Monday June 1, 1914
The Masses and The International Socialist Review Cover the Ludlow Massacre
Both of these Socialist magazines featured this dramatic drawing by John Sloan:
A long article written by the editor, Max Eastman, tells the story of the "Class War in Colorado," illustrated by the following drawings:
The insert reads:
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
BE IT KNOWN by these presents that 120 soldiers of the Colorado National Guard are enrolled as the founders and charter members of the Order of Patriotic Mutineers, for distinguished and heroic service in refusing to obey the Command of their superior officers to entrain for Trinidad for the purpose of shooting down their fellowmen and fellow-countrymen on strike for the betterment of life.
And that these soldiers of the Colorado National Guard, having thus instituted one of the great movements of history in these United States, are herewith commended to posterity for the reward of immortality for this act of patriotism and humanity.
Signed and Sealed on this twenty-sixth day of April, nineteen-hundred fourteen by The Masses Magazine for
THE CIVILIZED WORLD
The Review features long articles written by Leslie H. Marcy and Vincent St. John which detail the horrors of the the Ludlow Massacre and describe the Class War in Colorado. The following article is written with deep feeling by Clara Ruth Mozzor who was present at the death-pit as the bodies of the women and children were recovered:
By Clara Ruth Mozzor
TWO days following the Ludlow massacre I came upon the ruins of the tent colony. Ludlow was still a smoldering, smoking mass of ashes. What was once the homes of these men who had come across the seas to build for their wives and babies was now an aching desolation. I came to get at the bottom of the trouble that caused a colony in which there were women and children to be fired on by machine guns and soldiers' rifles.
Waste and ruin, death and misery were the harvest of this war that was waged on helpless people. The ruthlessness of the steady fusillade of bullets from the machine guns turned against these people by the terrific force of capital in the human form of the inhuman octopus John D. Rockefeller, wiped out whole families, separated husbands and wives, mothers and babies and sent into the beyond little ones whose day of life was but a short time off.
Only a few weeks ago Ludlow was a colony of life. Eight American flags waved gladly in the air over its tents. Here was going on the making of Americans in this great western melting pot in the southern coal fields of Colorado.
And on these self-same ruins was enacted the most awful tragedy, the darkest chapter of American history, the Ludlow massacre when sleeping families were made the targets with which to break the backs of the strikers.
The very region of Ludlow is one of nature's hell holes, full of its dark canyons and deep arroyos, its hills and mountains. And in these mountains, in these Black Hills are scattered the men. Many of them do not know where their families are. Some of the women and children are still in the friendly ranch houses, while most of them are in the shelter of Trinidad homes and refuges thrown open to them.
The entire southern district is in the throes of war. Not civil, but industrial warfare, that has made such a reign of terror as must forever remain a black spot in the history of the state and nation. Ludlow is not the beginning of this war of desolation and sorrow. Seven months ago the union men went on strike. They demanded many things, but they were willing to waive them all should they only be given the recognition of their union.
Today in Ludlow stalks the spirit of the dead, the massacred and the slaughtered. Mothers with babies at their breasts and babies at their skirts and mothers with babies yet unborn were the targets of this modern warfare.
And why? is the question. "Why should this be so?" seems to be written across the early morning sky. The question is not now one of who fired first, but why were women and children fired upon?In Ludlow the militia answer the question. In Trinidad and where the refugees were, the miners answer the question.
Major Hamrock, the officer who was in command of the Ludlow militia on the day of the attack on the tent colony, to all questions answers only "Self defense."
"But the machine guns, they were used against women and babies; were they not?"
"Yes, but we thought they had fled."
"Where to? When? They had no time, had they?"
"No, but we thought they were gone."
"We gave them warning," said another officer.
"We had trained machine guns on the colony before," said still another.
No one agreed on the minor question of why? but all knew that machine guns were trained on the colony sometime early in the morning.
"Did you fire the tents?"
"No," was the answer, "that was due to an explosion in the camp." And that is the story of the militia. "Self defense, self defense," insisted the commanding officer.
And then comes the other side.
"They fired the machine guns on us to better destroy the colony," say the strikers.
"They came to us demanding that we deliver up to them a man who was never with us. They had no civil authority to search the camp and the military had already been removed.
"Then came a call for a conference with the Greek leader of the colony, Louis Tikas. He was coming back to us, waving a white flag in his hand, when two bombs went off and the firing started from the militia in front of us and the machine guns to the rear. Our men snatched their rifles and made an open dash for the hills, thinking thereby to draw the fire to themselves and leave us women and children free. But the militia was bent on exterminating us. They fired on us all day long. Some of us were in the pits and dugouts the men had made and some of us were in wells and in the pump house.
"And then at sundown," and the women have given this out on affidavit, "at sun down, we saw the soldiers go from tent to tent, and as they left each tent would become a blazing ruin."
"At night we fled, some to the ranch houses and some to the depot where a train took us to Trinidad."This is the story of the refugees. There was still another story. The story of the dead. On the afternoon that I was at Ludlow, out of one pit, the "Black Hole of Ludlow," the bodies of eleven children and two women were taken, smothered and mangled, charred, burned and swollen. One by one they were placed on the dead wagons and taken into Trinidad. Mexican women and two babies, a third that was to give birth in three months; another woman and her three children, and still another baby that was born dead three days after the mother had been killed. This baby came after the mother was brought to Trinidad. Physicians said it was the strangest child birth ever given to woman. That same day Charles Costa, the father of the family, was brought in from the sand pits in front of the Black Hills, where he had been doing duty, shot in two.
These were the dead.
In Trinidad were also the living dead. In a cheap boarding house, up several flights of steps, following winding corridors, in a dim lit windowless room, lay Mary Pedrigon [Petrucci]. She was living and yet her mind was dead. She had escaped from Ludlow, but her babies were smothered in the pit that held those other women and children. Mary Pedrigon [Petrucci] was thin and wasted. And over and over again her parched lips would repeat the names of her little ones, the only persons that Mary Pedrigon [Petrucci] could remember.
In another house was a mother, three babies and a father. They were mourners. Frank Snyder, their ten-year-old boy, had been shot before their very eyes. The little one playing in the tiny room, happy and laughing, but in the ears of the mother was not the sound of the voices of the babies left to her, but of the boy, Frank, the back of whose head had been shot off by a bullet.
These are the stories, living and dead, of Ludlow. These were the incidents that marked the Ludlow massacre. These are facts as I found them and the people as I saw them.
And still in my ears rings the unanswered question, "Why?"
[photograph of Ludlow Refugees added]
-of June 1914
International Socialist Review
-of June 1914
All images are from sources as described above.
The Workers Song-Dropkick Murphys