Who has stood upon the seashore and watched the weird dash of the ceaseless waves and has not become tired of their monotonous sameness? Still there was occasionally a wave which could attract and fix our attention for the time being by rearing its cap above the rest and thus become conspicuous.
Who but a devoted soul in this labor movement does not at times become tired—a weary tiredness, verging on a disgust at the apparent sameness and dreary monotony of the wage system as depicted by those engaged in the noble work of exposing the hideous inequalities of the present economic system? Yet, like the waves, there arises amid all this monotony a wrong sometimes as much or more glaring in all its details that not only is our attention ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) After a long run from Chicago, one arrives in Jersey City. You take a ferry boat for New York City. The Hudson River is fairly swarming with crafts of every description, from the small tug to the great trans-Atlantic steamer, the wonder of maritime achievements. After a few minutes we touch the New York shore; then we are ushered into the most intense center of commercialism on this continent—the most intense poverty and the most luxuriating wealth.
Here we have our Murray Hill, Fifth Avenue, Riverside Drive and Madison Avenue, etc., with their magnificent palaces, equipages, fine women and fancy dogs, the latter much in evidence. The people who dwell along these avenues lack nothing so much as human kindness and a realization that t... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) You may read of an ocean voyage, you may peruse the best books on travel, you may lay the book down and congratulate yourself that you know as much about an ocean trip as though you had crossed it in person. This was what I once thought, but one must have experienced the sensation of being on a great oceanliner, you must feel the roll of the mighty billows beneath you, you must count the stars at night in mid-ocean, with only the firmament above and the vast expanse of water below, and hear the throb of the hearts of the mighty engines, and dream of the continent which you are leaving and the one that you are nearing, or see the sun rise and cast its rays upon the broad expanse of an ocean waste. You must feel that calmness of spirit and re... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Once again on November 11, a memorial meeting will be held to commemorate the death of the Chicago Haymarket martyrs—1937 is the fiftieth anniversary and this meeting bids fair to be more widely observed than any of the forty-nine previous ones. It has taken fifty years to dig the facts of this case out from under the mountains of lies that were heaped upon our martyrs by the exploiters in their attempt to cover up their crime of sending five labor leaders to the gallows.
You will hear people say today, as one said to me recently, “What! Calling those Haymarket bomb-throwers martyrs? Do you think I believe that? You will have to show me.” Now I am writing this article to “show” all such doubting Thomases.
The... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) There are some ominous disturbances of special moment in the Labor world. At New Orleans the street-car men are engaged in a desperate struggle, and, according to the capitalistic press, some “rioting” has occurred, the strikers, it is said, having fired on the police. The Granite Cutter’s union has been locked out by the bosses’ union, who are engaged in an effort to compel the cutters to change the time of signing the yearly contract from January to January instead of, as heretofore, from May to May.
The men claim that this would give the bosses an increased advantage over them, because in January most of the members are idle and would be compelled to make terms that they would not in May. In several mining distri... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) September 24, 1937
I have read the manuscript of your forthcoming book on Albert R. Parsons and the early labor movement in Chicago. The manuscript shows painstaking care, and elucidation so much needed for the enlightenment of this generation.
Of course the part that interested me most was your description of the Haymarket meeting, the trial so-called, and the death of the martyrs, November 11, 1887.
You have dug beneath the mountain of lies that has been heaped upon my husband and his comrades these fifty fleeting years, and without any attempt at “over” writing, have given the bare, cold facts, taken from the record, and proving that they were innocent of any bomb-throwing, and were simply lynched!—to satisfy a howli... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) What has ever been granted to the countless millions of workers of Earth without a fight? Czar Nicholas has discovered that he is not all Russia. Will he “let the voice of the people be heard”? Was it argument or force that changed Czar Nicholas’s mind? Well, the Russian people have gotten the thin edge of the wedge in; let them keep striking hard, they will split the throne after a while.
How do you like the land grab of 2,000,000 men fighting in Manchuria for their bosses? How many of these 2,000,000 will profit by it?
How many inventors to your knowledge have profited by their inventions? But how many inventors have helped to enrich the capitalist?
