Monday, March 10, 2014

"the right to bear arms to protect the lives of themselves and their families from these professional gunmen...."


Big Employers Now Recruit Their Own Private Army in
the City Slams and Use It to Keep American
Workingmen in Slavery.


   Do YOU know that we now have government by gunmen in this land of the free and home of the brave?

   As the United States government will have to investigate this rival government some day, it might be interesting to know just what it is.

   I had a chance to see something of it a few days ago when I visited Calumet, Michigan, to study the copper miners' strike. And I had a chance to study government by gunmen right here in Chicago last year, when the gunmen were governing for the newspapers.

   There are in this country numerous strikebreaking agencies, or so-called detective agencies, who make it their business to supply thugs, sluggers and gunmen to employers who resort to force to break strikes.

   In Houghton County, Michigan, where the copper miners are on strike, the sheriff hired imported gunmen from the Waddell-Mahon Agency of New York and swore them in as as deputy sheriffs, arming them, with guns and official stars.

   Sheriff Cruse told me he had 1,200 of them on duty, and that 400 of them were "company" men--that is, gunmen sworn in as deputy sheriffs, but on the pay-roll and working under the direction of the mining companies.

   James A.Waddell told Walter B. Palmer, government statistician, that [Pg. 2] he had 108 men on duty in the county and that the Burns Detective Agency had 12 "detectives."

   At the time I was there the State of Michigan had about 650 militia-men on duty. They were armed, of course.

   While Waddell was not a citizen of Michigan and Sheriff Cruse had been elected by the people, Waddell was to all intents and purposes the actual sheriff and directed the work of the gunmen.

   And the mine managers directed the work of Waddell. He was on their pay-roll.

   Waddell himself said that forty per cent of his "men" were ex-members of the New York police force, who had retired on a pension of $57.50 a month which they can do after 20 years' service.

   Ostensibly these armed gunmen, deputies and militiamen were there to protect property. Practically they were there to help the mine managers break the strike.

   The Strange thing about it, when you think it over, was that all the striking miners had to protect was the lives of themselves and their families--and they were not permitted to be armed.

   Six of the gunmen fired into a miners' boarding house during the supper hour and killed a miner and a 17-year-old boy. Not a shot was fired in return by any of the miners. Four of the six gunmen were Waddell men, imported by the mine managers to help break the strike.

   When these six hired murderers were finally indicted for murder in the second degree, the mine managers gave bail for them in $10,000 each, and they are still on duty as gunmen--officers of the law, representing the County of Houghton in the great State of Michigan.

   Since I came back from Calumet, part of the state troops have been withdrawn. Now the companies are importing more strikebreakers from Chicago and other cities. That means there will be more government by gunmen.

   Bear in mind that it is against the principles of a professional strikebreaker to work. The men sent to Calumet from Chicago are not miners and won't work in the mines. They will be deputized, given guns and stars and lined up with the army of gunmen the multi-millionaire mine owners now have on the ground.

   They will be used as officers of the law to help evict the striking miners from their homes, when the courts enforce the orders of eviction. They will be used against the miners' as the gunmen and sluggers were used against newsboys last year in Chicago to GOVERN citizens of this country who are exercising their right to strike for better wages and better working conditions.

   It is a common practice now to break strikes with hired gunmen in the employ of employers. It is considered legal for employers to administer the law themselves through irresponsible thugs from the city slums.


   Just Imagine the howl that would go up from the kept press all over the country if the striking copper miners of Michigan were to demand of the state or county the right to bear arms to protect the lives of themselves and their families from these professional gunmen.

   Yet some day workingmen will demand belligerent rights, and appeal to the American sense of fair play against the injustice of an industrial war in which one army is armed and the other is not.
[Pg. 3] Run it over in your own mind. Why is it legal and proper for mine owners to hire gunmen to protect their PROPERTY and illegal and improper for miners to employ gunmen to protect their LIVES.

   Or to put the situation as it actually is, why can employers hire professional gunmen to protect PROPERTY when employes are refused the right to bear arms to protect their own LIVES?

   Murders were committed in the West Virginia coal fields by the imported gunmen who were called mine guards. Murder has been committed in the copper country of Michigan by these imported murderers. In nearly every big strike some innocent lives have been sacrificed because of the presence of professional gunmen, or strikebreak[e]rs. IT IS A PART OF THEIR VILLAINOUS BUSINESS.

   Yet the public has been led to believe that the purpose of such strikebreakers was to take the places of men on a strike. But that isn't so. I had a long talk once with a professional strikebreaker. He had just come back from strike duty at St. Paul and Minneapolis during the railroad strike several years ago.

   He told me he was a soldier of fortune, that he never worked; that it was against the principles of a professional strikebreaker to work, although he might pretend to work.

   "It is easy money," he said. "After a strike has been broken, we drift back to Chicago, blow in the easy money and watch the Daily News for ads for guards. We know what that means. When broke we are ready for another job."

   Most of the newspapers help the game along. They will report that new men are rapidly taking the places of the strikers; and in most instances these new men are strikebreaking gunmen who wouldn't work under any provocation.

   And the men who resort to such tactics are the rich, prominent, influential and leading citizens who are stockholders in the big corporations that fight their battles with labor with these gunmen from the city slums.

   They never take the places of striking workingmen. They merely go on strike duty to help slave-drivers drive their striking slaves back to-work.

   And the law winks at it. Right here in Chicago desperadoes, ex-convicts, thugs, sluggers and gunmen were employed by the newspaper trust last year to drive the striking newsboys back to work as slaves for the rich newspaper owners.

   Two innocent lives were sacrificed through murders committed by desperadoes deputized as officers of the law, wearing official badges and carrying guns. And nobody has been tried for either of those murders.

   But government by gunmen can't go on forever. Money can't always rule. Humanity will have its inning. Soon or late, Uncle Sam will have to investigate, and the sunlight of publicity will help get rid of such parasites on human society as the Shaw, Agassiz and McNaughton families, and give the men and women of the copper country a fair chance to raise healthy, wholesome American boys and girls.

[The Day Book, Chicago, Saturday, September 27, 1913. Noon Edition, Vol. 2, No. 308 Pgs. 1, 2 & 3]

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