« ForrigeFortsett »
militiamen were thick about the northwest corner of the colony where the fire started and we could see distinctly from our lofty observation place what looked like a blazing torch waved in the midst of militia a few seconds before the general conflagration swept through the place. What followed everybody knows.
Sickened by what we had seen we took a freight back into Trinidad. The town buzzed with indignation. To explain in large part the sympathies of even the best people in the section with the miners, it must be said that there is good evidence that many of the so-called ' militiamen' are only gunmen and thugs wearing the uniform to give them a show of authority. They are the toughest lot I ever saw.
No one can legally enlist in the Colorado State militia till he has been a year in the state, and many of the 'militiamen’ admitted to me they had been drafted in by a Denver detective agency. Lieut. Linderfelt boasted that he was going to lick the miners or wipe them off the earth.' In Trinidad the miners never gave any trouble. It was not till the militia came into town that the trouble began.”
To this I add the following illuminating extract from the report of the Military Probe Committee:
“We find that the tents were not all of them destroyed by accidental fire. Men and soldiers swarmed into the colony and deliberately assisted the conflagration of spreading the fire from tent to tent.
"Beyond a doubt, it was seen to intentionally
that the fire should destroy the whole of the colony. This, too, was accompanied by the usual loot.
Men and soldiers seized and took from the tents whatever appealed to their fancy of the moment. In this way, clothes, bedding, articles of jewelry, bicycles, tools and utensils were taken from the tents and conveyed away.
So deliberate was this burning and looting that we find that cans of oil found in the tents were poured upon them and the tents lit with matches."
And then this comment by the Rocky Mountain News of Denver, the only newspaper that printed any adequate account of these events and sued afterward for $500,000 libel by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company:
The horror of the shambles at Ludlow is overwhelming. Not since the days when pitiless red men wreaked vengeance upon intruding frontiersand upon
their women and children has this western country been stained with so foul a deed. The details of the massacre
are horrible. Mexico offers no barbarity so base as that of the murder of defenceless women and children by the mine guards in soldiers' clothing. Like whitened sepulchres we boast of American civilization with this infamous thing at our very doors. Huerta murdered Madero, but even Huerta did not shoot an innocent little boy seeking water for his mother who lay ill. Villa is a barbarian, but in his maddest excess Villa has not turned machine guns on imprisoned women and children. Where is the outlaw so far beyond the pale of human kind as to
burn the tent over the heads of nursing mothers and helpless little babies ?
Out of this infamy one fact stands clear. Machine guns did the murder. The machine guns were in the hands of mine guards, most of whom were also members of the state militia. It was private war, with the wealth of the richest man in the world behind the mine guards."
Two women and eleven children were murdered here. Some of the bodies of the little children were found with their hands burned off to the wrists. They had found themselves being suffocated by the smoke of the burning tents and had tried to grope their way out of the holes in which they had sought refuge. One boy was killed while trying to get water for his imprisoned mother.
Subsequently Lieutenant Linderfelt was tried by a court martial for his murder of Louis Tikas, and found guilty of manslaughter.
On June 18 the sentence of the court was pronounced upon him.
It was that in punishment for the deed of which he had been found guilty he should undergo the loss of five numbers in his rank.
That is to say, if he had been No. 25 among the lieutenants he was now to be No. 30.
Not a word of this extraordinary sentence seems to have been sent out by the news agencies. So far as search has revealed only five or six newspapers in the United States have ever printed it or referred to it. In New York the only publication of the sentence to this day has been in the columns of the New York Call, the Socialist daily.
So here are the plain facts about this matter. You pass
laws to secure better conditions for labor. The corporations refuse to obey those laws and the officers of the state by their own admission find themselves powerless to enforce the statutes against so great a power.
Workingmen strike to secure the rights guaranteed to them by these broken laws.
The corporations bring in gunmen to shoot down the strikers.
Civil war ensues with scenes of revolting slaughter.
Most newspapers carefully suppress the facts. Those that tell what has happened are sued for libel by the corporations.
Even deeds so horrible as the coldblooded murder of Louis Tikas cannot be punished and the newspapers refuse to print the fact of the farcical result of the trials.
Where, then, do you stand, workingman?
A STARTLING DETONATION IN HIGH
QUARTERS ABOUT THE TRUSTS
On January 16, 1914, President Wilson took his way to the chamber of the national House of Representatives and read there to a joint session of both houses his message on the great and burning Trust question.
For a long time the country had looked forward to this message or some other final word on the subject from the President, and had good reason to expect something very unusual.
Mr. Wilson had made his campaign for the Democratic nomination and again for election largely on the Trust issue. He had said many remarkable things in these campaigns and before them. When he had been a candidate for Governor of New Jersey in 1910 the way he talked about Trusts and the plutocracy drew the attention of the nation. No man had attacked these evils in a braver spirit. Wherever he went he spoke of them with the utmost frankness, declaring that the life of the Republic