VOL.I. MARCH, 1918, NEW YORK NO.6.
Messages from Emma Goldman and
Missouri State Prison,
Jefferson City, March 3, 1918
To my Dear Ones:
To all those who have written me such loving, cheering, devoted letters. I greet you all. I wish I could reply to each one individually, but I am permitted to write only once a week and may only use two sheets of paper. So many of you dear friends have written me seventeen letters from one little gathering in my home town, Rochester, N. Y., were sent to me and innumerable others from all parts of the country since my imprisonment. I only hope you will return "good for evil," that you will keep on writing even though I can reply only collectively.
It is nearly a month since I was imprisoned, yet it has not seemed so long. You, my Dear Ones, have helped me each day to forget my surroundings and to take me back into my world of activity, my associations, my camaraderie with you and the great host of Mother Earth friends. Yes, your letters, full of warmth and eagerness have put color and interest into the place which Oscar Wilde described as "built of bricks of shame," a place which otherwise would have proven so dreary. Only those who themselves have been in prison will appreciate the importance of daily contact with the outside world, with one's friends and comrades by means of letters.
You will want to know how my life has been arranged for me. One ceases to be a free agent, once in prison. One becomes an automaton, moving with clock‑like regularity and never‑changing sameness each hour, day and year that the prison holds one.
We rise at 5:30, although we are awakened at five o'clock. Those are indeed fortunate who can sleep through the night with the bell clanging each half hour and the guards in the towers signaling that "all is well," meaning, of course, God is in his heaven, and his accursed children are safely locked away in H . We go down to breakfast about 6:15 and are in the shop at 6:30 a. m. Some day I will describe that shop; it is a "credit" to civilization. We work until 11:30, then march to dinner. We are in our cells from 12:00 to 12:30, then go back into the shop until 4:30. After that we are supposed to have an hour and a half in the open, but during this month, we were out only four times, not counting Sundays, when I, the atheist, could not partake of recreation because I did not attend chapel. How else are sinners to be brought to the throne of the Lord, if not by means of punishment. I always knew all sorts of methods are being employed to make the sinner feel the wrath of God, but that he should be deprived of much needed air unless he attends Church is new to me. Of course, one misses air in prison even more than outside of it. Somehow prisons are all engaged in a conspiracy against fresh air, which they no doubt consider an alien enemy.
That may explain why our recreation has to be spent indoors, walking round and round the corridor amidst the deafening noise of human voices, venting emotions pent up all day by enforced silence. Thus, for a few moments I saw only a "patch of blue which prisoners call the sky."
Yesterday was our first great treat. We were in the yard for more than two hours. It was a glorious day. The blessed sun, the vast blue sky looking down upon creature man contemptuously for his inhumanity to his brother. The sun heals all germs. Will it ever heal the germ of cruelty, injustice and ignorance? Will it ever melt the ice in the human heart?
I am leading a sort of double life, dear friends. One, the prison life is entirely mechanical. The other is far removed from here; it is too free, too unbounded, too colorful and serene for man made laws or rules or discipline to touch it. Nothing can touch that life even remotely. You are in that life with me, my dear ones, and all those who are imbued with a great Ideal, who work for a new world where beauty, comradeship and freedom shall take the place of this hideous world of ours.
My thoughts are with you always and with our fighter, Mother Earth Bulletin. I can do nothing for it now, but I depend upon all of you. Keep the child, Mother Earth, alive and growing. I know you love me, and for my sake will minister to the needs of the Bulletin while I remain in prison. When I return I shall resume our work with a new hope and deeper zeal. All that I see and experience during the two years will help me in the great battle to come. Good‑bye, my dear ones. Write again. I am deeply interested in all of your activities, particularly those for the League for the Amnesty of Political Prisoners.
* * *
I went to Atlanta and saw Alexander Berkman, Louis Kramer and Morris Becker at the United States Penitentiary on February 18th and 19th. They did not seem to believe that "stone walls and prison bars, a prison make." They were all cheerful, healthy, interested in the things of the outside world and interested in every current of thought and every ideal being struggled for in every part of the world.
