Saturday, July 13, 2013

"Unless the constitution is kicked to one side--as it always is"


What the Army is for, and How it is Used Against the
Working Class.--The Truth Kept From the Public.

   The newspapers of the working class have a monopoly on real news. They print what other papers suppress--and other papers suppress about every thing that is of real interest to the people. The capitalist papers give you a column or two every day about conditions In Mexico, but when the same thing happens right under their noses they put on the lid.

   Because of the agitation of the Labor press congress sent investigating committees into the strike districts of Colorado and Michigan. But before congress had acted the Appeal to Reason had its staff correspondent, J.K. Turner on the ground to get the facts. And he got them first hand.

   So that the situation in Colorado may be understood, we must go back to the strike of 1904 when Moyer, Haywood and Petibone were kidnapped into Idaho. At that time all the strikers were driven from the state by soldiers and their places filled by imported strike-breakers.

   It Is the strike-breakers that are now on strike. Purposely the mine owners brought in people from as many nationalities as possible so that race or national hatred might be stirred when necessary. Thirty-one languages are spoken in those mines. But the injustices they were subjected to overcome the barriers of race and language after several years and they are now striking against the very conditions as were they whose places they took eight years ago.

   When the strike occurred last fall the mines were completely tied up. Only about one-fourth of the miners belonged to the union--yet all quit work. The miners left the company shacks and pitched tents on leased ground near by to await results.

   The results soon appeared, as usual--thugs and gun-men to raise hell to give an excuse for bringing in the militia. Mind you, martial law has never been declared in Colorado, and even under martial law the militia is only to aid the civil power in enforcing civil law. Unless the constitution is kicked to one side--as it always is--the militia has no power to search homes or disarm people.

The constitution reads:

   "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable search and seizure shall not be violated.

   "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

   Now let's see what Colorado's patriotic National Guard did. What follows is taken from the stenographers report of the committee of five that investigated matters for the Colorado state government prior to the arrival of the congressional investigating committee, and reported by Mr. Turner In the Appeal:

   "Immediately upon its arrival in the strike regions the militia, led by Brigadier General Chase in person, moved upon the miners' tent colonies, surrounded them, and demanded all firearms.

   "The miners offered no resistance; they gave up their guns. But General Chase was disappointed in the number of guns surrendered. Whereupon the soldiers, breaking into small squads, began a series of searches which extended over a period of weeks, and included every striker's tent in the district and hundreds of private dwellings and places of business--houses belonging not only to the miners and all persons remotely connected with the strike, but even to persons not in any way concerned in the struggle with the coal barons.

   In these searches and seizures I did not find an instance In which the soldiers troubled to procure a warrant, or to follow any of the recognized forms obligatory upon legal authorities. They simply entered the dwellings, whether owner was at home or not. Often they overturned everything in the house, tore up mattresses and floors, smashing trunks with their bayonets instead of opening them with the key. Frequently they carried away all firearms and sometimes other articles of value, and only in a few cases did they give receipts for what they took, even when the owner particularly demanded them.

   "To the crime of unlawful search and seizure under color of authority the soldiers added Innumerable Instances of burglary and highway robbery for example:

   "Carmelo Brugato, an Italian striking miner, lost $300, the savings of a life time. November 8 a squad of soldiers searched his searched his house in Valdez and ran across the tin box in which was kept the Brugato money and jewelry. The soldiers did not take the money that day, but were seen to return the next, while the Brugato family was away. On finding the household goods again turned upside down the wife ran to where the little box was hidden. On opening the box Mrs. Brugado fell in a faint on the floor. The earrings and other jewelry were there, but the money was gone.

   "At Valdez on the same date, a squad of soldiers broke down the door of Sam and Josie Inbroquolio and turned the place upside down in the absence of the occupants. Sam returned while the search was going on, but the militiamen at the door refused to permit him to enter, threatning to break his head. When the soldiers left the owner missed $175 in cash, two rings, a watch and two pair of ear-rings from a trunk.

   "While Joe Yokcenek, Austrian striker was attending a meeting of a union, a squad of militiamen searched his boarding-house, smashing the trunks in the various rooms with their bayonets. The landlady followed the soldiers from room to room, watching the procedure. In Joe's trunk they found $35 in cash. Whereupon they pushed the landlady out of the room and finished their search. When Joe returned, the $35 was gone.

   "At Valdez the soldiers drove the landlady of Phillippi Fettitio, striking miners, out of the house, drove out Phillippi himself, and every one else. In this man's trunk was a box Containing $60 in paper and $2.75 in silver. The soldiers took the paper and left the silver in the box.

   In a search of the house of Kadi Medenico, a striker, the soldiers stole $10 from between a pair of Mattresses.

   "Soldiers wrecked the bakery of E. Morris at Ludlow, smashed the bake oven, stole $8 in money and closed the shop. Their excuse was that they wore looking for guns.

   "A soldier entered the saloon of Joe Pedri at Segundo. He called for a pint bottle of bond whisky and walked out with it saying, "This is for the captain." Pedri stopped the captain on the street and complained about the matter. He was arrested and held in jail for two days.

