MOTHER EARTH BULLETIN
VOL 1. FEBRUARY, 1919, NEW YORK NO. 5.
On The Way to Golgatha
February 6, 1918.
Dear Faithful Friends:
How many have gone the way to Golgatha, and how many will yet have to go? Only Time, the Great Redeemer of all who are made to suffer for their ideals, can tell. Time hangs heavily an those who cherish great hope, but it moves with surprising swiftness and far beyond our fondest dreams.
Russia stands a glowing proof of that. In 1905 the Tsar's troops drenched the streets of Petrograd and other cities with the blood of the Revolutionists. In 1917 the revolutionary troops, more humane than those who did the butchery, drove the Tsar out of Russia.
This thought came to my mind when I was being dashed up Fifth Avenue in a police patrol automobile to the Pennsylvania Station on Monday, February 5th.
The Avenue and streets were lined with a curious mob, awaiting the parade of the soldiers from Camp Upton. Like the soldiers of the Tsar before 1905 who saw in every revolutionist an enemy to their country, the American soldiers would have greeted me with scorn and jeers and at the command of their Tsar would have taken my life in the ignorant belief that they were saving their country from a dangerous enemy.
Will Time do for America what it has done for Russia? Will her soldiers some day make common cause with her people? Who can say what the future will bring?
The idealist may not be a prophet, but he nevertheless knows that the future will bring change, and knowing he lives for the future he is given infinite strength to support the present.
So I, too, Dear Friend, will be strengthened while in prison by the passionate belief in the future, by the hope that the two years taken out of my life may help to quicken the great events Time has in store for the human race. With that as my guiding star, confinement, convict's clothes and the other indignities the guilty conscience of society heaps upon those it dares not face, mean no hardship.
You will want to help me while I am in prison, I know. You can do so in various ways. First, take care of my love child, Mother Earth Bulletin. I leave her to your sympathetic care. I know that you will look after her tenderly, so that I may find her bigger, stronger and more worth while when I return from Jefferson. Secondly, spread my Boylsheviki pamphlet in tribute to their great courage and marvelous vision and for the enlightenment of the American people. Thirdly, join the League for the Amnesty of Political Prisoners which is working for the release of all Political Prisoners. And finally, write to Berkman and myself. Always address us as Political Prisoners. Always sign your full name.
Good-bye, dear friends, but not for long -- if the spirit of the Boylsheviki prevails.
Long live the Boylsheviki! May their flames spread over the world and redeem humanity from its bondage!
U. S. Political Prisoner,
Jefferson City, Mo.
EMMA GOLDMAN Publisher and Editor
Office: 4 Jones Street, Now York City. Telephone, Spring 8711
10c a copy $1 a year
Gone to Jail
Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman have gone to jail. The struggle in the courts for eight months not only for Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman but for all conscientious objectors, for all who demand the right of liberty, of free speech and press, even in time of war, all of which was involved in the case, is ended as far as the courts are concerned, for the United States Supreme Court has spoken.
Men and women in America are going to jail for having ideals and consciences and for expressing their opinions for terms longer than they gave in Russia for the same offenses under the Tsar. And always the plea is "necessity of War". History shows that the plea is always some "necessity" to prevent human thought and progress.
Governments never seem to know what to do with idealists except put them in jail or kill them. Compulsion, always compulsion, or else conformity to the opinion of the masses or the opinion of those having governing power. Will civilization ever learn to do without jails, as we have learned to do without the ducking-school for heresy?
They took Emma Goldman from the Tombs to the Pennsylvania station in a patrol wagon. The offer of a taxicab for Miss Goldman and the officers was refused by the U. S. Marshal McCarthy. Justice, I presume, is symbolized by a patrol wagon. Being gentlemen, with the belief that insult need not be added to punishment, is perhaps too much for the public officials charged with carrying out the letter of the law. The mills of justice grind slowly, but, it is said, they grind exceedingly small. That is no reason why the mills should be small and the miners smaller.
Every generation thinks that what it does is absolutely right. But the study of history should give us pause in the belief that we are infallible. The fate of men like John Brown should make us hesitate to absolutely condemn. Idealists can only understand idealists. Have we in America ceased to be a people of ideals? Can we not be patient with those we do not agree? Can we not understand even that some people believe in the principles preached about 1900 years ago?