They greeted me not with doleful faces, but with good cheer and smiling countenances. They wanted to know the news, the personal news, the big news, aye, even the gossip among their friends. They can only write one letter a week, but their friends and all who are interested in them should write them as often as possible, signing their full names. Receiving letters is a prisoner's great recreation, and one of the things that breaks the monotony.
Berkman felt that absolutely no relaxation in the efforts in Mooney's behalf and of the other defendants of the California frame-up should be allowed to take place, as the entire battle in their behalf may be lost if there is the least cessation of fighting and the arousing of public opinion.
Jails are civilization's confession of failure; and prisoners are prisoners only if they believe they are prisoners.
I am, Sincerely yours,
The Invasion of Revolutionary Russia
On the l8th of March 1871 the Commune was proclaimed in Paris. Two months later the fighters of the Commune, the vast majority of which were workingmen, were butchered by the regiments of General Gallifet, sent against Paris by order of the Provisional French Government operating from Versailles.
The victorious Prussian army was laying siege to Paris, but Berlin and Versailles, Bismarck and Thiers understood each other perfectly in one respect. From their point of view the crushing of the Commune was of first importance.
In order to accomplish this bloody end the French and Prussian leaders of reaction joined forces to a certain extent. Bismarck ordered the release of French prisoners of war in big batches to make the butchery of the Commune, prepared for by the French government, more efficient. And it really turned out to be efficient. Nearly 30,000 People were killed during the May days by Gallifet's hordes.
It was the end of the Commune. But the international proletariat has not forgotten the heroes and martyrs who fought and died for it, forerunners of the international social revolution as they were.
On a larger scale Russia became the scene of events similar in some of their significant phases to those here shortly related.
The armies of Germany, greeted by the adherents of the former regime in Russia, applauded openly by the German aristocracy and the wealthier parts of the bourgeoisie, and secretly by privileged classes of all countries, invaded revolutionary Russia.
Fake and sham were the German peace negotiations at Brest‑Litovsk. Adding to them clumsy lies and the slyness of a fox, the German government included in one of the reports about these negotiations the statement that the German representatives in Brest‑Litovsk did not have the impression that the Russian delegates were really in earnest in their expressed desire for peace.
This lie was exploded a few days later by the declaration of the Soviet that Russia would not continue the war, that the Russian workers and peasants did not wish to murder their fellow‑workers of Germany and Austria.
The real motive for the treacherous invasion of Russia, besides that of making booty and stealing provinces, was the desire to strangle the Revolution. On their march into Russia the German commanders took good care that in the cities and villages the members of the local Soviets were taken into custody first.
Prince Leopold of Bavaria, German commander‑in‑chief, has defined the purpose of his campaign himself:
"Russia is sick and is trying to contaminate all the countries in the world with a moral infection. We must fight against the disorder inoculated by Trotsky and defend outraged liberty. Germany is fortunate in being the incarnation of the sentiments of other order loving peoples."
That's it. The Germany of the Hohenzollern, of the Hindenburgs, and Krupps has now become the bloody representative of international reaction and capitalism. Petrograd was formerly considered the centre of all counter‑revolutionary forces the world over. Now Berlin has become this centre.
No mistake about that. Since the ascent of the Boylsheviki to power the capitalist mouthpieces in all countries have fairly foamed in their anger and wrath. They denounced them every day as filthy mob, as criminals, traitors, or at best as lunatics, and what else was there to be expected, seeing that the Russian revolutionists attacked in real earnest the sacred foundations of despotism and exploitation, seizing the land of the big proprietors, of the crown and church for the poor peasants, and expropriating the manufacturers, the rich and the banks.
What the ruling classes in all countries have wished for in the last months was a Russian Gallifet, who would lead an army against Petrograd. It was to their infinite regret that Korniloff and Kaledine did not succeed in accomplishing the defeat of the Boylsheviki.
And now that Hindenburg became the scourge of Russia, these same classes hope again that "order" will be restored an Russia.
We faced the scandalous situation that the only people standing up for peace absolutely sincere finds itself abandoned and delivered up to the shambles of the enemy.
But let us not cry about it. The lines should be drawn clear. The workingmen of all countries, the multitudes, or at least the thinking minorities in Berlin, Vienna, Paris, London, Rome must now understand clearer than ever before that the war has become the universal contest between the old social forces of oppression and the new revolutionary forces whose aim is the radical social and economic reconstruction of society.
