‘CLAN OF TOIL KNOWS NO CASTE, NEGRO WORKERS, ATTENTION!’ from The Industrial Worker. Vol. 4 No. 27. September 26, 1912.

‘CLAN OF TOIL KNOWS NO CASTE, NEGRO WORKERS, ATTENTION!’ from The Industrial Worker. Vol. 4 No. 27. September 26, 1912.

To All Negro Workers and especially to the Negro Forest and Lumber Workers of the South, we send this Message and Appeal:

Fellow Workers: When the Forest slaves of Louisiana and Texas revolted against peonage and began, about two years ago, the organization of the Brotherhood of Timber Workers, an Industrial Union taking in all the workers in the sawmills and camps, the Lumber Kings at once recognized the power inherent in such a movement and immediately began a campaign of lying and violence against the Union and all persons connected with it or suspected of sympathizing with us.

First among the cries they raised against us was, of course, the old bunco cries of “white supremacy” and “social equality” coupled with that other cry, “They are organizing the Negroes against the Whites!” which the capitalists and landlords, of the South and their political buzzard and social carrion crows always raise in order to justify the slugging and assassination of white and colored working men who seek to organize and better the condition of their class. From the day you, the Negro workers, were “freed,” down to the present hour these cries have been used to cloak the vilest crimes against the workers, white and colored, and to hide the wholesale rape of the commonwealth of the South by as soulless and cold-blooded a set of Industrial scalawags and carpet-baggers as ever drew the breath of life.

A.L. Emerson.

For a generation, under the Influence of these specious cries, they have kept us fighting each other—us to secure the “white supremacy” of a tramp and You the “social equality” of a vagrant. Our fathers “fell for it,” but we, their children, have come to the conclusion that porterhouse steaks and champagne will look as well on our tables as on those of the Industrial Scalawags and Carpetbaggers; that the “white supremacy” that means starvation wages and child slavery for us and the “social equality” that means the same for you, though they may mean the “high life” and “Christian civilization” to the Lumber Kings and landlords, will have to go. As far as we, the workers of the South, are concerned, the only “supremacy” and “equality” they have ever granted us is the supremacy of misery and the equality of rags. This Supremacy and this equality we, the Brotherhood of Timber Workers, mean to stand no longer than we have an organization big and strong enough to enforce our demands, chief among which is “a man’s life for all the workers in the mills and forests of the South.” Because the Negro workers comprise one-half or more of the labor employed in the Southern Lumber Industry, this battle cry of ours. “A man’s life for all the workers,” has been considered a menace and therefore a crime in the eyes of the Southern Oligarchy, for they, as well as we, are fully alive to the fact that we can never raise our standard of living and better our conditions so long as they can keep us split, whether on race, craft, religious or national lines, and they have tried and are trying all these methods of division In addition to their campaign of terror, wherein deeds have been and are being committed that would make Diaz blush with shame, they are so atrocious in their white-livered cruelty. For this reason, that they sought to organize all the workers, A.L. Emerson, President of the Brotherhood, and sixty three other Union men are now in prison at Lake Charles, La., under Indictment, as a result of the Massacre of Grabow, where three Union men and one Association gunman were killed, charged with murder in the first degree, indicted for killing their own brothers, and they will be sent to the gallows or, worse, to the frightful penal farms and levees of Louisiana, unless a United Working Class comes to their rescue with the funds necessary to defend them and the action that will bring them all free of the grave and the levees.

Further words are excess. It is a useless waste of paper to tell you, the Negro workers, of the merciless Injustice of the Southern Lumber Operators Association, for Your race has learned through tears and blood the hyenaism we are fighting. Enough. Emerson and his associates are in prison because they fought for the Unity of all the workers.

Will you remain silent, turn no hand to help them in this, their hour of great danger?

Our fight is your fight, and we appeal to you to do your duty by these men, the bravest of the brave! Help us free them all. Join the Brotherhood and help us blaze freedom’s pathway through the jungles of the South.

“Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing but your chains to lose! You have a World to gain!”

COMMITTEE OF DEFENSE, Brotherhood of Timber Workers, Box 78,

Alexandria, La.

A.L. Emerson addresses the final day of the Second B.T.W. Convention, Alexandria, Louisiana, May 6-9, 1912.

The Industrial Union Bulletin, and the Industrial Worker were newspapers published by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) from 1907 until 1913. First printed in Joliet, Illinois, IUB incorporated The Voice of Labor, the newspaper of the American Labor Union which had joined the IWW, and another IWW affiliate, International Metal Worker. It was edited by A. S. Edwards, and early contributors include Eugene V. Debs, Jack London, Daniel DeLeon, Bill Haywood, and J. H. Walsh. In 1909, production moved to Spokane, Washington and became The Industrial Worker, “the voice of revolutionary industrial unionism.”

PDF of full issue: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/industrialworker/iw/v4n27-w183-sep-26-1912-IW.pdf

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