatives are women and children. As there are over 13,000 to be accounted for by the commissioner, and as his figures verge very closely on the claim made, the latter may be taken for granted without discussion.
It is plain that, under the above circumstances, family life outside of the mills must suffer. Women who arise at 5:30 A. M. in order to be enabled to do housework and labor in a dusty, noisy mill until 5:30 P. M., at starvation wages, are bound to bear and rear offspring who are underfed and badly cared for. Everyone of the 119 children sent to New York in February, 1912 was found on physical examination to be suffering from malnutrition, in some form. As Wm. D. Haywood most eloquently puts it, "Those children had been starving from birth. They had been starved in their mothers' wombs. And their mothers had been starving before the children were conceived."13
Malnutrition brings about a disease called Rachitis, or rickets. The writer has seen so many children with crooked and distorted limbs and bones in Lawrence as to be impressed with the fact. Likewise, has he observed the anemic and weazened expression, not only of infants, but also of adults. Underfeeding is common in Lawrence.
The infant death rate in Lawrence is very high. For every 1,000 births there are 172 deaths under one year of age. This is greater than 28 other cities with which Lawrence has been compared. The same is practically true of Lawrence's general death rate, which is 17.7 per 1,000 population, a rate which surpasses that of 26 other cities,14 and is above the average for the United States.
In the matter of longevity, according to Lawrence's mortuary records, its lawyers and clergymen lead, with an average length of life of 65.4 years. Manufacturers come next with 58.5 years; farmers follow with 57 years. Mill operatives have the shortest life span. From the mortality records of 1,010 operatives, the average length of life was found to be 39.6 years. The average longevity for spinners is three and two-fifths years less, or 36 years. On an average, the spinner's life is 29 years less than that of the lawyer's or clergyman's and 22.5 years shorter than that of the manufacturer.15
Says Dr. Shapleigh, a Lawrence practitioner, who made a special study of the subject: "36 out of every 100 of all the men and women who work in the mill die before, or by the time, they are 25 years of age. That means that out of the long line which enters the mill you may strike out every third person as dying before reaching maturity. Every fourth person in the line as dying from tuberculosis. And further, every second person, that is one alternating with a healthy person, will die of some form of respiratory trouble." The same authority states that "a considerable number of the boys and girls die within the first two or three years after beginning work."16 So poorly are they nourished and developed, that they have not the stamina to withstand the strain.
Here then is the lot of the textile workers of Lawrence—steadily declining and low wages, intensified and unsteady employment, bad housing, underfeeding, no real family life, and premature death. The benefits of industrial evolution and national legislation go not to them, but to the Woods, Turners, et al., who live in wasteful extravagance upon their merciless exploitation, regardless of common decency and in defiance of the social spirit of the times.
This was the condition of affairs in Lawrence, Mass., on Jan. 12, 1912, when something extraordinary happened in the big mills there. About 9 A. M. on that date, the employes in one of the departments of the Everett Mill, swept through its long floors, wildly excited, carrying an American flag which they waved amid shouts of "Strike! Strike!! Strike!!! All out; come on; all out. Strike! Strike!!" From room to room they rushed, an enraged, indignant mass. Arming themselves with the picker sticks used in the mills, they went from loom to loom, persuading and driving away operatives; and stopping looms; tearing weaves, and smashing machines, where repeated attempts were made to run them despite their en-treaties, which seldom failed of instant response. As they swept on, their numbers grew, and with them grew the contagion, the uproar and the tumult.
Out of the Everett Mill they rushed, these hundreds of peaceful workers, now aroused, passionate and tense. On the street, outside of the mill gates, they were met by excited crowds that were congregated there. All of them coalesced into one big mass, and, as such, moved over the Union Street bridge on to the Wood, Washington and Ayer Mills, where the same scenes were enacted once more. Men, women and children—Italians, Poles, Syrians—all races, all creeds, already aroused to action before the coming of the crowd outside (some of whom rushed the gates and entered), ran through the thousands of feet of floor space, shouting, "Strike! Strike!! Strike!!! All out! Strike! Strike!! Strike!!!" sweeping everything before them, and rendering operation in many departments so impossible as to cause their complete shut-down.
These thousands also poured out into the streets, and, with their fellow workers, already assembled there, choked up the highway, blocking cars and suspending traffic generally; while at the same time hooting and howling, raising speakers and leaders on their shoulders, throwing ice and snow, and bombarding the windows in the adjoining Kuhnhardt and Duck Mills, smashing every pane of glass there —a destructive, menacing mob. Where peace had reigned before, disorder and violence now seemed rampant.17
The something extraordinary that had happened in Lawrence, Mass., on January 12, 1912, was an industrial revolt. The mill workers had risen. In their rising they sounded, not only a riot call, but also the keynote to the revolution of all the workers in industry—to the industrial democracy. Peaceful Lawrence, like every American city, had a submerged Lawrence, a working class Lawrence —that had erupted and, in so doing, sprung all the social layers above that held it down into the air. So the riot call was sounded. And the police tried to force the submerged down to where they formerly had been. So did the militia! So did the State! So did all the repressive agencies of modern, that is, capitalist, society. But they failed. A new force had arisen—the workers democratically and industrially organized. The workers thus united are invincible. It is Labor alone that defeats Labor.
But this is running ahead of the story; to return.
The cause of the Lawrence industrial revolt was a common thing, to wit, a wage reduction. A beneficent state law had been passed reducing hours of labor for women and children from 56 to 54 per week. When this law went into effect the mill corporations reduced wages proportionately, without any previous notice whatever. At the same time, they speeded up the machines and so got in 54 hours at 54 hours pay, the same out-put that had been secured in 56 hours at 56 hours pay.
The operatives' only notice of the reduction was the short pay in their envelopes. "Short pay! Short pay!" was the cry that had preceded the uprising. The more the workers reflected on that short pay the more resentful and unrestrainable they became. In many thousands of cases the reduction only amounted to 30 cents a week. Yet this apparently insignificant amount—the price of a good Havana cigar to a Wood or a Turner—was enough to turn Lawrence topsy-turvy and to alter the subsequent political history of the country; for the Lawrence strike destroyed the presidential prospects of Governor Foss and hastened the formation of the Progressive Party, with its program of industrial and social reform.
Though the wage reduction was small in amount, the textile workers of Lawrence realized from abundant experience that the wages they would receive under the 54 hours law would not be sufficient to live on. Their position, as already shown, was near enough to absolute starvation as to leave no doubt on that point. So rather than suffer the further weekly loss of six loaves of bread, so badly needed, a great part rose en masse in spontaneous revolt. Blind, instinctive, but primal, and, therefore, fundamental and far-reaching, was the uprising of these miserable workers.
None had expected such a violent outbreak. True, according to Commissioner Neil, a far-sighted mill official in Boston, had warned against the prospect of one. But his was a lone voice, crying out in the wilderness. On January 2nd, 1912, some of the workers organized in the Indus-trial Workers of the World, tried to confer on the 54 hour law with the mill-owners, but were snubbed for their pains. The weaving department of the Everett Mill and the spinning department of the Arlington Mill had struck on the afternoon of January 11th. A meeting of 1,000 Italians and Poles, held in Ford's Hall on the evening of January 10, decided to walk out. Other outbursts had taken place.18
Notwithstanding all this, the mill corporations went right on as if nothing of importance was happening, or could happen. They were supreme and able to crush out all discontent, as before. They recked not of the terrible resentment—the general rage, long smoldering and now irrepressible—that filled the workers on beholding their robbed envelopes—and lives. And they knew not that where Labor is most suffering and most oppressed, there is it also most terrible when aroused.
Hence, the revolt was a complete surprise, that caused unprecedented alarm, and for the first time in a labor dispute in the history of Massachusetts, later on, necessitated the calling out of the militia. The Lawrence textile revolt reverberated throughout the industrial world. Large numbers in distant parts instinctively realized at once that some-thing extraordinary had happened in New England's hotbeds of labor submission and exploitation, the textile mills. The textile wage-slaves had openly and actually rebelled. Lawrence, with its exploitation and luxury for the benefit of a few capitalists on one side, and its slavery and starvation for the many workers on the other, was now enacting the world-wide drama of the class struggle—of the irrepressible conflict between the interests of capital and labor.
It was this profound fact that sounded the riot call, turned Lawrence topsy-turvy and enabled the industrial democracy to arrive.
CHAPTER II: THE INDUSTRIAL DEMOCRACY GETS INTO ACTION
On the evening of January 11th, 1912, Joseph J. Ettor sat on the platform of historic Cooper Union, New York. From this rostrum, made famous by Lincoln, Henry George, and other notable Americans, the subject of Industrial Unionism was being debated. Morris Hilquit, lawyer and acknowledged intellectual leader of the Socialist party, was trying to prove it an impossibility and a dream. William D. Haywood was attempting the contrary. To all appearance, Haywood had failed; skillful dialectics had prevailed against a great tendency imperfectly defended.
Joseph J. Ettor, as he sat there listening to that debate, had in his pocket a telegram requesting him to come to Lawrence. It was sent by Angelo Rocco, the Italian chairman of the Ford Hall meeting, already referred to in the previous chapter. Neither Ettor nor Rocco realized the significance of that telegram in deciding the respective merits of the Cooper Union debate—not in theory, but in fact.19
Joseph J. Ettor is a native of Brooklyn, N. Y., of Italian parentage and an organizer and general executive board member of the Industrial Workers of the World. This is the only organization that strictly adheres to the principles of industrial unionism. It was in its behalf that Haywood debated, while Ettor listened, an interested spectator.
The Industrial Workers of the World was launched at Chicago in 1905. It is an outgrowth of industrial development in this country. It points out that trades are absorbed into industries and the industries are interwoven into trusts. And that the machine process which makes this possible tends at the same time to displace skilled with unskilled labor. Accordingly, it organizes labor, not according to trades, but industries, into one big labor trust, with a due regard for the growing importance of unskilled as compared to skilled labor. The object of this labor trust is to improve labor's wages and conditions, while, at the same time, striving for the democratic control of industry by labor and for labor, instead of private capitalists, as at present. The philosophy and objects of the I. W. W. are expressed as follows:
PREAMBLE OF THE I. W. W.
The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of working people, and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.
Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the earth and the machinery of production, and abolish the wage system.
We find that the centering of the management of industries into fewer and fewer hands makes the trade unions unable to cope with the ever-growing power of the employing class. The trade unions foster a state of affairs which allows one set of workers to be pitted against another set of workers in the same industry, thereby helping .to defeat one another in wage wars. Moreover, the trade unions aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that the working class has interests in common with their employers.
These conditions can be changed and the interests of the working class upheld only by an organization formed in such a way that all its members in any one industry, or in all industries, if necessary, cease work whenever a strike or lock-out is on in any department thereof, thus making an injury to one an injury to all.
Instead of the conservative motto "A fair day's wages for a fair day's work," we must inscribe on our banner the revolutionary watchword, "Abolition of the wage system."
It is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism. The army of production must be organized not only for the every-day struggle with capitalists, but also to carry on production when capitalism shall have been overthrown. By organizing industrially, we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old.20
Ettor arrived in Lawrence on the midnight train on the 12th of January. After a brief rest, he took an early morning walk in the affected mill district, to get an idea of the actual situation. Saturday—for it was Saturday, January 13th—is a half-holiday in the mills; so everything was quiet. The crucial day is always Monday.
Ettor consulted with the revolters. They had already met at the Franco-Belgian Hall, 9 Mason Street, on the afternoon before. There they had formed a tentative strike committee, composed of representatives from each of the races that had come out. They also had decided to call a mass meeting at the City Hall on Saturday afternoon.
As a result of his tour and conferences, Ettor and his associates decided on a policy. This was to shut down all the mills and thus avoid the disorder and disaster which had attended all the previous trades union strikes. This was to be an industrial union strike—the dream and the impossibility made a reality.
Ettor and his associates had a big job before them. Despite its spontaneous and extensive nature, the revolt was practically an unorganized and incomplete one. The textile workers had some ten independent and A. F. of L. Unions in Lawrence. John Golden's United Textile Workers' Union had 208 members, divided, small as they were, into no less than three different craft locals. All told, these unions had about 2,500 members, mostly on paper.21 None of them had initiated the revolt.
The Industrial Workers of the World was the largest single organization in Lawrence, with about 1,300 members, only 500 of whom were in good standing at the time. It was instrumental in forming a textile alliance in Lawrence, composed of all the non-A. F. of L. organizations; but this was inoperative at the time. Such was the state of disorganization, that the active I. W. W. men had opposed a strike against the 54 hour reduction. They had to learn from experience what they knew from theory, that it is conditions and not majorities that make revolutions.
Ettor began his work that afternoon at the public mass meeting in the City Hall—the same City Hall from which the riot call had gone forth. He developed the plan of a strike committee composed of delegates representing all the races and crafts involved, and urged a complete tie-up of all the mills. Both ideas were taken hold of at once. The strike committee was formally launched and the industrial union strike took the place of an unorganized revolt.
Ettor and his associates on the strike committee threw themselves into their stupendous task with enthusiasm. Think of it, this small band of empty-handed, but clear-headed and sturdy-hearted men would throw itself against the power and the millions of the woolen trust and the great mill corporations of Lawrence! It was fanatical—as fanatical as early Christianity and modern Abolition—and as triumphant! But that properly belongs in another part of the narrative; to resume.
Much has been written of Ettor and the strike committee by observers on the ground. William Merriam Pratt, a first lieutenant in the Massachusetts National Guard and a military authority, describes Ettor as "a man of unlimited physical vitality, a wonderful capacity for leadership, and a pronounced Socialist." He also credits Ettor with great personal magnetism and eloquence.22
So does the Lawrence Priest, believed to be Father Reilly, who penned the distortion of fact, now discredited by a jury's verdict, which appeared in the Brooklyn Tablet, a Catholic organ. Ac-cording to this truthful priest, Ettor "has a personality that was winning in its way. He spoke English and Italian fluently. He soon had all the active spirits in the strike believing in him absolutely and ready to do his bidding." (This last phrase is not true; Ettor often had to do the bidding of his associates; who believed in him absolutely but not submissively.)23
Richard Washburn Childs, a writer for "Collier's," with a better grasp of actual conditions in Lawrence than Father Reilly, and a more truthful writer on that account, accordingly, declares:
Lawrence was ready for Socialism in one form or the other and Socialism came. It came in the form of the Industrial Workers of the World. It came, too, in the form of Ettor, a laughing boy of twenty-six or twenty-eight, an organizer of this new and different union, a born leader, a youth crying `Excelsior,' with a great power to win over, not only the rough-necked and the high-browed, but some men who were neither the one nor the other.24
Still another investigator and writer, Nicholas Vanderpuyl, an Haverhill, Mass., minister, describes Ettor in these words:
And who is Joe Ettor? And what is he like? And what is he fighting for? In appearance he is a short, stocky Italian with a well-shaped head, crowned with a thick shock of hair upon which a small hat sets rather jauntily. He wears a flannel shirt and a large bow for a tie. His clothes are typically Italian in cut. He has a kindly, boyish face, which lights up with humor and then sobers with scorn. He has an apparently unlimited supply of physical vitality, and a voice that is strong and resonant, which seems to grow stronger the more he uses it. For over a week he has been speaking incessantly in the largest halls of the city and on the open common, and Monday evening, when he addressed a crowd that filled every seat and every available bit of standing room of the large city hall of the adjoining city of Haverhill, his voice was just as clear and strong as when he took command of the situation a week and a half before. On Thursday last, when he addressed a crowd of nearly 20,000 workers from the bandstand on Lawrence Common, he asked all who were out on strike willingly, to raise their hands, and the carrying quality of his rather remarkable voice was manifested by raised hands on the very out-skirts of that great crowd.25
Ettor was certainly a great personal factor in the Lawrence strike. But it would be a mistake to believe that he was like a star actor, surrounded by satellites who only served to accentuate his brilliancy. Ettor had humble but able men about him. Men like Gilbert Smith, Anglo-American, born in Rhode Island, percher, socialist, strike veteran and secretary of the strike committee; August Detollenaere, described by an able lawyer as "no man's fool," Franco-Belgian textile worker and manager of a co-operative society that owns a building containing a bakery, grocery, meeting halls, stage, and educational institutions; Thomas Holliday, Englishman, weaver, socialist, methodical, statistical, yet individual, writer and speaker, whose ability as such was first proclaimed in open court by District Attorney Atwill; William Born, German, weaver, strike veteran, with an instinct for ferreting out violence on the capitalist side, 65 years of age, affectionately called "Pop" by Ettor; Archie Adamson, "the blue-eyed Scotchman," weaver, devotee of "Beside the Bonnie Briar Bush" and lover of Carlyle and Stevenson, Presbyterian and whipper expert, socialist and practical organization worker; Edward Reilly, "Witty Irishman," born in the Emerald Isle, with a warm, rich brogue and the Celtic faculty of seeing the funny side of a wake, while, at the same time, penetrating the shams and hypocrisies of the capitalist class, butler, Catholic, close associate of Ettor and chairman of the workers' committee that settled the strike; all these, and many more, unassuming men, alive to every responsibility and possessed of great latent power, aided Ettor at Lawrence. In addition, there were some women worthy of notice because of their oratory, bravery and practical helpfulness—Rosa Cardello, Josephine Liss, Carrie Hanson, Mrs. Annie Welzenbach and Mrs. Bateman—Italian, Polish, Danish, German-Canadian and English, respectively. "Joe" Ettor was the chieftain of a worthy band.
George Brinton Beale, Lawrence Journalist, in a review of the strike, describes the inception and the conduct of the strike committee in these words:
The general strike committee, with Ettor as chairman, was organized. The seemingly hopeless task of successfully organizing some 25,000 mill operatives, comprising nearly every race and creed of the world, was begun. Under the guidance of Ettor matters moved smoothly and swiftly. The general strike committee, representing in its personnel every nationality involved, by at least two candidates, took immediate hold of the situation. That hold taken in the first twenty-four hours following the start of the strike was maintained and unbroken to the day, nine weeks later, when the vote that practically marked the cessation of hostilities was passed.