With true ideals the human race can reach real heights, without them it creeps along with wars and prisons, death and disease, and without hope. Idealism has blasted more institutions and done more for the betterment of humanity than any or all inventions of mankind. But we learn so slowly. Well does Don Marquis write in his poem "The Wages"
Earth loves to gibber o'er her dross
Her golden souls, to waste;
The cup she fills for her god-men
Is a bitter cup to taste.
Who sets he gyves that bind mankind
And strives to strike them off.
Shall gain the hissing hate of fools,
Thorns, and the ingrate's scoff.
Who storms the moss-grown walls of old
And beats some falsehood down
Shall pass the pallid gates of death
Sans laurel, love or crown;
For him who fain would teach the world
The world holds hate in fee--
For Socrates, the hemlock cup;
For Christ Gethsemane.
The New York Times, apparently with great moral satisfaction, reprints an article from the Sacramento Bee about the Mooney case, the writer of which must nearly have burst with poisonous gas when he composed it. His wrath is especially aroused by the fact that the Mooney case has become an international issue, and that the commission appointed by the President to investigate the crooked methods of Fickert & Co., instead of helping to deliver Tom Mooney and the others to the gallows, published a report, based upon facts, in favor of a new trial.
The author of the article who must have studied the psychology and morals of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce diligently writes on this score:
"In fact, the one 'gigantic frame up' in this whole matter has been the international 'frame up' for this professional dynamiter."
Not the tiniest shred of evidence is offered to prove that Mooney and the other defendants planted the preparedness parade bomb. The reader has to be satisfied with the again and again repeated epithet 'professional dynamiter.' And not one word is said about the activities of the notorious Oxman or about the fact that the chief witnesses who testified against Mooney and his friends have since signed sworn affidavits that they lied and perjured themselves under the pressure of threats, bribery offers and promises emanating in great abundance from the district attorney's office.
All these ugly features of the case which furnish only too convincing root that the frame-up exists and that it is one of the most reckless and infamous attacks upon justice ever made by corrupt officials, the writer of the Bee shoves away in the manner of Dickens' Mr. Podsnap.
But the workers of America and Europe understand the terrible situation Mooney and the others have been placed in. And they will continue to raise their voices and to demand that justice must interfere before it is too late.
* * *
The Boylsheviki consolidate their power in the wisest way possible. They don't care so much for nice dipomatic talk and agreements, but emphasize again and again the necessity of revolutionising society from the bottom up, not only in Russia but in all countries. To establish conditions that make the further existence of slave and master, of exploited and exploiters impossible is their grand aim.
The spirit in which they conduct the fight for international brotherhood and well-being expresses itself in a recent speech of Lenine, from which a few significant sentences, read:
"We have taken the land to give it to the poor peasants. External war is finished or is being finished now, internal war begins, but not a war with arms. This is an economic war. The masses must take back what has been stolen from them. Do not let the rich peasants or exploiters get the agricultural implements. Pit ten poor peasants against every rich one. The police are dead and buried, and the masses must take affairs in their own hands."
Very likely the big American dailies express on the sly their profound abhorrence of such doctrine, when they write that It is so awfully hard to understand the philosophy of Boylshevikism.
* * *
While the government insists that the President declared war upon Germany in order to save liberty and democracy more and more voices even from the camps of law and order are heard to the effect that liberty and democracy are the very principles which are most endangered by the warring government.
Quotations from recent newspaper articles criticizing the Overman bill which, if passed, would clothe the President with unexcelled autocratic power, indicate that the "reds" are not the only ones who discover more than one hair in the soup.
In the Boston Transcript we read:
"The enactment by the Congress of the President's bill, as it was introduced by Senator Overman and referred to the Committee on judiciary, of which he is Chairman, would overthrow "Government of the people. by the people, for the people," and set up in its place government of the President, by the President, for the President."
The Detroit News says:
"In the plain language of unvarnished truth the President asks to be made dictator for the period of the war and a year thereafter. The bill he has sent to Congress will bear no other interpretation. It makes him absolute."
The Evening Telegram, Portland, Ore., remarks:
"It would create an autocracy never contemplated by the American people as a war measure."