Petrograd is now the capital of the International Social Revolution towards which all our thoughts and feelings concentrate.
There are signs even in Germany that the slavish obedience to the murderous commands of the military caste has weakened considerably. In the German Reichstag the Independent Socialist, Dr. Cohn, caused an uproar by saying:
"I see the day coming when the Revolution will reach Germany, and the people will take the fate of their rulers into their own hands."
An emergency peace treaty with Germany has now been signed by the Russian delegates at Brest‑Litovsk. Russian territories have been ceded to Germany and Turkey. To those who think this situation hopeless we refer to a remark of Nicholas Lenin, that seems to us full of revolutionary wisdom. He thinks it possible that the Revolution will make headway and he asks what difference it makes where the boundary lines are drawn, considering that it is the aim of the revolutionary proletariat to fight oppression everywhere and to establish international solidarity which would have no use for the cannon guarded frontiers of to‑day anyway.
Frightful Stubborness of Labor
Prominent personages have lately been disagreeably surprised in discovering that Labor is not always entirely satisfied with playing the role of Cinderella. Workmen, usually considered as mere "hands," have given here and there some evidence that they also possess brains. That was particularly perplexing to the daily press, and when the carpenters in the shipyards went on strike for shorter hours and better conditions, they were attacked right and left
William I. Hutcheson, President of the Carpenters' organization, was considered at least a Boylsheviki, if not worse, for the reason that he did not treat the carpenters as recruits, declining to order them back to work in command of print‑paper‑made public opinion. The writers who denounced him so fiercely probably did not know that. Mr. Hutcheson has always been a typical conservative labor leader, adhering, in general, faithfully to the deadening tradition and methods of the American Federation of Labor. In the present case he certainly did not want to do any more "mischief" than to obtain better working conditions for the members of his organization. Was that not his and the carpenters' inalienable right? Is it a sin against democracy on the part of the workingman to ask for a decent standard of life in exchange for his lifelong toil? Can that be a crime, especially now that foodstuffs, the chief provisions and necessaries of existence, have increased in price from 50 to 100 per cent?
President Wilson wrote a letter to Hutchenson closing with the alternative whether the President of the carpenters' organization would choose co‑operation or obstruction for his tactics. And still Hutchenson held out. He did not grow panicy, going even so far as to refuse having the whole matter transferred to the Adjustment Board. He probably knew from long experience that these boards and commissions become in many cases the burial ground for labor demands.
The editors stood aghast for a while and then sailed into Hutcheson again. They are often enough themselves victims of indirectly enforced obedience; so why should they allow other people to enjoy the possession of something like a backbone of their own!
Meanwhile Mr. Gompers, the old standby of the profiteering classes of society, and other leaders of like calibre, stepped in and did their utmost to bring about an abrupt ending of the strike.
Mr. Gompers denounces the Hebrew Trades Union Movement for tolerating radicalism in its ranks and is busy with arranging loyalty conventions and meetings for labor, giving the impression that loyalty is somehow synonymous with labor's submission to the wishes of Big Business, which, according to its own financial reports, bags enormous profits at this time. A writer in the "New Republic" phrases the agreeable situation in which Big Business finds itself at present in this way:
"In peace, when time is not a pressing matter, it is doubtless possible for the government to make contracts that leave no opportunity for excessive profits. In war this is not possible."
That is perhaps the reason why Mr. Gompers' endeavors do not show much of the desired great result. The logic of the workers is evidently often at variance with the logic of Gompers. Hardly a day passes that one does not read about impending strikes.
Now that Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman are in prison it is to be expected that all friends and comrades, every one of them, gets on board the good ship Liberty which is bound to reach the shores of a new future. Spreading our principles, making people aquainted with our literature, paying subscriptions, and securing new subscribers for "Mother Earth Bulletin", should now be considered more urgent than ever before. We have removed our offices from 226 Lafayette Street to 4 Jones Street.
* * *
Whatever crowned and uncrowned leaders of the nations may do or say to convince the world that the only means for stipulating relations between nations and races are competition in armament, bayonet and cannon ball, it will not avail in the end. A strong social under‑current gives assurance that development points in an opposite direction.