If all genius and ability were diverted toward the good of humanity a... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Sir: Please allow a constant reader of your highly appreciated paper to call the attention of those everlasting croakers about the “harmony of Capital and Labor” to an item clipped from last Sunday’s Times, as follows:
After a week of opportunity for the glass-pressers to reconsider their action inaugurating a strike because the manufacturers wished to manage their factories according to their own notion [in other words, to break up their Union] eleven of their flint-glass houses finally, today, extinguished fires, and the lockout will be a long one.
Does it need, to the thoughtful-minded, any more convincing proof or stronger argument than the above against the possibility of harmony existing between capital and... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Is our civilization of today worth saving? might well be asked by the disinherited of the earth. In one respect ’tis a great civilization. History fails to record any other age like ours. When we wish to travel we fly, as it were, on the wings of space, and with a wantonness that would have sunk the wildest imagination of the gods of the ancients into insignificance. We annihilate time. We stand upon the verge of one continent, and converse with ease and composure with friends in the midst of the next. The awe-inspiring phenomena of nature concern us in this age but little. We have stolen the lightning from the gods and made it an obedient servant to the will of man; have pierced the clouds and read the starry page of time.
We build ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The Liberator is issued under the label of the Industrial Workers of the World. We considered for some time whether or not we should put on the label of the Allied Printing Trades Council or the Industrial Workers of the World. We finally thought [that] to be consistent, we must use the latter, because the editor of The Liberator was a delegate to the [IWW’s founding] convention and gave what assistance we were capable of rendering to the formation of the IWW. Besides, we feel confident that the trades union movement has arrived at the parting of the ways. The old will fall back, the new will go forward. (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Comrades and Friends:
I think I cannot open my address more appropriately than by stating my experience in my long connection with the reform movement.
It was during the great railroad strike of 1877 that I first became interested in what is known as the "Labor Question." I then thought as many thousands of earnest, sincere people think, that the aggregate power, operating in human society, known as government, could be made an instrument in the hands of the oppressed to alleviate their sufferings. But a closer study of the origin, history and tendency of governments, convinced me that this was a mistake; I came to understand how organized governments used their concentrated power to retard progress by their ever-ready means of silencing ... (From: LucyParsonsProject.org.) Every person who is rendering no good to humanity is useless, no matter how hard he works. Head work and hand work are equally hard and equally useful if rightly applied. All men, rich and poor, are working at something; perhaps one at useful labor, the other at useless labor. Nevertheless they are each and all using their energies at some occupation.
Men work because they cannot hold their physical and mental energies in check without causing themselves pain. But we have made work disagreeable because we have allowed conditions to obtain which force us to continue to work after we are tired, or at something for which we have no taste, take no interest in and have no adaptability for.
For this reason we lose pleasure in work and it become... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Is it to be another slaughter of innocent working men like the one which took place in Chicago twenty years ago, at the behest of the capitalistic class, who wished to put men out of the way whom they regarded as dangerous to their reign of robbery?
The conspiracy entered into by the Mine Owners’ Association of the states of Colorado and Idaho, acting through their tools—the governors of the above-named states—in kidnapping Charles H. Moyer, William D. Haywood and George Pettibone, and spiriting them out of the state of Colorado when the shadows of night had fallen, when no one might witness the conspiracy save the armed conspirators, savors so much of deeds of “dark ages”, long, long gone by, that one in read... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) 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. F... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The Government [building] rookery is daily overrun with a number of mendicants, claiming assistance under the representations that they are relics from the carnage of the late rebellion. These unfortunates, irrespective of the truth or falsity of their representations, are almost invariably referred to some private institution or to the County [poorhouse] authorities, where provision is made for their wants. (From the Chicago Times)
The above item is from one of those slandering, venal sheets of this city, whose proprietor had managed to keep far in the rear of cannonballs and bombshells during the late struggle between slavery and freedom, Republican institutions and Slavocracy; who was too great a coward to respond to his country&rsq... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) What were those rumblings which have been heard in the iron mills of Pennsylvania and mines of Idaho the last few weeks? They are the rumblings of the approaching Social Revolution which will deluge this world before the end of the present century.
What is the world today but a vast hospital ward? The air is filled with groans and lamentations, and every form of suffering is to be seen twitching and turning on beds of poverty. What a spectacle in a world of plenty!
