Radnik -- January 03, 1925Milan Glumac Jurisic, the First Jugoslav Revolutionary in America
It was in the year 1907, at the time of the great crisis which shook capitalist America, that many predicted a revolution of the masses. In those times a small group of workers came together in Allegheny, Pa. (the present city of Pittsburg) to start a campaign against the enemies of the outlawed poor and against the capitalistic system.
Being connected by the Social Democratic Party of Croatia at Zagreb and not having among themselves able leaders and organizers, they wrote to the Central at Zagreb to send them a leader. For that purpose a collection of $94.25 was made for traveling expenses. A workers' paper was to be published but there was no editor available.
At that time there lived in Croatia a young man who was in the way of many of the leaders of the labor movement. He was a Social-Democrat, but quite different from all other leaders. The working men liked him, 2the authorities hated him, other leaders disliked him. Keen, but clever; a born revolutionary, he was driven from place to place. He was not wanted by anybody, until finally he was drafted into the army. He was Milan Glumac.
For his own good as well as that of the Socialist Party, Glumac was chosen to go to America and start Socialist propaganda among Jugoslav workers. Glumac wrote to his comrades in America: "Dear Comrades: The Central Committee of the Socialist Party wants me to go to America. I accept because of my personal situation and your needs. It will help the movement and myself to evade the army into which I was drafted though sick. We will work shoulder to shoulder against capitalism. I am ready to come."
A few months later Milan Glumac was in America. At a meeting for publishing a Croatian workingmen's newspaper, the Radnicka Straza, he said: "Comrades! Contemplating in this short time the life of our immigrants, I came to the very sad conclusion that the worst elements among them are their leaders, who are the meanest frauds, the boldest adventurers, bearers of stupidity and immoral outcasts. With such leadership our people is doomed. They are ready to commit any crime against the immigrant, 3without remorse or feeling of responsibility. That means it is our duty to enlighten and to organize the Croatian workers in the Socialist ranks. Be not deceived, that will not be an easy matter, but against capitalism and its servants we must lead an unmerciful fight.
All were in accord with the above statements. Glumac moved from Allegheny to Chicago, where a Socialist branch was also organized. A short time after, on December 25, 1907, the first number of Radnicka Straza was published.
On its first page was a fiery proclamation addressed to the Croatian immigrants written by the editor, Milan Glumac.
The closing words of the proclamation were: "Workmen, outlawed brethren! Turn from you adventurers who represent themselves as patriots but in fact are for capitalism and fraud. Long enough you have been cheated by them. Take your fate in your own hands. Join a great circle of working men. Take care of yourselves. Do not allow wolves to take care of the sheep.4
Radnicka Straza appears at a time of greatest misery. This newspaper was created to help wretched and miserable workers and they must support and keep it. Forward, for the holy work and justified struggle! We must not remain miserables and slaves forever. Forward! Subscribe and read Radnicka Straza."
After only a few years of strenuous work, the Jugoslav Socialist Federation grew larger, and the newspaper had more subscribers. All the work rested on Glumac. There was no money to hire co-workers. The editor and his wife shared the office of Radnicka Straza for their living quarters. The place was crowded and dark. Many persons unemployed came to the office to get warm. Life was full of misery, but Glumac never complained. When his presence was most needed he became sick with tuberculosis. That was in 1911. Glumac left to recuperate in Missouri and later in California. He returned to his dingy office, where he died January 5, 1913.
When asked how he became tubercular, he related his life story thus:5
"I was born in 1884 at Bosanski Samac. I was born of poor parents who had me learn the printing trade. That paid little and was a killing job, at least during my apprenticeship. I worked here and there and became a typesetter in Budapest, where I worked for the Narodna Rijec (People's Word), a Socialist paper. I also wrote articles and did well because I read much and did propaganda work since I was 18 years old. After that I went to Narodni Glas ( People's Voice), at Novi Sad, as editor, with the duty of going out to towns and villages to agitate. I did this work gladly. In the town of Srijem (Sirmium) I held one of my most successful meetings. From afar came peasants on wagons and on foot, under red banners. The meeting, most demonstrative in form, was calm and very dignified.
"The next day I was taken to jail by gendarmes. Without any hearing I was told (I was) to be deported to my domicile as a person dangerous to public peace and order. On the spot I was ordered to leave, guarded by a policeman. Traveling on wagon and on foot I reached, after a long wandering, my domicile. Even the weather was against me. It was raining and cold. I was compelled to remain overnight in jail in my wet clothes 6and that was the start of my sickness."
Milan Glumac was born as a proletarian and as such he died. After his death the newspaper Radnicka Straza did not possess the pugnacity it had under his editorship.
Glory be to his proletarian work and honor to his ashes!
An Old Comrade.
II B 2 d 1, I E, III H
Secondary listingsCroatian // Attitudes > Social Organization (I E) ?
Croatian // Assimilation > Relations with Homeland (III H) ?
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