Out of the very turmoil of stimulated hate, of slaughter and suffering rises stronger and more powerful every day the conviction that man and countries must combine for mutual help and international solidarity if they want to gain a future worth while.
Russia gives the clue. The Proletarian Red Guard, fighting for the cause of internationalism against autocracy, exploitation and bourgeois rule, is the nucleus around which the social‑revolutionary forces of all countries will rally in ever‑increasing numbers, insight and strength.
* * *
Better than we could do it ourselves, Cardinal Farley has taken the trouble to define the spirit of modern Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. In the Catholic weekly "America" he published an article from which the following paragraph was taken:
"The figures are eloquent. According to the Secretary of War, Mr. Baker, 34 or 35 per cent of the army are Catholics. The better Catholics they are, the better soldiers they are going to be? If there is one principle that must be the guiding star of the soldier, it is the principle of authority. Obedience is the soldier's duty. The necessity of that duty has been deeply impressed upon Catholics. By inculcating that principle upon her Children, the Catholic Church has conferred a lasting benefit upon the state, a benefit the results of which are now beginning to be apparent. Submission to authority is the backbone of an army. The Catholic soldier is already predisposed by his training to respect that fundamental law."
Thus writes the representative of Jesus, who in the night when he was betrayed by the kiss of Judas to the authorities, said to the disciple who wanted to defend the master:
"Put up again thy sword into his place, for all they that take the sword, shall perish with the sword."
* * *
French papers report the sending to jail of Sebastian Faure and Helen Brion for antimilitarist activity. Faure is one of France's greatest orators. He is the founder and conductor of the Bee Hive, the Modern School at Rambouillet near Paris. The school had to close soon after the beginning of the war, but Faure did not give up his propaganda, revolutionary not only from the religious point of a view but from the social as well.
* * *
Through a New York reporter the public was informed that tears glistened in the eyes of more than one detective when Capt. Wm. J. Deevy of the First Branch Detective Bureau told his men that he would give up his position and retire. The "famous arrests" made by the captain during his career were also reported. Matt Schmidt, accused together with the McNamaras and David Kaplan of having participated in dynamiting the Los Angeles Times Building and finally hunted down by the harpies of Burns' Detective Agency, was arrested by Capt. Deevy.
It is well known that crocodiles are supposed to be capable of shedding tears, but it may be interesting news to students of natural science that ferrets and scorpions are able to do the same stunt.
* * *
A New York comrade, writing a letter to Alexander Berkman, enclosed a newspaper clipping about the case of Bertrand Russell, who recently was sentenced in London to six months' imprisonment for having written a disrespectful comment on the American army. This letter was sent back to our comrade by the authorities of Atlanta Prison with the remark it could not be delivered to the addressee, because it contains "information concerning criminal matter which under the rules prevents its delivery to Mr. Berkman."
In other words, the prison rules do not allow that one "criminal" gets Information about another "criminal".
Sasha Berkman can stand it. We, his friends, also. But what about Earl Russell's family, very distinguished in English society. Verily, if even prison officials have lost all respect for the upper crust of society, what then can you expect from the Boylsheviki.
* * *
Dr. William J. Robinson, well known to the radical element of the country, has been arrested and placed under $5,000 bail. It happened because he published his opinions on the war in his magazine "A Voice in the Wilderness" and in other publications.
Having the misfortune not to be able to appreciate the assertion that crippling and annihilating millions of human lives are absolutely necessary in order to establish well-being and happiness for all nations, he recommended that the war should end and peace be restored to the world. That is the reason why he will have to stand in the dock.
* * *
Our well known comrade E. de Armand, director of "Par dela la Melee'" has been condemned by the military tribunal at Grenoble, France, to five years' penal servitude for so-called complicity in "assisting desertion". The fact was not established by the prosecution, who, when demanding a severe sentence for Armand, claimed it because "accused is a militant Anarchist." Which looks to us as if it works quite as well in democratic France, as it does in other countries. An appeal has been taken against this excessive sentence.
