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About The Wageworker. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1904-???? | View Entire Issue (Oct. 14, 1910)
THE LOS ANGELES HORROR FAIRLY ANALYZED
It may have appeared somewhat strange to the average reader
lhat The Wageworker did not rush frantically to the front immedi
r.tely after the Los Angelas affair and begin uttering a-defense of
organised labor. Tliere were several reasons why this was not done,
the chief reason being that no defense of organized labor was, or is,
weessaiy. Secondly, it would have been a waste of time to discuss
the matter then, for the public mind was too wrought up to calmly
consider an argument or evidence. Now that 'three weeks have
' lapEed, ami the public mind somewhat cooled off, it may be a good'
lime to calmly and dispassionately review the whole matter.
Every day since the explosion that wrecked the Los Angeles
Times building the police notoriously the tools of the anti-union
organization of Los Angeles have been promising to "close their
net" on the culprits who blew up the building. Every day they
had fresh evidence narrowing the crime down to four or five men.
And every newspaper rumor, industriously set afloat by the police
tools of the union haters, sought to more firmly convince the public
that the labor unions were behind 'the diabolical plot to destroy the
Los Angeles Times.
But since the first newspaper reports of the explosion not one
wo-d has been heard from the man who, tan hour after the explosion,
said llat hrurs before the explosion lie had smelled escaping gas
! nd had reported the fact to several people. It would never do to
'V.t it become known that the notoriously! unsafe and unsanitary
Times building had been wrecked by an explosion of leaking gas.
Dynamite was the first explanation offered by the union haters of
Los Angeles, and this was being pretty well believed in certain
matters until it was incidentally mentioned that dynamite does
rot blow up, but down, and the explosion that wrecked the Times
1 nilding was an upward and outward explosion exactly the kind
of a blow-up that follows the explosion of gas. . ' .
Outside of the "clues" and "rumors" of the hired man hunters
( I' I ns Angeles there has not been offered one scintilla of evidence
shoving that the explosion was a premeditated affair, or that if it
was it v55s due to any trades union, to any trades union officials or
to any trades union members. In all fairness let it be remembered
that Harrison Gray Otis accumulated quite a few bitter enemies
during his service as a military officer. There is as much reason
to believe that the explosion was due to the efforts of some soldiers
whom he treated with brutality as there is to believe that the
v : ?ck was due to the efforts of uniion men whom he has been fight-;'
ing ami abusing for years. There is absolutely nothing offered-so
far to prove any man of set of men guilty of wrecking the Times
luilding and killing a score of men. t ' ; .'-". v- ' .
Harrison Gray Otis, hater of unionism and head and front of
the "open shop" movement.on the Pacific coast, is -editor and owner
of the Los Angeles Daily Times. He uses the columns of the Times
daily to abuse and villify union men.
The Times building is wrecked by a mysterious explosion and
several lives are lost. . '" '
Therefore, union labor is responsible for the wreck and the
resultant loss of life. :
There is the whole case against union labor in a nutshell. Abso-r
lutely nothing to connect organized labor with the explosion save
the desire of union (haters to fasten a crime upon unionism.
But let us admit, for the sake of argument, that a half-dozen
men belonging to a trades union, conspired together and wrecked
the Times building, killing a score of men. What does that prove?
rfc merely proves that a half-dozen men were cowardly murderers,
and no more proves that unionism means violence and murder than
it proves that all- Christians are murderous fanatics because one
religion-crazed man murders his baby under the idea that he has
been called upon to offer it as a living sacrifice to the Almighty.
A few years ago William Dabman, living hear Watseka, Ills.,
joiixMi a local church during a revival. A few months after he took
his two-year old daughter out into the woods and killed her. It
was (dearly shown that Dabman, in a fit of 'religious frenzy, had
killed the baby because he thought he had been called upon to offer
it as a living sacrifice to an offended Deity.
If all union men are murderers because a half-dozen men blew
up the Los Angeles Times building, then all ehurch members are
murderers because William Dabman killed his two-year-old baby.
