Hellraisers Journal: Thunder of Cheers Greets Bill Haywood at Brooklyn Labor Lyceum: “Socialism Is My Religion”

We have no fight with capital.
All we want is the full equivalent for
the things which we produce.
Capital can take the rest.
-Big Bill Haywood


Hellraisers Journal, Friday January 24, 1908
Brooklyn, New York – Haywood Speaks at Labor Lyceum

BBH, SF Call p17, Dec 8, 1907

On the afternoon of Sunday January 19th, Big Bill Haywood was greeted with cheers from thousands of men and women when he arrived at the Brooklyn Labor Lyceum. The hall was packed and thousands were turned away. Haywood declared himself a man of the west who always went armed and then produced two cards, one his union card and the other his Socialist Party card. Haywood said:

By the economic power of this gun, the working class is going to win political power.

At the conclusion of the speech, Haywood was taken upstairs for a meeting with delegates of the Brooklyn Central Labor Union whom he thanked for their assistance in saving himself, Moyer and Pettibone from being railroaded to the gallows by the Mine Owners of Colorado and Idaho.

Earlier in the day, Haywood had met with delegates of the New York City Central Federated Union where he announced that he would accept the nomination for President of the Socialist Party should such be offered him.

From The New York Times of January 20, 1908:

Miners’ Secretary Is Willing to Be Put Up
by Socialists for President.

William D. Haywood, Secretary of Western Federation of Miners, spoke yesterday at the meeting of the Central Federated Union. There was a large attendance of Socialist delegates, and Haywood was received with applause.

He thanked the federation for its support given to Moyer, Pettibone, and himself during the trials on the charge of the complicity in the murder of ex-Gov. Steunenberg of Idaho.

[He said:]

It was only organized labor that prevented me and my colleagues who are now free from being railroaded to the gallows. The employers were determined to disrupt the Western Federation of Miners, and are still trying to do so. There is another poor devil, Steve Adams, who is still in their power, so that the fight is still on. They are trying to extort another confession from Adams, having scared him into making statements when he probably did not know what he was saying, and perhaps they may get yours truly before the bar agin, but they cannot convict an innocent man.

The federation passed a vote of thanks for his talk.

Before he left the hall Haywood was asked if he was a candidate for the Socialist nomination for President.

[He said:]

If the Socialist Party tenders me the Presidential nomination I will accept it. I would accept it both in the cause of Socialism and in the cause of the advancement of the working class to which I belong.

Haywood addressed an audience of labor union men and Socialists in the Brooklyn Labor Lyceum later in the day. He asserted that the politicians and statesmen were hiding from the people the truth as to political and other conditions in this country. The clergy also feared to tell the facts lest they “lose their jobs,” he said. He attacked the New York Legislature and Congress, and declared Senator Guggenheim of Colorado to be labor’s worst enemy. He said that in Goldfield the miners asked for their pay in gold and scrip was offered them. When they refused this the troops were sent. In every case, he asserted, the troops have been used in efforts to wipe out the Western Federation of Miners. President Roosevelt was a “prince of peace with a firebrand in one hand.”

The meeting adopted resolutions against the use of troops at Goldfield.


From The Brooklyn Daily Eagle of January 20, 1908:

Thousands Turned Away From the Labor Lyceum,
Which Was Packed.

Secretary of Western Miners Addressed Socialists;
Afterward, Central Labor Union.

HMP, BBH back at desk, DP p2, August 5, 1907
Haywood after acquittal at Denver office of W. F. of M.

William J. [D.] Haywood, the [ex-]secretary of the Western Federation of Miners, who was charged with conspiring with other officers of the federation-Moyer and Pettibone-to accomplish the assassination of former Governor Steuenberg of Idaho and who was acquitted recently by a jury, was at the Labor Lyceum of Brooklyn yesterday afternoon. It was great occasion for that institution. The meeting was announced to be held at 3 o’clock, but long before that hour the large hall was crowded, and thousands were turned away. A crowd waited on the street, but Haywood did not arrived until after 4 o’clock. Still, the men and some women waited and when he arrived he was cheered from the time he stepped on to the sidewalk until he ascended the platform and long after. Nearly all the men and some of the women wore red badges, the insignia of the Socialists, whether belonging to the German or the English organization. Many of them wore buttons with the portrait of Haywood, and fakers sold hundreds of them. The hall was decorated with the Stars and Stripes, but hanging over them were the banners of Socialist trades unions and other Socialist organizations.

When the cheering which greeted Haywood on his appearance on the platform had subsided somewhat, the band , played the Marseillaise and again the people cheered.

A resolution was read condemning President Roosevelt for having sent troops to Goldfield, and calling upon Congress to impeach him for violating the Constitution. This was adopted with a great shout.

“Are there any nays?” asked the chairman. Hearing none, he said: “There are no Pinkerton spies here,” and that caused a laugh.

“Three cheers for Socialism!” yelled some one in the rear of the hall, and some cheered that sentiment.

A collection was taken up, as is usual at such meetings, but the chairman informed the people that if they could not contribute it was no disgrace, because poverty was no crime in the present industrial state.

When Haywood was introduced, he was again cheered. He thanked the members of the Moyer-Haywood-Pettibone Conference for their sympathy and assistance, assuring them that if it had not been for the Socialists and for the trades unions he and his associates would long ago have met death on the scaffold, as it was the intention of the mine owners to railroad them. He had come to the City of Churches to preach a sermon, such as no minister would dare to preach, it was on the emancipation of the working class. He owed capitalists nothing, therefore he was free to preach such a sermon. The ministers could not preach that because they would lose their jobs.