And the Pittsburg Gazette has this to say:
"President Wilson, already wielding more authority than any ruler on earth, would have Congress by deliberate act strip itself of supervisory authority and make the Executive supreme dictator, virtually responsible to no one."
From the Indianapolis Star:
"The bill invites such executive despotism as we have not seen even in Prussia."
None of the newspapers quoted have been suppressed or the writers imprisoned for seditious utterances.
Pro-government papers In Germany denounce the general strike of the workers in the big munition factories of the empire an the outcome of a propaganda by wicked foreigners. That's an old out-worn trick not only in autocratic Germany but in bourgeois republics as well.
The revolution of 1848 in Germany was the real genuine German article, the garrulous, educated German philistine being in the lead. Still the custodian of Wilhelm's castle in Berlin, probably to this very day, shows a stone to the visitor, explaining that it was thrown through a window of the castle during that uprising "which was brought about by Poles, Jews and Frenchmen."
This time, however, there is some truth in the matter. In all countries the invigorating influence of the Russian Revolution is strongly felt. The foreigners who are partly responsible for the general strikes in Austria and Germany are the Boylsheviki.
* * *
A wholesale indictment against 55 followers of the I. W. W. was returned on February 8th by the federal grand jury of Sacramento, Cal. This will probably increase the number of persons to over 200 who are indicted all through the country in connection with the raid on the I. W. W. headquarters and the arrest of Wm. D. Haywood and other spokesmen of the organization. The labor organization with an independent and militant spirit must be crushed, but coddled and praised to the spies must be the Gompers gang who sells the workers like serfs to the ruling classes to work for their further enrichment.
* * *
Under the bloody sceptre of Mars those famous guarantees for the free expression of thought and opinions have become so sickly and enfeebled everywhere that they cannot stand the mildest test any move. A cast in evidence is that of the English anti-war philosopher Bertrand Bussell. He has been sentenced by a magistrate in London to serve six months in prison for a statement made by him in "The Tribunal." What he wrote was in the opinion of the court "likely to prejudice Great Britain's relations with the United States." The paragraph in question reads as follows:
"The American Garrison, which by that time will be occupying England and France, whether or not they prove efficient against the Germans will no doubt be capable of intimidating strikers, an occupation to which the American army is accustomed at home!'
In writing this Bertrand Russell may have had in mind a report published soon after the time when the first American troops had landed in France. In effect this report said that American soldiers had proved helpful and efficient in quelling a strike of the French railroad workers.
The League for the Amnesty of Political Prisoners
Its Purpose and Programme
By Emma Goldman
In 1901 Peter Kropotkin, on his visit to America, addressed a letter to Alexander Berkman, then in Western Penitentiary, "Political Prisoner". The warden erased the title and wrote across the envelope: "No political prisoners in a Democracy."
That a prison warden should not know that Democracy, like autocracy, creates political opposition need not surprise us. Besides there were few political offenders in America in 1901. To be sure, John Brown and Mrs. Surrat were political offenders, so were the Chicago Anarchists, but they had been put out of the way. Those who were sent to prison were isolated and then forgotten.
Since 1901, and especially since the war, every city has contributed its share of men and women who have been sent to prison for periods of thirty days to forty-five years for their political opinions. But even to this day America refuses to recognize the existence of political Prisoners.
When the women pickets were forcibly fed in Washington jail, they were told by a gentleman from Congress that if they would stop hunger striking, they would be given all the privileges of political Prisoners but would not be recognized as such, for that would automatically establish a political status which a Democracy could not tolerate. So for Democracy's sake men and women, guilty of the great crime of holding non-conformist views on social and political questions, are given outrageous sentences and are treated as common felons.
Nothing like this condition exists anywhere in the civilized world. Even under the auto cratic rule of the Tsar distinction was made between the political and common offender. Imperialistic Germany distinguishes between the political prisoner and the so-called criminal. France and all the Latin countries were the first to recognize the distinction.
From time to time political prisoners are released in these countries by the declaration of General Amnesty. In fact in Italy and Spain Political prisoners who are elected to office, even while serving their sentences, are immediately released. Even England grants political Amnesty. The Sinn Feiners who had been sentenced to death and later had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment are now free through the declaration of a political amnesty.