The' Wageworker does not deny that -union men blew up the
Times building. It does deny that any evidence to that effect has
been produced. It does not deny that in an hour of frenzy, brought
rn by long continued yill'ifieation and abuse, a - lialf-d'ozen union
yen wrecked the Times-, building arid killed -a score of innocent;
y cple. It does deny that the perpetrators of such a hellish deed
represent in aiiy sense the whole body of organized labor. Becom
ing a member of a trades union does not change a man's riai
one iota. It may change his mode of living, but it leaves hi
the same loves and hates, the same likes and dislikes, as
Carrying a union card does not make a man infallible; it d
lessen his liability to make mistakes. -
There is not a trades union in the world that teaches or coun
violence. On the contrary, trades unions teach moderation, arbiti
tion, conciliation they teach peaceful methods of gaining en(
that men and nations have for centuries resorted to armed force
to obtain. Members of unions often do commit assaults not be
cause they are members of unions but because they are gust men.
But what if trades unions did teach violence? Have not the
men who make up the rank and file of trades unions been given
through all the years plenty of warrant for resorting to. the same
methods that have been used against the workers for centuries
on .end? From the day when the Egyptian taskmasters made the
Israelitish slaves manufacture bricks without straw, the lash of
oppression has been laid upon the backs of those who' toil: Babies
have been snatched from the cradle to fatten the greed of cruel
taskmasters; the home has been robbed of the wife and mother to
make possible the ease and comfort of the wife and daughters of
the taskmaster; the father has been bent upon the rack of unre
quited toil, and his moans of pain and anguish failed to reach the
ears of men who .were intent only upon .catchingThe sound of jing-
' ling dollars.' ,
Less than one hundred years ago it was a capital offense for
Avorkmen to make a concerted demand for higher wages. Less
than three-quarters of a'century ago men were 'thrown into prison
in England and in the United States for daring to organize for self- .
protection. Less than twenty-five years ago in our own United
States men were threatened with imprisonment if they dared cease
work for a corporation that was grinding them into the dust. And
right now, here in Lincoln, Nebraska, men are threatened with
imprisonment if they dare to remonstrate with men' who have takeja-
the places they left in an effort to secure recognition of the ordinary
rights that are due to every man who works for wage. - Through
all the centuries labor has -been taught that it is a slave; its back
has been lashed with the whip; the fruits; it; created have :been
wrested from it and it has been told to thank God it is allowed to
retain a pittance. And when, as now and then happens, this giant,
momentarily glimpsing its 'own strength, and roused from its sullen
stupor, breaks a pillar in the capitalistic temple, immediately the
cry goes up that every worker is a potential murderer, and every
organization the workers have formed to secure for themselves "some
little relief is a school for crime and violence.
The wonder is not that now and then some worker runs amuck;
it is that workers 'have borne so long and so patiently the burdens
that 'have been laid oipon their backs for centuries. The wonder is
. not that there should have been so much of violence and bloodshed
in the warfare that labor is making for recognition of the rights
of manhood; the wonder is, after all has been said and done, that
there has been so little.
Let us admit for argument's sake that every charge of violence
and crime and bloodshed' laid at the doors of organized labor is
true. What of it? Trades unionism is -less than 150 years old.
Christianity is 1900 years old. All the crimes laid at the door of
Trades Unionism would not be a drop in the blood red bucket of
raping, violence, murder and crime perpetrated in the name of the
Carpenter of Nazareth and under a banner raised in the name of
"Peace on Earth, to men good will." The little brown men in the :
Philippines, asking only the right to rule in his own land, has been
given the "water, cure" and filled with lead, all in the name of
religion. Men -have been boiled in oil, dismembered upon the rack,
burned at the stake and thrown to the wild beasts all in the name
of God. Scarce more than fifty years ago children w:ere sold from
their mothers' breasts, husbands sold away from wives and wives
away from husbands, and men of one race given power of life and
death over men of another race, all right here in the United States .
and over the whole hellish institution of chattel slavery was thrown
the cloak of religion and it was carried on by men who prated loud
of being followers of the Man of Gallilee. For nineteen hundred
years the Church of Jesus Christ has been undergoing a slow and
painful process of evolution, and it is today far short of perfection.
Why then expect a purely human institution like trades unionism,
to accomplish more in a century and a half than a divine institu
tion ..like the church has been able, to accomplish in nineteen cen
turies? When the church was a thousand years old it. was pushing
.its' campaign-with fire and sword is it tobe wondered at that in its
first infancy trade's unionism should show signs now and then, of
doing the same thing? Is not the wonder that trades unionism is so
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