All the violence is the work of one side—the Mill Owners. Their servants, the Police, club unresisting men and women and ride down law-abiding crowds on horseback. Their paid mercenaries, the armed Detectives, shoot and kill innocent people. Their newspapers, the Paterson Press kimd the Paterson Call, publish incendiary and crime-inciting appeals to mob-violence against the strike leaders. Their oloking, Recorder Carroll, deals out heavy sentences to peaceful pickets that the police-net gathers up.
They control absolutely the Police, the Press, the Courts. Opposing them are about twenty-five thousand striking silk-workers, of whom perhaps ten thousand are active, and their weapon is the picket-line.
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Slate-grey and cold, the streets of Paterson were deserted. But soon came the Cops-twenty of them—strolling along with their nightsticks patersom their arms. We went ahead of them toward the mill district. Now we began to see workmen going in the same direction, coat collars turned up, hands in their pockets.
We came into a long street, one side of which was lined with silk mills, the other side with the wooden tenement houses. In every doorway, at every window of the houses clustered foreign-faced men and women, laughing and chatting as if after breakfast on a holiday. There seemed no sense of expectancy, no strain or feeling of fear.
Some were men, with here and there a man and woman together, or two young boys. As the warmer light of full day came the people drifted out of their houses and began to pace back and forth, gathering in little knots on the corners. They were quick with gesticulating hands, and low-voiced conversation. They looked often toward the corners of side streets. Suddenly appeared a policeman, swinging his club.
Six men had taken shelter from the rain under the canopy of a saloon. Get out of that! The men quietly obeyed.
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Go home, now! Other policemen materialized, hustling, cursing, brutal, ineffectual. No one answered back. On the mill side of the street the picket-line had grown to about four hundred. Several policemen shouldered roughly among them, looking for trouble. A workman appeared, with a tin pail, escorted by two detectives. Not a voice, not a movement from the crowd. A little further along the street we saw a young woman with an umbrella, who had been picketing, suddenly confronted by a big policeman.
In groups or in couples the strikers patrolled the sidewalk.
There was no more laughing. They looked on with eyes full of hate. These were fiery-blooded Italians, and the police were the same brutal thugs that had beaten them and insulted them for nine weeks. I wondered how long they could stand it. It began to rain heavily. There was a policeman standing in front of it. His name, I afterwards discovered, was McCormack.
I had to walk around him to mount the steps. Do what I tell you I Come off of there, and come off damn quick! Another cop took my arm and they gave me a shove. He was dreadfully troubled by pqterson request. He was sorry he had arrested me. There was no charge he could lodge against me.
He felt he must make me say something that could be construed as a violation of the Law. Other officers came to the rescue, two of them, and supplied fresh epithets. I soon found them repeating themselves, however, and told them so. They had at last found a crime! Ushered into the patrol-wagon, I was driven with much clanging of gongs along the picket-line. At Headquarters I was interrogated and lodged in the lockup. A crowd of pickets had been jammed into the same lockup only three days before, eight or nine in a cell, and kept there without food or water for twenty-two hours!
In spite of the horrible discomfort, fatigue and thirst, these prisoners had never let up cheering and singing for a day and a night! In about an hour the outside door clanged open, and in came about forty pickets in charge of the police, joking and laughing among themselves. They were hustled into the cells, two in each.
Then pandemonium broke loose! With one accord the heavy iron beds were lifted and slammed thunderingly against the metal walls. It was like a cannon battery in action.
One bigga da Union! Hooray for da Strike! Killa da A. An officer came in and attempted to quell the noise.
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Some one called for water. The policeman filled a tin patetson and brought it to the cell door. A hand reached out swiftly and slapped it out of his fingers on the Boor. The policeman retreated. The noise continued. And so the strikers passed out, cheering wildly.
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I could hear them outside, marching back to the picket-line with the mob who had waited for them at the jail gates. And then I was taken before the Court of Recorder Carroll. Carroll has the intelligent, cruel, merciless face of the ordinary police court magistrate. But he is worse than most police court magistrates. He also sends little children there, where they mingle with dope-fiends, and tramps, and men with running sores upon their bodies—to the County Jail, where the air is foul and insufficient to breathe, and the food is full of dead vermin, and grown men become insane.
Carroll read the charge against me.
I was permitted to tell my story. And so it was that I went up to the County Jail. In the outer office I was questioned again, searched for concealed weapons, and my money and valuables taken away. Then the great barred door swung open and I went down some steps into a vast room lined with three tiers of cells. Of this eighty almost half were strikers.
Surrounded by a dense crowd of short, dark-faced men, Big Bill Haywood towered in the center of the room. His big hand made simple gestures as he explained something to them. His massive, rugged face, seamed and scarred like a mountain, and as calm, radiated strength. Faces deadened and dulled with grinding routine in the sunless mills glowed with hope and understanding.
But not one showed discouragement; not one a of faltering or of fear. One bigga da Union"—they murmured with soft, eager voices, crowding around. I shook hands with Haywood, who introduced me to Pat Quinlan, the thin-faced, fiery Irishman now under indictment for speeches inciting to riot. You tell him everything"— They crowded around me, shaking my hand, smiling, welcoming me. You ask. We tell you. You good feller.
Most of them were still weak and exhausted from their terrible night before in the lockup. Four of these jurymen were silk manufacturers, another the head of the local Edison compony—which Haywood tried to organize for a strike—and not one a workingman! Fill up de damn jail. Pretty soon no more room. Outside the reception room was full of women qny children, carrying packages, and pasteboard boxes, and pails full of dainties and little comforts lovingly prepared, which meant hungry and ragged wives and babies, so that the men might be comfortable in jail.
It was the English-speaking group that held back during the Lawrence strike.
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That Lkoking was a peach. He was the only Anglo-Saxon striker in prison except the leaders— and perhaps the only one who had been there for picketing. He had been sentenced for insulting a mill-owner who came out of his mill and ordered him off the sidewalk. Priest, he iss all a time keeping working-man down!