Cutthroats of Society.
The Parade, Not Strong in Numbers, Makes Up in Gory Mottoes--Their Purpose.
Reiterating Anarchist, Doctrines to Shivering Hearers--Knives, and Guns, and Dynamite Urged.
With the smell of gin and beer, with blood-red flags and redder noses, and with banners inscribed with revolutionary mottoes, the anarchists inaugurated their grand parade and picnic yesterday morning. By half-past 9 o'clock people began to gather on Market street, between Washington and Randolph, and half an hour later the square was packed with a thirsty crowd of "workingmen, organized and unorganized , and tramps," who, in response to the call issued by the committee of the International, had assembled to do homage to the proletoriat. A platform was erected on one side of the square, from which the speakers poured forth their eloquence upon the surging throng beneath. At least 5,000 people were in the street. All sorts and conditions of men were gathered together and some sorts of women. In appearance the crowd resembled the usual Sunday afternoon audiences on the Lake-Front. Policemen were noticeable by their absence, as it was thought that the sight of blue coats and brass buttons might incite the Anarchists to some deed of violence. The police had little fear of the Socialists making any hostile demonstration, but that they might be prepared for any emergency all the policemen in the city were duty. Those who were not on post were held in reserve at the various stations, and were ready to go out at a moment's notice.
Sam Fielden mounted the impromptu platform and was greeted with a few spasmodic cheers and much waving of red flags. "We are the cutthroats of society," he began. "the polluted press says we are trying to destroy capital. But I tell you, No! We like capital, we want capital, and we only want to destroy the men who are monopolizing it, and we'll do it. The present system must stop. If it don't we'll stop it. Shall we stay body and bones in the grip of these robber kings? No! The Gatling guns of Illinois, the clubs of Carter Harrison's police can't keep us there. When you get a bigger club than Carter has he'll come to time.
There is going to be a parade tomorrow. Those fellows want to reconcile labor and capital. They want to reconcile you to your starving shanties. Of course you can go and look at the outside of the palaces of the profit-mongers of Michigan avenue. Those fellows hope to get even in the next world. God Almighty may have given them a private tip. But I am willing to trade my chances there for $5 here. So are the capitalist preachers. They are willing to have us wait for our share in the next world, but I notice that they catch on to all the snaps in this one.
"They have invited chief-murderer Harrison tomorrow, and assistant-murderer Bonfield. Have they forgotten Bill Pinkerton and his bloody gang?"
At the conclusion of Fielden's speech A. R. Parsons presented a large red banner to the Metal Workers of Chicago, in a speech which abounded in "baptisms of blood," "ori-flammes," and "flags dripping with gors."
The Head Marshall announced that a song written for the occasion would be sung. Some twenty unwashed musicians came to the front and shouted a chorus "Arbeit und der Arbeiter." After this the crowd formed and took up the line of march. Gus Neers, Gus Vilta, and A&dot, R. Parsons, the Head Marshall, leading off. Making a circuit of the square on Market street, between Randolph and Madison, they gradually fell into shape and turned down Madison street to Clark. On a rough count 2,000 people were in line -- "organized and unorganized workingmen, tramps and other victims of society," as the announcement put it. Although there were a great many internationalists, probably the greater number were boys and loafers who had joined the ranks in order to gain free entrance to the grove.
About fifty girls and women bearing a banner with the inscription, "American Corps," followed the second band.
Passing out Clark street to Chicago avenue, they reached Ogden Grove about 12:30 p.m. The line of march was broken and straggling, but good order ruled, and except for a little good-natured chaffing on the part of the spectators the bands had all the noise to themselves. There were dozens of red flags and flowing banners with combustible mottoes. Here and there the Stars and Stripes fluttered mournfully, as though entering a silent protest against the company in which they were found.
"Hail to the social revolution!" "Subscribe for the Fireband!" "Lawlessness means equality for all!" Our civilization--powder, lead and the club!" "The greatest crime today is poverty!" "Down with government, God, and gold!" These and a host of other inflammatory precepts in all languages under the sun and Bohemian were carried along.
The mottoes did not show much originality or wit. For instance, a banner with the inscription, "Dick Oglesby, who murdered three poor men at Lemont, is not in this procession; you can see him later," was placed in juxtaposition with one bearing a similar reference to Carter Harrison. Flaming letters told the people that "Capital represents stolen labor," and that "Every Government is a conspiracy of the rich against the people." The most significant, perhaps, of all was the following, written in white letters on a background of flaming red:
The government of right is might. Working-men, arm yourselves.
Among the labor organizations taking part were: The North American Workingmen's Association, the metal-workers, the Bohemian carpenters, cabinet makers, and wage-workers, the Central Labor Union, the cloakmakers, the German Topographical Union, No. 9, furniture makers and smiths. The presence of these labor organizations was regarded by the Anarchists as an encouraging omen for the future of their cause. It was noticeable, however, that the members of the different groups were nearly all foreigners of the most ignorant stripe. In fact, in the whole procession not on man out of five was a native-born American.
Of the large crowd that marched out less than one-half entered the grove and many of these left after a few moments. The cold, damp afternoon took all the snap out of the gathering. The ice-cream man loaded his goods into a cart and drove off, and the beer-sellers scarcely made enough to pay car-fare. The merry-go-round creaked dismally now and then, and one heard an occasional shot in the shooting gallery, but taken all in all it was a very melancholy picnic. The regenerators of society looked as though they were the possessors of all the "miseries of the down-trodden masses." A band played during most of the afternoon, and the platform was crowded with dancers. The few bedraggled women present were soon snapped up as partners, so men waited with each other or waited alone.
In one corner the German contingent gathered round a table, drank beer and sang. About 4 the speeches began. Sam Fielden repeated his morning talk with variations. Parsons read an address, and Spies, editor of the Workingman's Journal, spoke at some length. The most explosive eloquence, however, came from the women. Mrs. Parsons, a determined looking negress, deposited her Communistic suckling in a chair and mounted the platform. "The Slaves are out today! We are starving and homeless, but we cast out in thousands today. I tell you, the profitmongers don't know what it means, but we'll teach them. There are 20,000 Socialist in Chicago--3,000 of them armed. What can stop us if we begin to kill. Take your knives, and guns, and dynamite, and let them try to stop us!" The remainder of Mrs. Parsons speech was lost in the inopportune crashing of the band.
Before dark the crowd had thinned to a few hundred victims of society, who had not even energy enough to get up a row. There were a few drunks, but no disturbances of any kind.