* * *
The Appellate Court in Cleveland sustained the verdict against Dr. Ben Reitman, who, charged with having propagated birth control, was sentenced in January of last year to six months' imprisonment and $1,000 fine.
If we had no courts what would become of decaying morality systems, of tumble‑down institutions, and superstitions! Be they ever so obnoxious in the way of improvement and progress, they must not be removed. The courts will see to it sternly that they are upheld. Imbued with a special instinct for preserving things that deserve to be discarded, the mills of justice grind down principles and ideas, which, put in practice, might ease the lot of suffering humanity.
The case will be appealed.
* * *
Labor bodies, radical organizations and groups sent encouraging cablegrams to Petrograd, urging to fight to the utmost the German invaders. A still better help for the fighters is the spreading of light and knowledge upon the fundamental principles of the Russian Revolution. We make this remark because we notice that some of the cablegram senders had only a few days before declared that the Boylsheviki must be done away with.
* * *
Alexandra Kollontay, who was in America for a propaganda tour before the Russian revolution started, and after her return held the position as Commissioner of Public Welfare under the Boylsheviki regime, has been arrested by government troops in Finland. She came with other Boylsheviki delegates to Finland for the purpose of arranging an International Socialist Conference.
With the German invaders in sight, the pillars of the old rotten system became more daring.
Not in one of the different commission reports about the labor troubles in the western mining and lumber districts are the I. W. W. held responsible for the deep‑rooted unrest.
The authors of these social documents seem rather to consider the brutal methods used by the employers for the purpose of frustrating the just demands of the workers as the real cause for the disturbances. ‑
One wonders whether these reports will have any bearing on the pending trial against about 300 members of the I.W.W. organization. That they have no influence on the stand taken by the Federal Department of Labor is indicated by the proposal of the department to round up all alien labor agitators who foment strikes, etc. in the Northwest for internment. The eternal curse: causes are left untouched, the effects denounced and punished.
* * *
Keep an eye on Milwaukee. Ten men and one woman were sentenced in that city to twenty‑five years penitentiary each. The circumstances under which the arrest and conviction took place were related in recent issue of the "Bulletin." They are of such a nature that even the worst pessimist would refuse to believe that the higher courts will sustain the sentence.
Letters and money for the defense are to be directed to William Judin, 1006 Ashland Boulevard, Chicago, Ill.
* * *
Developments in the San Francisco Bomb Case indicate that Fickert and his gang begin to lose confidence in their own ingeniousness for constructing a "good" frame‑up. The days of smooth sailing are over for them. Their most important witnesses, with the help of which they had Billings and Mooney convicted, are discredited. They are now known to the world as perjurers and bribed liars while some others of them have come out publicly, telling the story how they were threatened and coached for their mission to help ambitious rascals to hang legally innocent people. In one word the old frame‑up has been smashed into splinters.
The difficulty is now to fix up a new one. But into what dirty corner of the world could the perpetrators look for evidence and new "reliable" witnesses?
Facing this dilemma the honorable Fickert plays for time. No hurry for him. He is not in prison, yearning for liberty and justice as Billings, Tom Mooney, Rena Mooney, and Weinberg are.
It took a long time till Weinberg succeeded in having his case taken up again. When it finally came before judge Cabanis on February 13th, Ferrari, Fickert's assistant, did everything he could to throw obstacles in the way of the proceedings. He had, he said, important witnesses, one in Chicago, another one in Honolulu, whom it wit impossible to bring to San Francisco in so short a time. Judge Cabanis became angry, and it developed, from what he said, that obstruction had been systematically carried on from the district attorney's office for the purpose of bringing all the bomb cases for trial before Judge Dunne, whose bias against the defendants has shown itself frequently in the most bitter form.
The trial for Weinberg was set by judge Cabanis for the 25th of February, and then it seems that Fickert had played some technical trick in order to have the case removed from Judge Cabanis's court and to transfer it later to the judge of his heart's desire.
