Industrial Relations Commission Turns Light on How
the Masters of Industry Control Civil and Military
Power.--Rockefeller's Hypocrisy Uncovered.
Ivy Lee is Rockefeller's press agent in Colorado. It will be remembered that, Just after the battle of Ludlow there was a storm of protest. Silent marchers dressed in mourning, paraded in front of the Rockefeller headquarters in New York and the home at Tarry town. As fast as one set of marchers were arrested or jailed, another set took their places.
Rocky didn't like this. To turn the tide of public opinion young Rockefeller wrote to Ivy Lee suggesting a string of newspapers across the continent. To this Lee replied. "There is no doubt something can be done along these lines. I do not believe, however, that I will come to the point of thinking that you should establish and become responsible for a string of daily newspapers.
Conditions had reached a point, when the whole truth could no longer be suppressed, and the usual servile capitalist news service balked at longer picturing the young Sunday school teacher with a halo and wings sprouting. Therefore he wanted a string of dally papers of his own. But the plan was abandoned and the puppet governor of Colorado pressed into service to write letters dictated by Rockefeller and his press agent--knowing that these letters because of their official nature would re-appear in the daily press. The correspondence made public reveals that Rockefeller sent Lee an outline, or memorandum, of what he wanted the governor to say, and wrote:
"several points in my memorandum. however, could well, even more appropriately, be used in the letter from Gov. Ammons to President Wilson, which you are proposing to prepare."
In reply Lee wrote, "I am inclined to think that, at the moment, the best thing we can do would be to give the letter from Gov. Ammons to President Wilson our attention, and I hope we can accomplish something very soon."
In a letter dated July 2, 1013. Lee wrote to Rockefeller, "With reference to the letter for Gov. Ammons. I am not entirely satisfied with the draft I prepared and I am making certain amendments to it. I sent out a draft for discussion, but will get it into shape in a day or so and then send you a copy."
In the early letters Rockefeller discussed the "broad educational campaign of publicity, such as you and I have talked of," and Lee suggested a plan of circulating leaflets and bulletins, sending Rockefeller a bound volume of the material "we issued in connection with the recent campaign to increase freight rates 5 per ct."
Who rules America anyway? If that Colorado governor had as much self-respect as Judas Icarot had go hang himself. Even President Wilson was deceived as to the source of these letters. But, in the face or all this, Rockefeller kept a tight grip on his religion and wrote to Mr. Bowers, his Colorado manager, "It may be that it would be worth while to consider the establishment in connection with the steel mills. If not in the mining camps, or a Young Men s Christian Association under the management or the Industrial department."
The exposure or this and much Other correspondence caused Mr. Rockefeller to lose his head. He began to have himself interviewed by newspaper correspondents and, in his interviews, would try to explain. To give him a better chance to be heard, he was again called before the commission on May 21.
When the young billionaire appealed he read a prepared statement protesting against "sinister reflections," and that he must regard as improper such questions as "reflect upon those who are charged with the administration of Justice." But this little fortification didn't help him any. The Chairman began:
"If there are any questions I ask that you think should not be answered, you should state the fact, and the commission will consider what should be done. I suppose your high regard for law extends to all officers charged with administration of the laws.?"
"Yes. It does," Rocky said.
"You haven't a contempt for officers of the law who do not do your bidding?"
"I don't undertake to direct the officers of the law."
"Do you undertake to coerce officers of the law?"
"We don't undertake to get officers of the law in any position. That is entirely improper."
Walsh asked if Rockefeller did not think he, as a director of the company, "should take steps to have "criminal saloon - keepers" ousted from mining camps. Rockefeller returned that state officials should enrorce the law.
Walsh read letters written by Rockefeller promising support to the company officers. "They had your backing and support in everything they did. didn't they?"
"They had my backing and support, but we had nothing to do with forming the details of the policy pursued."
Walsh asked if Rockefeller was acquainted with the details of the Ludlow massacre, and gave a graphic description of it. Rocky said he had no knowledge of the details.
"On the same day as the Ludlow massacre." Walsh asked, "did you not learn that there was a little boy killed?"
"I heard a boy was shot." Rockefeller answered.