Sunday of the 14th passed quietly. It was the deceiving quietude of organized preparation that most successfully misled practically the entire city. The trouble was over, it was but a tempest in a teapot said many. They knew not of the almost continuous series of meetings held by the thousands of operatives throughout the day. Neither did they know of a certain word that was, already early, becoming a watchword. It was a word of unfamiliar sound, one, however, that has since spread itself and its meaning over the entire civilized world. That word was "Solidarity." Its meaning, as given in the dictionary, is "Community of interests and responsibilities." It became a watchword and more, a sort of fetish, an open sesame to everything desirable to the workers.26
The Boston Citizens' Report on "Strike Conditions in Lawrence" rightly attributes the cause of the strike to a wage reduction to meet the reduced hours of the new fifty-four hour law, which went into effect without any notice to the employees. Much disorder, due to the absence of leadership and organization, followed. Then, She report contrasts the change, following the coming of Ettor. It goes on thus:
With the conflict started came the I. W. W., understanding the point of view of the non-skilled worker, the prejudices and sympathies, and how to deal with them. The men and women whom Joseph Ettor undertook to fuse into a single coherent body were of diverse races, most of them unskilled.
When the local leaders of the American Federation of Labor came forward in the strike they could make little headway with this unskilled class. The I. W. W. undertook to organize the operatives industrially, a method contrary to the policy of their rivals.
Under the guidance of Ettor, the different nationalities and groups sent delegates to a central body, which met daily. From this central body radiated plans of action adopted by the leaders.
Racial antipathy, which had appeared to be the basis of hopeless discord, disappeared in the organization. Meetings were held and inflammatory speeches were indulged in, the net result of which was not so much violence as the making of a great body which withstood the pressure of the strike throughout the nine weeks of severe winter.27
Finally, we have Wm. D. Haywood's description of the strike committee:
It was a wonderful strike, the most significant strike that has ever been carried on in this or any other country. Not because it was so large numerically, but because we were able to bring together so many different nationalities. And the most significant part of that strike was that it was a democracy. The strikers handled their own affairs. There was no president of the organization who looked in and said 'Howdydo.' There were no members of an executive board. There was no one the boss could see except the strikers. The strikers had a committee of 56, representing 27 different languages. The boss would have to see all the committee to do any business with them. And immediately behind that committee was a substitute committee of another 56 prepared in the event of the original committee's being arrested. Every official in touch with affairs at Lawrence had a substitute selected to take his place in the event of being thrown in jail.
All the workers in connection with the strike were picked from material that in the mill was regarded as worth no more than $6 to $7 a week. The workers did their own bookkeeping. They handled their own stores, six in number. They ran eleven soup kitchens. There were 120 investigated cases for relief. They had their own finance committee, their own relief committee. And their work was carried on in the open, even as this socialist meeting is being conducted, with the press on hand, with all the visitors that wanted to come, the hall packed with the strikers themselves. And when this committee finally reduced itself to ten to make negotiations with the mill-owners, it was agreed before they left that they must meet the mill-owners alone.28
The strike committee met first, in the Franco-Belgian Hall, 9 Mason Street; then in Bros' basement in Chestnut Street; finally in the Portuguese Hall, at 329 Common Street. After Ettor's arrest the Franco-Belgian Hall was again used.
Newspaper reporters, special correspondents, social investigators, the Governor's secretary, state, military and police officials, flocked to the strike committee meetings to report its doings, or to confer with its officials. The strike committee was a governing body, with governmental powers; what it did was instinctively recognized as of supreme importance to the community.
Of course, the strike committee did not spring, like another Minerva, fully developed out of the head of a Jove. It grew, so that when Ettor was taken to prison it went along without him. A real democracy finds the "indispensable" ruler always dispensable—very much so.
Further, the strike committee's democracy was reflected in the widespread support it received. The strike came at a propitious time; when civilized countries were in an unprecedented wave of discontent and progress; when American civilization especially was rocked by increasing prices and anti-trust agitation. The strike focused and crystalized the sentiment thus engendered, to a very large extent. It also captured the support of all those desiring greater unity of labor—a more efficient and successful method of class war against capitalism. And so $80,000 was collected to support the strike—a big sum and yet a small one in view of the thousands of persons involved and the millions of wages gained. The state spent $172,000 alone for the maintenance of the militia.
Here, then, was the industrial democracy child of modern industrial development—in action, serving the interests of the many workers as against their few capitalist exploiters. The crude embryo —the rough outline of the future state, where industry and government shall be, by, for, and of the workers direct. It is a product of modern times worth reflecting on—all of which shall be done more fully in our closing chapter.
CHAPTER III: THE INDUSTRIAL DEMOCRACY OVERCOMES ALL OPPOSITION
The development of new conditions is always resisted by the old. “During the nine weeks of the fight in Lawrence, every barbarity known to modern civilization had been perpetrated by police, military, courts and detectives, the willing tools of the bosses.”29 To these should be added press and pulpit, and the craft unions. The defeat of all only serves to reflect the soundness of the strikers’ basic organization.
The opposition began at the City Hall meeting, presided over by Gilbert Smith and addressed by Mayor Scanlon. The latter, while pretending solicitude for the welfare of the strikers was favorable, in his attitude, toward the mill-owners. He condemned the 54 hour law, urged peace, advised no opposition to those who wanted to work, and suggested a committee, “not to conduct a strike,” as he later testified in the Salem Court, “but to see the mill-owners only.”
Ettor followed the Mayor. He spoke in a manner that made no attempt at “impartiality” such as the Mayor had assumed. He said, pointedly:
This struggle is not an accident. It is an incident in the world-wide conflict between capital and labor. The mill-owners have conspired to defeat the 54 hour law, though signed by the Governor and upheld by the Supreme Court. The winning of this strike means more bread for the workers and less dividends for the capitalists. In order for you to have any show at all you must have an organization; you must also have a committee, as advocated by the Mayor.
By all means, [counseled Ettor,] make this strike as peaceful as possible. In the last analysis, all the blood spilled will be your blood. And if any blood is spilled, it will be on the heads of the mill-owners, for they will be responsible for it.
Ettor was not surprised, as the Mayor had been, at the disturbances of the day before. He pointed out that more than a dozen different nationalities, with all kinds of temperaments, hopes, ideals and aspirations, were involved. They had been lured to Lawrence in the belief that they had only to walk the streets to find dollar bills everywhere. Post-cards were distributed in foreign countries with a mill on one side and a line of workers going to a bank on the other. Those thus duped had been brought here to fill the places of those who had become dissatisfied with real conditions. They, in turn, were suffering the same experiences. In view of all these conditions, the surprising feature is, not that so little disturbance did happen, but that things should have been allowed to go on as they did, without protest.
“For a strike to be peaceful,” continued Ettor, “for a strike to be successful, there must be Solidarity in the ranks of the strikers. Division is the surest means to violence; violence necessarily means the loss of a strike. You can hope for no success on any policy of violence. Therefore, instead of taking the Mayor’s advice and staying away from the mills, you should urge all the workers to shut down completely all the mills. Then there will be solidarity and no occasion for disturbance among you.
“Remember,” he continued, “the property of the bosses is protected first by the police, then the militia. If these are not sufficient, by the entire army. Remember also that you, too, are armed”—a pause and a smile—“armed with your labor power, which you can withhold and stop production. Provoking violence will serve as a pretext to start a blood bath in which the workers’ blood will be spilled. Form a strike committee to meet at 9 Mason Street. This committee should try to settle the strike; and provide ways and means—finances and relief—as long as it shall last.”
Langette, for the French; Detolenaere, Franco-Belgian; Webert, Polish, and other speakers followed. The result was the further development of the tentative strike committee formed at 9 Mason Street on the afternoon previous. The Americans, Poles, Italians, Lithuanians and Franco-Belgians were now enrolled.
But, solidarity as a preventive of violence, was not desired by Mayor Scanlon. It was a method which meant victory for the strikers, instead of the mill-owners, who by the very condition of affairs, hold the Lawrence city government in the palm of their hands. So, on the next day, Sunday, January 14, Mayor Scanlon practiced intimidation; he issued a veiled threat to call out the militia. Subsequently, District Attorney Atwill declared in Salem Court that Ettor’s mere reference to the troops caused the final calling out of the militia, for the first time in a labor dispute in the history of Massachusetts. Such is the power of words!—to a district attorney intent on electrocution. The fact of the matter is that the strikers had out-generaled their opponents. The latter appreciated the situation, though the citizens of Lawrence did not.
Accordingly, Monday, January 15th, came, and with it more startling occurrences. The struggle between capital and labor, that is supposed to spend itself, like a tempest in a teapot, is not so easily dissipated. It is on once more, in all intensity, despite its apparent end, when least suspected.
In the early morning of this date, Canal Street, already described in Chapter One, was frequented by the strikers. They picketed the mills in a mass. Success attended their efforts; large additions were made to the ranks. After the mill gates had closed, they marched in a body to the Atlantic and Pacific Mills. As they reached the bridges, streams of water were turned on them, from a fire hose on the adjoining roofs.
January 15th was a bitter cold day. Snow and ice were on the ground. The water, saturating the strikers, added to the rigors of the weather. Many fell back; others pressed forward. All, until then, peaceful, now became infuriated. They rushed the bridges, forced the gates and got into the mill yards. Some climbed to the roof of the railroad structure that pierced the mills and dropped from there into the mill enclosure. From there they ran through the mills, urging all hands out.
Those who did not storm the bridges ran to freight cars in the adjoining railroad yard, and helped themselves to scantlings and coal. With these they demolished the windows in the weave-shed of the Pacific Mills, from whose roof the water was mainly poured. Pistol shots were fired ; though nobody was hurt. Excitement once more reigned, where peace had temporarily been established; the whole trouble being obviously provoked, as on the 12th inst, by conditions primarily created by the mill owners. More police and the local militia were rushed to the scene; 36 arrests were made and the attention of the country was once more turned to Lawrence, tariff-protected, God-fearing and patriotic Lawrence, by the beautiful Merrimac, which Thoreau loved so well.30
This incident served Mayor Scanlon’s purpose. He called for and received the aid of the State Militia. These, under Colonel Sweetser, committed many barbarities.
Of the 36 strikers arrested, most were sent to jail for one year. They were not given an opportunity to consult counsel, present evidence, or otherwise defend themselves. Their cases were not even properly considered, but were rushed through in quick succession, immediately after arrest. Ettor, subsequently, pilloried such “justice” as proof of the capitalist nature of the courts, for which the beneficiaries of the latter condemned him, to his credit. Judge Mahoney, who thus “dispensed with the law,” as Mrs. Partington would say, is notorious for his anti-labor bias. In Lawrence, he is reported, on reliable authority, to write unsigned condemnatory double-column editorials for the local press on the I. W. W., while sitting “impartially” in judgment on cases affecting the organization and its members. Justice is said to be blind. As represented by Judge Mahoney, though, she is double-faced, like the mythological Janus.
While the disturbances of January 15 were going on in Canal Street, the strike committee was meeting in Bros’ basement in Chestnut. Here it was giving evidence of its inherent industrial nature. More delegates representing more races and crafts were seated. Then the delegates reported on and discussed the question wages, the lightness or heaviness of work, the premium system, and the general conditions in relation to pay and hours, overtime, and so on. Following this, demands were formulated, as follows: 15 per cent increase over 56 hours wages, on the 54 hours basis; time and a half for overtime, abolition of the premium system, and the reinstatement of all strikers on settlement of strike.
Ettor presided; he only consented to act on condition that all the strike meetings be public meetings; except executive meetings demanded and required by the mill-owners and public authorities for the consideration of terms that they did not desire to be made public.
This program was strictly adhered to; there were only three or four executive meetings; then only on request of other side, for purpose of negotiation.
At the suggestion of Mayor Scanlon, the strike committee next went to the City Hall to meet him and members of the city government in an attempt to settle the strike. They found entrance to the City Hall barred by bayonets of the militia( (Remember, this occurred, not in Russia, but in Lawrence, Mass., 1912.) The meeting, however, finally took place, but in the drill room at the police station. There the strike committee, not the least bit overawed or intimidated, suggested, through Ettor, that the city government request the mill-owners to shut down completely all the mills in Lawrence, as the Everett Mill had done. The Mayor said that that was no function of the government; so nothing came of the meeting, except to demonstrate the sound position of the strikers.
The next day, January 16, the Governor’s Secretary, Dudley Holman, appeared before the strike committee to urge arbitration via the state board on the strikers. Following him, there came, a day or two later, Mr. Howland, representing the board itself.
In addition, the strike committee gave ear to its representatives. These reported additional gains, and dwelt at length on the brutalities of police and militia, the latter of whom were driving peaceful persons home at the point of the bayonet. Other attempts at terrorization, like the arming of strike-breakers with pistols and clubs, were discussed. After the speeches by the State officials and the reports, the strike committee adopted the I. W. W. standpoint on arbitration. It agreed to allow the State board to attend its meetings, to appoint a member to assist it in securing data, to accept its services as an intermediary as far as possible, but to decline to leave any question to it for settlement. Ettor expressed the views of the strike committee when he said:
The labor question is not a matter of accident; it is a conflict of opposing interests. In their economic relations, that which the worker considers right, the employer considers wrong. The arbitration board, at best, claims to be a disinterested party, acting as a deciding factor. There is no such thing. In present society, men either work, or live on the work of others. It is impossible for a third party to be disinterested and decide accordingly. If he is a worker, he will decide for the workers; but I am positive that the board is not constituted that way. Whether the third party makes his living from the labor of textile workers or other workers, is not the question. He could not be fair, because of his class interests and instincts, in deciding an issue involving more bread and butter for the operatives and less automobiles for the mill-owners. In addition, it is preferable to deal directly with those most affected.31
This position finally prevailed; the strike was settled by a face-to-face conference of mill-owners and mill-workers exclusively. But this did not take place until subsequent events forced the mill-owners into it.
In the meanwhile, the strike committee continued to strengthen its position. The ranks of the strikers were augmented and more firmly knitted. Plans for relief were put under way and the interests of the workers were protected in every manner possible. Ettor, as spokesman of the committee, addressed from five to nine meetings a day, of strikers and allied workers. On January 17 he addressed the Perchers’, Burlers’ and Menders’ Union at the City Hall. He urged them to join the strike. He said: “You are the skilled of the mills. You are paid more than the others to spur you on and to spur others on; and to create a jealousy between the skilled and the unskilled, between the high-paid workers and the low-paid workers. In a question involving a reduction of wages, you should throw in your lot with the low-paid. Do not play the aristocrat because you speak English, are habituated to the country, have a trade and are better paid. Throw in your lot with the low-paid. You must either reach down and lift them up or they will reach up and pull you down.” This appeal to common class interests was effective.
Speaking at the City Hall on January 23, to the Wool Sorters’ Union, Ettor was asked “What do you mean by a ‘scab’?” “A scab,” replied Ettor, “is a worker who by any act aids or abets the employers in times of conflict.” Thereupon another worker wanted to know: “Do not the principles that apply to the definition of a scab also apply to an industry?” “Yes,” replied Ettor, “the Industrial Workers of the World means the organization of all the workers in one big union, according to industries. When an industry goes on strike, if it needs the help of the industry immediately related to it, it will call on that industry to make common cause with it. If it requires the help of still other industries it will act on the same principle.” Ettor then explained how the whole New England district could be called out in aid of the textile industry on the principles of common interests and solidarity, as opposed to principles that permit workers to aid and abet the employers in any form.
Addressing the Jewish workers in the Synagogue on January 20th, Ettor said:
I congratulate you on joining the strike. Among the workers there is only one nationality, one race, one creed. There are but two nations in the world, the nation of workers and the nation of shirkers. There are but two races, the race of useful members of society and the race of useless ones. The man or woman, whether Jew or non-Jew, that works for a living, has interests and hopes that can only be advanced and realized by the solidarity and common understanding of all the workers. No doubt, many of you have left Russia because of persecution or the fear of persecution, and to better your conditions. But you did not leave the labor problem behind you in Russia. The moment you arrived here you found yourselves confronted with that problem, probably in a different way; but you found here, too, the struggle between those who work and those who do not work. Forget that you are Hebrews; forget that you are Poles, Germans or Russians. Remember always you are workers with interests against those of the mill-owners. The master class has but one flag, the Rag of profit. They have but one nation, the field of exploitation wherever found. They have but one God, the dollar. The workers, too, should put one flag, one nation, one God, in their class unity. The labor problem cannot be quenched by fire hose. They murdered, assassinated and massacred the Jewish workers in Russia, in the hope of destroying them. But the scaffold has never yet and never will destroy an idea or a movement!
Ettor little realized then that he would soon make the same argument in defense of his life.
On January 25, Ettor, addressing the strikers at the Franco-Belgian Hall, noticed that they were restless; they wanted victory that seemed too long delayed. Said Ettor,
The days that have just passed have demonstrated the power of the workers. The power of the workers consists of something greater than the power of the capitalists. The power of the capitalists is based on property. Property makes them all powerful, socially and politically. Because of it they control the institutions of attack and defense; they have the laws, the army, everything! They can employ agents to go around to plant dynamite and to provoke disorder among the workers, in order to defeat them.
In spite of all that, the workers have something still more powerful. The workers’ power, the one thing more powerful than all the property, all the machine guns, all the gallows and everything on the other side, is the common bond of solidarity, of purpose, of ideals. Our love of solidarity, our purpose and our affection for one another as workers, bind us more solidly and tighter than do all the bombs and dynamite that the capitalists have at their disposal. If the workers of the world want to win, all that they have to do is to recognize their own solidarity. They have to do nothing, but fold their arms, and the world will stop. The workers are more powerful with their hands in their pockets than all the property of the capitalists. As long as the workers keep their hands in their pockets the capitalists cannot put theirs there. With passive resistance, with the workers absolutely refusing to move, laying absolutely silent, they are more powerful than all the weapons and instruments that the other side have for protection and attack.
Ettor here and elsewhere declared: “The policeman’s club and the militiaman’s bayonet cannot weave cloth. It requires textile workers to do that.”
Addressing a citizens’ meeting, to advocate the recall of Mayor Scanlon held in the City Hall on January 28, under the auspices of the Socialist Party, Ettor dwelt on the threat of the capitalists to starve the workers into submission. Even then Ettor made clear that the workers would assert their labor power. First Ettor showed the many times the strikers had been willing to meet the mill-owners direct. Then he said:
It comes with very bad grace, and it is a sad commentary upon them, for the mill-owners, who have reaped all the advantages of the national law and the labor of their workers, to declare that they will starve their workers into submission. They should be grateful for the fact that, were it not for the textile workers, the wives and daughters of Mr. Wood, and all the capitalists would go naked in the streets, like so many savages. Many of these capitalists are so dependent on the workers that they can’t even wash their own faces. They must have valets to do it for them!
