ORGANIZER 18:  BLOOD OVER THE COPPER SKIES:  WE NEVER FORGET  [WOBBLIES, JEROME AND BISBEE DEPORTATIONS, FRANK  H. LITTLE'S MARTYRDOM, RED SCARES -- AND THE STRUGGLE TODAY]   HUNTER GRAY  JULY 11, 2002    UPDATED DECEMBER 2 2007

 

"HOMELAND SECURITY" CONSIDERS GIVING MILITARY ARREST POWERS [HUNTER GRAY  7/21/02]

 

ORGANIZER 18:  BLOOD OVER THE COPPER SKIES:  WE NEVER FORGET  [WOBBLIES, JEROME AND BISBEE DEPORTATIONS, FRANK  H. LITTLE'S MARTYRDOM, RED SCARES -- AND THE STRUGGLE TODAY]   HUNTER GRAY  JULY 11, 2002    UPDATED DECEMBER 2 2007

NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR: 12/O2/07

On more than a few occasions each day, I take a TV look at the Free Speech Channel and that of Democracy Now.  Today on the former, I was able to see a 2002 film, about which I'd heard just a little:  An Injury To One. This seeks to provide a sympathetic focus on the noted [and rather obscure] IWW organizer and martyr, Frank H. Little [1879-1917], a mixed-blood Cherokee from Oklahoma -- lynched at Butte by Anaconda thugs.  Well motivated for sure, its creator, Travis Wilkerson, is most sympathetic to Frank Little, the Butte miners, and the many life forms victimized [often lethally] by the waves of ecological disaster created at Butte  [as in so many other settings] over many generations by the now largely departed copper bosses.  The film succeeds well in two dimensions -- the plight of Butte miners and the contemporary ecological dimension.  It has surprisingly little on Frank Little himself and although that remarkably free-spirited and migratory -- and exceptionally gifted agitator who shied from bureaucracy and who loved the open road -- left little in the way of a paper trail, there is still a good deal from and about him that could and should have been used to flesh [feather] him out. I have some of that material.  I also have my own memories stemming from first-hand recollections given me by old-timers, back in the mid-'50s, who had known him in various hard-fought labor campaigns.  The first time I saw his photo/portrait was in an IWW hall in Seattle where it hung with that of Joe Hill [1915] on one side, with Wesley Everest [Centralia Massacre, 1919] on the other. The hour-long film is characterized by too-swift narration, swift posting of photos, Butte labor songs, a rather choppy insertion of relevant labor slogans and quotations.  Its major historical flaw involves taking the multi-faceted repression that occurred at Butte in the Summer of 1917 as the headwaters of American repression right into contemporary times.  If the film omitted Haymarket and much that occurred before and after that horrendous episode in 1886 [to say nothing of the many other awful contributing streams], it also failed to present Frank Little and the Butte situation of his time in the context of the great copper strike of 1917 initiated and carried by the IWW from Butte to the Mexican border.  I recall no mention in the film of the Arizona deportations of striking miners that occurred at Jerome and Bisbee during that very period.  Nor was there any mention at all of the important role of the Mine-Mill union in carrying the militant traditions of the hard-rock miners into relatively "modern times."  An Injury To One does have strengths and, for those, it's worth seeing. [In the end-credits, it's noted that the film is a Master's thesis.]

When I read a couple of mentions of it, I posted a rather long piece on Frank Little.  Here it is.

____________________


This is July,  going on August.  And all through these days -- hot and dry,
as we fight in the Great Contemporary Struggle, there are things that we --
Indians, metal miners, radicals, Arizonians, Westerners -- always remember.
Some of those things are truly hideous. And some are the epitome of great courage and honor -- and martyrdom.

Let's start this off with the Wobblies.  The Industrial Workers of the
World.

The IWW was founded in 1905, primarily through the efforts of the radical,
frontier hard-rock (metal)  miners' union -- the Western Federation of
Miners and its vigorous, visionary leadership:  William D. "Big Bill"
Haywood, Vincent St. John, Father Thomas Hagerty and many, many others.
Its  philosophy, almost from the outset, came to be a uniquely frontier
American variety of syndicalism -- the primacy of democratic revolutionary
unions in effecting systemic change and administering the new cooperative
society.  In a very real sense, the IWW was the first homegrown American
revolutionary movement since 1775:   fearless, hard-driving, visionary --
and the epitome of  grassroots democracy reaching out to all workers,
unskilled as well as skilled, regardless of race or ethnicity or gender.