Only Democracy has so far refused to face the fact that those opposed to war, or conscription, those who under no circumstance would raise a gun against their brothers, those who for social and economic reasons cannot subscribe to militarism -- that these men and women are not common felons but people of deep conviction. They have learned from history that institutions which have outgrown human need are subject to change and that the change can only be worth while if it is fundamental and from the bottom up.
Now, this may not be pleasant to the powers that be, but they must nevertheless learn to draw the distinction between men and women of ideals, the forerunners of the future, and the unfortunate victims who are forced by an iniquitous social system into crime.
The League for the Amnesty of Political Prisoners has been organized to perform a much needed function. The League declares its purpose as:
1. To educate the public to the fundamental distinction between Political offenses and common crime.
2. To work for the recognition in the United State of the status of political offenders.
3. To crystallize public sentiment in this matter to that it can be made a subject for representation at the General Peace Conference.
4. To obtain the release of all political off offenders through a general amnesty as soon as peace is declared.
No doubt a few well-known people may be released when peace is declared. What is to become of those who are unknown and have neither friends not money? Are they to rot in prison to the end of their terms for something which is the direct consequence of the war? That is exactly what will happen unless a campaign is begun and a powerful opinion created which will insist upon amnesty as one of the urgent demands at the peace parleys.
The League, then, can become not only of national importance, but of international scope in view of the fact that most political prisoners in America are from Russia and Italy. Certainly Russia will demand an amnesty for her citizens in America. She is already demanding that. The other countries will follow.
As a very interesting sidelight, it is well to call attention to the fact that one of the demands made by the strikers in Germany was: IMMEDIATE GENERAL AMNESTY FOR ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS. Thus do the German workers under imperialism demand even more than we do. We only ask for amnesty as soon as peace is declared. Little enough!
The method the League will pursue is as follows:
1. Headquarters will be established in New York. The work to be sustained by dues, contributions, subscriptions. through meetings and social affairs.
2. The League will organize branches in every city. These branches will contribute to the general work and provide for its local needs.
3. The League will receive from each local group and compile the number, names and terms of sentence of politicals in prisons in each city with a view of establishing an exact census of those who will benefit by the amnesty.
4. The League will correspond with prisoners and assist them in every way possible while they are in prison.
5. The League will carry on an educational campaign through literature and meetings with the assistance of labor, and other organizations, with the purpose of bringing public sentiment to bear upon Washington for the amnesty.
To sum up: The League for the Amnesty of Political Prisoners, the first of its kind in America, comes to do a great and urgent work. It aims to become the hope and sustenance of all those who for the sake of their ideas are now confined in every state and federal prison and who must be freed. For further information write to Miss M. E. Fitzgerald, Secretary. Send your contributions to Leonard D. Abbott of the Financial Committee of the League.
Address all communications to
MISS M. E. FITZGERALD
32 Union Square, New York.
The Boylsheviki and World Peace
By Leon Trotsky
Boni and Liveright, New York ($1.50)
The book for which Mr. Lincoln Steffens wrote an introducion, who, since his return from Russia, has done much to spread light upon the subject, should prove full of valuable instruction and data for those who "cannot understand the Boylsheviki mind." A title which would read somewhat like this: The Downfall of the International and how to rebuild it, would be more appropriate to the contents of the book, the chapters of which were written when Trotsky was still the propagandist of the Social Revolution, expelled by the governments and traveling from country to country spreading his principles.
International understanding and solidarity in action of the workers of all countries is to Trotsky and also to us the only possible solid foundation for world peace. Capitalism and government on the other hand are related to war like cause and effect. To talk about the possibility of world peace under capitalist rule is like talking about cholera as the best foundation for human health. Trotsky. it is true, has in his capacity as a representative of the Russian Revolution (only outside of Russia he is spoken of as "minister") negotiated on the war with delegates of capitalist governments, but to be sure he did that chiefly for the purpose of gaining greater momentum for the International Social Revolution. The German and Austrian governments may soon find out, now that according to reports peace has been established between Russia and Germany, that a "peaceful" revolutionary Russia is a much more formidable enemy to imperialism and capitalism than belligerent Tsarism could ever have been.