The capitalists cannot afford to adopt a policy of starving the workers into submission. If they do, what then? They will drive the workers back, with feelings of hate and disappointment and discouragement. They will go back in a rage! The capitalists can hope for no peace. Under these conditions, God help their looms and God help their cloth!
All of which proves that, victorious or defeated, the fate of modern society is in the hands of the modern working class. On the exercise of its labor power depends social existence.
By education, exhortation, parades, together workers were riveted and bound together! But the mill-owners and their allies were by no means idle.
On January 19, dynamite was discovered in Lawrence in three different places, namely, a cemetery lot, a tailor shop on Oak Street, and a shoe shop at 78 Lawrence Street, next to Colombo’s printing shop, where Ettor got his mail. The strikers was blamed, some were arrested. Here was evidence of lawlessness, of which the mill-owners and the yellow journals quickly availed themselves. But not for long. Facts began to assert themselves and to cast doubt on the discovery. It was recalled that on January 13, Local 20, I. W. W., had telegraphed Governor Foss, a denunciation of Boston newspaper articles stating dynamite was being brought into Lawrence to blow up the mill bridges.32 One of these papers, the Boston-American (a Hearst sheet) was off the press and on sale in Lawrence before the “discovery” was actually made. Its Lawrence correspondent, Joseph J. Donohue, knew that there was going to be a dynamite “story” the night before.33 Then, the “discovery” was well-timed, for the so-called public mind was still full of the McNamara convictions. Taking it all in all, it looked as if a “plant” had been made by the mill-owners in order to discredit the strikers!
Ettor, in all his speeches, denounced the episode as a “plant.” He pointed out how the strikers had nothing to gain by it; but lose instead; how the police had vainly tried to connect him with the dynamite; how, unable to find him in Colombo’s shop, they had gone to the Italian drug store at 82 Lawrence St., where they had broken open his satchel, on demand of Dr. Morretti, who refused to permit them to take it away, for fear that they would put some of the explosive in it. Subsequent events proved all suspicion well-founded. Breen, a Lawrence politician, school committeeman, undertaker and member of Father Reilly’s church, was arrested, adjudged guilty and fined $500 for “ planting” the dynamite. A movement to recall Breen as school committeeman was later opposed by the North Congregational Club, following an address by General Manager Wm. D. Hartshone of the Arlington Mills. As will be seen in the next chapter, Breen was only the tool of the mill-owners in a conspiracy to implicate others and thereby break the strike.
The dynamite “ plant” was followed by an attempt to divide the workers and end the strike that way. The proposition was to have the workers confer with the mill-owners according to mills, each mill and its workers to meet separately. This proposition had been proposed in conference with the independent unions; it was broached by Mr. Varney, the leading spirit of the Bay State Bank, a local institution, and Col. Sweetser, on January at. The strike committee recommended its rejection, which recommendation was concurred in on January 23 by a vote of a big mass meeting on the Common, such as is described by Nicholas Vanderpuyl, in his intimate story of Joseph J. Ettor, as quoted in the preceding chapter. Evidently dynamite “plants” and arrests had no tendency to make the strikers anxious to return to work on any terms!
On January 24, Mayor Scanlon and Col. Sweetser urged a meeting with the mill-owners, in the presence of the State Arbitration Board. Accordingly the whole strike committee, 50 or 60 strong, was at the City Hall that some evening. The conference was a ridiculous one, made so by the state board, whose members ran back and forth, carrying the mill-owners’ messages to and from an adjoining room! The strike committee insisted on meeting the mill-owners face to face; they did it in the mills, why not in the City Hall? So the meeting ended! A legislative committee from Boston next attempted a settlement; with no better success.
During the foregoing attempts at settlement, others were also afoot. Max Mitchell, a Boston settlement worker, later a banker, approached Ettor and the strike committee in an endeavor to bring them into conference with the officials of the American Woolen Co. in Boston. A committee of 10 was selected, consisting of Ettor, Edward Reilly, Archie Adamson, Gilbert Smith, William Born, Joseph Bedard, John Bienkowski, Ettor Gianinni, Mrs. Annie Welzehbach and Thomas Holliday, with instructions to see what could be done and report back. A meeting was held, on January 26, at which nothing was accomplished; Mr. Wood and his officials insisting on a return to work first and settlement afterwards. As this meant wholesale discrimination and defeat, the offer was rejected.
Committee of Ten Which Met With Bosses
However, the Boston meeting served the mill-owners a dishonest purpose. They caused the report to be circulated that the strike was ended, as a result of it. The letter carriers of the city were especially active in circulating the report. As Postmaster Cox, according to his own reports to the State Secretary, received $300 from the Pacific Mills, for services rendered as “Legislative agent,” i. e., lobbyist, the action of “his” employees is not at all remarkable. They, most likely, acted according to instructions emanating from him. The French-Canadian priest was also active in behalf of the mill-owners.
At the strike committee meeting of Saturday, January 27, it was decided to counteract this false report. A parade for Monday, January 29, was arranged to show to those who might be misled, that the strike was still on. Thomas Holliday, who made the motion, explained that Monday was the day on which application was made for employment; and that most likely the mill-owners had counted on that fact, as well as the Boston conference, to create a stampede. Holliday favored an early morning parade, before the mill gates opened at 6:3o, as the most effective. Next day (Sunday) there was great activity; as a result all the language branches and crafts were informed through their delegates. The word was passed all along the line, “No work Monday; strike still on; all out in big parade.” The parade was, accordingly, held; there was no stampede back to work; the mills did not open in full; the mill-owners were beaten once more.
Ettor always favored mass demonstrations and picketing. At the some time he cautioned against the unscrupulous uses that may be made of them. Agent provocateurs may use them to provoke trouble in order to involve the strikers. Newspaper men may also use them to create material for sensational reports. He cited the case of a newspaper photographer who shouted “Fire” when the militia, with bayonets pointed, were parleying with a parade of strikers. That a massacre did not follow was a wonder. Care and precaution are to be exercised in parades. Ettor exercised both on January 29. At Union and Essex Streets, he diverted the parade away from the militia, and later saved the French-Canadian priest’s house on Haverhill Street from being assailed.
But the mill-owners were not to be balked that way. A gang of about 5,000 Italians, impersonated by the employees of a Boston detective agency, were imported from the Hub, on the night of January 28. Early on the 29th, during the parade, they smashed all the trolley car windows, drove out passengers and otherwise behaved riotously on Essex Street and Broadway. The police and militia looked on and did not make one arrest. Some of the private detectives subsequently offered to sell information regarding the plot to Boston papers and the Ettor-Giovannitti Defense Committee.34 Ettor openly charged the mill-owners with car-smashing, and once more recalled the threats previously made “to get” him, i. e., injure him personally, or involve him in some trouble that would lead to his arrest and imprisonment. The time soon came.
That same evening, January 29, a striker, Annie LoPizzo, was killed on the corner of Union and Garden Streets, during police and military interference with lawful picketing. She was shot by a bullet said to have been fired by Police Officer Oscar Benoit, though Benoit and Police Officer Marshall claim it was fired from behind Benoit by a personal enemy of the latter, following an altercation. Be that as it may, both Ettor and Arturo Giovannitti were arrested; charged with inciting and procuring the commission of the crime in put.. suit of an unlawful conspiracy. Though the murderer was unknown, they were held as “accessories before the fact.”
Giovannitti had been active in the strike since January 20. On that date he came from New York, in the interests of “Il Proletario,” the organ of the Italian Socialist Federation, which he edits. Giovannitti threw himself into the conflict with vigor and ardor. A powerful, incisive speaker, he did much to enthuse and inspire the Italians, who were, because of their large numbers, a very important factor in the strike. Further, he undertook to strengthen the work of relief, particularly among the Italians. To this end he offered to sacrifice his own belongings, and he also set to work to arouse the Italian Socialist Federation, which, though not an integral part of the I. W. W., had officially endorsed its aims and objects. Giovannitti corresponded with all the Federation’s secretaries, especially in Massachusetts, urging contributions and the arranging of meetings, to be addressed by himself, for the purpose of aiding the strikers in every way possible.
Giovannitti had especially announced his determination to find out who was behind the dynamite “plant” of January 19. Here he immediately attracted personal attack from the combined mill and newspaper interests that engineered the “plant.” Giovannitti also taught his countrymen and women a doctrine that, while peculiar to New England at one time, was, during the Lawrence strike, especially repugnant to it, to wit, self-reliance! Speaking in the Syrian Church on January 21, Giovannitti said, in Italian:
Capitalism is the same in the Fatherland as it is here. Nobody cares for you; nobody is interested in you. You are considered nothing but machines. Human machines in the old country; human machines in this country. . . . Nobody has any interest in your conditions. If any effort is made to improve your conditions and to raise you to the dignity of manhood and womanhood; that must come from yourselves alone; you can have no hope in no one but yourselves. It is only by your own power, your own determined will, your own solidarity, that you can rise to better things.35
Giovannitti, who came from “a God-forsaken village up in the Abruzzi,” to use his own language in Salem, was, in addition to being editor, orator, foe to capitalist dynamiters and practical relief worker, a friend of Ettor’s. Both were bound together by a comradeship of ideals, coupled with united service in their behalf, that had developed into a friendship not unlike that of Damon and Pythias of old. They co-operated during the strike, like two alter-egos born especially for each other. To leave Giovannitti behind, under all the circumstances, was to allow at liberty one who would leave no stone unturned to carry on Ettor’s work and to secure his liberation. So the police “nabbed” Arturo Giovannitti along with “Joe” Ettor.36
The arrests of Ettor and Giovannitti, evidently made to break the strike, had a decidedly contrary effect. First, they increased the number of strikers. As Commissioner Neil’s report shows, the week following the arrests witnessed the largest number out during the whole strike. Second, the purpose was so evident, as to create sympathy for the strike. William T. Taussig, Ph.D., LL.B., of Harvard, professor of political economy, voiced popular belief when, in a press interview, he said:
I believe that the arrest and detention of Ettor on the charge of accessory to killing Annie Lo Pizzo is a case where the strict letter of the law has been stretched to serve a purpose not contemplated by the law itself—that the machinery of the law has not been applied to him in a strictly judicial spirit or method.
The indications are that Ettor was arrested not because of a determination to enforce the criminal law, but in order to put him out of action.
Such use of the courts breed lawlessness, because it causes workmen to believe that the law is against them.
The Socialist and labor press went further; it attacked the principle underlying the arrests. Said Regeneration, Los Angeles organ of the Mexican labor movement:
It is admitted that the accused men had no direct connection with the death on which the charge is based, but it is alleged that the things they said resulted in the deed. That is an infamous doctrine, for under it there is not an educator in the world who could not be held for having taught something that induced some one to commit a crime. Let me write the incontestable truth that capitalism often sacrifices life to profits, and under that doctrine I may be held for the killing of a capitalist by an outraged worker of whom I never heard.
At the time of the arrest of Ettor and Giovannitti nobody had either been arrested or indicted for the shooting of Annie LoPizzo. So it became necessary to secure a principal for the crime. For this purpose Joseph Caruso was arrested in Lawrence on April 17, and indicted. Caruso was a striker, having worked successively in the dying, drying, carding and combing rooms of the Wood Mills, receiving the munificent wages of $7.70, $6.65, $7.17 and $6.35 a week respectively, when employed. His wife, Rosa Aliotta, was also an employee of the Wood Mills, being employed as a spinner in the spinning room at a like wage. Both Caruso and his wife often experienced unemployment, especially in winter.
After the strike, Detective Callahan, of the Callahan Detective Agency of Boston, forced the discharge of Caruso from various mills in Lawrence. Police Inspector Vose, of Lawrence, also endeavored to persuade him to seek employment elsewhere. But Caruso changed his name, secured employment and stayed in the city until his arrest. Obviously, the intention was to have the alleged principal disappear, as a fugitive from justice, as was the case in the Chicago “anarchist” trial, and then the “accessory before the fact” could be more easily established. As it turned out, Caruso had never heard either Ettor or Giovannitti speak, so that he could be incited to murder, or even applause. But Caruso and his wife, like Giovannitti, were natives of Italy; Ettor is a native of this country, born of Italian parents; the Italians, led by Ettor and Giovannitti, began the strike and committed the murder; consequently, who but Ettor and Giovannitti and Caruso killed Annie LoPizzo. So argued the prosecution. Could anything be simpler—and more dastardly?
Ettor made the charge that the agent provocateurs of the mill-owners started “the riot” in which Annie LoPizzo was killed. Assistant City Marshall, later City Marshall, John J. Sullivan, when appearing before the Berger Congressional Investigation Committee, was asked by Mr. Dalzell, one of the members: “As I understand, there was indiscriminate shooting.” To which the chief of police replied: “My impression is that the shooting was pure deviltry. To begin with, there was no intention of doing anybody harm, but it was simply, as I say, to raise the devil and to bring the crowd and the police and the militia together.”37
It would be interesting to know how Chief Sullivan either knew of, or divined, the intention of the shooter who killed Annie LoPizzo. The answer to this question might justify Ettor’s contention.
With Ettor and Giovannitti “put out of action” the strike went on without their immediate presence.
The Strike Committee, under the leadership of Archie Adamson and Edward Reilly, rallied to the occasion. So did the I. W. W.! Wm. D. Haywood, who had visited Lawrence on Jan. 24, for the first time, now became chairman of the committee; alternating occasionally, with Wm. Yates, national secretary of the Textile Industrial Union, I. W. W. With Haywood came James P. Thompson, general organizer, I. W. MT.; Wm. E. Trautman, and Miss Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, national organizers, I. W. W ; Thomas Power, Francis Miller, and other I. W. W. men. The Socialist Party did valuable service at this and other times, financially and otherwise. The Massachusetts State Committee sent Robert Lawrence, a textile worker and one of its members, to the scene to investigate. His report, favorable to the strikers, resulted in considerable Socialist action in their behalf. Other Socialists who did good work, oratorically and otherwise, are James P. Reid, ex-textile worker, dentist and Socialist representative in the legislature of Rhode Island; Chas. Edward Russell, Sol Fieldman and many more, too numerous to mention.
The strike now, practically resolved itself into a question of endurance. The only important change was the introduction of the endless chain of pickets, 6,000 in number, who every morning from 5:30 to 7:30 walked Essex St. and Broadway to prevent scabbing.
The Governor issued an open letter, urging settlement, Col. Sweetser sent orderlies and an automobile around to the strike committee after Yates, Reilly, Adamson and other members of the strike committee and had a meeting with them, following the Governor’s letter, the A. F. of L., through John Golden, tried to stampede the strikers back to work, and the police and militia tried to prevent measures of relief, in order to break the strike during February,—but all to no avail. Every attempt at settlement—diplomatic, strategic, summary, and otherwise—failed. The strikers stuck together with more determination to win, than ever before. Enthusiasm was rampant; all meetings were opened and closed with revolutionary songs.
One of the combined police and military attacks occurred at the North Station of the Boston and Maine Railroad, on Feb. 24. The strikers had adopted the French and Italian method of relief, that is, of sending children to friends in other cities. Without the cries of hungry children to cause surrender the strikers would win! The plan was initiated by the Italian Socialist Federation, assisted by the Socialist Party, both of which took 150 children to New York City. This was done with the consent of parents and under the care of physicians, nurses and competent persons. Other groups had been dispatched to Boston, Mass., and Barre, Vt. Some 400 children in all thus left Lawrence. Their departure naturally served to lighten the burdens of the strikers. At the same time, it incensed the mill owners and authorities of Lawrence for by this method Lawrence attained notoriety as a starvation-wage paying, though highly-protected, industrial center, that was deserved, if not appreciated by those who profited most from the fact. So steps were taken to prevent further departures. A party destined for Bridgeport, Conn., was first molested. The absurd crimes of neglect and kidnapping were alleged; though never proven, even by the proverbial scintilla of evidence. On Saturday, Feb. 24, a party of 40 children, destined for Philadelphia, under every precaution stipulated by the authorities, was torn from escorts and parents, while women and children were jostled and clubbed and thrown unceremoniously into a waiting patrol wagon. Thirty arrests were made. Among those hurt were pregnant women; miscarriages resulting. The militia, drawn up in line, outside the station, “maintained order,” while the police perpetrated the brutal outrage within.
When the Sunday newspapers appeared, next day, with reports of the affair, a wave of indignation rose from all over the country. Not only was the brutality, but the unconstitutionality, of the whole proceeding, vigorously denounced. Were parents no longer free to send children where they properly chose? Was the right of free locomotion suspended in the United States? United States Senator Poindexter, on learning of the situation, hastened from Washington to Lawrence for a personal investigation. As a result, he gave to the United Press, a denunciation of the mill-owners and authorities that contributed greatly to aid the cause of the strikers. Right here it may be said that the United Press, by its truthful reports, won the thanks of all fair-minded men during the Strike.38 It did noble work!
The Feb. 24 outrage also gave a great impetus to the Congressional investigation into the entire Lawrence situation, initiated by Congressman Victor Berger, Socialist Party representative from Milwaukee, Wis., on Feb. 8. It must be said, in Berger’s favor, that his was the first investigation proposed; in addition it was intended to be the most thorough. Though it did not end the strike, as he claims, it, nevertheless, contributed, as one of many favorable factors, to the victory. It made public a mass of telling official information at a most desirable time. This information is now embodied in House Document, No. 671, of the Second Session of the sixty-second Congress. Every student of the Lawrence strike is bound to avail himself of this invaluable document,—thanks to Victor Berger.
The end of the strike is now at hand. On Sunday, March 12, the committee originally elected to visit the American Woolen Co. again went to Boston, and affected a settlement which later became operative in all the other mills. The basis of settlement was a wage increase of from 5 to 25 per cent, the unskilled receiving the largest percentage; time and a half for overtime, adjustment of the premium system, from four to two weeks pay, and no discrimination. The committee met the mill officials face to face; not even the legal advisers of the latter were permitted to be present.
