CHICAGO FEDERATION OF LABOR CALLS
WILSON TO SEIZE COLORADO MINESAn open war like the one now on in Colorado will reach Chicago unless Chicago newspapers and capitalists change their tactics.
John H. Walker, president of the Illinois State Federation of Labor and president of the Illinois United Mine Worker's, gave this as his opinion in a speech yesterday before the delegates of the Chicago Federation of Labor.
He said labor is trying to get away from violence, but it is forced on by greedy employers. "He declared:
"We want peaceful methods. But if they want the other way, and insist on it, then, by God, we'll give 'em that way."
He named the Chicago Tribune as "coming in the guise of a purveyor of news to poison the mind of the public" on the Colorado situation.
After Walker's speech, John Fitzpatrick, president of the C, F. of L., read resolutions naming the two Rockefellers, father and son, as connected with the murder and burning of men, women and children in the Ludlow tent colony April 21. The resolutions also call on President Wilson to seize the Colorado mines and run them till Congress enacts a law for the federal ownership of natural resources.
This is the most radical governmental action the Chicago central body has ever called for. The resolution was "unanimously adopted and there was not a murmur of dissent from any delegate on the question of the federal government confiscating the coal mines of Colorado.
The Tribune and Examiner were named by Walker as "hostile sheets" which are playing the mine owners' end. According to Walker, there is no limit to what Chicago newspapers will do to get what they want for the interests they serve.
"The Tribune is robbing children of its city of educational funds to which they are entitled. It is not strange the Tribune protests when robbers in Colorado are challenged by organized workmen.
"If the men who own and publish the Tribune had seen their own children among the bodies of the 25 men, women and children in the camp there at Ludlow with the red blood running from the holes of the bullet wounds, I doubt whether they would have stopped where the miners did.
"It's fearful when you stop to think what we're facing. You can go tomorrow here in Chicago and see hired servants of this city carrying guns and clubs, keeping girls from making a protest for the right to live decently. Go down on the South Side at the Goodman plant and you will see men whose salaries you are paying on duty there, and if men on strike speak to scabs who are coming to take their jobs they get the clubs.
"If the gentlemen on the other side persist in these tactics, if they generate the bitterness and go farther in their methods to keep the workers down, one of these days the same thing that's happened in Colorado will happen here, and the 400,000 trades unionists of Chicago will rise up as one man and all the hired gun men and thugs will not be able to prevail.
"They won't know where they are. The thing will be over before it's started.
"I don't want to see that day come. The labor movement is doing all it can to prevent that state of affairs.
"They know they are guilty. And we know they are guilty. And if the time ever comes when that process has to be gone through, there will he no, way to bribe that court."
Adolph Germer, organizer for the United Mine Workers, said: "I challenge the Chicago Tribune and Examiner or any other hostile sheet [Pg. 30] to show that miners in Colorado committed a single violation of law until their homes were burned and their women murdered. Then they defended their homes against the professional murderers sent in by the mine owners. The only mistake they made was in waiting a little too long."
Lt.-Gov. O'Hara declared: "I thought it was a challenge to you and to me as American citizens when John D. Rockefeller, Jr., was brought before a congressional committee and said arrogantly that he would spend his money to beat back union labor in Colorado. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., is a greater menace to this country than Mexico or any of the Central American states. In civilized Chicago we have seen men arrested for nothing except expressing sympathy with girls on strike for better conditions. In civilized Chicago we have seen the police brutally slug newsboys."
The resolutions read:
"Whereas, For more than six months the United Mine Workers have been on strike in the coal fields of Colorado, which coal fields are owned and controlled by the Rockefeller interests, and during this time, gunmen, thugs, criminals and state militiamen have been arresting, torturing and murdering these inoffensive and practically defenseless men, women and children; and,
"Whereas, With the aid and assistance of Governor Ammons of Colorado, the coal companies dominated by the Rockefellers and their military hirelings, have instituted a reign of military terror, civil government has been prostituted and replaced by 'gunmen government,' civil rights, justice and liberty have been denied; and the gunmen-militia, to show their contempt for the Stars and Stripes, riddled it with bullets, a salute to the American flag which is tolerated because it happened in Colorado; and
"Whereas, The constitution of the United States has been violated and treated with contempt by commanding officers of the militia, who claim to be the 'Jesus Christs' of Colorado which is certainly a new way of defining the 'Divine Right' to enslave the workers; and,
"Whereas, On April 21,. 1914, the Rockefeller mine guards, thugs and murderers at Ludlow, Col., perpetrated one of the most fiendish and dastardly massacres, when they set fire to the tent colony where the wives and children of the miners were sheltered; and these brutal and inhuman monsters stood guard, rifle in hand, to shoot down any one who attempted to escape, while the flame and smoke wiped out a score of lives; and,
"Whereas, This brutal warfare on defenseless women and children, the crowning of infamy, a most blood thirsty and merciless act, is the answer of the Rockefeller interests, assisted by the officials and militia of a sovereign state to the workers who through their organizations are striving to observe the law of the state and nation; therefore be it
"Resolved, By the Chicago Federation of Labor, at a regular meeting, May 2, 1914, that we condemn the brutal and inhuman actions of John D. Rockefeller and his son, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., in maintaining a condition whereby the murdering and burning of men, women and children in Colorado is brought about; and be it further
"Resolved, That we believe it to be the duty of the president of the United States to confiscate the coal mines of Colorado and operate them in the interest of the people till Congress enacts legislation providing for the government ownership of natural resources; and be it further
"Resolved, That we ask the president of the United States that during the time the federal troops are in Colorado that the safeguarding of the lives and homes of the workers be paramount to the pretense of the protection of property now so boldly asserted by the anarchists and out-[Pg. 31]laws invading that state; and be it further
"Resolved, That we unqualifiedly demand of the president that the right of citizens to carry arms as provided for in the constitution be not abridged; and be it further
"Resolved, That we pledge our moral and financial support to the miners of Colorado in the absence Of civil government ,and in every lawful effort they make to elevate their material and moral conditions, and we urge them to be steadfast and true to themselves, their wives and children, their homes and their fellow workers."
The resolutions will be submitted to Congress and read into the record by Congressman Buchanan.[The Day Book, Chicago, Monday, May 4, 1914, Last Edition, Vol. 3, No. 184 Pgs. 29-31]