The West was frequently referred to as “wild and woolly,” said the speaker. There were bad men there, who carried guns and he himself always went armed.

“Here is my gun,” he said, producing two cards, which he held up. One was the working card of the miners union and the other the membership card in the Socialist Labor party [Socialist Party of America]. This was received with great applause. “By the economic power of this gun,” continued Haywood, “working class is going to win political power.

“We have no fight with capital. All we want is the full equivalent for the things which we produce. Capital can take the rest.” That declaration pleased his audience. “Do you believe that any minister in this City of Churches would preach that doctrine?”

“Yes, there is one,” said a man in the front row.

“There are two,” shouted one in the body of the hall.

[Said the Westerner:]

That’s better than none. I am glad there are two preachers in Brooklyn who will contribute to the happiness of the people of the world. I would like to meet those particular preachers. I have never met any, Socialism is my religion.

Then Haywood took up conditions in Goldfield. The gold miners were the only men who produced any thing which had a standard value. The values of all other products were controlled by the supply and demand, but not gold. So that when the miners demanded a shorter workday or larger wages, it had to come out of the dividends, and could not be taken from the public. He told how the mine owners sought to take advantage of financial condition to force the workmen to take debased paper, and when they refused President Roosevelt had sent troops there to help the mine owners. It was not the first time, however, that the troops had been used to reduce the wages of the miners. It had been done in Arizona, in Alaska, in Idaho, in Colorado. There was no trouble in Goldfield, and no occasion for troops-not as much as at that meeting, in which so many believed in a change of industrial conditions which would make the use of troops impossible. He told of the manner in which members of the miners union had been kidnapped from their homes and sent into New Mexico, torn from their families.

[He said dramatically:]

And this is in the land of the free and home of the brave! It is enough to make an American ashamed that those who live under monarchs point the finger of scorn at this country.

The speaker assured his hearers that it was his purpose to uphold the American flag, so that they might have a Social Republic here; but the red flag meant industrial freedom for all the world.

They didn’t want government ownership, as advocated by Bryan, because that would mean a bonded aristocracy, as it was the intention to pay for the roads which had been built by the sweat of the brows of the people. Neither did they want government control, as advocated by President Roosevelt, which would give the politicians control. The railroads and everything else should be owned by the people, and then the problem of government would be solved.

Haywood again thanked the Socialists and trades unions on behalf of himself and associates for their assistance; the band played the “Marseillaise,” and the people cheered. It was a long time before he could get out of the hall, so many wanted to shake his hand.

Haywood Goes to Central Labor Union.

Then Haywood was taken upstairs to the meeting of the Brooklyn Central Labor Union, where his reception was more dignified. The members received him standing and with applause, but without cheers. President Cunningham introduced him as soon as he entered. He said he had already spoken three times and was expected at another meeting in Manhattan. He thanked the delegates for their interest and assistance; but not a word did he say about Socialism. He knew his audience. He said that Moyer, Pettibone and he appreciated that through the efforts of the working classes their lives had been saved and they were at liberty. The mine owners had entered into a deep-seated conspiracy to destroy the Western Federation of Miners, and had fought the union ever since it was organized. Indeed, the owners had organized first, to keep down the workmen. He entered into a brief history of how he and his companions had been carried from Colorado to a foreign state, far removed from their homes, and thousands of miles from their witnesses, who were necessary for their defense. Through the generous contributions and moral support they had been enabled to secure eminent counsel, and to bring their witnesses from a distant state. He stood there as an example of what the solidarity of the working class in country could accomplish. The time had arrived when lines should be obliterated, and for them to stand shoulder to shoulder, marching, on in a united brotherhood.

They had been released from prison, but the conspiracy still exists in Colorado and Idaho, he said. He appealed for help for the defense of Steve Adams, who was not an officer of the Federation, but was once a member, although now a farmer. He had been taken from Oregon to be tried in Idaho. Under the influence of McPartland [McParland], coached by Orchard, he had made an alleged confession, which he had subsequently repudiated. He had been once released on habeas corpus, but had been rearrested and carried to Idaho. He had been tried twice. The first time the jury disagreed, standing 7 to 5 for acquittal. The second time, another jury stood 8 to 4. If they could get four more trials, Adams would be acquitted. He appealed to them to give Adams the same splendid help they had given Moyer, Pettibone and himself. When their time came, they would find that the Western Federation of miners would stand shoulder to shoulder with their brothers in the East.

As he passed out the delegates applauded him, and he got away quietly from the Lyceum.


[Photograph added.]



The New York Times
(New York, New York)
-Jan 20, 1908

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
(Brooklyn, New York)
-Jan 20, 1908

BBH, SF Call p17, Dec 8, 1907
HMP, BBH back at desk, DP p2, August 5, 1907

See also:

Note: For name: James Cunningham, Pres of Brooklyn CLU:
The Railway Clerk, Volumes 8-9
Brotherhood of Railway and Steamship Clerks,
Freight Handlers, Express and Station Employees, 1909
(search: cunningham brooklyn central labor union)

Hellraisers Journal, Wednesday January 22, 1908
New York, New York – Haywood Speaks to Thousands of Cheering Workers
Big Bill Haywood Hailed as Hero, Cheered by Thousands at Grand Central Palace in New York City

Tag: Haywood-Moyer-Pettibone Case