Hellraisers Journal: Eugene V. Debs on Roosevelt’s Quandary: What to do with Troops in Goldfield, Part II

The people are as capable of achieving
their industrial freedom as they were
to secure their political liberty,
and both are necessary to a free nation.
-Eugene Victor Debs


Hellraisers Journal, Tuesday January 7, 1908
Goldfield, Nevada – What to do with Roosevelt’s Troops, Part II

From the Appeal to Reason of January 4, 1908:

Federal and State Authorities in a Quandary
as to What to Do With the
Soldiers at Goldfield.

Instantaneous and Widespread Effect of the
“Goldfield Extra” Issued by the
Appeal to Reason Protesting
Against Troops.
[Part II]

Goldfield Strike, Scrip, AtR p4, Dec 28, 1907

The history of strikes shows beyond question what soldiers are used for. Honest union men who dare assert their rights are not protected, but scabs who are imported from slums and reek with crime, “gun-men” and professional strike-breakers, and other degenerates hired to undermine labor and defeat its aspirations, are saints and saviors, and must have the soldiers of the republic to see that no harm comes to them in their holy mission, and that nothing occurs to prevent them from consummating the munificent work to which their energies are so unselfishly consecrated.

In the eyes of soldiers in the employ of this capitalistic government of ours, honest workingmen who seek to defend their rights, and stand up for their homes, their wives and babes, are traitors to be shot and rioters to be bayoneted, while scabs are patriots to be protected in the name of law and order.

This is the attitude of Roosevelt and his republican administration as it was the attitude of Grover Cleveland and his democratic administration thirteen years ago. When it is understood that republicanism and democracy as applied to the existing parties pronounce capitalism and spell wage-slavery the matter becomes perfectly clear. When it comes to the working class, these two parties and their leaders occupy precisely the same ground. In every strike, republican presidents and democratic presidents, republican governors and democratic governors, republican sheriffs and democratic sheriffs, republican policemen and democratic policemen protect the property owned by capitalists, produced by the workers and confiscated by the capitalists, and club and enjoin and imprison and shoot the workers as if to rebuke them for their criminal stupidity in producing property and handing it over to a class which despises them as servile animals which forget their proper place in nature by dreaming of better conditions and venturing to whisper of human aspirations.

Goldfield Strike, Profits Wages, AtR p4, Dec 28, 1907

Five years ago Roosevelt would not have confessed his error, and revoked his order. He has not changed in spirit. But while Roosevelt has remained the same, other things have changed. There are now at least five millions of people in this country who are more or less familiar with the revolutionary program of the Socialist movement and more or less in sympathy therewith. These millions are readers of Socialist literature and Socialist papers. The press of this movement that was so insignificant five years ago that it would have been spat upon with scorn, if noticed at all, has now become so formidable that it can compel a capitalist president to change his tactics at least, and show some sign, assumed though it be, of consideration for the working class.

The APPEAL can not be charged with audacity when it puts forth the claim, which it now does, that but for the “Goldfield Extra” President Roosevelt’s action revoking his former order would not have been taken.

Goldfield Strike, Sacks of Gold, AtR p4, Dec 28, 1907

The APPEAL’S Army and readers are men and women with human blood in their veins; revolutionary spirits who know in every emergency how to act, and act promptly and effectively. When occasion requires it, the APPEAL can sound the alarm and turn a stream of protests into the White House and into the capitol which the president and the members of congress dare not ignore. All these gentlemen at Washington, including the president and his cabinet, the supreme court, members of the senate, and of the house of representatives and heads of others departments receive the APPEAL regularly each week, and we have cumulative evidence that they are reading it, too. The APPEAL sees to it that all these gentlemen are furnished with each issue as it comes from the press, and that it is so interesting and so full of information of benefit to them that they cannot afford to ignore it-and they don’t.

We have the satisfaction of knowing that President Roosevelt and other eminent statesmen are quite familiar with the APPEAL TO REASON and its policy and that they are far from holding it as an insignificant thing to be treated with silent contempt. Were some of the commentary on the APPEAL from this gentry to be published in its columns it would surely throw St. Comstock into conniption fits and forever bar the paper from the mails.

At this writing the soldiers have not yet been actually withdrawn from Goldfield, but this is of no consequence. The revocation has been issued, and the power of the soldier as an intimidating factor is broken.

President Roosevelt and Governor Sparks can now have it out, and which ever loses, the working class wins. Governor Sparks made the requisition for the mine owners and President Roosevelt issued the infamous order. The record stands. It can not be blotted out. The plea of misrepresentation made by Roosevelt is puerile and adds to the contempt with which his despotic act should be repudiated because of his vulgar presumption upon the ignorance and stupidity of the whole working class.

President Roosevelt has given us a vital campaign issue for 1908. For this we thank him, although he did not intend it. He has uncovered the republican party and laid bare the brutal capitalist character of its administration. We thank him again, but without the least sense of gratitude.

Governor Sparks is still clamoring for the retention of the soldiers. He seemingly has not sense enough to know when he has had enough. He himself is a political corpse, but the mine owners must have persuaded him that he is not yet ready for the undertaker. Patriots of his stripe are made to feel great and glorious while they are still in office. When they retire, and the capitalists are through with them they slide down into the jaws of oblivion where, as in the case of Peabody, they may be found only by the use of a search warrant.

[Photographs added.]


Appeal to Reason
(Girard, Kansas)
-Jan 4, 1908

Goldfield Strike x3, AtR p4, Dec 28, 1907

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Tag: Goldfield NV