William D. Haywood, in his speech at Cooper Union, N. Y., on May 21, in behalf of the Ettor-Giovannitti Defense, already quoted, describes the end of the strike as follows:
When the report came from the mill owners that the concessions were granted, the ten members of the committee brought it to the 112 members. The 112 members carried it out to the different nationalities, where it was voted upon. And when the different nationalities accepted it they met on the Common. Now remember, the town hall meetings in New England are lawful. Their action is legal. But we didn’t have a town hall big enough to hold 27,000. So they met under the vaulted blue tabernacle, on the Common.
Do you question whether this organization (the I. W. W.) believes in political action or not? There on the Common the proposition was submitted to the strikers. And I saw men, women and children vote for an increase in wages, for a reduction of hours, for better shop conditions. And that is political action. Every mass action of the working class against the capitalist class is political action.
The importance of such political action, while challenged by District Attorney Atwill, as will be seen in the chapter on the Salem trial, was duly appreciated by no less a person than United States Senator Root, Plutocracy’s ablest lawyer. Addressing the Senate, with Lawrence in mind, Root said: “We do not have to wait now, sir, for men to be naturalized and accorded the suffrage before they can exercise a most potent influence upon the vital concerns of the whole people.”39
Mr. Ray Stannard Baker, called the Lawrence strike “a revolution” ... “involving a demand for a fundamental change in the basic organization of industry.” He might have also added: “And in the popular conception of politics and political institutions.”40 The shop is the workers’ state. The Industrial Congress of the future will supersede the political congress of the past, as the Lawrence and other revolts already forecast.
A few more words and then this already too long chapter will close.
Much has been said about the “violence and disregard for the law prevalent among the strikers at Lawrence.” The fact is that, during nine weeks, with 25,000 on strike, only 296 strike arrests were made.41 Most of them were provoked, and without justification and for minor offenses only.
Arrests for the most flagrant cases of violence and law-breaking are not included in these official statistics. These cases involved the dynamite “planting,” the car-smashing riots, the bayoneting to death of Johnnie Ramie, a Syrian boy, the slugging of James P. Thompson, I. W. W. organizer, and the murder of unborn children at the North Station by mill-owners, militia, private detectives and police. Four murders for money in a house on Valley Street are also attributed to the militia. The only lawless element in Lawrence were those who prate of “law and order” and are sworn to uphold both. Mayor Scanlon declared, in an interview, “We’ll break this strike, or we’ll break the strikers’ heads!” Poor Scanlon; he did the last all right; but history laughs at his preposterous braggadocio in other respects.
Touching on the subject of violence in the Lawrence strike, Wm. D. Haywood said, in his eloquent Cooper Union speech, already quoted:
In that strike the workers knew their power. They were organized to exert that power. And the power they possessed was their productive power. Though foreigners not having a franchise, most of them women, many of them children—still they had their economic power. They had the only power that you have got. The only capital that you have got is the one which is done up in your own hide. And they had just as much of that, more valuable to the mill-owners than yours would be, because they were skilled in that particular line of work. And they committed no violence, except that of removing their hands; big hands, delicate hands, baby hands; some of them gnarled and torn and crippled. But they removed those hands from the machinery. And when they took those hands away from the wheels of the machinery the machinery was dead.
And that was the "violence" of the Lawrence strike. And there is nothing more violent, in the eyes of the capitalist class, than to deprive them of the labor power out of which they get all of their capital.
The Lawrence strike had beneficial results. It gave rise to strikes and wage increases throughout the cotton and woolen industries, all over the country. From 5 to 15 million dollars are estimated to have gone into working class pockets, as a result.
It also enabled the I. W. W. to grow in New England; 7,000 strikers joined at Lawrence alone; where the strike committee was continued in the form of a central committee. This central committee is virtually a cell of the new industrial society42 that is evolving out of capitalism.
The I. W. W. was needed; it will be needed again in New England; for capitalism, with all its degradation still flourishes in New England’s main industry—the textile industry.
CHAPTER IV: THE INDUSTRIAL DEMOCRACY RE-ASSERTS ITSELF
New occasions bring new duties—sings Lowell in his immortal poem, "The Crisis." The textile workers of Lawrence had won a great victory, to the material advantage of themselves and their fellow workers. But the arrests of Ettor and Giovannitti left them with new duties to perform; to their own victory they now had to add the liberation of their wrongly imprisoned leaders. The movement inaugurated by them for this purpose may, at some future time, impress the historian as being more significant than their original revolt itself. Especially is this true of the general strike, inaugurated in behalf of the two men and Caruso. This general strike did not involve, primarily, a bread and butter issue. It was not a spontaneous outbreak against starvation and degradation. It was a moral protest, a patient method of righting a wrong done, not to the workers themselves, but to their chosen representatives and mouthpieces. Further, it took place, not in the white heat of an irrepressible eruption, but at a time when strikes generally are impossible because of reaction and disorganization—a time eight months after the event and many months after a victory, when indignation and enthusiasm are both generally spent, and exhaustion and indifference prevail instead. Finally, the general strike was not local; it was widespread, and, at one period, assumed serious proportions.
The incidents leading up to and attending the Ettor-Giovannitti general strike were not without dramatic, nay, tragic, intensity. These often possessed an uplifting fervor like that of the spiritual ecstasy of a religious crusade. They could not be otherwise, as they were born of deep ethical feelings—of a sense of outraged justice instead of physical need.
The general strike, as a means to free Ettor and Giovannitti, was first urged at the end of the Lawrence strike. "Open the jail doors or we will close the mill gates"—thus was inscribed one of the banners welcoming home to Lawrence the children who had been sent to New York and elsewhere. There was some doubt about the propriety of carrying this banner. But the radicals prevailed over the conservatives; so the banner was flung to the breeze, with all that that implied. The implication was not grasped at once. Nor was it believed, until the very last moment, that the implication would ever be a realization—that a general strike for Ettor and Giovannitti would really ever take place. General strikes for the liberation of imprisoned leaders are rarities in this country. Only once before, in the case of the Tampa, Fla., cigarworkers, had it been invoked—and then with success. In France, it has freed Durand, a laborer, accused, like Ettor and Giovannitti, of inciting to murder during a labor dispute. Now, as ever, the germs of big movements, like the seeds of great plants, are often hid in the most unpromising looking soil; the soil in which, however, they flourish most.
Under these circumstances, the idea of a general strike was, to all appearances, lost in the customary preparations for a formal, legal defense. Even this defense was launched amid difficulties. An Ettor-Giovannitti Defense Committee was organized, consisting of Wm. D. Haywood, Wm. E. Trautman, secretary; Wm. Yates, treasurer; Thomas Holliday, Edmundo Rossoni, Ettor Giannini, James P. Thompson, Guido Mazerreli, Francis Miller, August Detollenaire, Josephine Liss and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. Most of these men and women were involved in the leadership of the many New England textile strikes which the Lawrence victory inspired. Some were indicted for conspiracy in connection with the Lawrence strike and were staying outside of the state in order to continue their efforts in Labor's behalf, unhampered by legal chicanery. Still others were struggling with the local problems of adjustment which always arise under new conditions; especially following an upheaval such as Lawrence had undergone. To all this must be added differences in temperament and policy between Trautman and Yates, the two men in active charge. As a consequence of all of the foregoing, the legal defense suffered from lack of continued and undivided attention at its inception. However, all this was gradually overcome. The numerous strikes subsided, the local problems were adjusted, and a greater co-operation sprung up between the local and national textile unions of the I. W. W. and the general administration of the latter. Long before the close of the trial, all these elements were working without the friction, which, at one time, was quite serious.
The Ettor-Giovannitti defense was organized along three lines: a legal, a publicity and a financial department. All three were growths, dictated largely by the exigencies of the defense. Geo. W. Roewer, Jr., of the Boston firm of Roewer and Mucci, was the foundation stone of the legal department. He was the first legal representative of the Lawrence strikers and fought their cases for them in the local court. At the preliminary trial of Ettor and Giovannitti, in Lawrence, he secured the services of John P. S. Mahoney, of the well-known Lawrence firm of criminal lawyers, Mahoney & Mahoney, for Ettor, and Thos. Lynch of Boston, Mass., for Giovannitti. Later, Caruso was indicted and arrested; Ex-Judge James Sisk of Lynn, Mass., was secured in his behalf, and W. Scott Peters, ex-district attorney of Essex County, residing at Haverhill, Mass., was put in place of Lynch as counsel for Giovannitti. Ex-Judge O. N. Hilton, of Denver, Colo., famous legal authority and one of the attorneys for Moyer, Haywood and Pettibone, acted in a general advisory capacity. Finally, Fred J. Moore, of Los Angeles, Cal., general counsel for the I. W. W., entered the case. Thus six lawyers in all—Rower, Mahoney, Sisk, Peters, Hilton and Moore—represented the legal department.
The publicity department was in charge of Justus Ebert, for the press, and Benj. Legere, for public speaking and general agitation purposes. The publicity department, at one time, supplied nearly 1,000 publications daily with "write-ups." These were most largely used by the Italian, the radical bourgeois, the Socialist, and the labor press in the order given. That is to say, the best supporter of the Ettor-Giovannitti defense was the Italian press, regardless of class interests or political belief. The work of this branch of the publicity department met with the endorsement of men in a position to observe and appreciate its influence. No doubt it contributed some to the liberation of the three men.
Through Legere, extensive tours for prominent speakers were mapped out; that of Miss Elizabeth Gurley Flynn being especially noteworthy. Much agitation was started and funds raised by means of them. Legere deserves special credit for his agitational work in Essex County, from which the jury was drawn. He did much of the agitation here himself; speaking, arranging and advertising meetings, interesting newspapers, organizing defense leagues, initiating general strike and other movements. He had the assistance of Miss Flynn and Rev. Roland D. Sawyer, Socialist party candidate for Governor, in arousing Essex County and moulding opinion. The results speak for their combined efficiency.
The financial department was, at first, a part of the National Textile Union of the I. W. W.; the funds, under the original call, being also contributed for its upbuilding in the face of the attacks of New England's textile capitalism. Later, the funds were segregated and Fred W. Heslewood was placed in principal charge by the general administration of the I. W. W., with Yates as co-worker. This department circularized unions and paid out all disbursements. The greatest care was exercised; and no bill got by that was excessive or fraudulent. Sixty thousand dollars were thus received and expended. The biggest part of this amount came from Italian sources; the Italian Mine Workers' local unions, among whom Ettor did much helpful work at various times, being among the principal contributors.
At the time of the trial, all the men either in charge of the defense or in its employ, were, with the exception of the lawyers, workingmen. Yates is a weaver; Heslewood, miner; Ebert, lithographer; Legere, machinist, and Coppens, Chadwick, Guthrie and Benkowski are weavers.
The work of the defense received much support from the working class in general. This came through the formation of Ettor-Giovannitti Defense Conferences, composed of representatives of Socialist, labor and progressive organizations. All the large and principal cities had such conferences. New York, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and other cities were thus organized. Big protest parades and demonstrations were held, at which the attention of all liberty-loving and right-minded persons were called to the outrages perpetrated against labor and its leaders, and Labor was urged to act in their behalf. At a big meeting in Cooper Union, New York, May 21, Morris Hillquit was compelled, by the logic of events, to speak in favor of the I. W. W. from the same platform, where, months before, he had condemned it.
Especially noteworthy was the meeting held in Boston, on the Common, on Sept. 15. Two special trains containing 2,700 passengers left Lawrence to take part. All the surrounding industrial cities and towns, within a 40 mile radius of Boston, were represented. It was the largest and most imposing demonstration ever held in the Hub. As it occurred right in the shadow of the State Building, and in the center of New England's textile manufacturies, the Boston demonstration made a great and favorable impression in behalf of the three prisoners.
Many of the banners carried in this demonstration are worth notice. One read, "Christ died on the Cross, Bruno was Burned at the Stake, Ferrer Shot in the Ditch, Emmet was Hanged in Dublin. Are Ettor and Giovannitti to be Murdered in the Electric Chair?"
This protest movement was by no means national; it spread to Europe, Australia, Canada, Hawaii, Cuba, Panama and even Argentine. The Swedish workingmen proposed a European boycott of American products and a strike against all ships destined for American ports, as a means of bringing pressure to bear to secure liberation. This idea was seconded by French and Australian transport workers' organizations. Its probable practical application worried American commercial interest not a little, as it would have meant much to them in the present acute state of world-competition. In Italy, governmental interpellations by Socialist deputies, general strikes, demonstrations against American consulates, and the nomination of Giovannitti for parliament, were the order of the day. The Italian movement in behalf of the three men was the cause of much diplomatic correspondence. It is well known by the defense that President Taft personally interested himself in the case and was visited by Italians at his summer home at Beverly, Mass., in regard thereto. In brief, the international movement, with its boycotts, resolutions of protest, and international complications, exerted considerable economic and political influence in behalf of the three prisoners.
At all protest demonstrations the general strike was advocated and urged. The general strike movement was formally launched at a meeting held in Providence, R. I., at which Haywood, Heselwood, Yates and others prominent in the defense, were present. It was given great impetus during the last week in August, when President Wm. M. Wood of the Woolen Trust, Fred E. Atteaux, president of the Atteaux Supply Company, and a close friend of Wood's, and Dennis J. Collins, a dog fancier of Cambridge, were indicted, arrested and held on a charge of conspiracy to "plant" dynamite in order to discredit the Lawrence strike. This was the same "plant" for which Breen had been fined, as told in the preceding chapter. These arrests came as a result of the confession of Ernest W. Pittman, President of the Pittman Construction Company, a neighbor of Wood at Andover, who built the Wood Mills at Lawrence and other textile plants of note. He "coughed up" to District Attorney Pellietier of Boston during an exhilarating dissipation at Young's Hotel, one of the Hub's most exclusive hostelries. He betrayed the fact that the conspiracy had been planned in the Boston offices of the textile corporations. When Pittman sobered up he realized he had made an awful mistake and so went and killed himself. District Attorney Pellieter is believed to have found Pittman's confession useful to his political ambitions, for he was an aspirant for gubernatorial honors against Governor Foss, but was subsequently defeated by the latter.
These arrests, together with the suicide of Pittman, created a veritable sensation in favor of the liberation of Ettor, Giovannitti and Caruso. Especially was this so when the contrast in the cases on each side was made. Ettor, Giovannitti and Caruso had been summarily arrested and detained in prison for months; Wood and Breen did not spend one minute in confinement; bail and all the necessaries to release were arranged for them in advance. Wood thought so little of the whole affair that he smiled as the newspaper men photographed him. Further interest was aroused when the Boston grand jury's investigations continued and threatened to overhaul the entire Lawrence strike situation once more. As a result of such actions, Joseph J. Donohue, Boston American reporter at Lawrence, became involved in the dynamite conspiracy, but was not indicted. Ex-City Marshall James T. O'Sullivan of Lawrence, a witness before the Boston grand jury, made the startling statement that all the trouble in Lawrence could be laid at the doors of a combination of politicians and mill-men and not the strikers. All of which events proved; and all of which aroused interest in the general strike to a pitch. In all New England's textile centers, in the mining centers of Pennsylvania, the shoe centers of Haverhill and Lynn, the quarries at Barre, Vermont, and Quincy, Mass., and other important industrial points, the general strike movement sprang up and flourished. It grew ever more extensive and threatening.
But it was in Lawrence itself where this movement was strongest. Here is gathered such volume and impetus as to refuse to yield to the restraint of the most powerful influences, as we shall soon see. On Sept. 12 a rousing meeting was held on "The Lots," a big vacant space at the corner of Chestnut and Short Streets. Following this meeting a parade was organized and the vast audience of seven thousand, led by a flag and singing the Internationale, took possession of the Common, which had been denied them. As the police were absent everything passed off orderly, proving once more that they are the only inciters to riot.
Various meetings were also held subsequently to discuss the situation and prepare for action. The authorities tried to suppress all large meetings—in fact, everything productive of mass action. But such was the pressure of events that finally they gave a permit for a mass meeting to be held on Amesbury Street, south of Essex, on Wednesday, Sept. 25. Long before the hour appointed, these thoroughfares were jammed with thousands of interested workmen and women. But no meeting was held. Instead all present adjourned to Lexington Hall, I. W. W. headquarters, on Lawrence Street. Here, from the windows, an immense gathering was addressed in various tongues by Miss Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Carlo Tresca and others. They read letters from Ettor and Giovannitti, urging that the general strike be abandoned for the present. Ettor argued that the general strike "would tend to prejudice public opinion"; Giovannitti thought the price in misery to the workers too great to pay and counseled delay until the trial would demonstrate its necessity. The general committee of Local 20, I. W. W., endorsed the advice thus given "in order that the Massachusetts courts might have an opportunity to demonstrate the fairness that the master class boasts they have."
The following morning the Lawrence newspapers could not hide their elation. They came out in big headlines, "No Strike; General Committee, I. W. W., Votes Against It." And the business element of Lawrence could almost be heard to heave a sigh of relief. "No general strike" meant continued mill exploitation and profits in sales to the mill workers for them. But all concerned reckoned without their hosts. Though the workers had apparently acquiesced in the advice given by Ettor and Giovannitti, whom they revered, they were plainly disappointed, deeply so. They were so set on action in behalf of their imprisoned leaders and fellow-workers that to be denied the opportunity were worse than defeat by the enemy. They did not believe in the letters read; so a committee visited Lawrence Jail to find out if they were genuine. They got others, of the same kind. The workers thereupon proceeded to act on their own account; they ignored the advice, they set aside the action of the Central Committee and their affection and proceeded with determination—the industrial democracy reasserted itself once more, the general strike took place; the Woolen Trust and other big mills were closed down, 15,000 to 20,000 textile workers were out in Lawrence on Sept. 29, when Ettor, Giovannitti and Caruso went to trial. Other large cities, especially in Massachusetts, were affected and the public impression was stupendous. A cause so powerful, so deep, cannot be trifled with, as we shall again see, in our account of the trial. The general strike exerted a great influence.
