‘To Hell With Your Courts!’ by Jack Whyte from Mother Earth. Vol. 7 No. 7. September, 1912.

About two years after this, comrade Whyte was shot while organizing in Tonopah, Nevada. Badly wounded, he died two months later in a San Francisco hospital on February 2, 1915.

‘To Hell With Your Courts!’ by Jack Whyte from Mother Earth. Vol. 7 No. 7. September, 1912.

ON BEING sentenced to jail for “conspiracy” to violate an unconstitutional ordinance against freedom of speech in San Diego, Jack Whyte, one of the most active and intelligent members of the Industrial Workers, uttered the following defiance: “There are only a few words that I care to say, and this court will not mistake them for a legal argument, for I am not acquainted with the phraseology of the bar, nor the language common to the courtroom.

“There are two points which I want to touch upon —the indictment itself and the misstatement of the prosecuting attorney. The indictment reads: ‘The People of the State of California against J.W. Whyte and others.’ It’s a hideous lie. The people in this courtroom know that it is a lie; the court itself knows that it is a lie, and I know that it is a lie. If the people of the State are to blame for this persecution, then the people are to blame for the murder of Michael Hoey and the assassination of Joseph Mikolasek. They are to blame and responsible for every bruise, every insult and injury inflicted upon the members of the working class by the vigilantes of this city. The people deny it, and have so emphatically denied it that Governor Johnson sent Harris Weinstock down here to make an investigation and clear the reputation of the people of the State of California from the odor that you would attach to it. You cowards throw the blame upon the people, but I know who is to blame and I name them—it is Spreckles and his partners in business and this court is the lackey and lickspittle of that class, defending the property of that class against the advancing horde of starving American workers.

“The prosecuting attorney in his plea to the jury accused me of saying on a public platform at a public meeting: “To hell with the courts; we know what justice is.’ He told a great truth when he lied, for if he had searched the innermost recesses of my mind he could have found that thought, never expressed by me before, but which I express now. ‘To hell with your courts, I know what justice is,’ for I have sat in your court room day after day and have seen members of my class pass before this, the so-called bar of justice. I have seen you, Judge Sloane, and others of your kind, send them to prison because they dared to infringe upon the sacred rights of property. You have become blind and deaf to the rights of man to pursue life and happiness, and you have crushed those rights so that the sacred rights of property should be preserved. Then you tell me to respect the law. I don’t. I did violate the law, and I will violate every one of your laws and still come before you and say: ‘To hell with the courts,’ because I believe that my right to live is far more sacred than the sacred right of property that you and your kind so ably defend.

“I don’t tell you this with the expectation of getting justice, but to show my contempt for the whole machinery of law and justice as represented by this and every other court. The prosecutor lied, but. I will accept it as a truth and say again, so that you, Judge Sloane, may not be mistaken as to my attitude: ‘To hell with your courts; | know what justice is.’”

Mother Earth was an anarchist magazine begin in 1906 and first edited by Emma Goldman in New York City. Alexander Berkman, became editor in 1907 after his release from prison until 1915.The journal has a history in the Free Society publication which had moved from San Francisco to New York City. Goldman was again editor in 1915 as the magazine was opposed to US entry into World War One and was closed down as a violator of the Espionage Act in 1917 with Goldman and Berkman, who had begun editing The Blast, being deported in 1919.

PDF of full issue: https://archive.org/download/mother-earth/Mother%20Earth%20v07n07%20%281912-09%29%20%28c2c%20Harvard%20DSR%29.pdf

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