And one of its major spokespersons and organizers  was Frank H. Little, born
of a "Quaker father" and a Cherokee Indian mother, in Indian Territory [later
Oklahoma]  in 1879, a metal miner who became chairman of the General Executive Board of the IWW and was lynched at Butte on August 1 1917 by thugs employed by Anaconda Copper. Tough and hard-fighting, Frank Little was a sworn foe of capitalism
and an outspoken opponent of the World War.

The lynching of Frank Little was in the context of very widespread,
prolonged, and extraordinarily bloody and brutal repression levied against
the IWW by company gunmen, state and local "lawmen," vigilantes, and then
increasingly by the Federal Government.  This was strike-breaking and
union-busting wrapped up in the hypocritical cloth of a phony World War I
"patriotism."

Frank Little's murder was preceded, for example, by the "Loyalty League"
deportation of almost 100 Wobbly  copper strike activists at  the rugged
mountain town of Jerome, Arizona (southwest of Flagstaff) on July 10 1917.
They were dumped in the California desert without food or water and were
next  forced back into Arizona at gun-point by a California sheriff's
posse --  and then imprisoned at Prescott, Arizona.  This operation was
directed by the United Verde Copper Company.

On July 12, at Bisbee, Arizona (on the Mexican border), a very large, so-called "Loyalty League" rounded up 1200 IWW-led copper strikers (not counting three that they killed), loaded them onto cattle cars, and dumped them into the desert near Columbus, New Mexico, without food or water.  All of this was carried out under the
direction of the Phelps-Dodge Copper Corporation.

And all of these events and others are still very much a part of the living,
blood-dimmed  legacy of labor relations in the Western hard-rock metal
mining industry -- an industry characterized consistently by the utter
recalcitrance of the mine owners and managers.

One of Frank Little's closest friends was Ralph H. Chaplin, IWW editor and
poet and author of the primary American labor anthem, "Solidarity Forever."
In his colorful and fast-moving memoir, Wobbly: The Rough and Tumble Story
of an American Radical
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948),   Chaplin recounts his last
visit with Frank Little during an IWW General Executive Board meeting at
Chicago that fateful summer of 1917:

"Frank Little was the first to arrive.   This time he was on crutches.  One
leg was in a plaster cast.  There had been an automobile accident in Jerome,
Arizona, where he had been directing I.W.W. organization in the copper mines
of the Southwest.  But Frank wore his Stetson at the same jaunty angle, and
his twisted grin was as aggressive as ever. . .Frank was leaving that day
for Butte, Montana, to direct the organizational drive on Anaconda Hill.  I
marveled at his courage at taking on a difficult and dangerous assignment
like that in his present condition.

"It's a fine specimen the I.W.W. is sending into that tough town," I chided
him.  "One leg, one eye, two crutches -- and no brains!"

Frank laughed.  He lifted a crutch as though to crown me with it. "Don't
worry, fellow-worker, all we're going to need from now on is guts."

That was the last time I saw Frank Little alive."

My youngest son, Peter, a born newspaperman, was running the Anaconda MT
office of the Butte-based Montana Standard a few years ago.  Thanks to him I
have a copy of Frank Little's death certificate issued by Silver Bow County.
Among other things, it notes his age [38], his birthplace [Oklahoma],
occupation [Labor Organizer], and cause of death:  "Strangulation from
Hanging. Homicidal". The document indicates that the personal information
was provided by the Miners Union, Butte.

Thanks also to Pete, I have a copy of the August 2 edition of The Butte
Miner.  Its front page, framed in glass, hangs now on our dining room wall.
And here are some of the things it told its world on the  very grim morn of
August 2, 1917:

ARMED VIGILANTES LYNCH I.W.W. LEADER [Big, banner headline]

Frank Little, First Lieutenant Of W.D. Haywood, Surprised And Overpowered In
His Room And Hanged From Trestle On Outskirts Of The City

File photo of Frank Little [wearing his Stetson]

LITTLE'S DEATH CAUSES GRIEF TO I.W.W. OFFICER
[W.D. Haywood says victim of vigilantes was an earnest and active worker in
the interests of the laborer.]

FIVE OF SEVEN MEN WHO FORMED LYNCHING PARTY ARE KNOWN, SAYS LAWYER

MAYOR AFTER THE LYNCHERS

ACT BRANDED AS DEVILISH

Miners Tobacco Fund


LAST WIRE FLASHES

Leadville Strike Over
I.W.W.s to Work in Montana and North and South Dakota [harvest stiffs]
Miners Will Be Protected [Lt. Colonel George P. White on protecting scabs in
the Globe/Miami (Arizona) Copper District]

Frank Little's funeral at Butte was the largest ever held in Montana.  I
have a photo of the funeral procession which is eerily similar to ours in
Jackson in June, '63 when 6,000 of us marched in 102 degree heat through the
city -- in Mississippi's first "legal" civil rights march in history --
immediately following the massive funeral of murdered Medgar Evers on Lynch
Street.