Go through the world and ask each country you come to, “Do peace, plenty, and happiness dwell here?” and from each the same reply will be made: “Pass on; what you seek is not here.”
Pause and listen at the borders of each, and the breeze will waft to yo... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) In this age of quick transmission of thought, when all our energies are strained to learn more and more about the sayings and doings of our fellow beings, and especially those who are engaged in the same line of work with ourselves, it becomes absolutely necessary for us to have a medium of exchange if we are to keep in touch with each other, and if we are to do any effective work. I believe we have all felt this need most intensely since the suspension of Free Society. The Liberator comes to fill this want. Comrades, are you ready to support the paper? Are you ready to give your moral and financial assistance? If the paper is not what you wish it to be, then make it so, write articles, send in reports about meetings and reform movements ge... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Scab is a new word, and like the individual it represents, it is the result of, and is coined from, the conditions of today. We believe in organization among the wealth-producers because it, for a time at least, enables the wage-slave to withstand the encroachments of the capitalists; it disciplines the raw material of the factory; and besides, men and women who are too ignorant or indolent to organize in the unions of their trades are too ignorant to be amenable to the teachings of the science of economies. But the “scab” is here; he is a factor, and is becoming a more important factor with each day’s momentum of the capitalistic system.
Analyzed, who is the scab? A poverty-stricken, disheartened wage-slave—no more... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Never since the days of the Spartan Helots has history recorded such brutality as has been ever since the war and as is now being perpetrated upon the Negro in the South. How easy for us to go to Russia and drop a tear of sympathy over the persecuted Jew. But a step across Mason’s and Dixon’s line will bring us upon a scene of horrors before which those of Russia, bad as they are, pale into insignificance! No irresponsible, blood-thirsty mobs prowl over Russian territory, lashing and lynching its citizens. Even the sex which civilization and custom have shielded from rude assaults are treated as brutally as the men.
Women are stripped to the skin in the presence of leering, white-skinned, black-hearted brutes and lashed into in... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Afternoon Session, June 28
A great deal has been said here about the number of votes that the different delegates carry around in their pockets. I am not here for the purpose of raising a note of inharmony or disunion among these delegates. I am simply here in the interest of truth as I see it. Now, this idea of mere force of numbers sounds too much to me like “Might makes Right.” Mere force of numbers never made a right on Earth, and, thanks to justice, never can. What is right, what is just and justice, is simply the result of the best minds of all the ages. Whatever right we have in society is simply a heritage handed down to us by those who had only disinterested motives.
Now, I am one of those who entered my name as an ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) This article donated by William Loren Katz
Lucy Parsons addressed the founding convention on two occasions and her speeches touched on issues close to her heart: the oppression of women and how to develop radical new tactics to win strikes. Her idea clearly were in advance of the time, presage the "sit-in" strikes of the 1930s, the anti-war movement of the 1960s, and her words resonate today. Delegate applause interrupted her speech several times and at the end.
We, the women of this country, have no ballot even if we wished to use it, and the only way that we can be represented is to take a man to represent us. You men have made such a mess of it in representing us that we have not much confidence in asking you . . .
We [women] are t... (From: LucyParsonsProject.org.) May 1st has marked a time in the long procession of the centuries. The beautiful month of May, when all nature emerges from her long, dreary, winter’s sleep. Beautiful month of springtime and flowers. Man, too, revives his hopes and renews his resolves, for he, also, feels the flood-tide of nature in his own being and responds as best he can to her charming voice.
What more appropriate time could the workers choose to renew their efforts to inaugurate a better day, a better life for themselves? I noticed that this grand old International Day was more widely observed this year than has been the case in recent years.
The papers tell us of its observance both in America and Europe on an extensive scale. I was in Cleveland on May 1st an... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) To Tramps
by Lucy E. Parsons
Alarm, October 4, 1884. Also printed and distributed as a leaflet by the International Working People's Association.
The Unemployed, the Disinherited, and Miserable.