Protests against the now world‑infamous outrage keep on pouring into the office of the Governor of California. A telegram from the Philadelphia Central Labor Council read thus:
"Govenor Wm. Stephens, Scaramento, California:
"The Philadelphia Central Labor Council, representing thirty thousand workers, entered an unanimous protest against any further delay in handing out even justice to the defendants Mooney, Billings, Weinberg, Nolan and Mrs. Mooney. We are convinced that they are the victims of a dastardly frame‑up at the hands of labor's enemies. Our contention is sustained by the report of the Federal Commission which recently investigated the situation. May we look to your honor to see to it as Governor of California that the innocent go free and the guilty persecutors be made to answer."
Activities of the Political Amnesty League
For the purpose of awakening interest organizing local groups of the League, for the Amnesty of Political Prisoners, Prince Hopkins, Chairman of the League, has just completed a coast to coast tour. He visited Rochester, Cleveland, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Chicago, St. Louis and San Francisco. In each of these cities the message he bore was greeted with enthusiastic response. Pledges were made to further the work of organization, committees were selected and each group expressed its determination to carry on local and national agitation until recognition and amnesty are won for all political prisoners in America.
The meetings in these cities were arranged primarily to bring together the active workers from as many and as diverse organizations as existed in the locality, to acquaint them with the aims and programme of the League and to collect whatever available authentic data was to be had regarding prisoners who would be considered politicals. Local organizations were perfected, secretaries elected and arrangements were made for large mass meetings to follow the preliminary informal meetings begun by the Chairman of the League.
The first gathering was held in Rochester at the Labor Auditorium, where it was decided not to appoint any local executive committee but to have the group work as a committee of the whole. Our friends volunteered to visit the men and women in the jails and to give to their families whatever sustenance they can provide. Three cases were brought to the attention of Mr. Hopkins. Mr. Fisher was arrested for taking his daughter from school after she was asked to write essays to which she could not subscribe. He was sentenced to jail. Mr. Ensuc is serving a term after having been convicted of distributing a Jewish handbill, and a member of the Methodist Church also was given a prison sentence for the expression of an opinion in a hardware store.
Minnie Fishman was chosen Secretary of our Detroit group at a meeting held in that city. Mr. Walter M. Nelson informed us that there were 206 men in the Detroit House of Correction, detained for political offenses. Efforts will be made in behalf of these men by the local group so that they will receive friendly communication from the outside and assurances that the League is working for the status of Political Prisoners for them, and when peace is declared their liberty through an amnesty.
The cases of Elwood Moore and Max Frocht were brought to the attention of Mr. Hopkins when he spoke in Ann Arbor. These young men were sent to jail for their non‑conformist opinions about the war. In Ann Arbor Miss Martha E. Kern was elected Secretary of the organization, with Miss Burt as her assistant. A plan to send out a series of chain letters acquainting people in sympathy with the League of the conditions of their locality was evolved.
A successful meeting was held in Cleveland, where Carl Helser was elected local Chairman. The work was begun by procuring aid for Alvah Buchman, a political prisoner.
At a luncheon in Chicago, the establishment of a local group in that city was discussed. After some debate, it was decided to elect an organizing committee of five instead of a secretary and presiding officer. Accordingly Comrade, Lloyd, Nathanson, Engdhal, Cooper and Stedman constitute the committee for Chicago. It was also thought best to use the name "The League for the Amnesty of Political and Industrial Prisoners." This is the title by which the Chicago organization will be known. The inclusion of Industrial prisoners was considered necessary by the committee. Addresses on the subject of Amnesty were delivered by Mr. Hopkins at the Labor School, the Chicago Theatre, Chicago University and at I.W.W. Hall.
The report of meetings held in St. Louis and San Francisco has not arrived. They will be printed in the next issue of the Bulletin.
It is essential that our comrades all over the country come to the support of this urgent work. The issue of recognition and amnesty for political prisoners in America must be fought now. With peace declared and no recognition for political prisoners, thousands of men will remain in prison: "And by all forgot they will rot and rot."
Mooney's Death Sentence Affirmed by Supreme Court
According to the decision of the Supreme Court of the state of California, Torn Mooney is not entitled to a new trial. This verdict will be a bitter disappointment to Labor in America and Europe. Not only that but the manner in which it was rendered is bound to stir up sharp criticism and disapproval.
