Thursday, November 21, 2013

"we urge upon all liberty-loving citizens to remember and obey . . . "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.'"


Debs' Sensational Utterances at the
St Louis Convention.


Master Workman Sovereign Also Makes a Char-
acteristic 5peech

Resolutions Adopted Assert That Our So-called Freedom Is a Stupendous Sham, Under Which Millions Are Degenerating and Thousands of Men, Women and Children Starving In Hovels and on the Public Highways--Right of Free Speech, the Right of Traveling on the Public Highways Have Been Made Crimes By Injunction--Courts Have Resorted to the Most Shameful Defiance of Decency, as Well as the Laws of Humanity, In Order That Heartless Avarice May Reign Supreme--"The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms Shall Not Be Infringed"--No Really Decisive Action Taken--Another Convention to Be Held In Chicago.

   St. Louis, Aug. 31.--Following are the resolutions adopted by the labor meeting here today:

   "The fear of the more watchful fathers of the republic has been justified. The judiciary has become supreme. We witness a political phenomenon absolutely new in the history of the world--a republic prostrate at the feet of judges appointed to administer the laws. They acknowledge no superior on earth and their despotic deeds recall Miltons warning to his companions; 'Who bids a man rule over him above law may bid as well a savage beast.'

   "Under the cunning form of injunctions, courts have assumed to enact criminal laws and after thus drawing to themselves the power of legislation, have repealed the bill of rights and revolutionist court made laws have denied the accused the right of trial by jury.

   "The exercise of the commonest rights of freemen, the right of assembly, the right of free speech, the right of traveling the public highway--have by legislation under the form of injunctions been made a crime and armed forces disperse as mobs people daring in their capacity as individuals or in company to exercise these rights. At its last term the supreme court of the United States decided that the thirteenth amendment forbidding "involuntary servitude" is not violated by arresting a seaman, imprisoning him till his vessel is ready to leave port, and then forcibly putting him on board to serve out the term or his contract--a decision under which the old fugitive slave laws may yet be revived and striking laborers be seized and returned to the service of their masters. Having drawn to themselves all the powers of the federal government until congresses and presidents may act only by judicial permission, the federal judges have begun the subjugation of sovereign states, so that unless a check is soon put upon the progress of usurpation, in a short time no government but the absolute despotism of federal judges will exist anywhere over any portion of American soil. The pending strike of coal miners starved to feebleness by their scant wages for arduous and dangerous toil; the pending strike for the right to be fed enough to make labor possible, has been prolific of judicial usurpation showing the willingness of judicial despots to resort to the most shameful defiance of decency, as well as of laws and humanity, in order to enable heartless avarice to drive its hungry serfs back to the mine to faint and die at their drudgery, and there remains today not one guaranteed right of American citizens the exercise of which an injunction has not somewhere made a crime. Startled by these subversions Of constitutional liberty we have met to counsel together and have come to the following conclusions, that:

   "Whereas, The present strike of the coal miners has again demonstrated the fact that our so-called freedom is but a stupendous sham under which millions are degenerating while hundreds of thousands--men, women and children--are starving in hovels and on the public highway:

   "Whereas, The condition has become permanent for large and ever-increasing number of our population, as long as we permit a comparatively small class of legalized exploiters to monopolize the means of production and distribution for their private benefit--a fact again obvious in the case of the miners;

   "Whereas Appeals to congress and the courts for relief are fruitless, since the legislative as well as the executive and judicial powers are under the control of the capitalistic class, so that it has come to pass in this country that while cattle and swine have a right to the public highway. Americans--so-called freemen--have not;

   "Whereas Our capitalistic class, as is again shown in the present strike, is armed and has not only policemen, marshals, sheriffs and deputies, but also a regular militia, in order to enforce government by injunction, suppressing lawful assemblage, free speech and the right to the public highway--while, on the other hand, the laboring men of the country are unarmed and defense-less, contrary to the words and spirit of the constitution of the United States. Therefore be it

   "Resolved (1), That we hereby set apart Friday, the third day of September 1897, as a 'Good Friday' for the cause of suffering labor in America and contribute the earnings of that day to the support of our struggling brothers, the miners and appeal to every union man and every friend of labor throughout the United States to do likewise.

   "Resolved (2), That if the strike of the miners is not settled by Sept. 20, 1897 and an announcement made to that effect by the president of the United Mine Workers, a general convention be held at Chicago, on Monday, Sept. 27, 1897, by the representatives of all unions, sections, branches, lodges and kindred organizations of laboring men and friends of their cause, for the purpose of considering further measures in the interests of the striking miners and labor in general.

   "Resolved (3), That we consider the proper use of the ballot as the best and safest means for the amelioration of the hardships under which the laboring classes suffer.

   "Resolved (4), That the public ownership of all railroads is one of the most necessary reforms of our body politic.

   "Resolved (5), That we most emphatically protest against government by injunction, which plays havoc with even such political liberty as working men have saved from the steady encroachment of capitalism; and be it finally

   "Resolved (6), That no nation in which the people are totally disarmed can long remain a free nation and therefore we urge upon all liberty-loving citizens to remember and obey article 2 of the constitution of the United States which reads as follows:

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

[The Salt Lake Herald, Salt Lake City, Utah, Wednesday, September 1, 1897. Number 280 Pg. 1]

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