Walsh then called attention to a Company statement that the women and children at Ludlow were smothered, and then read a postal card addressed to him by a Mr. and Mrs. Snyder at Trinidad, saying: "We wish to Inform you that here is one of the little victims, not smothered, but shot thru the head while Harassing his little sister.'
"On the back of this card is a photograph of the little boy. Frk Snider." said Walsh. "Do you wish to see it?" Walsh handed the card to a messenger who offered it to Rockefeller.
"You have described it thoroly" said Rockefeller. He glanced at the card as it was handed to the stenographer.
Walsh read from letters and reports to show that Troop A. a volunteer organization, was formed of superintendents, clericals, and mine guards of the coal companies. "Do you know that this troop fired into the tents or the women and children at Ludlow, and that they looted the dead and set fire to the tents of the people.' asked Walsh.
"I do not."
"As the men of Troop A were paid by the Colorado fuel and Iron Company, do you not feel a moral responsibility for the Ludlow massacre?" asked Walsh.
"I would have felt much greater responsibility," Rockefeller replied, "if officers or the company had not made an effort to protect life and property,"
Is it true that Sheriff Jeff Farr had deputized 326 gunmen and allowed your company to arm them and turn them loose in the community?"
"That is the statement made." Rockefeller answered. "I don't know from personal knowledge."
"Is it true that these deputized gunmen, before you wrote about your father's unusual satisfaction, had riddled the Forbes tent colony with machine guns and had shot a boy of one of the striking miners nine times through one of his legs?"
"I cannot say as to that.' was the answer.
So that the foregoing may be better understood, it may be well to say that some ten years ago an organization known as the Merchants and Manufacturers Association was formed to control politics and destroy organized labor. Col. Mulhall told the Country something about this pirate organization when called before a congressional committee three years ago. Only employers or labor are eligible to membership and I was solicited to become a member. The membership fee is $10 and from this a fund of half million dollars was raised to fight organized labor.
Since the formation of this employers' union, labor has fared badly. What happened in Colorado also happened In West Virginia. Michigan, Arkansas, Massachusetts, New Jersey and other states. Labor men and their families found no protection under the law, and were shot down or imprisoned. Hundreds or labor leaders are in prison today for no other crime than the mistake of believing they had rights under the constitution.
The Rockefeller interests are the controlling forte of the employers' union. Rocky is a very pious gentleman who teaches Sunday school, builds churches and hires preachers as he would mules. But, to hold their Jobs, the preachers must be more docile than mules usual are.
Rocky is strong on law and order and justice, and tells the commission so. The trouble is in his view-point. That is where Rocky and Chairnan Walsh differ. Rockefeller's idea of law and order and justice is to let him run it. He believes it perfectly proper to arrest a troublesome agitator by a company sheriff and convict him before a company judge and a company jury, with company gun-men as the prosecuting witnesses. Rocky has the same high regard for law and order and justice as the Scott county gang that "convicted" the Kicker of Libel.
The charge against labor men is usually "conspiracy." Nobody knows what that means, and it can easily be made to mean anything. It happens about this way When a strike breaks out there is no trouble until the company gun-men arrive and start something. These are armed by the company and paid by the company. But they act under the color of law because a company-owned sheriff has given them commissions as deputies although they may not even be citizens of the state. In his testimony Jeff Farr, sheriff of Huerfano county. Colo., admitted that of over 300 deputies appointed, he knew none of them, and that he had simply turned the power of his office over to the company.
When the brutal gun-men begin their lawlessness the strikers appeal to the civil authorities for protection. The leaders, of course know this is useless, but it is done to convince those who suffer from the delusion that all are equal before the law, and after suffering all kinds of insults to themselves and their families by the imported brutes, the strikers begin to arm in self-defense.
Here is where the conspiracy charge gets on in the Ludlow battle a few of the thugs were killed and the officers of the labor union were arrested charged with conspiracy to murder. John Lawson, who was not near he fight, was the first to be tried and was given a life sentence. Concerning the conviction of Lawson Chairman Walsh put it up to Rockefeller this way:
"Suppose you were indicted for murder for your responsibility-for your the Ludlow massacre: suppose the president of the United Mine-workers were governor of the state; suppose one of their attorneys was the attorney-general; suppose a state senator from their group should obtain the passage of a bill creating a new judicial district in which to try you; suppose that another attorney of the mine-workers were judge of that district; and suppose that employes or your office, who were really spies or the mine-workers, were called as the witnesses to condemn you--wouldn't you think that the united mine-workers should be compelled to do something for you to guarantee you a fair trial under different circumstances?"
