Margaret Sanger, "Watchful Waiting," May 1914.
Forty thousand women belonging to the Socialist party of the United States wired their protest against the brutalities of the militia in Colorado to President Wilson.
Forty thousand women! A splendid army this. An army of women supposed to represent the class spirit and class consciousness of America.
Is there nothing more fitting to the occasion that these women can do, than protest? Words--ever and always words--words of protest, or words of petition, even when blood is being shed and lives are being extinguished by the murderous officials to whom they are protesting.
Doubtless the gracious protest found itself amidst others in the waste basket. And rightly so, for as long as the present system can keep the working class petition-minded, the masters need have no fear of an uprising, and the social and industrial revolution will be far away.
Women of the Socialist party! If there is no fighting spirit among you impelling initiative other than to imitate the gentle suffragists, then at least take your cue--follow the lead of those whom you would represent. The protests of the Cigar Makers and Typographical Union and the Miners of Wyoming consisted in sending arms and ammunition to the striking miners of Colorado, and these are good enough examples of working-class solidarity for all to follow.
When 40,000 women cannot follow up a protest by action, then truly it would appear that they have something other than their "chains to lose."
Copyright 2003. Margaret Sanger Project