Strongly Marxian as the author of this book is, he could not altogether avoid noticing that it was just the old fatalistic doctrine of Marxism that could be used so readily by the Social Democratic parties of all countries to hide their ever increasing degeneration from revolutionary socialism to an opportunistic policy. He himself describes this process of degeneration and disintegration very vividly in the case of German Social Democracy, the chief leaders of which were always particularly keen to maintain that they were not willing to give up one iota of the Marxian theory. To-day when we look at Trotsky and his revolutionary activity, he impresses us as being spiritually more related to Michael Bakunin than to Karl Marx.
I have but one regret about having to go to prison now. It is that my work in presenting the truth about the Boylsheviki before American audiences has been cut short. The large attendance in each of the few cities I visited was sufficient indication of the awakened interest in the marvelous people of Russia who are compelling attention the world over. Even my "home town," Rochester, turned out in full force.
The first evening it seemed that the meeting would not take place. A miserable detective, who had not yet forgotten his defeat after arresting Dr. Reitman on the charge of having in his possession a birth control pamphlet, evidently wanted to get revenge. So he reported that a meeting was scheduled to the Fuel Administrator. Fifteen minutes before the meeting was to open, and with nearly a thousand people present, I was notified of the detective's action.
A long argument with the Fuel Administrator over the telephone finally induced the man to permit the meeting to go on, in view of the fact that the hall had been heated and that the war for Democracy had already sustained the loss.
As in Chicago and Detroit, my Rochester audience responded most enthusiastically to "The Truth About the Boylsheviki." The following evening brought a large gathering to the lecture on "Women Martyrs in Russia."
The two meetings have special significance because they were arranged by a few girls who work in shops all day and devoted their evenings to their labor of love.
Rose and Sara Cominsky, Fanny Rosenthal, the Mink sisters, Anna Drexler, Yetta Brenner -- ardent, devoted and zealous, they are the material from which the American Boylsheviki will come. A few of our Italian Comrades helped with the literature, and our good friend Mr. Howser showed his courage by presiding at the meetings.
A tour through the country would have been a veritable triumph. Perhaps that explains the great hurry on the part of Washington to send us away even before the customary thirty days' "grace."
I take solace now in the fact that the work has been started. Elsewhere in this issue you will see an outline of our plans. The League for the Amnesty of Political Prisoners promises to become one of the most important organizations in America. Lend it your support. Do what you can to spread my newly published pamphlet, "The Truth About the Boylsheviki." Single copies or large quantities can be obtained from us.
You can also help to maintain our work by ordering books from our new bookshop. We have opened, in connection with our new office, a shop where we will sell radical or any other books or pamphlets you may require. Communicate by mail with us and your order will be filled without delay.
To the Organized Workers of San Francisco
On Saturday list the Western newspapers were full of the story of the findings of the Presidential Commission sent to investigate the trials of Thomas J. Mooney and others, in whose cases there took place one of the most notorious miscarriages of justice that ever cursed this American Continent.
That report conclusively found that the officials entrusted with the administration of justice in San Francisco, had prostituted it in the service of the labor-hating corporations and the Chamber of Commerce. And it has established beyond all doubt, that District Attorney Fickert, in spite of his re-election on December 18th, had been guilty of criminal malfeasance in office.
But the same gang that was interested in the conviction of Thomas J. Mooney by every possible method, including perjury, was most vitally interested in his re-election in December last. And it is a matter of common knowledge, both in San Francisco and Sacramento, as well as a fact perfectly well-known to Governor Stephens and to the Federal officials in California, that the explosion at the Governor's mansion was the work of Fickert's friends, and was done with the sole purpose of securing his re-election.
To cover up their flagrant misdeeds, it was absolutely necessary that the gang should find a new goat. And as in San Francisco, they were already on the point of being shown up in their frame-up on Mooney, it was imperative that they should look elsewhere. That elsewhere was not hard to find, for in Sacramento there was a kindred gang that was desperately anxious to break up the local branch of that greatest modern national scapegoat, the I. W. W.
