Monday, April 21, 2014

Today -100: April 21, 1914: Our wars are forced upon us by injustice or insult


The House passes a joint resolution authorizing military action against Mexico by a vote of 337-37 to “enforce the demands made upon Victoriano Huerta” (who the US doesn’t recognize as president of Mexico) for “unequivocal amends” (the stupid 21-gun-salute) for “affronts and indignities” against this government (the short detention of sailors wandering around a city while it’s under rebel siege).

The resolution is amended in the Senate and now “disclaims any hostility to the Mexican people, or any purpose to make war upon them.” So that’s okay then.

$50 million is appropriated for the not-war.

(Here’s Pres. Wilson’s message to Congress).

The public finally hears why this is being done in such a rush: a German ship with rifles and 15 million rounds of ammunition is on its way to the Huerta regime. Wilson plans to blockade Vera Cruz before it arrives to prevent it landing. That way, he doesn’t have to seize the ship and get into a kerfuffle with Germany (and break international law). I don’t know if he told anyone in Congress about this ship and that his purpose was to put his thumb on the scale for the Mexican rebels.

Headline of the Day -100: “Cowboys Want to Fight.” The National Order of Cowboy Rangers offers to recruit a regiment of 600 to 1,000 cowboy rangers.

Some union leaders are repudiating Big Bill Haywood’s call for a general strike against the war. The AFL’s vice president James Duncan says that such strikes are justified in Europe, where wars benefit the rich, “but our wars are forced upon us by injustice or insult.” So that’s okay then.

Constitutionalist leaders Venustiano Carranza and Pancho Villa meet for the first time in years.

And another war begins, in Colorado, what history and folk song refer to as the Ludlow Massacre, which is catchy if not entirely accurate. Miners fight the Colorado National Guard and... somehow... the tent colony (striking miners having been thrown out of their company-owned housing) is burned down.

The New Jersey Supreme Court voids the conviction of Alexander Scott, managing editor of the socialist Passaic Weekly Issue, for advocating “hostility to government,” when he accused the Paterson police of attacking striking workers during the silk strike. The Court rules that Scott was not hostile to all government, which would still totally be illegal in NJ, but only to the Paterson government, which is ok.

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