Of course, the general strike was not inaugurated without difficulties; nor was it free from attempts at repression or consequences of various kinds. The advice given in the prison letters was at first a cause of friction and division; but this was not fundamental enough to be insurmountable. The rank and file prevailed; and the I. W. W. wisely stood behind them both locally and nationally; so that a united front against the common enemy was the final outcome. This was necessary; for the enemy was prepared. "Lay-offs" and large stocks were the rule, in preparation for the event. Short weaves were put in looms, new locks and bolts put in doors, and private detectives hired from Boston to prevent sabotage in the mills. The Wood Mill, the largest in Lawrence, had suffered, since the Lawrence strike, a decrease of 12 per cent in efficiency. This meant a loss of three-quarters to one million dollars annually, primarily through sabotage. The latter was a factor in the trial; for the superintendent of this mill, together with fifteen other mill superintendents, it is reported, expressed a willingness to go on the stand to testify in favor of the three men, provided this condition of affairs would cease. As it was, one of the leading officials of the American Woolen Co. did go on the stand for the defense; as also did a close friend of the capitalist indicted for dynamite "planting," "Billy" Wood, Mr. Atteaux. All of which is noteworthy.
Thus it came about that there was much brutality by private detectives hired by the mill-owners during the general strike. These, at the inception of the general strike, attacked the more active of the mill employees in favor of the general strike with long clubs, loaded with lead, and drove them out of the mills, inflicting many injuries. The police also acted with ferocity. They drove 200 men and women up a blind alley near the Arlington Mills and attacked them without mercy. One policeman was shot and many workers wounded in other fracases. In Lynn and Haverhill bloody encounters also took place, and many arrests were made.
But most significant of all were the aftermaths of the general strike. These were, first, the threat of the mill-owners to black-list all the active spirits. This was met by a counter-threat to move 1,000 textile workers from Lawrence at once. The mill-owners gave in instantly. They did want a shortage of labor. They caused it to be known that all hands would be re-employed without discrimination. Second, there was the famous (sic) "God and Country" agitation. This was an attempt to arouse religious and patriotic sentiments against the I. W. W. It was an appeal to prejudice, in which physical force was urged. Father Reilly, the consistent follower of the "Prince of Peace," the meek and lowly Christ, was the holy backer of this crusade. The I. W. W. was to be run out of town, tarred and feathered, a in San Diego. To this end, a great flag demonstration and parade was arranged for Columbus Day, Saturday, Oct. 12, 1912, the flag display to last one month. Mayor Scanlon gave warning that no I. W. W. buttons would be allowed in the parade; that anyone seen wearing them would be yanked out of line without ceremony.
But this and similar incitements to riot, in the name of "God and Country" that is, dynamite planting capitalists and crooked politicians, failed. The I. W. W. served warning on Mayor Scanlon that it would hold him and "his" city government individually and collectively responsible for injuries to I. W. W. members. None occurred. A counter agitation was also started. Cards and leaflets were issued exposing the true import of "God and Country." (See appendix.) An outing was arranged at Spring Valley on Columbus Day, where 5,000 I. W. W. members put in an appearance, despite a drizzling rain and a four-mile walk for most of them because of poor trolley facilities. Revolutionary songs were sung, bands played, games were indulged in. Speeches were made by Ex-Mayor John Cahill, William D. Haywood, Fred W. Heselwood, Miss Flynn and others. Haywood struck the keynote when he said, "This is not a religious or patriotic question; this is an industrial question and can only be settled in industry." The outing was conceded by the press to have been a strategic move, as it robbed the other side of all excuse or opportunity for violence and kept the I. W. W. intact before a subtle and well-planned attack.
A boycott of the "patriots" brought down all the flags on Essex street long before the date originally set. So ended "God and Country" in Lawrence, 1912.
It may be said, in passing, that the workingmen of Lawrence would not have permitted a repetition of San Diego there. It was common gossip in working class circles that over 200 revolvers had been purchased in Boston during Columbus Day week, as a precautionary measure of self-defense. This fact may have reached the ears of Gov. Foss, for he is reported to have notified Mayor Scanlon that Lawrence need not appeal to him on Columbus Day. If trouble ensued, it would have to settle its own problems without State aid. Again, it is reported that the Governor was moved to this action by the threat of Boston editors to publish the whole truth and nothing but the truth regarding Columbus Day in Lawrence. As this would be advertising to the world a most scandalous condition of affairs, if created as contemplated, the Governor acted as stated, again according to report.
There are more ways than one of killing a cat besides violence; when the industrial democracy asserts itself intelligently it sets in motion a string of events favorable to its own welfare. Of that, the general strike at Lawrence leaves no doubt. It was a great and triumphant uprising in behalf of justice to the workers—and will bear repetition wherever necessary.
CHAPTER V: THE INDUSTRIAL DEMOCRACY TRIUMPHS IN COURT
Time decides all things. At last, after months of delay, Sept. 29, 1912,—the day of the Ettor-Giovannitti-Caruso trial—arrives. The old red brick courthouse in the gore park on Federal street, Salem, Mass., is besieged. Three hundred and fifty veniremen have been called. Fifty newspaper men and women are present from all parts of the country. All the big news-gathering associations are represented. Friends and sympathizers and workmen's committees, appointed to see justice done, are on hand. A large number of the curious mix with the interested and help swell the throng. All crowd about the entrance, seeking admission, which is only secured by card. The roll of carriages is heard. Two draw up. An aisle of spectators is formed from the curb to the courthouse, with the police and deputy sheriffs in front. Out of the first carriage step Ettor and Giovannitti, shackled together and followed by deputies. Both wear blue suits, windsor ties and woolen shirts and slouch hats. The crowds greet them with cheer upon cheer, to which they smile in return, while the police hustle back the surging mass, amid the click of the cameras of the newspaper photographers and the moving picture men. Out of the second carriage steps Caruso, shackled to a deputy sheriff. He is attired in a cap, checked trousers, cut-away coat and white shirt. His face shows more color and less prison pallor than those of his comrades. Caruso is also greeted by the crowd and the activity of the picture-takers. All three ascend the steps of the brown-stone portico and enter the courthouse. At last the climax approaches.
In the courthouse all is subdued and tense. The newspapers from Boston, Salem, Lawrence and the principal towns of Essex County are displaying big headlines featuring the general strike news from Lawrence, Haverhill, Lynn, Quincy and other points in New England; in contrast with which are also big headlines featuring the beginning of the trial. Among the sensational items is a rumor of a march on Salem from the general strike centers. Despite the rules forbidding the reading of newspapers in the courtroom, they are stealthily read. Where this is not the case they bulge from the pockets of the veniremen, with every indication of careful perusal. Though all is still on the surface there is much subdued excitement. Every new-comer in the courtroom is anxiously interrogated about the latest news regarding the general strike. In brief, the atmosphere of the courtroom is surcharged with a feeling of gravity; of a social drama in which much is at stake.
The court is late in opening. All the veniremen, newspaper folks, court officials and prisoners are in readiness long before it is necessary. They have ample time to discuss or write up the unusual situation, which they do with quiet restraint and much material. Or they take stock of the big, square white room, with its big windows and plenty of light. At the back is the judge's bench, flanked in the rear by a small library of law books, above which is a mediocre painting of a chief justice, undoubtedly worthy of honor, but unknown to all but a few present. Before the judge's bench is a square enclosure. This contains tables for the clerk of the court and his assistants and for the district attorney. At the sides are also tables for the defense and the greater part of the press. In this square, toward the rear of the room and directly facing the judge, is the infamous prisoners' pen, immortalized by Giovannitti in a most powerful poem, called "The Cage," and written in Salem prison.43 "The Cage" is a bronze lattice work compartment, open only above the waist in front, with a bench for seating purposes, and guarded by four deputy sheriffs. All along the walls, outside of the square described, are benches, carefully arranged. Those to the left of the judge, next to the witness stand are reserved for the jury. The remainder are filled with veniremen, court officials, police, reporters and the few spectators who were influential enough to get by the guards at the door.
At last Sheriff Johnson, gold-tipped staff in hand, cries out, "The Court!" All present, at this signal, arise; more according to long-imposed custom than to actual deference. The crier calls out, "Hear ye! hear ye!" and bids all who have business there to draw near and they shall be heard. After which ancient mummery, repeated at the opening and close of every session from day to day, the court is seated and the audience follows, unlike the equals before the law with all men that they are alleged to be. The play at "law and order" where no "law and order" is needed, except in the interests of oppression, is now in full swing. But not without the presence of those social influences from which legality pretends to detach itself in an impartial and dispassionate manner, as we shall soon see. The play is continued for almost two months, with some interruptions, mainly of labor's creation, as we shall again see.
Judge Quinn, who presides, is a large, white-haired, bespectacled Irish-American, with the dignified look of a priest and the air of a sphinx. His handling of the trial was pronounced masterly at a banquet tendered him some months after by a wealthy Boston club. The friends of the prisoners condemn it for its unfairness; they believe, with a well-known Massachusetts lawyer, that, were it not for Judge Quinn's rulings, there would have been no case to try. As it was, the jury finally chosen departed without his thanks for their long services to the state. This neglect of long-established precedent reflects the court's mind. He evidently was intent on a verdict of guilt, and was piqued because it was not pronounced despite his rulings.
The task of securing the jury now begins. Here the first snag was struck, revealing the actual character of the case before the court. This is no ordinary murder trial in which jurors gladly serve. This is a social issue, pregnant with social consequences. As a result, the majority of the veniremen show a reluctance to act. They plead prejudice and opposition to capital punishment. They oppose personal ideas and conscientious scruples to the evidence and the law. They assert that they will be guided by the first to the repudiation of the latter.
The court tries in vain to break down this reluctance. He appeals to the prospective jurors to respect and uphold the law, to waive opinion in favor of evidence, to be patriotic and guided only by conscience, approved by God, in the performance of a social duty, one of the highest duties possible to man. But these appeals fail; though repeated in a variety of ways, some coaxing and persuasive, others scathing and menacing, they availeth not. To the chagrin of the court, now plainly powerless and humiliated, the New England conscience persists in its stubbornness; creating more disregard for law and opponents to capital punishment than a thousand lectures by either anarchists or the advocates of new methods for dealing with capital crimes.
The result is an exhaustion of the panel, without seven jurors having been obtained, which would enable the court to recruit the remainder from the street, regardless of opinion or scruples. With four jurors only chosen after three days, when it was thought to have the trial well under way, lawyers proclaim the situation unprecedented. The newspapers so consider and discuss it. It was not only unprecedented, but ominous. Why this condition of affairs? A New England reporter, when asked this question, said of the veniremen: "This general strike news has got them frightened. They fear the consequences. THEY ARE SCARED TO DEATH." "Conscience," says Shakespeare, "doth make cowards of us all." But it is worth noting how personal and class interests doth make conscience in conformity with themselves; also how those interests are affected and determined by other influences.
This condition of affairs caused a delay of twelve days, in order to call another venire. On Oct. 14 the court resumed again. This time success marked the efforts to secure a jury. This was partly due to the "God and Country" agitation, which, reacting from the general strike, again nerved New England to a greater solicitude for evidence and law. It was most largely due to the greater percentage of workingmen willing to serve and acceptable to the defense. Six hundred veniremen in all were examined. The jury secured, under the above circumstances, is as follows: Robert Stillman, Rockport, Mass., foreman, member Carpenters' union; Samuel F. Bond, Lynn, Mass., stockfitter, active unionist; George F. Burgess, Lynn, Mass., Cutters' Union, K. of L.; John N. Carter, Newburyport, Mass., teamster, Socialist; Willis P. Cressay, Glouster, Mass., sailmakers' union; J. J. Doran, Methuen, Mass., carpenter employed in union shop; Daniel J. Dullea, Peabody, Mass., laborer; George C. Edmonds, Amesbury, Mass., lamp worker, Socialist; Harvey Elliott, Beverly, Mass., boss carpenter, employer of union labor; Christian Larsen, Haverhill, Mass., boss barber, Socialistically inclined; Edwin S. Martin, Salem, Mass., carpenter, car builder; Fred T. Noyes, Newburyport, Mass., boss grocer.
To these men belong the honor of the verdict found in this famous trial.
With the jury finally impanelled the trial actually began. The prosecution was able but untenable. It sought to establish individual responsibility for social conditions and for violence engendered by police brutality and invasion of simple rights. Ettor was held to have planned, inspired and carried on the Lawrence strike, assisted by Giovannitti. Both incited the Italian populace, including Caruso, to violence and murder by word of mouth and the wiles of the agitator. Consequently, in the death of Annie Lo Pizzo, they were accessories before the fact, as they did thus conspire to procure her death. District Attorney Atwill, in his virulent denunciation of Ettor as "The Little General," unconsciously expounded Carlyle's theory that great men create great epochs; a view to which the jury did not at all incline, as the results show.
The untenable nature of the prosecution was shown in many ways. First, in the attempt to have the jury visit Lawrence, where, amid the display of patriotism exhibited by the "God and Country" agitation, it would be influenced in behalf of the prosecution. As the defense insisted on the right of the prisoners to also go there, the attempt was dropped; for the presence of Ettor, Giovannitti and Caruso in Lawrence at the time would be fraught with many perils to "law and order." Second, in the dates selected by the prosecution. These were January 15, after Ettor's arrival, and Jan. 29, the day of his arrest, when the strike was not yet ended. Thus the strike was to be made an Ettor affair exclusively.
It did not take long for the weakness of the prosecution to expose itself. The first three days of the trial were typical. In Solidarity, I. W. W. organ, issue of Oct. 28, 1912, the writer (who was present throughout the trial) summed them up as follows:
Since the delivery of his opening address the district attorney has summoned some ten or twelve witnesses. These witnesses, with the exception of the first three, who were members and friends of the I. W. W., made out a case against the men that, under cross-examination by counsel for the defense, either underwent vital change or else was completely destroyed; all to the advantage of Ettor, Giovannitti and Caruso.
Such was the first day's testimony that the sheriff of Essex County, who is also a lawyer, is reported to have said, "It is a shame to waste the county's money in such proceedings."
This opinion, endorsed also by others, grew on the second and third days, and was quite strong when court adjourned on that day (Friday evening) until next Monday morning.
In the two and a half days of testimony taking nothing in the way of a case was developed against the defendants. The testimony taken under cross-examination shows that the speeches and conversations of Ettor and Giovannitti have been distorted, misrepresented and otherwise adapted to the needs of the prosecution, even to the extent of suppressing entirely their most essential features.
Witnesses testified that in the preliminary trial they were not asked questions that would elicit the full purport and true meaning of all that was said; nor were they asked, in conference with the district attorney, to give all the information they possessed.
On the other hand, some of the witnesses, notably Policemen Barry and Gallagher and Reporter Joseph A. Donohue, gave more detailed information regarding the alleged incendiary speeches and conversations of Ettor and Giovannitti than they had done at the preliminary trial. And they all admitted that, since then, they had been in consultation with District Attorney Attwill on the case; all of which helped to destroy completely the effectiveness of the testimony of the commonwealth.
It would be difficult to give in detail the testimony already taken. But this much may be stated:
That the testimony shows, under cross-examination, that speeches and conversations were garbled and lopped off as required. That Lawrence police officers were called into discussion of the case with their superior officers and State Police Captains Proctor and Flynn; that one of them, Barry, had gone over the case with District Attorney Atwill; that another one—Gallagher—talked with Barry about the case and had consulted newspaper reports in regard to dates and events; that Gallagher was appointed to the police force through the exertions of a salaried employe of the American Woolen Co., and that at the time of said appointment he was in the employ of said company; that Mayor Scanlon suggested the organization of the strikers' committee in the City Hall speech of Jan. 14. (It was the intention of the prosecution to show that Ettor organized and dominated the strikers' committee in pursuance of the conspiracy to incite to violence, etc.); that Ettor was a factor for peace, having on Jan. 29 prevented a clash between the militia and a parade of strikers by projecting himself between the two and diverting the course of the latter; that the early morning street car smashing riots, which Ettor and Giovannitti are charged with having organized and incited, were permitted and tolerated by both the police and the militia, who looked on and took no steps to prevent them; that the rioting attending the Lawrence strike began on Jan. 12, before Ettor's arrival, as a result of the unheralded wage reduction following the inauguration of the 54 hours and not on Jan. 15, following Ettor's arrival, and as a result of his and Giovannitti's speeches; that the alleged voluntary conversation of Caruso with Lawrence Police Inspector Vose and State Police Captain Flynn, both of whom discussed the case with Barry, Benoit and others, shows that he was not at the scene of the murder of Annie Lo Pizzo on the night it was committed.
All this and much more that is favorable to the defense the three days' actual trial shows.
The sum total of the three days' trial confirms the original belief that the three men are the victims of a frame-up, because the Lawrence strike was a victory for the working class, whose beneficial results must be nullified by drastic measures.
During the days following, the prosecution's witnesses made many admissions fatal to its case. Officer Johnson admitted invading the rights of the peaceful crowd at Garden and Union streets on the night of the killing of Annie Lo Pizzo. He and other officers clubbed men and women on the back when moving. The police and militia got the crowd between them so that they couldn't move as ordered, and then clubbed and bayonetted them for not doing so. Militia Captain Colby testified that the crowd was moving about on his arrival, with no evidence of concerted action. The testimony of Officers Benoit and Marshall showed that the fatal shot had been fired at Benoit by a man who had a personal grudge against Benoit, and who took advantage of the troublous times to square accounts.
In general, the prosecution's witnesses did not inspire confidence and respect. Two of them, Special Officer Silba Moor and Sherman Detective Agency Operator La Corte, were completely discredited; court records were produced exposing them as criminals and ex-convicts. The Bencardo Brothers, Callahan detective agency operators, were self-exposed as shady characters, unworthy of belief and fearful of exposure. The commonwealth had not one witness from among the thousands of strikers and others familiar with events who had heard the alleged incendiary speeches or knew of the alleged conspiracy to procure the commission of murder. All of which was fatal to its case.
All that the prosecution lacked the defense possessed. Its witnesses were in striking contrast to those of the commonwealth. They brought an air of honesty and decency into the courtroom. The men, women and children of the mills went on the stand by the dozen to tell the same tale, to-wit: that Ettor had urged them "to stay away from Canal street, the police, militia and mills, and to put their hands in their pockets until the mill-owners came to them, as they could not weave cloth with a policeman's club or with a soldier's bayonet."
