Dziennik Chicagoski -- August 30, 1893Unpleasant Occurrences (Editorial)
Times are hard--they affect all of us very closely--and they have indirectly been the cause of occurrences that are very unpleasant to the Poles in America.
We have never attempted to conceal facts, no matter how painful. The readers of Dziennik [Chicagoski]know of the riots caused by unemployed workers in Milwaukee, Detroit, Buffalo, and, finally, in Chicago. Unfortunately, Poles also played a certain part in these riots. We will not repeat the sorry facts here; we wish only to point out that street riots are instigated by individuals or by bands of adventurers who have not stopped is the case, responsibility should not fall upon Polonia in general; actually, however, it does.
Such incidents are widely publicized by the American press; they are talked 2about by the American public. Poles who take part in street riots, committing robbery and violence, do incalculable harm to themselves and to all of their brethren in America. They create the worst possible opinion of us. They give reason to claims that the Poles are a savage people, devoid of any civilization, lawless, given to violence and crime. They create prejudice against Polish workingmen among employers; they may bring it about that the doors of all factories and business establishments will be closed to us forever--we will be outcasts of American society. In short, such incidents bring disgrace upon our nationality, and may stop the development of the Polish element in America forever.
These incidents are the more unpleasant in that they are not justified by absolute necessity; apparently they are the results of ignorance and imprudence on the one hand, and anarchistic agitation on the other. It is difficult to justify such incidents, of course. Times are hard, but as yet hunger stares no one in the face. The majority of workingmen is employed; the unemployed can still take care of themselves. We well understand that poverty is no joke and is hardly conducive to calm thought, but in the face of poverty, 3every one of us ought to remember Christian principles; we ought to remember that crime and violence will gain us nothing. Examples from recent riots are proof of this. Injuries, jail, disgrace--these are the profits. Did any one of the rioters gain at least a crumb of bread by his violence? No. Did it help his family in any way? Certainly not. On the contrary, he has only caused them greater misery by his injuries or his imprisonment. Neither here in Chicago nor anywhere else where the masses are orderly and opposed to anarchism do rioters stand to gain; they expose themselves merely to the worst consequences: long imprisonment or even death.
We most fervently appeal to the Poles not to permit themselves to be misled by desperation, or what is worse, by the subversive whisperings of evil people who would make of us a living pathway for their criminal agitation. We appeal to them to be temperate and peaceable, to bear misfortune patiently, not to drag their brethren into disgrace--not to be blinded by passion. We ask that they try to improve their condition by legal methods, not by violence and crime; finally, we ask that they follow the example of peaceableness set by American and other workingmen, who are no worse off than we are.4
We stated in advance that the Poles who take part in street riots are exceptions among us. In truth, the Poles are, generally speaking, a peaceful and sensible people. Only certain individuals engage in riots and violence. Who are they? In general, they are people of the worst type. In part, these people are ordinary "bums" (ulicznicy); in part, they are uncouth and unenlightened recent arrivals from Europe; and in part, they are people who are influenced by anarchistic propaganda.
Unfortunately, this is the truth. If a handful of Poles were found among the rioters, it was, for the most part, the fault of anarchist agitators. Unfortunately we already have several such Poles, with a certain R---[Rybakowski] at the head, this R--- who daily makes shameless and godless speeches on the lake front. The seeds sown by him and those like him and by a few anarchistic newspapers have germinated. As a result, the entire American Polonia may be sunk in poverty and despair.
These weeds must be torn out by the roots. Away with anarchism and crime from 5among Poles! The mass of honest Polish workingmen should cast out the comparatively few lawless individuals from among their midst;they should protest loudly against the activities of agitators and they ought to state clearly that they not only have nothing in common with rioters, but condemn them severely. The Poles in general, Polish priests and leaders, ought to take the newly arrived, less enlightened Polish elements, and teach them that although America is a free country, it has laws; crimes are punishable here just as in the old country, perhaps even more severely. They should be taught that excesses against the existing order are crimes against God, country, and brethren.
That is one of our duties, but there is yet another. The other depends upon our giving material assistance, according to our means, to those who have really been affected by hard times, those who are really in need--if there be any such people. We repeat: if there be any such people. We learn from reliable sources that one of the "unemployed," "hungry" workingmen, a Pole named Harowicz, who was arrested in a riot at the City Hall, had three hundred 6dollars in Stensland's bank [Milwaukee Avenue State Bank]. This is an official fact. Such a scandalous fact, however, should not deter us from giving aid to those who are really in need.
To determine which people are really in need, and to give aid to these people is our second important duty.
I D 2 c, I C, I E, II D 10, II E 1, III G
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