Chicago Tribune -- May 10, 1876The Commune
A parcel of blatant communist demagogues, among whom are Thorsmark, Jeffers, Mc Auliff and others, called a meeting of workingmen, and especially the lumbershovers now on a strike, at the Twelfth Street Turner Hall last evening, urging them to assert their rights and show their strength. The gathering was in behalf of the commune, and of the most fiery character; so far as the man Thorsmark is concerned, his address, delivered in any other place but Chicago, would have sent him behind prison bars.
The meeting was called to order by William Jeffers in English and German, and he was chosen to preside. H. Thorsmark was the first speaker. He addressed the meeting in German. He said the war had commenced, as ever before, and was now a war of nationality. He paid a tribute to Bismarck, who, he said, filled his own and his generals' pockets with gold stolen from the people. The Franco-Prussian war was between rich and poor, and he denounced Bismarck and his policy.
He then came down to the present troubles in the lumber district, and quoted from the Staats-Zeitung, and said it had not stated facts, when it said that the men had been paid $2 a day, and objected to a reduction to $1.75 a day. The 2bosses talked about hard times and tried to make big profits by reducing the poor men from $1.50 to $1.25 a day. They, the bosses, had said the poor men could live on corn-meal like hogs, and dress themselves in rags. He wanted this thing somewhat reversed. Men could be driven so far that they would be finally compelled to turn and fight against their pursuers. He wanted them to pledge their lives to maintain their rights. They were not compelled to work at starvation wages. They should not demand less than $1.75 a day. He held that workmen had a right to meet in an orderly manner. The rioters, he held, had only protected themselves; and had they not done that, they would not have deserved the name of men. He wanted them to make a party of their own; to show that they were strong and honest, and that thieves could not walk over them.
He then paid his attention to the last grand jury, and the little conversation between Mr. Storey and Mr. Hesing, and the old bribery business between. This pleased the audience. He then said that there were no such rascals among them. They need not expect anything from the capitalists; nothing from the Staats-Zeitung, or its editors, Hesing and Raster, because it was a business of grinding profit. He wanted them not to forget that they were the down-trodden ones, and that they should not fall to pieces like the Hesing and Storey party, which had fallen apart of its own accord.3
Washington was a captain who had a purpose and who was a man of determination. This same trait was what had helped Bismarck to lay out kings, so that he now wanted to pocket German railways. This spirit he wanted them to show, and they would succeed in carrying a great revolution to success.
As a diversion, he wanted them to battle through the ashes of cities and to clean out Martin and Schayer for protecting their own party.
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