Testimony was also given regarding the real nature of various statements made by Ettor. His "We'll keep the gunshops busy" was shown to be dependent on the city authorities granting strikers as well as scabs permits to carry weapons. This grant was not expected; it was requested as a method of protest and publicity against violence by the mill-owners' thugs. The reference to the French Revolution grew out of a report that the workers in Lawrence often had only black bread to eat. That "Lawrence will be an unhappy city, with no cars to stone," would be the case if the electrical workers struck, as they threatened to do; a fact which Ettor had in mind, as they had consulted him about it. Other statements that, wrenched from their context, appeared diabolical, were perfectly legitimate and sound when heard in their entirety. Other testimony showed Officer Benoit to be the killer of Annie Lo Pizzo.44
Giovannitti was also shown to have instructed men in charge of parades to prevent disorder and to have personally berated some men who threw snow and ice at the militia. None heard him say that the strikers should "prowl around like wild animals in the night looking for the blood of the police," but he advised the very contrary. He himself had no recollection of such words and spurned them as repugnant to his intelligence and nature and to civilized man in general.
Try as District Attorney Attwill would, he could not succeed in trapping or discrediting any of the defense's witnesses.
The mill operatives were substantiated in their testimony by social investigators, clergymen, the governor's secretary, Dudley Holman, Max Mitchell, Fred Atteaux, Wm. Wood's friend, and Horace Wiggins, controller of the American Woolen Co., all of whom testified to Ettor's peaceful attitude and the open-and-above-board workings of the strike committee. Three witnesses—his landlord, his child's god-father and his wife—helped Caruso to establish a complete alibi; he was at home eating supper when Annie Lo Pizzo was alleged to have been shot by him. It was also shown that he had heard Ettor speak but once; then in English, which he did not understand. He had never heard Giovannitti speak at all. Caruso said he was not a member of the I. W. W., but would join as soon as he got out.
But the most important witnesses for the defense were Ettor and Giovannitti themselves. Ettor was on the stand two whole court days. His wonderful memory recalled every detail of his part in the strike and gave coherency to all the other testimony by the defense. In the case of both himself and Giovannitti the examination revealed the social character of the issues before the court. At times Annie Lo Pizzo was entirely forgotten; ideas were discussed instead of persons; opinions were on trial instead of acts.
The subjects ranged from labor organization, as represented by the I. W. W. in contrast to the A. F. of L., to religion, economics, sociology, history, U. S. Constitution and government, American Revolution, Socialism, Anarchism, sabotage, political and industrial action, passive resistance, general strike and kindred matters. The district attorney offered in evidence Solidarity, the I. W. W. organ, and St. John's "The I. W. W. History, Methods and Structure," a pamphlet which he was compelled to read from cover to cover, advertisements and all. Haywood's "General Strike" and other documents were put in by the prosecution. A hand-bill advocating violence and bearing the names of Ettor, Giovannitti and Mazzerelli, was submitted and repudiated as a forgery, such as the evidence proved it to be. The defense put in "The Proceedings of the First I. W. W. Convention" and read therefrom the Chicago manifesto, the famous document which recites the social causes that produced the formation of the I. W. W. Society loomed up large in all this, while Annie Lo Pizzo was forgotten.
Ettor gave many definitions in his testimony. Said he:
The program of the industrialist is part of the general Socialist program. The Socialist political movement concerns itself with political matters; the industrial union movement with industrial matters. One is organized on the basis of industry and productive workers, the other according to ideas and political boundaries; the ultimate object is the same.
Ettor also declared that two principles guide labor; one is the theory of demolition, the other of construction, in the matter of property. In his opinion the industrial unionist offers the only solution of a peaceful nature for labor problems that has yet been devised.
Asked if he was an anarchist, Ettor answered, "No." Asked to define the difference between anarchy and industrial unionism, Ettor answered, "One is the philosophy of individualism, the other of collectivism." He said further, in answer to questions:
The anarchist looks upon social progress as emanating from the individual. The collectivist looks upon progress as a result of social efforts and experiences. The individualist regards all social changes from the standpoint of their effects on the individual; the collectivist for what they mean to the general community. Our idea and our program is to organize the workers in the same way that they are organized in producing wealth. Through the power and intelligence that is generated in the workers through solidarity there will naturally evolve a state of society where those who do the work will appropriate the product of their efforts. The A. F of L. organizes according to trades, irrespective of whether the workers are employed in the same industry or not. It accepts the present system as a finality. The I. W. W. groups them according to industries. It regards present society as one of the stages in social progress.
Again Ettor said, in answer to a question:
I look upon the I. W. W. as one of the agencies involved in the evolution and progress of industry and society. The I. W. W. aims to organize the workers on the industrial field, to train them in their unions and to develop them through their experiences to learn how to administer industry and manage affairs for themselves. In the ratio that the new society is generated in the shell of the old, naturally, the old society will gradually disappear and the new will take its place.
Ettor reaffirmed his conviction that only through the solidarity of labor within industry could society evolve in a peaceful manner. He believes industry will evolve industrial ideas and government.
The cross-examination of Ettor left him "master," as the headlines of the Salem News proclaimed. His answers to the district attorney were direct and unflinching. For instance, Atwill asked:
"Did you, with all your study of history, especially of United States history, and with all your stock of general information, tell these strikers from abroad that this government is a government of, by and for capitalists?" To which Ettor replied: "I did; not in spite of my knowledge, but because of it."
Then Atwill would flare up with a "Mr. Ettor, did you not say so-and-so to the strikers then?" To which Ettor would reply, not the least intimidated, "Yes; and I say the same now."
Ettor, via his strike speeches, which he repeated in extensio, was enabled to get before the jury the story of the dynamite plot and all other matters excluded by the court.
Giovannitti was equally as courageous as Ettor; though perhaps even more soft-spoken. He used the district attorney's activity to illustrate how a man in a movement may be militant without necessarily being violent, and in other ways, more direct, complimented his persecutor. He was especially good in his definitions of direct action and sabotage. He defined direct action as the conscious action of workers themselves to secure gains directly from the capitalists without the intervention or aid of third parties. He illustrated by means of the eight-hour day put on the statute books by legislation only to remain unenforceable or to be declared unconstitutional; and that secured and established in the shop by the workers themselves.
Sabotage was defined by Giovannitti as the willful reduction of output or deterioration of goods by labor in accordance with the wages received.
"Sabotage," asserted Giovannitti, "is practiced, in its more comprehensive sense, more largely by capital than by labor."
But the district attorney objected; he only wanted to know Giovannitti's conception of the word; he was not interested in how the capitalists sabotaged society.
"The jury," said Giovannitti on another occasion under cross-examination, "might think sabotage was dynamiting, which might be your definition, Mr. District Attorney, but it is not mine."
All the prisoners made an excellent impression in their own behalf.
In the rebuttal, when Mayor Scanlon was on the stand, this contract, exposing his shameful part in promoting disorder in Lawrence, was introduced in the case:
BOSTON, Jan. 17, 1912.
This contract, entered into between the City of Lawrence, Mass., through their Mayor and Board of Aldermen in the first part, and the Sherman Detective Agency of Boston, Mass., in the second part, is to commence at the time our operative reaches Lawrence to take up the work and is to extend for a period of seven days, with the privilege of renewal by the party of the first part under same articles of this contract.
The second party of the contract agrees to assign on the matter in question (namely, the Lawrence mill strike) an Italian speaking operative, able to take shorthand notes of either Italian or English conversations and capable of doing 'roping' if deemed advisable.
The party of the first part, in consideration of the services of the party of the second part, agrees to pay to them at the rate of eight dollars ($8) per day for each operative and the necessary disbursements incurred; said disbursements, however, not to exceed three dollars ($3) per day unless authorized in writing by the party of the first part, the disbursements to include car fares, telephones, meals and room hire when away from Boston, cash spent with subjects and any other incidental expense absolutely necessary in order to bring about the desired results.
Bills are to be rendered by the party of the second part weekly and to be paid by party of the first part within thirty days from date of bill.
SHERMAN DETECTIVE AGENCY,
(Signed) Per John F. Sherman, Gen. Mgr.
MICHAEL A. SCANLON, Mayor.
CORNELIUS F. LYNCH, Alderman.
PAUL HANNAGAN, Alderman.
ROBERT S. MALONEY, Alderman.
This contract is self-condemnatory. "Roping" means to inveigle by means of incitement or provocation. In other words, the mayor of Lawrence upheld the law by hiring agents to lead others to break it in order to trap innocent persons. Detective La Carte, exposed in open court as a criminal and ex-convict, was employed under this infamous contract. Sherman had to sue for his dirty money. Scanlon evidently doesn't believe there is honor even among law-breakers.
With the testimony all in, the defense began to sum up. Ex-Judge Sisk made a purely legal analysis of the evidence against Caruso that was thorough, complete and able in every respect. He naturally laid most emphasis on the alibi established for his client by means of his luminous, elevated and masterly abilities. Mr. Peters made an address that would have delighted the believer in economic determinism. In his talk he showed how wealth influences conduct; how corporate wealth especially tends to make public officials, especially the police, subservient to corporations, with all their power and influence, and opposed to the laborers, who have only poverty and degradation; how this tendency makes public men over-zealous, unconsciously in their own interests, as against the interests of the poor and powerless. Mr. Peters was especially good in his declaration that "If the strikers had been actuated by violence they could have wiped Lawrence off the map." He said the wonder was, in view of the incompetency displayed by the police, not that there had been so much, but so little disorder. He argued that this spoke well for Ettor and Giovannitti. Mr. Peters called attention to the disinterested character and culture of his client, Giovannitti, and made a rousing appeal in the interests of justice and progress, all the time paying strict and minute attention to the evidence of the prosecution. He said the trial was a result of a conflict between capital and labor and should be so considered. Mr. Mahoney dwelt on the humanitarian motives of both Ettor and Giovannitti, especially of Ettor. He referred to his abilities as compared with his remuneration, and referred to the great impression professional contact with Ettor made on him; an impression of loftiness and idealism. Mr. Mahoney also made some references to the social character of the trial and the work of the I. W. W. He especially pointed out the conditions that surrounded the inception of the strike, together with Ettor's masterly efforts in handling the latter. And, as if to anticipate District Attorney Atwill, he made an appeal for free speech, free assemblage and free organization in the name of the flag and the glorious traditions of Massachusetts that was impressive, from a Fourth of July standpoint.
Taken all in all, it must be said that the three lawyers were able, conscientious, eloquent, but lacking in depth, grasp and courage. They knew not the basis of their own profession. They kept too near the present. They were not like Ferdinand Lasalle, who knew law, not only to practice it, but to make it an engine of progress, and who was not only a lawyer, but a revolutionizer of law conceptions and a forceful factor in the making of law, because of his stupendous grasp of the evolution and significance of law in the development of classes and society. They did not dwell primarily on the social character of the charges, and there they failed. But then they did well, despite it all. It remained for the defendants themselves to succeed where their attorneys had fallen short.
Right here let us take our hats off to Judge Quinn. He did one thing during the trial that was of great value; he permitted the defendants to speak for themselves, reviving an old custom to that end. Judge Quinn had ruled out offers of proof by the defense tending to show a counter-conspiracy to do the very things charged against the defendants; he prevented Ettor or Attorney Fred Moore from being heard when the prosecution had rested its case and when Ettor intended to let the case go to the jury on the merits of the prosecution; he gaged witnesses who could tell about the dynamite plant; he overruled objections palpably just to the defense, and otherwise revealed an obstinate prejudice against the defendants which manifested itself to the end. He only relented after District Attorney Atwill had summed up for the prosecution, when he allowed Ettor and Giovannitti to reply to him, each in an epoch-making speech. For this we thank Judge Quinn, though we condemn him for all else.
ATWILL TO THE JURY
District Attorney Atwill's summing up was direct, incisive and able. As Ex-Judge Sisk said, "Harry surpassed himself." He first dealt with the case from the technical and then from the social standpoint. Though he handled the latter phase somewhat perversely, that is, in a reactionary rather than progressive spirit, and with an eye to victory rather than justice, he got nearer to the heart of the controversy than did his legal brethren on the opposing side. We will not give the district attorney's speech in full; Ettor's and Giovannitti's speeches both reiterate his arguments, while at the same time demolishing them. But we will give his conclusion—his peroration—as delivered, as follows:
They say that this labor organization is a revolutionary organization; that they are carrying on its ideals as a revolutionary organization; that their principles are revolutionary. I agree to that proposition. They say that they are going to carry it on separate and apart from political action. Then how can you have peaceful revolution unless it is political?
One of the foundation rocks upon which this government was started, the first proposition placed in the Constitution of Massachusetts by the patriots who had gone through the Revolutionary War—the men who had suffered, the men who had gone through every deprivation; their families had suffered—the thing that resounded as a result of Bunker Hill, Lexington, Concord, that representing the frozen feet at Valley Forge and the battle of Monmouth—what do we have as a result? The first thing put in the Constitution of Massachusetts as a foundation rock, not lost in the end, not lost in the middle, but the first thought of those men who had gone through deprivation is contained in the first article of the Bill of Rights of Massachusetts and it says that men have certain necessary essential and natural rights, among which may be reckoned the right of acquiring, possessing and pre-serving property. This thing cannot be taken away, according to their ideas; their property cannot be confiscated; that this country was established upon the theory that the individual, so long and so far as we could permit it, should have free opportunities so long as he did not interfere with the rest; that he had the right to preserve and protect his property; that he had the right to take care of his wife and his family; that the widow and the orphan and other people on this earth who were left without support by those who were the workers in their families should be protected when they were gone.
These men start with the proposition, "This is revolutionary; this is the thing we ordain—that we —only we—who are working in this or that industry have any rights therein. We will determine how much of it we will take; we will deter-mine when we will take it; we will determine whether or not we will assault it and break it down." That is the type of man who says that he is here helping Massachusetts in an ideal.
That Constitution, gentlemen, was not created by the Tory; it was not created by the coupon-cutting class. It was created by the plain, every-day, average citizen, who had his house and his little home, who fought the revolution that a new ideal might be established on this earth. He was not helped by the capitalist; he was not helped by the wealthy class; they all sailed away to the old country of England. And when this man comes here teaching the new men who come across from Southern Italy that the Constitution of Massachusetts was created by the capitalists and for the capitalists, he is teaching sedition and treason to the institutions of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We have some ideals; we have got to sustain them; we have got to see that they are preserved. If we are to rearrange the distribution of property, the ownership of property, we will do it in an orderly manner through the law and through the Constitution and through the legislature. Massachusetts has had her troubles; Massachusetts has had her perplexities. We know that a changing civilization brings them on—ever changing and complex problems. But we know, too, that our people, without ideals, without aspirations, can change and meet those perplexing problems as they come without the intervention of the Haywoods of Colorado, the Ettors of California or the Giovannittis of Italy. This is the proposition we are confronted with. If what I say is true, if this organization came there; if this organization started on the passionate people in acts of violence and through their acts of violence they caused murder, we have got to meet it, and we have got to meet it courageously, like men. Because if we do not meet it, if we do not choke the proposition in its inception, it will go on to the end, and we will be met with the proposition whether in this Commonwealth we are to have a government of law and order under the Stars and Stripes or a government of law and order under the red flag. Isn't that true, gentlemen? Isn't this more than a struggle between capital and labor? It is a struggle between organized society, a struggle between the sovereignty of the State and the sovereignty of the mob. I for one prefer the sovereignty of the State and the sovereignty of law and order.
We have a grand old Commonwealth. As some one has said, "It will be grand so long as you do your duty and I do mine and the court does his." But when we falter, when Essex County falters in the march of progress, then indeed, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will cease to be grand.
I have been referred to some lines on a monument erected to a famous statesman in the South, who brought the boys in blue and the boys in gray into one camp, which it seems to me is not inappropriate in this case. On Grady's monument are in-scribed these words:
Who saves his country saves all things,
And all things saved will bless him;
Who lets his country die lets all things die,
And all things, dying, curse him.
The prosecuting attorney's address was received with a due appreciation of the gravity of the issues involved. It was plain to be seen that his statements raised these issues out of the criminal court into the social arena. And there the defendants were both willing to have them decided, even though they suffered death in the meanwhile.
After a brief consultation between the defense and the court the latter announced his praiseworthy decision to allow the defendants to address the jury. With a few words of admonition to keep the argument to the testimony, the court gave the floor to Ettor.
ETTOR TO THE JURY
It was an intensely dramatic moment when Ettor arose to address the jury. All necks were craned in his direction and all ears listened intently to his words. Ettor spoke eloquently and with dignity. He repeated himself in a desire to be understood, which was his one great blemish. Ettor struck the keynote of the prosecution in his opening words: "I have not been tried on my acts," he declared; "I have been tried here because of my social ideals.
Nothing can efface the fact that because of my political and social ideas I am brought here to trial. I am impelled to speak here because of the fact and nothing more.
The district attorney has argued that you were to draw certain inferences from what I said, because—not that I said it, but because I may have said it—because I held certain views. In other words, because I hold the view that all wealth is the product of labor and therefore should belong to labor, that it follows, according to his argument, that I am in favor of destroying property. I stated on the stand that I believe all the property that is social property—I haven't in mind, gentlemen of the jury, a tooth brush or pipes or anything of that kind—I have in mind machines; I have in mind railroads; I have in mind the things that are necessary to the world and that the world of labor produces and uses—all such property should belong to the world of labor. And I stated on the stand that if the working class, with a policy of violence, destroys any of those machines or any of that property when it comes into possession of its own it is that much less that it will have.
Ettor later on reverted several times to this position. In discussing St. John's pamphlet, for which the district attorney sought to make him responsible, regardless of his agreement or disagreement therewith, Ettor said:
Gentlemen, since my views in my organization have been brought into this argument, I want to state this: That my organization has made it a practice to allow men in the past to express their views as they understood them; the pamphlet is the result. But the pamphlet served its purpose in allowing my social views to be introduced in this case. Now, what are my social views? I have stated some of them. I do believe—I may be wrong, but, gentlemen, only history can pass judgment upon them. All wealth is the product of labor, and all wealth being the product of labor belongs to labor and to no one else. I know the district attorney is worried about what is going to happen to the little home or to the little savings of the working man. He knows that my social ideas are bigger than the proposition to take away the home of the operative who has saved fifty cents here and a dollar and seventy-five cents somewhere else. He knows that my social views have no relation to the little property owner, but my social views have a relation so for as society is concerned. A railroad is operated by the workers. It is made possible only because there are people living in this country. According to that argument, we insist that the railroad should belong to the people of this country and not to the railroad owners, who are mere coupon-clippers. And that principle applies to the textile industry, to the shoe industry, to every industry. It does not apply to the tooth brush or to the pipe nor to the little shanty the working man is able to erect by scraping and gouging somehow or other.
