Friday, July 07, 2017

Today -100: July 7, 1917: Of apologies for the murder of the helpless, draft cards, wobblies, and naked Russians


The Chicago newspaper The American Socialist is barred from the mails.

At a Carnegie Hall meeting organized by the American Friends of Russian Freedom, Theodore Roosevelt praises the Russian Revolution and denounces the race riot in East St. Louis. He’s followed by Samuel Gompers of the American Federation of Labor, who blames the events in East St. Louis on those “luring” black men from the South, which he says “is on a par with the behavior of the brutal, reactionary, and tyrannous forces that existed in Old Russia,” because the blacks would be used to keep wages down for, you know, regular white workers (while representing a major wage increase for the blacks over what they could earn in the South, but for some reason Gompers doesn’t mention that). This outrages Roosevelt, who waves his fist literally in Gompers’s face, saying “never will I sit motionless while directly or indirectly apology is made for the murder of the helpless.”

Police and military – with bayonets – raid an anti-conscription meeting in Paterson, New Jersey called by the American Union Against Militarism and arrest young men who are unable to show draft registration cards. One of the speakers was Rev. Norman Thomas of the East Harlem Presbyterian Church, the same Norman Thomas who will run for president as a Socialist candidate 6 times (1928 to 1948).

The Army claims that the International Workers of the World have plans to burn crops simultaneously throughout South Dakota.

Peasants in Odessa who have been unable to get clothing are threatening to organize naked processions.


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