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Newspaper Page Text
FROM EARLY MORNING UNTIL NIGHT HIS
TORY OF A DAY WITH THE STRIKERS
BY JANE WHITAKER
"They call us 'foreign agitators,'
and we are glad to be called that
We come from the -country where
we are taught the class struggle in
our childhood; it is bred in our bones
to fight oppression because we have
always had to fight it We are used
to the Cossacks; they do not frighten
us. So long as we have souls in our
bodies we will go on fighting and
when we stop fighting it will be be
cause our souls are dead."
"If we lose this strike it means
for the men that they might as well
jump in the river, but with girls it is
a case of selling their bodies because
we cannot live on what we have
been making. We have got to win."
The words were spoken by a man
and a girl, a slender man with a fire
in his eyes that makes one almost
believe he is being consumed in his
ardor for the cause of his people, and
a girl who without emotion pointed
out what must be the fate of girl
strikers if they lose," and the two
sounded the keynote of one day and
every day in the clothing workers'
Before '6 o'clock in the morning
their strugle is on each day. They
are picketing the shops while the
bosses sneak strikebreakers in
through the alleys that are" blocked
by the bosses' police force that the
strikers may not interfere.
At 9 o'clock they are at the differ
ent halls attending shop meetings.
At noon they are again on the picket
line girls and men and before they
return some one will have been slug
ged or perhaps even shot and there
will be an added current of intensity
as they come back into the halls
At 3 o'clock the most interesting
meeting of all to me is held, the mass
meeting of girls. The hall is well fill
ed. Mingling with the strikers are
women who are attempting to help,
clubwomen and sometimes girls from
the University of Chicago who have
been brought there in the hope that
they may assist the strikers.
"I have been in the class struggle
since I was 13. My best friend is in
Siberia and has five years to remain
there if his strength holds out My a.
mother begged me to come to this w
country because she said she didn't
want to lose me and she would feel
I was safe here."
One of the chairmen of the board
of trustees of the Cutters' union, J.
Glickman, is speaking. What he says
is simple, but there is such pathos
through the very simplicity of it that
a girl who has never before come in
touch with the class struggle save
as it is written in the books she has
studied at the university wipes tears
out of her eyes.
"My two brothers are on the bat
tlefield of Europe. I do not know if
they are alive. I have not heard
from my mother in five months and
I do not know if she is alive. I do not
want to think and so I try to forget
in this struggle. I am with a house
that has signed up with the union,
Hart, S chaff ner & Marx, where the
men and women have decent condi
tions through the union, but I am out
to help you.
"They call us foreign agitators.
But I tell you this, it is because we
have been fighting all our lives that
we are able to understand the class
"Your American-born man, do you
know his' condition? He works in a
department store for $12 or $13 a
week. He cannot marry or, if he A
does, his wife must work with him. 9
They have no home. -I see them eat
ing together, morning, noon and
night in restaurants.
"I speak to him of the, class strug
gle. He doesn't know what I mean.
He can tell me the baseball score in
a flash, but he doesn't know how.