Reflections of a Propagandist

Revolt Library >> Anarchism >> Reflections of a Propagandist

1911

People

(1853 - 1942) ~ IWW Founder, Anarchist Activist, and Labor Organizer : In addition to defending the rights of African-Americans, Lucy spoke out against the repressed status of women in nineteenth century America. Wanting to challenge the notion that women could not be revolutionary, she took a very active, and often militant, role in the labor movement... (From : IWW.org.)
• "...order can only exist where liberty prevails..." (From : "The Principles of Anarchism," by Lucy E. Parsons.)
• "I say to the wage class: Think clearly and act quickly, or you are lost. Strike not for a few cents more an hour, because the price of living will be raised faster still, but strike for all you earn, be content with nothing less." (From : "The Principles of Anarchism," by Lucy E. Parsons.)
• "I learned by close study that it made no difference what fair promises a political party, out of power might make to the people in order to secure their confidence, when once securely established in control of the affairs of society that they were after all but human with all the human attributes of the politician." (From : "The Principles of Anarchism," by Lucy E. Parsons.)

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Reflections of a Propagandist

 Photo by Rene Passet, CC BY-NC-ND License

Photo by Rene Passet,
CC BY-NC-ND License

I have been here in New York City for the last three months, selling the famous speeches of the Chicago martyrs. Here humanity is piled up in heaps, stored away in layers; forty families in a single tenement that should only suffice for a fourth that number.

In these Eastern cities, tens of thousands of children are born annually who will never know the beauties of nature. From the tenement they will have for playing space the hard, dirty, unhealthy, stone sidewalks and pavements, then a few years in school, where the training will be as inadequate to the development of a strong, self-asserting individuality as were the previous conditions to the upbuilding of a strong, physical body; then comes the last step, the factory, the slave pen. From there some will graduate to prisons, some to the hangman, and some become prostitutes, offering upon the streets, for a price, the remnant of a depleted body. This is the goal toward which the long procession of the working class is ever moving. Is the picture overdrawn? None could wish more sincerely than the writer that it is imaginary, but alas, it is too terribly true.

I have before me two reports from committees, returned in the last few days from New York City. One states there were “born in the city in 1910 8,750 children of weak minds, and that this tendency is ever on the increase.” The other, that something will have to be done to check the alarming overcrowding of tenements. There is no overcrowding uptown, where the rich live.

I met with very courteous treatment from the unions in the West and am meeting with the same here. I have credentials and endorsement from the Central Federated Union, and my success is splendid in the locals. But I find organized labor weak and dispirited. I have called the attention of several leaders to this fact, and asked for an explanation. They simply say: “You have no Ellis Island problem in the West to solve as we have here.”

I think there is a lot of reason in this position. For the countless thousands form a never-ending stream of humanity, dumped down in a strange land, hearing a strange language, with little money or means of a livelihood, they fall an easy prey to the sharks, little and big, and are used as an instrument to beat down and keep wages near the dead line of want.

The revolutionary societies of New York City held a very successful memorial meeting in honor of our Japanese martyrs. The large hall was packed and the speeches were good and to the point. After the speaking had been going on for a few hours, some of the young blood in the hall wanted to see the speeches translated into action. One of them went to the front and called upon the audience to go to the street, fall in line, and march upon the Japanese Embassy and voice their protest.

There was some opposition to the carrying out of this part of the meeting, but the young blood carried everything before it. The result was a fine demonstration in the streets, with the red flag. The only time the red flag ever typifies death is at the time of the death of a martyr to liberty; then it is appropriately draped in mourning, as it was on this occasion. Of course the capitalist press made heroes of the police and also got themselves all worked up to a great sensation.

The only regret I have about the street demonstration is owing to a misunderstanding and the slow exit of the large audience, I missed being with the “mob” of marchers. I have been kicking myself about this ever since.

From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org

Chronology

March 01, 1911 :
Reflections of a Propagandist -- Publication.

July 19, 2019 ; 5:17:14 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
Added to http://www.RevoltLib.com.

July 19, 2019 ; 5:18:47 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
Last Updated on http://www.RevoltLib.com.

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