Comrade Phineas Eastman continues with his life’s work of organizing Southern workers on a class basis with this appeal to for white workers break from the ideology of white supremacy that allows one to be called, and treated as, ‘trash’ by their white superiors.
‘To the ‘Po’ White Trash’’ by Phineas Eastman from The Voice of the People (New Orleans). Vol. 2 No. 3. September 18, 1913.
The reason I am addressing you, who do not belong to the Forest and Lumber Workers of the South, as above, is because that is the often [used term in] conversations with another Boss or cock-roach capitalist. I had a chat with a woods superintendent on the train between Monroe, La. And Shreveport, while returning from Chicago last July. He did not know I was one of the hated I. W. W.’s or he would not have been so frank with me. Among other things he said, “we do not fear the class of cattle in our employ called “po’ white trash,” because they are a lot of low down yellow curs who are satisfied with cone pone and sow belly; give them a job at a dollar a day, and then work Hell out of them, and they are satisfied. They are just like their parents were before the Civil War, servile, cringing and cowardly to a degree, so much so that I feel like kicking one every time he comes near me.”
He went on to say that what the Bosses feared was the sturdy common stock which formed the back-bone of the Union. He said that such fellows were not allowed on his job a minute after he got a line on them. How do you cowards like this line of talk from the big fat, lazy slob who works Hell out of you and allows you just enough meat and bread to keep you in working condition? Allows you about $1.40 out of the $10 a day you earn for him. Fine isn’t it? For your wives, mothers and sisters sakes, don’t join the Union of your class, because if you do you might help to bring about an EIGHT HOUR DAY in the woods and mills of the United States, and much higher wages; think what a calamity that would be? instead of that damn dollar alarm clock, or 4 o’clock A. M. whistle, hustling your poor tired wife or mother out of bed before she can see to dress herself, both you and she could get up with the Sun, just as your Boss does now. You would then have time to improve your minds, and go to a moving picture show occasionally without bemoaning the expense, and feeling all broke up the morning after. But I forgot! this Boss I talked to said all you wanted was sow belly and a Hell of a lot of grinding toil, and judging you by your cowardly apathy and devotion to his interests, I guess he has you sized up right; but I’ll be, damned if I think your women folks are satisfied! When you go home to-night ask them if they are? I’ll beta dollar to a “sinker” that they will tell you a lot, also just what they think of you.
Men, men, wake up! or are you really “yellow curs?” Stand up and demand your rights, by joining the Union and fighting side by side with the brave boys who have made the Boss come through with an increase in wages here and there, a decrease in your living expenses in the “Robbersaries” and Weekly Pay-Day. Do not you know you can, by being MEN and swelling the ranks of the Union, wring more concessions from the grasping Boss? If you are afraid to join the Local near you, write to Jay Smith, Sec.-Treas., Alexandria, La., and he will put you on the Secret Membership Book, where you will find lots of company, because we have had to adopt this means in order to beat the Bosses black-list. Get busy right now, and rise in the estimation of your women folks and your fellow-workers already in the Union, some of whom are toiling right by your side in the mills and woods of the South. “A faint heart never won a fair lady,” and neither will such an organ win a damn thing except kicks, blows and contumely.
Don’t be afraid of starving here in the South where you have mild weather for ten months in the year, and worlds of turnip greens, sweet potatoes and peas. Ask your women what they think about your joining the Union? they will tell you to go ahead, and promise to give you their support, and that’s a big help too.
ARE YOU PO’ WHITE TRASH OR MEN? ANSWER!
The Voice of the People continued The Lumberjack. The Lumberjack began in January 1913 as the weekly voice of the Brotherhood of Timber Workers strike in Merryville, Louisiana. Published by the Southern District of the National Industrial Union of Forest and Lumber Workers, affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World, the weekly paper was edited by Covington Hall of the Socialist Party in New Orleans. In July, 1913 the name was changed to Voice of the People and the printing home briefly moved to Portland, Oregon. It ran until late 1914.
PDF of full issue: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/lumberjack/130918-voiceofthepeople-v2n37.pdf