The main thing was, one would think, that the evidence on which Mooney was convicted, should have been submitted to a thorough review by the court. The evidently crooked methods used in procuring this evidence, prompted the appeal. The appalling revelations made in sworn affidavits as to the more than suspicious participation of members of the police and the district attorney's office in this game, and the exposure of Oxman were the things that stirred up indignation here and abroad. The whole labor movement and large parts of the other population felt keenly that Mooney and his friends were persecuted, not prosecuted.
This feeling spread over to Russia and other countries. A commission was appointed by the President to investigate and in the report of this commission a new trial was recommended.
All this the Supreme Court has passed by, has ignored and evaded it altogether. It passed opinion only in regard to the technical points of law. In reading some of its parts one may imagine a building inspector who is asked to inspect a house whether it is safe to live in and who would give the opinion that the color of paint on the walls made quite a good show.
Except perhaps the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and those ferocious people who would hang radicals and sincere labor leaders anyway, evidence or no evidence, nobody will feel reassured by the decision of the Supreme Court.
The one necessary thing to do is that Labor must raise its voice still louder in protesting against the intended victimizing of Tom Mooney and the others. In the East and West big mass meetings have been held for this purpose. In New York the Ball and Bazaar given our San Francisco comrades was a huge success.
A Historic Reminiscence
Not for the first time has it happened in history that a great revolution clashed with a foreign autocracy as it does now in the occupied territories of Russia. They have never agreed together in the past, and they will never agree in the future, whether it be a feudal or a modern autocracy ruled by princes of finance and monopolists.
European autocracy felt it its sacred duty to mobilize its armies against the great French Revolution. England furnished a good deal of money for that noble purpose, regularly paying a large sum to Prussia in order to strengthen the military power of that country. Emperors, kings, and aristocrats of all countries combined to destroy the rebellious "canaille" and their aristocratic fellow parasites in France hailed them as their saviors. Their despotic rule and shameless exploitation of the people were in danger, and as to the foreign invaders they feared that the evolution would spread all over Europe and do away with their crowns, estates, and privileges.
The King and Queen of France sent treasonable messages to their dear brothers and cousins on the thrones of Europe, imploring them to make haste with the invasion of France. They were quite ready to help the foreign invaders to steal a march on Paris and to slaughter Frenchmen by the hundred thousands for the sole purpose of patching up and restoring again the old rotten regime, which had become absolutely intolerable to the people.
In July, 1792, Prussia was prepared to attack the "criminals and outlaws" in France who dared to be disobedient to the king whom the Lord himself had placed on the throne. Some moral justification seemed necessary. In a solemn proclamation the king of Prussia announced his coming to France in order to save that God forsaken country and all Europe from the terrible evils of insubordination, to which end he would establish the monarchial power on a more stable basis. One passage of the proclamation was quite amusing. It read as follows:
"The supreme authority, in France being never ceasing and indivisible, the King could neither be deprived nor voluntarily divert himself of any of the prerogatives of royalty, because he is obliged to transmit them entire with his own crown to his successors."
Chief commander of the allied armies of reaction was the Duke of Brunswick. He also published a manifesto, demanding categorically that their majesties, the King and Queen of France should be set at liberty immediately. Should they have to endure the least violence, or should a lawless rabble try to force the Tuilleries, the royal palace then the Emperor of Germany and the King of Prussia would inflict "on those who shall deserve it the most exemplary and ever avenging punishment."
But things turned out differently. The National Guard on whom the royalists had counted went over to the people. A revolutionary committee seized the city hall and their majesties became now in reality prisoners of the Temple. A few weeks later the army of the Revolution made up of "vagabonds, cobblers, and tailors" defeated the Prussians at Valmy. The Duke of Brunswick had come as an overbearing braggart. He was glad enough to get home again ignominiously and a good deal more silent.
There is not a great consolation for the Russian Revolution in this parallel, but true it is that any army of revolutionists, fired by enthusiasm for their cause, may be more formidable to deal with than with the soldiers of a czar, driven stupidly and slavishly towards the enemy by sheer fright and force.
By Stella Comyn
Six weeks have passed since prison doors shut from us our beloved comrades, Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman; and the February Bulletin went to press before we were able to give our readers any news of them. Their absence has left a void that is difficult to bridge, but we are struggling to maintain their standards in the Bulletin, using every means in our power to keep it alive and our subscribers together for the two years that we are deprived of their inspiring activity. We hope their heroic sacrifices for the cause of freedom and justice will bring us all closer, and make our own contributions more vital and valuable.
Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman are repeating their own past history. They are both engaged in the garment industry both are sewing ten hours a day at overalls, as they used to nearly thirty years ago when they first entered the movement. But that is where the similarity of their punishment ends.
Emma Goldman is permitted to get her own food and have certain personal things in her cell, but because she refuses to attend chapel, she is punished by not being allowed out of doors on Sundays during the recreation hour to get the necessary air and exercise. She is permitted to write one letter a week to a relative and one to her attorney, and she is allowed writing paper for all the literary work she can do after she has spent ten hours a day at the machine.
"If they send a delegate to the Labor Conference in England, I hope they send a man with a big vision. Oh, for an American Trotsky! It is heartbreaking how little understanding there is in this country for Russia. It is no doubt the same in England and France. Yet all these countries swear by the man who proclaimed "Peace on earth, good will to men" I hear them singing in the chapel as I write this, asking Jesus to wash them clean. Yet when the Boylsheviki come washed clean of all desire for loot and human sweat and blood, they are described traitors."
Alexander Berkman, with his usual calm, has adapted himself to the inconveniences of prison life, though he is not allowed any privileges. Lack of writing materials is the greatest hardship he has to bear. Recognition of political prisoners as such is all the more imperative when literary abilities like Comrade Berkman's are not permitted expression in the only time and place an agitator finds necessary quiet and leisure he needs a prison cell!
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The "Friends of Freedom" group will give a Flower Ball and Package Party at Parkview Palace, 110th Street and Fifth Avenue, Saturday evening, April 13th, for the benefit of the new semi‑monthly Anarchist paper, "The Blast," which is now appearing in Jewish. Tickets are 25 cents each.
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A LETTER OF LOUISE OLIVEREAU
This letter dated Canon City Jail, Col., January 31st, was written to Comrade Emma Goldman before she had to go to prison. At the time she was contemplating a lecture tour to the far West in order to spread the understanding of the ideas and aims of the Boylsheviki. On that tour she intended to stop off at Canyon City and to visit Louise Olivereau in jail there. However, time was too short. Our comrade had to return East from Chicago, meetings having been arranged for her in Detroit, Rochester and other places. The letter follows:
I received a letter from Minnie Rimer yesterday, stating that you were to return to New York without coming further West than Detroit. I am sorry I shall not see you until both of us have served our terms. I'm very, very sorry you must "rest" at Jefferson City, but after all, you will not be in long, especially if you are paroled.
I like your idea of starting a campaign for the release of all political prisoners at the end of the war. I have thought for a long time that it would be better for all of us to accept our prison terms with that in view. I'm sorry to be where I can't help carry on the campaign.
Only a week or so ago I learned that when you wired Minnie to appeal my case, you thought the sentence was 45 years. I am very sorry the error occurred; for of course had you known it was only ten, you would not have urged an appeal. I thank you for your efforts in my behalf, and hope that even if the appeal has to be abandoned, enough propaganda value has resulted to justify all the work done. Poor Minnie will be bitterly disappointed: she has worked so devotedly, and against heavy opposition from those who should have helped her.
I continue well and in good spirits. Except for those discomforts which are inseparable from prison life, I fare very well. You, who know prisons, will not need to be told that the inspiration to any happiness I may enjoy comes from outside the walls. As nearly as I can judge, the outlook is very hopeful for the cause. In spite of many exceptions, the workers appear to be steadily growing conscious of where their real strength lies, and are taking action accordingly. A friend in Spokane reports a gain of 1311 new woodsmen enrolled in L.W.I.U. No. 500 during December. Such news is hope‑inspiring and patience‑sustaining.
"Zarathustra" is meat and drink to the soul. I've never read much Nietzsche before, for some reason. The other books, also, are very good to have.
Again I thank you, and Berkman, and others who have worked with you for me; and send you both my most Comradely good wishes for a prison term as little irksome or injurious as may be. "After the War" we can have a reunion‑till then I remain,
Cheerfully yours, for Freedom,