Both gangs jumped with joy. "The I. W. W. The very thing!" And at once they started a press campaign to blame the explosion on the I. W. W. in spite of the fact that the evidence pointed and still points in the direction of Fickert's friends, and was done with the purpose of influencing his re-election. They succeeded however, in holding sixty-five members of the I. W. W. by forcing the hand of the California Federals, who after investigating had found them absolutely clear of all share in the explosion.
But the official in direct charge of these prosecutions is so much at his wit's end to find any foundation for a case, that he has to resort to tricks of the most despicable meanness to prejudice the minds of the Grand jury and the public. And by his circulation of unfounded and utterly false press statements, he tends to reduce the Federal Government to the level of the same ghastly indecency that the findings of the Commission so bitingly scores in the Fickertian conduct of the Bomb cases in San Francisco.
We call your attention to the two sets of facts and the close connection between them; and if we are fortunate enough to secure your personal interest, we will keep you supplied with the latest developments.
CALIFORNIA DISTRICT DEFENSE
COMMITTEE I. W. W.,
95 Third Street,
San Francisco, Cal.
* * *
As this issue goes to press, announcement comes from San Francisco that the life of Israel Weinberg will be placed in jeopardy for the second time on charges growing out of the Preparedness Day Parade bomb explosion. At the first trial it required but one ballot for the jury to declare his innocence. But the Chamber of Commerce is persistent, and, regardless of the decisions of court and jury, will bend every effort to carry out its lynch program against labor.
* * *
Alexander Berkman -- Emma Goldman,
Tombs Prison, New York.
Your Chicago comrades gather at the Workers' Institute Ball and unite in sending love and greetings. The Revolutionary and Boylsheviki movement will go on during your stay in Atlanta and Jefferson City, The workers are spurred on to greater activity.
NATHANSON, KRUPNIC, GRUBER JUDIN, COHN, REITMAN.
Report of the Russian Convention
The First United Russian Convention in America was held in New York on February 1-4. The convention was called for the purpose of uniting the Russian colony and, mainly, its toiling elements. It may be said that this purpose was accomplished.
The convention was attended by over 160 delegates who represented different Russian organizations existing in America. There were delegates from Eastern States, from the Middle West, from the West and also from Canada. In some cities mass-meetings were held, which elected delegates to the convention. The convention thus represented not only organizations, but also the unorganized masses.
The convention was non-partisan. The different currents of Russian socialist and revolutionary thought were represented there, but there were also a quite considerable number of non-partisan delegates.
The convention was dominated by a revolutionary spirit. By a vast majority the policies of the Russian Councils of Workmen's and Soldiers' Deputies and of the Government of People's Commissaries were endorsed.
The following questions attracted the general attention of the convention: the form of the organization of the Russian colony, the attitude toward the present official "representatives" of Russia in the United States, and the attitude toward the draft. It was decided to organize Councils, which will take up the task of serving the interests and needs of the Russian Labor Colony. The activity of the Russian embassy, of the consuls and of the heads of the Russian Supply Commission was condemned as directed against the interests of new Russia. It was decided to request the Russian Councils and People's Commissaries to remove the present official "representatives" of Russia in the United States, because they really represent nobody but themselves. It was also decided to ask the People's Commissaries to replace the embassy and the consulates by organs which would express the real will and aspirations of the revolutionary people of Russia.
Among the resolutions passed were the following:
1. A demand that Russian citizens among whom are Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman, Louis Kramer and Morris Becker, convicted for political offenses in America to imprisonment and deportation should be released immediately and sent to Russia.
2. A demand that all ports be opened to political exiles from Russia, and that passports should be supplied to all Russian citizens who desire to return, and that the Russian consulates in America provide transportation for such exiles.
At the close of the convention it was decided to send telegrams of greeting and assurance of solidarity to Alexander Bertman and Emma Goldman to their respective prisons, voicing the determination of the delegates that no effort would be lost in gaining for them their liberty.
Will you help maintain the BULLETIN while we are in prison, and at the same time aid the propaganda?
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UNDER FIRE by Henri Barbusse
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The Boylsheviki Have Come to Challenge the World
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE BOYLSHEVIKI
By Emma Goldman
A compelling analysis of the historic background, the aims and aspirations of the Boylsheviki
--Miss Goldman's last contribution before her departure for Jefferson Prison for two years.
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