No one was ever arrested for Frank Little's murder -- nor was anyone
punished for their role in kidnapping and killing and deporting  striking
miners at Jerome and Bisbee. All of the perpetrators were well known.

Jerome, as I've indicated, is close to my home town of Flagstaff,  and down
in the Verde Valley country, on the slope of Mingus Mountain.  A tough old
copper miner-turned-barber over there, Markovitch, used to cut my hair in
the latter '50s. Always so pleased to see me, a very hot-eyed Red in my
early 20s, he consistently gave me, as he clip-clipped along, the same
running talk on Revolution.  Brother Markovitch had been a Jerome deportee.
And he never forgot.

In early September, 1917, the liberal Woodrow Wilson administration finally
acted -- not on behalf, of course, of the massively victimized American
working class.  Its Justice Department agents, using the spurious Federal
"Espionage Act" -- which had nothing to do with "espionage" and everything
to do with labor militancy and anti-War positions -- rounded up 150 major
IWW leaders. [And then, of course, Gene Debs was arrested as well.]  The
Wobblies and Debs et al. were speedily convicted in an atmosphere of extreme
fear and hysteria. In due course, they were pardoned by the conservative
Warren Harding.

 By that time, most Western states and a few others had passed the infamous
"criminal syndicalism" acts making membership in the IWW or even possession
of its "Little Red Songbook: Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent" a felony
offense.  Hundreds of IWWs were imprisoned across the West.   Idaho's
all-encompassing "criminal syndicalism" statute remains on the books to this
day.  Mississippi passed one back in our civil rights days -- but,
apparently, never enforced it.  I, myself, arrested there on many charges
and targeted by injunctions [which we defied], was indicted by a county
grand jury on "inciting to riot" charges -- first cousin, anyway, of
"criminal syndicalism."

Woodrow Wilson, who supervised one of the country's most infamous
witch-hunts, died early-on, in 1924.  He left office in 1921 but, before he
did, he toured Seattle.  There he was greeted by cheering throngs -- until,
suddenly, dead silence for block after block after block.  His motorcade had
entered the working-class district where hundreds and hundreds and hundreds
of  IWWs lined the streets, arms folded and eyes stony-cold.  They say an
ashen Wilson slumped deep into his seat, eyes staring directly downward --
block after block after block.

The IWW survived, kept fighting.

In 1949, the IWW -- its philosophy unchanged   -- was  designated
"subversive"  by the  United States Attorney General and placed on his
infamous Red Scare "subversive list."

And the IWW continues to fight. And so do many, many others valiantly fight
on -- individuals and outfits -- in our present era so increasingly similar
to Other Great And Infamous Witch-Hunts: World War I/Red Scare and the very
prolonged Red Scare of the Cold War.

In a long and stirring memorial poem always contained in the editions of the
old-time Wobblies' Red Song Books, Phillips Russell  concluded:

"We'll remember you, Frank Little!
The papers said:  "So far as known,
He made no outcry."
No, not you!  Half Indian, half white man,
All I.W.W.
You'd have died a thousand deaths
Before you'd have cried aloud
Or whimpered once to let them
enjoy your pain.

We'll remember you, Frank Little!
Long after the workers have made the world
Safe for Labor,
We'll repeat your name
And remember that you died for us.
The red flag that you dropped
A million hands will carry on;
The cause that you loved
A million tongues will voice.

Good bye, Frank Little!
Indian, white man, Wobbly true,
Valiant soldier of  the great Red Army,
We'll remember you!"                                   

["IWW Songs To Fan The Flames Of Discontent"  1930 edition]

Since 1955, a photo of Frank Little has always been on the wall of wherever
I live.  It's always joined by an excellent sketch of Joseph Brant
[Thayendanegea], Mohawk leader, watching his warriors burning out the
settlers in the Cherry Valley section of New York -- a sketch my father gave
me when I was still jailed in my crib. A photo of John Reed, at his
typewriter, has joined them.

We fight on. Always have, always will.  It's the same fight for all of us on
the Side of the Sun. And, as the old Western Wobblies always put it so well,
"It's better to be called Red than be called Yellow."