   "One morning as Guiseppe Micalone, a Trinidad bar-tender, was opening the saloon in which he worked, a soldier entered and demanded $25. Micalone parleyed with the man until other persons entered the place. He was, however, forced to give the soldier a bottle of whiskey.

   "John A. Miskail, a saloon-keeper at Walsenburg, Was held up at the point of a pistol by a soldier, who demanded a bucket of beer. It was in the middle of the day. Other soldiers were in the place, some of them buying drinks. No one interfered. Maskail gave up the beer.

   "Soldiers tried to bluff Mike Poma, an Aguilar saloon-keeper, Into giving them a drink. He refused. They threatened him and then closed his place. Major Hamrock in charge of the militia at Valdez, backed up the drunken soldiers who closed Poma's saloon, and the latter was not permitted to do
business for some time.

   "One night orders were given to the Walsenburg saloon-keepers to refuse to sell liquor to soldiers. Two hours later three men in uniform came into the place of Albert Pisarezyk and held him up with rifles forcing him to serve them without pay. Three days later he was held up again in the same manner.
Still another time a soldier held him up and fired a bullet through the floor.

   "In December a squad of soldiers entered the saloon of Sam Barranco at Valdez, held him up with pistols, turned his face to the wall and threatened to shoot. They then stole $30 from the till, relieved Barranco of his watch and chain, and carried away a box of cigars and four bottles of whiskey.

   Mike Kopusin, Walsenburg, closed his saloon promptly at midnight in compliance with the law. A few minutes later four militiamen beat upon the door. Kopusin remonstrated with them from the inside. They threatened to shoot him and he opened. The soldiers went behind the bar and began to help themselves. Kopusin, protested; they felled him with a gun and kicked him, Mat Loukovitch, an employee, tried to reach the telephone and was also felled with a gun. When Lawrence Kopusin, son of Mike, entered the rear, his father lay on the floor with blood gushing from his nose and mouth, Loukovitch lay behind the stove. One of the soldiers beat Lawrence with his fists while the others robbed the saloon. Mike Kopusin was blind for the next four days. Later, because Kopusin refused to trust him for the price of a bottle of whiskey, a soldier placed him under arrest, and took him to the military camp.

   Julian Medina, a deputy sheriff, and Apolouio Vigil, a constable, were relieved of their pistols by militiamen who refused to give a receipt. They were disarmed because mine guards had pointed them out as being friendly to the striking miners. Later, while Medina was driving along a public road in his buggy, soldiers stood him up and robbed him of the cash in his pockets, amounting to $2.

   George Thiros, a striking miner, was arrested by Major Townsend. Thiros says that he was searched and Major Townsned himself counted his money. The prisoner had $77.85, seven $10 bills and $7.85 in silver. Thlros was held a prisoner thirteen days. On his release he was given back only $1.10, a shortage of $76.75. When he demanded the rest of his money Major Townsend replied: "It's lucky you only got in jail; never mind if you do lose your money."

   Thiros has other witnesses to back his assertion as to his having had the money and as to Townsend's part in taking it away from him.

   Major Townsend personally directed a search of the saloon of Albert Pisarezyk late one night. When the soldiers were gone the proprietor missed nine bottles of champagne, one bottle of cognac brandy and two pints of Winchester whiskey, the best in the house.

   Gust Zaginis, a striking miner, was arrested at LeVeta and taken to Walsenburg, where Major Townsend was in command. After four days he was released, but was rearrested on his way home and heid 14 days longer. When Zaginis was arrested Major Townsend took charge of various articles of value belonging to the prisoner. When he was released some of the things were returned, but neither his razor nor his suit-case was returned to him. When Zaginis finally arrived home he found that soldiers had searched his room in his absence. A trunk had been smashed and several dollars in cash missing.

   Frank Del Mair, a traveler got off the train at Walsenburg to visit an old friend Del Mair was traveling from Vera Cruz, Mexico, to San Francisco. He was a war refugee and had converted all his possessions into cash and jewelry, which he was still carrying With him. Major Townsend personally searched Del Mair's person and his baggage as he got off the train, relieved him of a pistol and $1,080 worth of diamonds. Two ; days later, when Del Mair was about to take the train to leave town, he was again searched by the soldiers. They found his wad of paper money this time. He fought to retain it and was stabbed in the right hand With a bayonet and kicked in his cripple leg. Del Mair was robbed of $1840 in $50 and $20 bills. He was left destitute and was unable to continue his journey.

   "Unlawful searches and down-right robberies, however, are only the beginning of the story of what the militia did--and are doing in Colorado. To strip the miner's of their guns, in order that they might be helpless to defend themselves even against the most brutal and exasperating wrongs--this was the first step toward breaking the strike. I have not yet referred to outrages upon women, or to wholesale arrests and tortures."

- Scott County Kicker, Benton, MO., March 07, 1914. Vol. XIII. No. 7.

   And our vile and corrupt government keeps attempting to restrict and/or disarm us in light of history such as this? They can go straight to hell as far as I'm concerned. 

No comments: