Little Falls textile strike of 1912
From Notes from the Margins
From Elizabeth Gurley Flynn
- While the two great IWW textile strikes were taking place in Lawrence and Paterson, and we were involved in the aftermath defense of strike leaders in both places, the IWW was busy elsewhere. In 1912 there was a textile strike in Little Falls, New York, where two strike leaders, Legere and Boccini, were imprisoned and a very capable little woman IWW organizer—Matilda Robbins—gave leadership which brought the strike to a successful conclusion.
From Mother Earth
- The trial of the twenty defendants in the now famous Little Falls strike cases has been continued till March 1. Fourteen of the defendants have already been in jail since Oct. 31, and now must remain there several weeks more, the amount of bail required being prohibitive. Notwithstanding the fact that they are charged with comparatively minor offences, bonds for all would amount to a total of $10,000. Such a sum is altogether beyond the means of their fellow mill workers.
- It will be remembered that forty-six persons were imprisoned following the attempt of Socialist speakers to address a throng of strikers in a public park here, and immediately after an effort on the part of the police to break up a parade of pickets which resulted in the wounding of two policemen and injuries to many strikers. Speakers were pulled down from their platforms while quoting from the Bible, from a speech by Abraham Lincoln, from the Declaration of Independence and from the Constitution of the United States.
- Among those arrested and locked up in the Little Falls jail, since described as a "hell hole," was Dr. George R. Lunn, the Socialist Mayor of Schenectady, N. Y., who, according to the information written on the police blotter at the time, was taken into custody "for speaking." He will be tried of Feb. 17 for "inciting to riot."
- A few days afterward came the clash with the police, and in a raid on their headquarters strikers were arrested by wholesale and several of them were terribly beaten after being locked into their cells. They have since been confined in Herkimer jail.
- Former strikers have since organized a defence committee and are making an appeal for funds with which to fight the cases. The issues, they point out, are the rights of free speech and peaceful assemblage and the right to strike. Contributions may be sent to Miss Matilda Rabinowitz, Secretary, Little Falls Defence Committee, Box 458, Little Falls, N. Y.
- That this logic prevails in the camp of government, every-day events prove without a shadow of a doubt: Lawrence, Little Falls, and hundreds of similar instances, where the expense of supporting the Black Hundreds has been shifted by the masters to the shoulders of the community. It proves that the legal authorities not only approve of the crimes of the plutocratic Hessians, but that they are even determined to make the taxpayers foot the bill for the protection of the property of the masters.