Margaret Sanger, " [Short Pieces from page 19 of the May 1914 The Woman Rebel] ," May 1914.
Published article. Source: The Woman Rebel, Vol. 1, No. 3, May 1914, 19 , Margaret Sanger Microfilm C16:0533 .
Upton Sinclair's declaration that Rockefeller junior has"a good streak in him" and has been influenced by older and more hardened men in his decision over the Colorado strike, does not lessen the Oil Czar's guilt and complicity in the crimes committed by his hirelings. Such an excuse as Upton's could be made for all murderers. When a young man, rolling in the luxury of wealth, deliberately sets out to organize the murder of the men who create that wealth; the murder of their wives and of their children, as well as the destruction of their homes; when he is not even moved by the burning to death of little children; it is evident that he belongs to that rare criminal type made famous in history by such men as Nero, Caligula, Kenghis Khan and Herod.
"Streaks of good" may interest the amiable Upton, but will they bring the dead to life?
In any event, the workers of Colorado will find small comfort in Sinclair's milk-white discovery. For the memory of the scorched bodies of their slaughtered children--victims of the black-hearted plutocrat whose soft, flabby hands carry no standard but that of Greed -- is sufficient testimony to them of the depths to which our canting Christian capitalists have now sunk.
No better experiment for breaking down the whole penal system and the machinery of the law could be tried than the hunger strike. The suffragettes in England as well as many political prisoners in Russia have demonstrated its effectiveness and the ruling classes in those countries have been brought to bay.
In the State of New York it remained for a rebel woman--Becky Edelsohn--to first seize this new weapon and render ridiculous the "law" and its myrmidons. Becky was arrested and sent to prison for public speaking -- to be precise, for denouncing the war in Mexico. To denounce war, is in this enlightened age, a crime. Disorder occurred as a result of this speech, which took place in Park Row, in the heart of the newspaper world. In the banging about that followed Becky was arrested and ordered to find a $300 bond to keep the peace or be sent to prison. Rather than keep the peace she chose the latter alternative and immediately started a hunger strike. Three days later she was released, but not until her release had been arranged did she taste a morsel of food.
Becky Edelsohn is the born rebel type, a woman of heart, courage and imagination. She belongs to that race of women who in the last two centuries have seized upon the ideal of a free, human life on earth and clung to it bravely in the face of tremendous opposition. In adopting the hunger strike to defeat the ends of the law she has given a lead in this country which is sure to be followed.
Rockefeller wants those strikers shot down who claim better conditions in his mines in Colorado. He has his way and the miners are duly killed.
Society calls this "Law and Order" and approves of Rockefeller's action.
Marie Ganzwants Rockefeller shot for having had the workers with their wives and children shot down and burned to death. She wants to do the shooting herself.
Society calls this "a breach of the peace" and sends Marie to prison for sixty days.
Yet there is no praise due to anyone shouting from the housetop the desire to kill a Rockefeller. It may have the temporary effect which all bluffs are likely to have, but merely saying it, weakens the vital force of the desire. The act is not carried out and the threat becomes a joke, making the person who utters it appear insincere and ridiculous.
Threats and bluffs are useless. They weaken the individual and the movement the individual represents.
Copyright 2003. Margaret Sanger Project