"Mr. Chairman, I should not think those circumstances the best for a fair trial," said Rocky.
"And yet you deny having read the proceedings in the Lawson trial, where you are in a position to correct matters?"
"I have not read them."
"Well, will you read them, and will you do something?"
"As I have said before. Mr. Chairman, I believe that nothing should be done to prevent the obtaining justice above suspicion."
"Well. Mr. Rockefeller, suppose you were in the predicament Of Mr. Lawson, would you feel satisfied if the mine-workers would say that they believed nothing should be done to prevent the obtaining of justice above suspicion and let you go at that to spend the rest or your life in prison?"
Rockereller's head drooped. His eyes dropped to his lap. Then his hands found his watch-chain, and finally he switched uncomfortably In his chair. There was no answer.
Rev. E.S. Geiddis, a Methodist minister, was called before the commission and testified that the company officials in touch with the men in the coal camps were brutes and blasphemous bullies.
"Did you find that generally to be the case?" asked Walsh.
"Yes, sir, I did."
Walsh asked if there were no state officers to protect workers against cruelties ut the hands of mine bosses.
"The state of Colorado is represented in the closed camps and in some of the open ones by justices of the peace who were company men," answered Mr, Geiddis.
Clarence Darrow, the noted Chicago criminal lawyer, was called before the commission and said he believed the day was not far distant when jails and prisons would be abolished and hospitals would take their places.
"I don't mean that some people won't be confined," said he, "but they will be treated for their social ills and not punished. Punishment is barbarism, and the people generally are beginning to realize it. Some day we will try to wipe out the causes of crime and doctor criminals, instead of abusing and misjudging them."
Most folks believe themselves innocent, no matter what they do. said Harrow. "I believe Rockefeller and Standard Oil have a most evil social influence, but Mr. Rockefeller thinks he is as innocent as anyone, and justifies himself unto himself. Everybody thinks himself innocent."
Resisting of military and other constituted authority, if that authority was abusive, Darrow urged, was justifiable. He urged that liberty had always been maintained by blood-shed. As one of the first steps toward an ideal social community he urged public ownership of lands, mines, forests and railroads.
"Which form or organization, labor or capital, gives most obedience to law?" asked Commissioner O'Connell,
"The rich have no trouble obeying the laws because they make them and can change them. It is sometimes necessary for the poor to break the laws. I don't look upon obedience to law as one of the cardinal virtues.
Commissioner Weinstock questioned Harrow on military operations in strikes.
"If a constable seeks to arrest a man without authority, the man ought to have a right to resist," said Darrow. "If the militia attacks people brutally and without authority, they should be resisted, if there is a chance to resist and win. The idea that a man who is an officer can do anything is only fit for slaves to harbor."
"Suppose. in a given case, strikers should form the judgment that acts of the militia were unwarranted; that violence followed in which blood was shed and property destroyed," suggested Commissioner Weinstock, "would you say the strikers should be punished?"
"Suppose there was bloodshed and destruction of property, and liberty was saved; then what?" countered Darrow "There are things to be considered besides life and property. The liberty of a man is one thing, and must be judged by history. There has been very little improvement in the world without blood-shed. It seems to be the law of nature."
"Do you believe in bloodshed?"
"I neither believe nor disbelieve in it. It is nature. We would have no government here were it not for blood-shed. Take blood-shed out of the world and we would still be living in caves."
"But everything is not justifiable." continued Darrow. "There are many things in the present war in Europe that are not justifiable by the laws of humanity. But a strike is in the nature of war and employers and employes often do many cruel and unnecessary things."
"Do you believe our liberty is a delusion, and that we are as much warranted in resisting authority as the people of Russia?" Darrow was asked.
"Freedom is a relative term." was the reply. "The people of the United States are freer than those of Russia and Germany, but they are not as free as the people of England. They are nowhere near as free as they were 75 and 100 years ago. As to protecting liberty by statutes and the courts they are invoked by the strong and cannot be invoked by the weak. Pretty much all the people in the jails are poor people. The constant struggle is for liberty."