Again, referring to the views held in general by Giovannitti and himself, Ettor said:
We state plainly that we will give all that is in us that this present society may be changed, that the present rule of wage labor on one side producing all things and receiving only a part, and idle capitalists on the other producing nothing and receiving the most . . . [may be ended] . . . . we say that in the past we gave all that was in us so that the workers may rally to their own standard, that they may organize and through their solidarity, through their united efforts, they may, from time to time, step by step, get close together and finally emancipate themselves through their own efforts, that the mills and workshops of America may become the property of the workers of America and that the wealth produced in those workshops may be for the benefit of the workers of America. Those have been our views. If we are set at liberty those will still be our views, and those will be our actions.
Ettor also reflected the peculiar social character of the charges against himself and comrades in his historic references. Referring to the anti-foreign arguments of the district attorney, he reminded him of the part foreigners had played in the Revolutionary War. He named especially Kosciusko and Pulaski, "Two Polocks," to whom Longfellow had dedicated an immortal poem. This was also a part of the history and traditions of Massachusetts! But even better, in this respect, were his references to Christ and other martyrs of history:
I want to state further, gentlemen, that what-ever my social views are, as I stated before, they are what they are . . . . With all respect to you, gentlemen, and with all respect to everyone here, they cannot be tried in this court room. It has been tried before . . . . I want to know, does Mr. Atwill believe for a moment that, beginning with Spartacus, whose men were crucified for miles along the Appian Way, and following with Christ, who was adjudged an enemy of the Roman social order, and was put on the cross—does he believe for a moment that, followed by all the rest, that the cross, or the gallows, or the guillotine, ever settled an idea? It never did. If the idea can live it lives, because history adjudges it right. An idea constituting a social crime in one age becomes the very religion of humanity in the next. The social criminals of one age become the saints of the next.
Then Ettor proceeded to illustrate from "the history and traditions of Massachusetts." How, seventy years ago, the respectable mob, "not the mill mob, but the respectable mob, dragged the advocates of a new order through the streets of Boston . . . ." Now that the ideas of Phillips and Garrison are proven of social value, "the offspring of that same social mob rises and exclaims: 'The traditions of Massachusetts.'"45
"Gentlemen," said Ettor, "the traditions of Massachusetts have been made by those who made them, and not by those who speak of them." Then he glorified anew, John Brown, "the criminal," of whom the nation's noblest and best, sang, two years after his "anti-social" deed:
John Brown's body lies a-moldering in the grave
But his soul goes marching on!"
"My ideas are what they are, gentlemen," said Ettor, courteously, but courageously, as he could afford to do with such social history back of him. "They might be indicted and you might believe as the District Attorney has suggested, that you can pass judgment on them and that you can choke them; but you can't. Ideas cannot be choked." Ettor reverted to this argument later on, as we shall see.
It is not to be inferred from the foregoing that Ettor sought to dodge legal issues behind a statement of social issues. He also met these fearlessly and frankly. His defense of the right of free speech was such as to meet with the approval of every public speaker and of all who appreciate the value of public speaking. Referring to his constitutional right to speak to whomever he pleases, Ettor said, very pointedly and appropriately: "I didn't understand when I read the constitution, I never understood when I went to school .... I become guilty of murdering my sister when I speak to strikers who were not born in this country. That is one of the counts." He admitted he made speeches, but insisted that he be judged by his complete speeches and not by distorted quotations. He pointed out the danger to public speakers from the latter course. He also declared that the district attorney had feared to bring to court all the newspaper men who had been stationed at Lawrence and heard him speak. He had only brought two or three—such as were personal enemies to him or had to testify so as to justify their own published reports. The district attorney was aware of the danger of the other course.
Ettor also denied, as claimed by the district attorney, that it was a matter of the Commonwealth defending itself. "It is simply that the capitalists of Massachusetts have taken human beings and reduced them down to so many appendages of machines." Theirs was the shame and the blot; theirs the defense.
As for the charge of inciting to murder, by innuendo, or by a smile suggesting a shot gun and murder, Ettor would leave that for the jury to decide. He went on:
I came here knowing the conditions of those men and women. It is true I had no relatives—no property, but I had interests that are dearer—I had brothers and sisters who called for me to come and give what aid I was able to give, and I did come. As I told you on the stand, I came with a definite purpose; I came with a determination that I would give all that I could, that I would offer all of my energy, my enthusiasm, my love, that I would sing to those workers that they may be able to obtain more bread. I told them that I knew what the situation was and that I knew from past experience how they had been outraged. I knew further in past troubles between labor and capital how each side behaved. I said then that whatever blood is spilled in this strike will be on the heads of the mill-owners. It was they who provoked this strike, because they refused to live up to the spirit of the law—because they schemed, connived and conspired in order that the law may have the very opposite effect from the intention of those who advocated it. What is the result? That the strike was to be discredited; dynamite is planted in the city of Lawrence—planted not by strikers.
Ettor declared the attempt to show that the parade of January 29 had not the best objects in the world had failed. And so had the street car smashing charge. He contended that evidence showed the smashing to be of the same character as the dynamite plant. Also that he made the statement after the shooting of Annie La Pizzo that he could prove that that was also a put-up job, as time would determine.
In this connection, Ettor called attention to the fact that the Mayor of Lawrence had publicly declared, "We will break this strike or we will break the strikers' heads." He wanted to know if only the strikers understand inciting speeches and if the police at Garden and Union Streets may not have taken the Mayor's statement as authority to act unlawfully?
Again, he asked, if it were unreasonable to believe that the mill-owners who had inveigled foreign labor to these shores, violated the spirit of the 54 hour law, planted dynamite and sent agent provocateurs among the strikers, would have any scruples, if their agents shot into a crowd, about placing the blame on strikers' shoulders?
He also referred to the Bencardo brothers—how they had followed him incessantly without result, and were compelled to lie about Giovannitti in order to earn their miserable pay. "Think of it," exclaimed Ettor, "young Bencardo and the elder Bencardo—the saviours of the traditions of Massachusetts, the upholders of law and order!"
Ettor concluded, referring to the social views of Giovannitti and himself, together with the charge against them:
If you believe that we should not go out with those views, then, gentlemen, I only ask one favor, and that is this—that you will place the responsibility full on us and say to the world that Joseph J. Ettor and Arturo Giovannitti, because of their social ideas, became murderers and murdered one of their own sister strikers. And you will, by your verdict, say plainly that we should die for it.
As I stated before, I have carried the flag; I carry it here today—gentlemen, the flag of liberty is here. I am willing to carry it just as long as it is necessary. But if you believe .... that I killed Anna La Pizzo, or that I turned a finger that Anna La Pizzo or any other human being should be killed, then I will stand up with head erect, gentlemen, with no apology to offer, no excuse to ask. I will accept your verdict and expect that you will say, "You have done what you did and now we have spoken." I expect that, if I have carried the flag along, if I have raised my voice, if I have bared my breast against the opposition, that I have done it long enough, and I want to plead with you that, if I am guilty, I want to pay the full price—full price; no half-way measure; the full price.
Gentlemen, those are my views, those are my feelings, I shall go forward with that one thought in my mind and one satisfaction in my heart, that at the last moment I did pronounce to the world my views, and that I did announce that my determination is to work for the principles that I hold dear. If I am allowed to work for them I will, and you, gentlemen, will be thankful. If not—no idea was ever choked, it can't be choked, and this idea will not be choked. On the day that I go to my death there will be more men and women who will ask questions—millions of men and women will know and they will have a right to argue that my social ideals had as much the effect of determining your verdict as the facts, and more so in this case.
Gentlemen, as I stated before, I ask for nothing but justice in this matter; that is all. And I believe that in asking that I am not asking anything against what the district attorney has called "the ideals and the traditions of Massachusetts." Massachusetts refused to give the apostles of abolition to the rule of the cotton kings of the South. It refused to allow their blood to act as so much balm to the wounds of the cotton planters. I ask you now, are twelve men in this county in Massachusetts going to offer blood now in order that the wounds that the mill-owners of Lawrence suffered because of the strike may be assuaged?
Gentlemen, it is up to you. I ask for no favor; I only ask for justice. And that is all my comrade, Giovannitti, asks, and that is all my comrade, Caruso, asks.
I thank you.
When Ettor ended, the spectators were visibly affected. It was evident that the speech had made a profound impression. A slight pause, and then there was a stir that broke the tension. There was a feeling in the air as if applause were about to burst out, the rules of the court permitting. As it was, however, all observed a decorous but sympathetic restraint. All were sober and hushed.
Giovannitti followed close on Ettor, in a passionate and tumultuous outburst; that was, nevertheless, more cogent and scholarly than was the speech of his comrade. Giovannitti's great merit consists in his emphasis on the ethical side of the question involved in the trial, and in his unselfish appeal in behalf of Caruso. Giovannitti spoke, in part, as follows:
GIOVANNITTI TO THE JURY
Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen of the Jury:—It is the first time in my life that I speak publicly in your wonderful language, and the most solemn moment in my life. I know not if I will go to the end of my remarks. The district attorney and the other gentlemen here who are used to measure all human emotions with the yardstick may not understand the tumult that is going on in my soul in this moment. But my friends and my comrades before me, these gentlemen here who have been with me for the last seven or eight months, know exactly, and if my words will fail before I reach the end of this short statement to you, it will be because of the superabundance of sentiments that are flooding to my heart
We had come to Lawrence because we were prompted by something higher and loftier than what the district attorney or any other man in this presence here may understand and realize. Were I not afraid that I was being somewhat sacrilegious, I would say that to go and investigate into the motives that prompted and actuated us to go into Lawrence would be the same as to inquire, why did the Saviour come to earth, or why, as my friend said, was Lloyd Garrison in this very commonwealth, in the city of Boston, dragged through the streets with a rope around his neck? Why did all the other great men and masters of thought—why did they go to preach this new gospel of fraternity and brotherhood? It were well—it is well—to inquire into the acts of men; it is just that truth should be ascertained. It is right that the criminal should be brought before the bar of justice, but one side alone of our story has been told here Only the method and only the tactics. But what about, I say, the ethical part of this question? What about the human and humane parts of our ideas? What about the grand condition of tomorrow as we see it, and as we foretell it now to the workers at large, here in this same cage where the felon has sat, in this same cage where the drunkard, where the prostitute, where the hired assassin has been? What about the ethical side of that? What about the better and nobler humanity where there shall be no more slaves, where no man will be obliged to go on strike in order to obtain fifty cents a week more, where children will not have to starve any more, where women no more will have to go and prostitute themselves, let me say, even if there are women in this court room here, because the truth must out at the end; where at last there will not be any more slaves, any more masters, but just one great family of friends and brothers.
It may be, gentlemen of the jury, that you do not believe in that. It may be that we are dreamers; it may be that we are fanatics, Mr. District Attorney. We are fanatics. But yet so was a fanatic Socrates, who instead of acknowledging the philosophy of the aristocrats of Athens, preferred to drink the poison. And so was a fanatic the Saviour Jesus Christ, who instead of acknowledging that Pilate, or that Tiberius was emperor of Rome, and instead of acknowledging his submission to all the rules of the time and all the priestcraft of the time, preferred the cross between two thieves. And so were all the philosophers and all the dreamers and all the scholars of the middle ages who preferred to be buried alive by one of these very same churches which you reproach me now of having said that no one of our membership should belong to.
I ask the district attorney, who speaks about the New England tradition, what he means by that —if he means the New England traditions of this same town, where they used to burn the witches at the stake, or if he means the New England traditions of those men who refused to be any longer under the iron heel of the British aristocracy and dumped the tea into Boston Harbor and fired the first musket that was announcing to the world for the first time that a new era had been established—that from then on no more kingcraft, no more monarchy, no more kingship would be allowed, but a new people, a new theory, a new principle, a new brotherhood would arise out of the ruin and the wreckage of the past? You answer that, and if you believe that human progress is a thing that cannot be stopped and cannot be checked, .... do not, gentlemen of the jury, believe that Mr. Atwill, standing in front of you with upraised hands, will check this mighty flow of this wonderful working class of the world—its myriads and myriads of men and women, the flower of the land, who are rushing forward towards this destined goal of ours. He is not the one who is going to strangle this new Hercules of the world of industrial workers, or rather, the Industrial Workers of the World, in its cradle. It is not your verdict that will stem—or rather, it is not your verdict that will put a dam before this mighty onrush of waves that go forward. It is not the little insignificant, cheap life of Arturo Giovannitti offered in holocaust to warm the hearts of the millionaire manufacturers of this town that is going to stop Socialism from being the next dominator of the earth. No! No!
If there was any violence in Lawrence it was not Joe Ettor's fault; it was not my fault. If you must go back to the origin of all the trouble, gentlemen of the jury, you will find that the origin and the reason was the wage system. It was the infamous rule of domination of one man by another man. It was the same principle that existed forty years ago, before your great martyred president, Abraham Lincoln, by an illegal act, which was the Proclamation of Emancipation—a thing which was beyond his powers as the Constitution of the United, States expressed them—put an end to it. I say it is the same principle now, the principle that made a man at that time a chattel slave, a soulless human being, a thing that could be bought and bartered and sold, and which now, having changed the term, makes the same man—but a white man—the slave of the machine . . . . Because the man that owns the tool wherewith an-other man lives, that man who owns the factory where this man wants to go to work—that man owns and controls his mind, his body, his heart and his soul.
Gentlemen of the jury, you know that I am not a trained man in speaking to you, because it is the first time I speak in your language. You know, gentlemen, if you think that there has ever been a spark of malice in my heart, that I ever said others should break heads and prowl around and look for blood—if you believe that, that I ever could have said such a thing, not only on the 29th of January, but since the first day I began to realize that I was living and conscious of my intellectual and moral powers—then send me to the chair, because it is right and it is just; then send my comrade to the chair because it is right and it is just. But I want to plead for another man. Whatever you do, for heaven's sake take the case of this man at heart [pointing at the defendant Caruso]. If Anna Lo Pizzo has been killed and you think she has been killed through our influence, consider that we alone are responsible for it. Say that it is good that we ought to he convicted, regardless of who killed Anna Lo Pizzo, if we uttered those words. But consider this poor man and his wife, his child; this man who does not know just now in this moment why he is here—who keeps on asking me, "Why didn't they tell the truth? What have I done? Why am I here?" It may be I am appealing to your hearts, not to your intelligence, but I am willing to take all the responsibility.
Gentlemen of the jury, I have finished. I don't want to pose to you as a hero, I don't want to pose as a martyr. No, life is dearer to me than it is probably to a good many others. But I say this, that there is something dearer and nobler and holier and grander, something I could never come to terms with, and that is my conscience, and that is my loyalty to my class and to my comrades who have come here in this room, and to the working class of the world, who have contributed with a splendid hand, penny by penny, to my defense, and who have all over the world seen that no injustice and no wrong was done to me. Therefore, I say, weigh both sides and then judge. And if it be, gentlemen of the jury, that your judgment shall be such that this gate will be opened and we shall pass out of it and go back into the sunlit world, then let me assure you what you are doing. Let me tell you that the first strike that breaks again in this Commonwealth or any other place in America where the work and the help and the intelligence of Joseph J. Ettor and Arturo Giovannitti will be needed and necessary, there we shall go again, regardless of any fear and of any threat. We shall return again to our humble efforts, obscure, unknown, misunderstood soldiers of this mighty army of the working class of the world, which, out of the shadows and the darkness of the past, is striving towards the destined goal, which is the emancipation of human kind, which is the establishment of love and brotherhood and justice for every man and every woman on this earth. And on the other hand, if your verdict shall be the contrary, if it be that we who are so worthless as not to deserve neither the infamy nor the glory of the gallows—if it be that these hearts of ours must be stilled on the same death chair and by the same current of fire that has destroyed the life of the wife murderer and the patricide and the parricide, then I say, gentlemen of the jury, that tomorrow we shall pass into a greater judgment, that to-morrow we shall pass from your presence, where history shall give its last word to us.
Whichever way you judge, gentlemen of the jury, I thank you.46
The conclusion of this masterful address, found many of the jury in tears, and not a few auditors were sobbing. Had the jury been polled then and there, it is safe to say that they would have voted to release the prisoners without leaving their seats. Judge Quinn quickly adjourned court, after announcing that he would address the jury on the following Monday. At adjournment, many friends gathered about the cage, to shake the prisoners by the hands and to congratulate Ettor and Giovannitti on their oratory and courage. And to express belief in their innocence and liberation, once more; and with more conviction than ever before. Victory was now assured!
The legal battle was, at this stage, practically won. Every one in the court felt certain of the outcome. When on the following Tuesday—November 23rd—the jury returned a verdict of "not guilty," they but reflected popular opinion. The verdict was well received. The liberated trio was given a reception such as Salem will not long forget. They were embraced and kissed by men and women alike; and when outside, given a public ovation that blocked the streets for some distance. They retired to a hall, where speeches were made, and all were happy once more. It is again worth noting that Judge Quinn did not thank the jury for their services. One of them, Larsen, said it was impossible to believe the state's witnesses, they were so lacking in character; while those of the defense were honest and clean-cut.
In Lawrence, the verdict was greeted with delight. The old strike veterans fell into each other's arms and danced with glee. The stigma of crime had been removed from labor. Once more was honest toil vindicated; and its vicious exploiters defeated. When Ettor returned to the city, immense receptions greeted him. As in Salem, the streets were jammed for blocks. On Thanksgiving Day, over 5,000 persons stood on "The Lots" and listened to him for two and a half hours in a snow-storm. Such was the enthusiasm to hear and see him once more.
Big meetings greeted Ettor in New York also. At these he urged the working class to unite to save itself as it had united to save him.
Ettor, in his Lawrence speech, attributed his liberation, not to the justice of the capitalist courts, but to the working class, whose support made injustice impossible. For this he was roundly condemned by the press, which claimed that he appealed to "class hatred." The New York World, for instance, claimed he still had to learn his lesson; thereby tacitly admitting that he was originally arrested not for crime, but to punish him in order to teach him the danger of attacking capitalism in the interests of the workers.
