Petitions, protests, resolutions, hundreds of thousands of them – all in vain! The masters are triumphant: Joe Hill is shot, murdered, dead.
What now? What next? Not only what, but who is next? You and I, who are striving for a better world, we may be next tomorrow. You who have a vision of a society without masters, and are spreading your ideal, among the oppressed and exploited, tomorrow you may be led to the scaffold. Why not? You say you have committed no crime? You don’t have to! If you are known as a man of deep devotion to the Cause of the Workers, never mind about a charge: any shrewd attorney will find one against you, just as they did for Joe Hill. That’s what they have done 28 years ago to Parsons and his comrades, that’s what they have tried to do to Haywood, Moyer and Pettibone, to Ettor and Giovanitti, to Ford and Suhr in California, Rangel and Clines in Texas, that’s what they are trying to do right now to Schmidt and Caplan in Los Angeles.
And what are you going to do? Again protest? O, yes, in this “free” democratic country you have freedom of speech: talk! Talk your head off – who cares? A lot you care when you hear a hungry dog barking? That’s just the attitude of the masters towards us: Bark! a lot they care!
Fellow-workers and comrades! All of you to whom the existing conditions are repugnant, and all of you who find a Free Society worth fighting for, – let us profit by the death and torture of our martyrs in realizing once for all that
Mere barking won’t do!
We must learn to bite, and bite effectively!
A. Barron. [Baron returned to Russia in 1917 and was active until he was shot in 1937.]
From: The Alarm, Chicago. Vol. 1, no. 3 December 1915.