Fraternally And In Solidarity -

Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org (strawberry socialism)
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´

 

"HOMELAND SECURITY" CONSIDERS GIVING MILITARY ARREST POWERS [HUNTER GRAY  7/21/02]

 

Note by Hunterbear:

"Fascist" isn't a term I use lightly, but it's obviously becoming an
increasingly appropriate label for the prevailing mind-set of the
black-suited, grim-faced, and increasingly paranoid characters in Bush's
"security" retinue. Theirs are  faces that could be lifted flat from the
photos of Joe McCarthy's committee, House Un-American Activities Committee, and Senate Internal Security Subcommittee -- and the days and offices of J. Edgar Hoover. Hell, as far as FBI is concerned, it's never -- however covertly it's occasionally had to function at various points -- stopped its primary mission focus:  anti-Left political witch-hunting.

At almost every juncture, most Democrats have caved in and supported these increasingly authoritarian proposals. Who should be surprised at this?  Much of the recent precedent-setting groundwork for the Patriot Act and its virulently poisonous appendages came in Bill Clinton's 1996 so-called Anti-Terrorism Act. That, BTW, launched full-scale United State Post Office surveillance of citizens' mail -- as part of the continuing-right-along plethora of Federal/state/local "lawmen" task forces.  This jungle of
venomously anti-civil libertarian poison ivy and belladonna and loco weed
came directly from joint Democratic and Republican initiatives -- long
before Election 2000.

Hunterbear

====================

U.S. Should Consider Giving Military Arrest Powers, Ridge Says
Bloomberg.com | 7/21/02 | Alex Canizares

Washington, July 21 (Bloomberg) -- The government should consider reversing a more than a century of tradition and law to give the military authority to make arrests and fire their weapons on U.S. soil in the event of a terrorist attack, Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge said.

Fears that terrorists might attempt a nuclear, biological or chemical attack on U.S. territory are prompting some lawmakers to support revisions to the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which restricts the use of the military in civilian law enforcement.

``I think it is time to revisit it,'' Senator Joe Biden, a Delaware
Democrat, said on the ``Fox News Sunday'' program. That would ``allow for military that has expertise with weapons of mass destruction to be called in'' if such a plot was discovered.

Since terrorists linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon on Sept. 11, Congress has given law enforcement agencies more latitude to conduct wiretapping and other intelligence gathering to uncover terrorist plotting. President George W. Bush has proposed the biggest government reorganization in 50 years to put more than 100 offices and agencies into one department devoted to homeland security.

The Bush administration already has taken step to investigate giving the
military a larger domestic security role, the New York Times reported today. Air Force General Ralph Eberhart, who is in charge of U.S. defenses against attack, had urged the review, the newspaper said.

Legal Review

Lawyers in the Departments of Justice and Defense are looking into the legal questions that might be raised by greater involvement of military personnel, the Times reported.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in May that the Pentagon would not seek expanded law enforcement powers and some defense officials are wary of making any changes, the Times said.

Congress revised the Posse Comitatus Act in 1981 to allow the military to
help the Coast Guard in drug interdiction efforts. Another change would
require congressional approval.

Ridge said officials haven't yet discussed giving the military powers to
arrest U.S. citizens, though such authority might be discussed once Bush's
homeland security department is created.

``Generally that goes against our instincts as a country to empower the
military with the ability to arrest,'' Ridge said on ``Late Edition'' on the
Cable News Network. ``But it may come up as a part of a discussion. It does not mean that it will ever be used or that the discussion will conclude that it even should be used.''

Unrealistic Limits

Biden said he may revive a proposal he sponsored with former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn to revise the Reconstruction-era limits the Army, Navy, and later the Air Force's law enforcement authorities. That plan was prompted by the bombing of an Oklahoma City federal building by a domestic terrorist.

It is ``not very realistic'' to deny the military the ability, for example,
to shoot at suspected terrorists trying to deploy chemical, biological or
nuclear weapons on a passenger train, Biden said.

``Right now, when you call in the military, the military would not be
allowed to shoot-to-kill, if in fact they were approaching the weapon,''
Biden said.

Still, he said ``we shouldn't go overboard'' by giving the military too many
domestic powers.

Ridge said on Fox that the discussion should take place between the
Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Bush's proposed Homeland Security Department, which has not yet been enacted by Congress.

``We need to be talking about military assets, in anticipation of a crisis
event,'' Ridge said. ``And clearly, if you're talking about using the
military, then you should have a discussion about Posse Comitatus.''

On another security issue, Ridge said the administration would accept
legislation approved by a special congressional committee last week to
extend by one year the Dec. 31, 2002 deadline requiring all bags to be
screened at airports.

``There is a question, depending on the particular airport, as to the
ability to install some of these massive machines between now and the end of the year, and I think this probably gives the new agency a little more flexibility.'' Ridge said.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org (strawberry socialism)
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´


 

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