Since their release, many gifts have been showered on Ettor; while Giovannitti has gained additional renown as a poet and orator.
An aftermath of the great victory in Salem was the nolle prossing, in January, 1913, by District Attorney Atwill, of the conspiracy charges against Wm. D. Haywood, Wm. E. Trautman, Wm. Yates, Thomas Holliday, James P. Thompson, Guido Mazerreli, Edmondo Rossinni and Ettor Gianinni. These charges grew out of the Lawrence strike, and were dependent for success on the conviction of Ettor, Giovannitti and Caruso. With the release of the latter, they fell to the ground, incapable of proof. Thus, the Salem victory of the workers was a two-fold victory over "law and order," that is, capitalist dynamiters and crime-promoting politicians.
It was the fitting finale to the first great assertion of the workers in behalf of industrial democracy witnessed in this country, May it not be the last!
CHAPTER VI: CONCLUSION
WILL THE INDUSTRIAL DEMOCRACY ENDURE?
The story of the arrival and success of the embryonic Industrial democracy has been told. The fact that a new economic power has arisen and is achieving new political and social triumphs within the old social order cannot be denied. But the question arises, can it endure? Will the embryo thus conceived develop until it overgrows and dominates all institutions in the interests of a new era?
To answer these questions positively is impossible. Humanity is not gifted with the faculty of prophecy or divination. It can only speculate upon, or point out the tendencies of, the future on the basis of the past. As Patrick Henry well said, "The past is the lamp by which we may guide our steps in the future." To the past, then, we may refer, in order to set forth our beliefs regarding coming society.
The past teaches us that every profound beginning is obscure and crude. Modern society and government began in the craft and trades associations of the middle ages. These developed the industrial arts and commerce in opposition to the serfdom and war of feudalism; and gave power to the communes and cities, which either overthrew the feudal nobility or else compelled its practical abdication, though still tolerating its outward forms. Many of these communes and cities "arose from the depths of marshes which served as a retreat for piracy."47 Now they are noted for their magnificent architecture and imposing wealth; not to mention power.
The early burghers or bourgeoisie, were despised and ridiculed. They were held in such low esteem as to be placed outside the baronial castles, there to be exploited without consideration. They were not of noble birth; they owned no lands, nor serfs. They were artificers, manual laborers and toilers, who, from the days of antiquity, had been deemed inferior in brain and body to the patricians who fought and directed the affairs of state. But, nevertheless, they gradually became, through manufacture, commerce and banking, the mainstay of society. Through their economic power and wealth they purchased or compelled privileges. Thus, they climbed to the top, until now they control modern life, especially in America. Here they have developed the private corporation, a form of organization which has outgrown the control of the State, and is more powerful than it, by far. To capture control of the modern state is to capture a husk without a kernel. A new governmental power has arisen. It is within this modern force that the new industrial democracy is conceived and is striving for emancipation.
Make note of the fact that the burghers or bourgeoise did not attempt to become part and parcel of the feudal nobility; that is, they did not attempt their own development through institutions of, by and for the feudal nobility. They did not attempt to secure possession of the lands, the castles, the arms and armies of the aristocracy by feudal agencies. They developed their own institutions, their crafts, their trade, their guilds, their communes and confederations outside of and in opposition to the institutions peculiar to the original feudal constitution. They builded the new society within the shell of the old; they evolved out of the old by means of new institutions in keeping with their new aspirations.
The evolution of the bourgeoisie was by no means an even evolution. It was not one long series of uninterrupted successes. Nor was it of rapid development. At times, the bourgeoisie were overwhelmed by superior force, or their own weaknesses and mistakes. At times their cause seemed hopeless; apparently obliterated, blotted out, beyond all hopes of reappearance. Or they were swamped, immersed, and almost drowned out, in the terrible struggles raging within the feudal class itself. Nonetheless, they struggled on for centuries, now without, now with, success; compelled to do so by the economic forces that called them into being as the capitalist class, now the most triumphant class in all society; the class in which a Morgan is more powerful than a President, a Kaiser or a Pope.
In view of such a development on the part of autocratic capitalism, there is hope for the development of the industrial democracy. In fact, such development is already underway.
Obscurity and crudity mark the beginnings of the modern working class' rise to power. The working class press does not compare in prominence, thoroughness and finesse with the press of the capitalist class; it is hardly heard and little known. Working class literature and art are practically non-existent, though giving indications of approaching birth. Its organizations are not as strong nor as comprehensive as are the trusts, nor the money power of a Morgan which binds the trusts into one stupendous financial autocracy. In brief, the working class is only stirring; it has not yet arisen to its full stature, as has its opponent. Like him in early years, it has its weaknesses and makes mistakes, to its own undoing. Like him, too, it is often caught in the vortex of struggles that mark the internal strife for supremacy in the enemies' camp. Like him, finally, it often is, to all appearances, wiped out, obliterated, drowned, beyond hope of resuscitation, in the sea of modern capitalism.
Despite all this, however, the modern working class is a mighty factor that is growing in strength and clearness. Every once in a while it bestirs itself with a vehemence and a power that causes society to tremble lest it collapse. Thanks to the giant organization of capital that has given rise to the giant organization of labor, the working class is being taught how to unite as never before. The working class is learning that on its labor power social welfare depends. When Labor folds its arms society is paralyzed and starves. Why then should not, in all justice, the working class dominate society? Why, in view of its stupendous social character, should it be the submerged of society? Labor is asking and answering these questions, in its own way, regardless of capitalist institutions, law, state or government. The character of the questions and the answers are not always clear to labor itself, which acts instinctively, under the pressure of modern economic forces, and in accordance with their evolution.
Turn to Lawrence, and observe that there the evolution of industry temporarily projected a new form of industrial government into existence, regardless of the prevailing forms and in defiance of them. Here there was a distinct working class challenge to capitalist society on the lines of the class struggle and modern industrial evolution, well wrought out and carried to the greatest success possible at the present stage of social development. In Lawrence, the workers recognized, some clearly, most instinctively, the social character of their labor power. They saw in it the basis on which to check a decline in their wages and conditions; and, further, improve both. Not only that, but they repeatedly thereafter, in the general strike and in the trial of Ettor, Giovannitti and Caruso, reasserted their power as before. They did this through their own class institutions—their industrial unionism.
In England, also, tremendous events have occurred. In this land of classical capitalism, trades unionism, labor parliamentarianism and conservatism, a like revolution has occurred. The transport workers, miners and railroaders have gone on industrial strikes, in which they also created, temporarily, working class institutions more powerful than the capitalist state; institutions that compelled that state to act for, instead of against strikers as previously; for example, in legislation favoring the minimum wage and promising social reform. These institutions presage and reflect in advance the working class institutions of the future that will be developed along the lines dictated by industrial evolution; and not by political theorists.
Still other recent events can be referred to that are full of stupendous significance, in that they reflect the instinctive tendency of the workers to get near the economic heart of all social problems. Take the Bingham, Utah, miners' strike, for instance. Here some 5,000 men, mostly armed, seized possession of extensive mining properties. They did not leave their jobs and go outside of the premises to defend them against scabs, but they stayed on them, and compelled negotiations with them while thus situated. May not the day come when all the workers will have evoluted so far as to be able to seize possession of capitalist property, and stay on the jobs, while turning the capitalist owners out? Who can tell? Do coming events now, as always, cast their shadows before? The future alone can decide.
One thing is evident: that Labor is alive to the importance of its labor power. Accordingly, the oppressors of the working class fear its every move. Never before have they dreaded its revolutionary tendencies as they do now. And never before have they sought to dominate its course as they do now. They originate civic federations for the purpose. They favor A. F. of L. unionism as against the Industrial Unionism of the I. W. W. Their papers bestow praise on the constitutional enactments of the Socialist party that are aimed at genuine industrial unionism. (They know who are their friends, though their friends may not always be aware of the character of the company they keep.) In short, heaven and hell are being used by capitalism to prevent industrialism for and by the industrialists, to evolve along evolutionary lines.
But there need be no fear about the ultimate overthrow of capitalism. Society is not given to standing still. It is moving with a rapidity that its henchmen and the petty politicians of all schools cannot stop nor modify. They have tried it and failed. They will try again and fail again.
The future ultimately belongs to Labor, unless all signs are wrong.
[Written In Italian by Carlo Tresca: translated by Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.]
"GOD AND COUNTRY": WHY THEY ARE USED TO ATTACK THE I. W. W.
Comrades of labor and drudgery—you have returned to work. But inaction, disbanding or weakness is still criminal since means that with your own hands you will thrust Ettor, Giovannitti and Caruso to jail or death.
You have been too strong, noble, lion-like, in your courage during the sympathetic strike for the release of Ettor, Giovannitti and Caruso. But can it be also true that you are now timid, cowardly and uncertain?
The rabble of the masters and their hirelings have hurled enraged epithets at the I. W. W. Why? Because they had thought until a few days ego that the I. W. W. was lifeless. The 24 hour strike has demonstrated to the whole world that the I. W. W. continues to exist—virile and strong.
The masters and the upholders of the masters condemn the I. W. W. the of God and country. These questions have no bearing on the I. W.W. We have never made an issue of religion in our union, but there is a proverb, "God helps him who helps himself," and we have helped ourselves so effectively that we have obtained 15 per cent increase of wages, shorter hours and the abolition of the premium system.
We unite to gain from our masters a better livelihood—more bread. To gain this economic betterment we must be united, sustain the union, and help each other as brothers. Religion has nothing to do with these shop activities.
And why should the blood of the enemies of our union boil over the question of country? We have all been driven out of our own countries, wandering over the earth looking for work and as the sons of 27 countries we have a common symbol, the banner of our union. (The American flag did not succeed in saving us from the violence of the police and militia during the strike.)
Against our onion's symbol today the masters, clergy, police, judge. and soldiers are arrayed. Why? In order to destroy our organization and compel us to return to the mills, disbanded and powerless, to spend our lives toiling without hope.
It is, perhaps, hard for you, my fellow worker., to understand that men will use the name of God and country to destroy your union. In the interests of the masters, of course, and not with regard for your welfare, do they make patriotism their shield. But these people never cared for you. They never came among you to explain how to help yourself, to explain unionism, they never attempted to assist you during the strike, they neither wept at your sufferings nor rejoiced at your success, but they despised and exploited you without pity.
But are you now left with your spirit crushed beneath the weight of despair? "Every rose has in thorn"—every struggle its hardships.
With the 24 hour strike we made the most notable protest in the history of the labor movement. Yes, it was painful, but no happiness comes without tears, and remember even though it is hard that some are without work and suffering, Ettor, Giovannitti and Caruso endangering their very lives for you! Have they not been prison nine long, weary months? And now would you betray them, wash your hands of the responsibility of their lives sell them like Judas for money and security? This is a critical moment, brothers of toil and drudgery. Immediately after the 24 hour strike we hoped that Ettor, Giovannitti and Caruso would return to our midst free. Since then the trial has been postponed and the masters have discovered your weakness, your lack of freedom of thought and all talk of Ettor, Caruso and Giovannitti has been forgotten. Atwill, the would-be .executioner, lifts his head. If you accept this false challenge, if you rivet your attention on this sham issue, then between you and the men who talk of God and country the lives of Ettor, Giovannitti and Caruso are in danger.
What their prosecutors and your enemies want is not to glorify Christopher Columbus, but to take the lives of Ettor, Giovannitti and Caruso. Then, fellow workers, do not betray those who have put their lives in jeopardy and are in grave danger of losing them. Do not betray them, but let us bind ourselves together, reorganize, join hands, stand as one man for the freedom of Ettor, Giovannitti and Caruso and for our union.
Central Committee No. 20, I. W. W.
Originally published by IWW Publishing Bureau in 1913
Originally posted at Jim Crutchfield's IWW Page
- 1. For a more exhaustive study of textile evolution in New England see chapter on "New England," in Turner's "Rise of the New West," American Nation Series; "The Record of a City," by Geo. F. Kenngott; and the Citizens Committee's Report on the Lawrence Strike, Boston American, March 18, co12.
- 2. See Special Weekly Circular, Sept 7, 1912, Wagner, Dickerson & Co., bankers and brokers, N. Y.; Special Stock, Bank and Trust Company Circular, February, 1912, Turner, Tucker & Co., Bankers, Boston, Mass.; and articles on "The Great Textile Interests," Business Supplement, New York Sun, April 28, 1912, for statistics on dividends, capital, floor space, etc., of Lawrence Mills herein specified.
- 3. These figures and facts are furnished by a reliable Wall Street Journalist.
- 4. "Speech of Wm. D. Haywood on Case of Ettor and Giovannitti, Cooper Union, N. Y," pamphlet published by Ettor-Giovannitti Def... Committee, Lawrence, Mass. p. 7.
- 5. Statement of Congressman Victor Berger, p. 8, Report of House Committee on Rules, Lawrence Strike.
- 6. Appeal issued by Local 20, I W. W., Lawrence, Mass.
- 7. Report General Organizer James P. Thompson, 7th Convention I. W. W., Sept., 1912, Chicago, Ill.
- 8. Report on strike of Textile Workers in Lawrence, Mass., in 1912. p. 19. Charles P. Neil, Commissioner of Labor, Washington, D.C
- 9. Report General Organizer James P. Thompson, 7th Convention I. W. W., Sept., 1912, Chicago, Ill.
- 10. P. 25. Neil Report on Lawrence Strike.
- 11. Ibid. p. 24.
- 12. A perusal of police court proceedings in Lawrence press will convince the reader of this fact.
- 13. Cooper Union Speech on Ettor-Giovannitti case, pp. 4-5.
- 14. Neil Report. p. 27.
- 15. Dr. Elizabeth Shapleigh, Occupational Diseases in the Textile Industry. New York Call, Dec. 29, 1912.
- 16. Ibid.
- 17. In narrating events at Lawrence, the writer has drawn on the Neil Report, the Berger Congressional Investigation Report, testimony of witnesses at the Salem trial, and personal conversations with participants. His sources of information are thus both official and unofficial.
- 18. The Neil Report. pp. 31-32.
- 19. Haywood's Cooper Union Speech. p. 5.
- 20. See St John's The I. W. W., Its History, Methods and Structure. Read Chapter on History.
- 21. Neil Report pp. 62-63. Also House Report. p. 75.
- 22. "The Lawrence Revolution," William Merriam Pratt, New England Magazine, March, 1912.
- 23. Reprinted on page 5. Business Supplement, New York Sun, April 28, 1912.
- 24. "The Industrial Revolt at Lawrence," Richard Washburn Child, Colliers', March 9, 1912.
- 25. Nicholas Vanderpuyl, 'Intimate Story of Joseph J. Ettor;' Boston Herald, Jan. 24, 1912.
- 26. 'Review of the Lawrence Strike," George Brinton Beale, Lawrence Evening Tribune, March 20, 1912
- 27. Boston-American, March 18, 1912. Also reprinted in leaflet form.
- 28. Cooper Union Speech on Ettor-Giovannitti Case. p. 11
- 29. "One Big Union Wins in Lawrence," by Leslie H. Marcy and Frederick Sumner Boyd, the International Socialist Review, April, 1912.
Transcriber's note: There is no superior number in the text to indicate where this note comes in.—J. D. C.
- 30. A Week on the Concord and Merrimac Rivers, by Henry David Thoreau, Houghton, Mifflin Co., contains prose pictures of these waterways before the advent of big mills, of comparative interest to students.
- 31. The speeches of Ettor, as given in this chapter, are adapted from his testimony in the Salem trial. See Vol. V, Commonwealth vs. Joseph Caruso, Joseph J. Ettor, Arturo Giovannitti. pp. 3090-3333.
- 32. Neil Report on Lawrence Strike, p. 35.
- 33. See offer of proof by defense under evidence of Grace Marvin, recalled, p. 2928, Vol. V, Commonwealth vs. Joseph Caruso, Joseph J. Ettor, and Arturo Giovannitti, Salem, 1912.
- 34. The Leader, Sunday newspaper of Lawrence, Mass., exposed the incident in its September issues, following the indictment of Wm. Wood, for dynamite “planting”
- 35. As in Ettor’s case, this speech is adapted from Giovannitti’s testimony in the Salem trial. The facts here give. are mainly from the same source.
- 36. For an exceptionally fine study nf Arturo Giovannitti, see Current Opinion, formerly Current Literature, January, 1913, article, “The Social Significance of Arturo Giovannitti, the Dreamer Who Did Not Turn Out a Murderer. The title explains itself.
- 37. Report of House Committee on Rules, Lawrence Strike, p. 294, This report is also known as House Document No. 671, of the Second Session of the Sixty-second Congress.
- 38. See sketch of Gilbert Ray Howard, Chairman Board of Directors, United Press Association, in American Magazine, Nov 1912; also reply of United Press to Lawrence Citizens' Association, New York Call, Jan. 16, 1913.
- 39. See article, “Lawrence Strike and Literacy Test,” James Montgomery, The New Review, N. Y, March 23, 1913.
- 40. Interesting in this connection is article, “Industrial or Revolutionary Unionism,” by William English Walling, New Review, N. Y., Jan. , 1915.
- 41. Neil Report on Lawrence Strike, P. 59.
- 42. See article, “A Cell of the New Society,” Philip Russell, International Socialist Review, April, 1913.
- 43. Giovannitti wrote eight poems while in Lawrence and Salem prisons. They give promise of great poetical genius; and will be published shortly, together with other poems, by the Macmillan Co. of New York.
- 44. See Richard Washburn Childs' "Who's Violent? The Judiciary, the Militia, the Police, or the Labor Leaders?" Colliers', June 29, 1912. Every statement regarding evidence made therein was subsequently borne out by the testimony. Childs is to be congratulated on his painstaking and prophetic investigations into real conditions at Lawrence.
[This footnote was incorrectly numbered "1" in the original text.—Tr.]
- 45. The placement of quotation marks in the original text is confusing. I have made the best sense of it that I can.—Tr.
- 46. The complete speeches of Ettor and Giovannitti and more biographical data concerning them, will be found in the pamphlet, "Ettor and Giovannitti Before the Jury at Salem, Mass." Published by the I. W. W.; price 25 cents a copy.
- 47. Blanquin, "History of Political Economy in Europe," Author's Introduction, p. xxvii, English translation.