A word to the 35,000 now tramping the streets of this great city, with hands in pockets, gazing listlessly about you at the evidence of wealth and pleasure of which you own no part, not sufficient even to purchase yourself a bit of food with which to appease the pangs of hunger now knawing at your vitals. It is with you and the hundreds of thousands of others similarly situated in this great land of plenty, that I wish to have a word.
Have you not worked hard all your life, since you were old enough for your labor to be of use in ... (From: LucyParsonsProject.org.) To Comrades and Friends: It is my intention to go East on an agitation trip in a week or two. I will deliver lectures upon the following subjects: “Curse of Child Labor,” “The Commune,” “Anarchism Defined,” “The Industrial Workers of the World: Their Aims and Object.” Comrades will please arrange meetings and communicate with me as soon as possible. (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Chicago, February 27, 1934
Dear Carl: Your letter of February 13 was quite a surprise and illuminating, to learn that you had arrived at the same conclusions that I had some years ago: that is, that Anarchism has not produced any organized ability in the present generation, only a few little loose, struggling groups, scattered over this vast country, that come together in “conferences” occasionally, talk to each other, then go home. Then we never hear from them again until another conference is held. Do you call this a movement? You speak of “the movement” in your letter. Where is it? You say, “I just feel disgusted.” I have been for a long time.
Anarchists are good at showing the shortcomings of others... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The Voice of the People will yet be Heard
Words and writings by Lucy Parsons
The twentieth anniversary of the 11th of November, which has just been observed in Chicago, was a great success from many standpoints, notably among which was the increased number of young people who took part in it. . . .
As these years speed by, our comrades' lives will be better understood; their great work for the uplifting of humanity understood and appreciated. This has been the case of the martyrs of all ages....
"The Voice of the People" will yet be heard.
November 20, 1907
It is now 18 months since I published the [Famous Speeches of the Haymarket Martyrs]. In that time I have traveled from Los Angeles, Wa Vancouver, B.C., to N... (From: LucyParsonsProject.org.) There is no picture so dark but has its bright side—no life so dreary but what at some time a ray of hope flits across its cheerless path. There is no movement so heinous (?) but to those engaged in it has its amusing side. But who can assume for one moment that the awful, horrible, anarchistic movement of “blood-drinking” anarchists can have any amusing side to it? How could such “fiends” ever smile? For after reading insinuations from the pulpit, assertions from the press, and “criticisms” from professional critics, to the average reader an avowed anarchistic society must be composed of beings somewhat resembling the human family, who hold orgies, which they designate as meetings; having been comp... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The change from the present method of obtaining one’s living is inevitable, because it has become a necessity. We now live under the pay system, in which if you can’t pay you can’t have. Everything has a price set upon it; earth, air, light and water, all have their price. And he who hasn’t worked, let him starve. Love, honor, fame, ambition, all the noblest and holiest aspirations and sentiments of humanity are bought and sold. Everything is upon the market for sale; all is merchandise and commerce. Land, the prime necessity of existence, is held for a price, and the homeless millions perish because they cannot pay for it. Food, raiment and shelter exist in super-abundance, but are withheld for the price.
The produ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Since the sudden stoppage of the big wheel in Wall Street, which is the center of the capitalistic universe, havoc has been played in the industrial ranks generally. The wheels in the factories have ceased to revolve, the fires have been drawn, and hundreds of thousands of the wage-earning class have been, and are being, thrown upon the highways in the country and the city streets.
Reader, can you realize its effects? Maybe not, so let us take a stroll through the streets of this wonderful city of Chicago.
It is two p.m. The afternoon papers are just out; a thousand or more people are buying them, perhaps paying out their last penny. They read the “ads” eagerly; off they dash pell mell in a mad race, trying to outstrip each ot... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Who were the Molly Maguires? So much is said and written about them at the present time, and so little seems to be known of their origin, aims and objects, even by the labor press, who, aping the capitalist press, speak of them as “bandits,” thus implying that they were marauders or terrorists of some kind, composed only of murderers who the Pinkerton thug, McParland, broke up, getting a number of them hung, thus doing a great service to society at large.
Now, really, who were the Molly Maguires?
Let us cross the ocean to the soil of Ireland to ascertain who they were. In the fifties and sixties, and into the seventies of the last century, everyone at all familiar with history is aware of the terrible conditions prevailing amo... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)