October 1917

[page 4]


(By William P. Harvey.)

A marked increase in social and industrial unrest among workers over the west is pointed out as an aftermath of the inaction by Arizona and the federal government in the six weeks which have ensued since the deportation of 1,200 men from Bisbee, Ariz., July 12, in a statement issued today from the headquarters here of the National Labor Defense Council.

“The feeling that justice for the workers in wartime and particularly in those occupations concerned with furnishing war materials, can not be obtained, is deep and widely spread. It has an alarming phase, in that the fine spirit of patriotism which must animate all classes of American society, if the war is to be carried on vigorously and to an immediate and successful conclusion, is blunted through a sense of class injustice.

“The country can not afford to allow this condition to continue. Aside from the common justice due more than a thousand men removed by force from their homes and families in the night time, with many of them and members of their families victims of brutal and unprovoked assaults, the nation owes it to itself to clean its own house and that at once.

“It is not to be expected that the government should house and feed indefinitely the victims of industrial feuds. There must come a time when some disposition shall be made of the thousands of men in a state foreign to their homes and separated by many miles from their homes. Their families can not indefinitely remain the recipients of charity. At some time or another, justice must be meted out to those guilty of the deportations. The question goes further than its mere social phases. It is a problem, insidiously subtle, through which a class, making up a majority of the people, may be turned away from that spirit of helpful patriotism by which all of the people are willing to sacrifice what may be necessary for the welfare of the country. In letters to this council, workers have pointed out that the main contributing cause of the United States taking up arms against Germany was the deportation of Belgians. Deportations of Americans by Americans are cited as an alarming contrast and particularly the fact that in the American deportations the victims were unloaded without food or shelter under the glare of a merciless sun.

“The duty of the state and nation to restore law and order to Bisbee is definite and unescapable [sic]. There remains no doubt of the gross injustice of the deportations. An investigation continuing ten days was made by this council into Bisbee conditions at the request of the American Federation of Labor officials. It was learned that only a small number of those deported were members of the I.W.W. and that the vast majority were unorganized and union workers. Hundreds had contributed to the Red Cross and were owners of Liberty bonds.

“There has been and is no question that the instruments of justice were and are in the hands of the very persons responsible for the deportations. Any charge made against any of the men deported, either for act or threat, could have been tried in the courts of Bisbee. That only six deadly weapons were found in the homes of the 1,200 men deported is a record of their peacefulness. Snatched from their sleep at an early hour in the morning, there could have been no premeditated hiding of arms. Nor is there made any charge that the strikers or their sympathizers were armed.

“Bisbee is now patrolled by armed men in the pay of the copper companies. American citizens are denied access to the city except after a rigorous and unlawful investigation by officers in the employ of these companies. These private officers are clothed in khaki, simulating army uniforms, to give color to the investigations they make.”