REDS AND CAPITALISTS, HAYWOOD AND HAMMOND AND
ME [HUNTER BEAR 1/18/04]
COMMENTARY BY HUNTER GRAY/HUNTER BEAR MICMAC / ST FRANCIS ABENAKI / ST REGIS MOHAWK
I get up every morning at about 3 am -- sometimes even earlier. Do a lot of thinking with my Big Gallon and more of very strong black coffee.
And that's when I do most of my writing -- these days, pretty much
autobiographical but with as many contemporary and futuristic social justice arrowheads as I can pack in. And, if you don't like my stuff,
you can delete it in a moment. If you're an editor who happens to get it [I am not speaking necessarily of this particular piece] and it's too much for your journal, you don't have to run it -- your world, your business -- but after awhile I won't send you anything.
I cut my own trail.
I've been fighting, for several months now, a potentially lethal disease:
the worst kind of Systemic Lupus and, in that grim context, the very worst
variety -- attacks other organs in the most predatory,
carnivorous, voracious, absolutely unpredictable fashion. It's damaged --
badly -- my cardiovascular system, gave me very serious pneumonia,
attacked liver and kidneys [beat that off] and messed up some other things. Its December contribution -- full fledged diabetes [suddenly my blood sugar count hit almost a thousand!] -- often has me hungry, despite Eldri's best efforts. No known diabetes in my family lines.
Not very long ago, the senior physician on our team looked sharply at
myself -- and Eldri -- and began to talk again about the fact that
this form of Lupus could, despite the best efforts of the doctors,
strike anytime, anywhere in me. Likening it to a ravaging wolf,
he continued: "This may be the point," said he, "at
which you may want to start giving away some of
your possessions." Then, perhaps aware that he'd been too candid, he
excused himself -- while Eldri and I stared at each other.
Two days ago, during another exam, I said to a doctor, "I don't want
another hospital experience." He looked stricken and he looked away, could not meet my eyes. "I hope that doesn't happen," he said.
No great surprise on any of this for me or Eldri or the family. We have no
intention of giving away any of the ranch, so to speak. We have a carefully
done, communalistic and consensus-oriented Family Will which we all
did as a collective group a very few months ago. And on both sides of my
family, I come from Flint and Steel. I am a fighter, sense that things are
getting better [I am stronger at this point], and I am optimistic. For the
first time in months, I'm going to drive my Jeep this afternoon.
But this is about things other than illness. It's about my maternal
grandfather's role model -- John Hays Hammond -- and about
one of my own: Big Bill Haywood.
As I've occasionally indicated at other points, my Mother's family
background was diverse -- to say the least. While Dad was a full blooded
Indian -- Mother was an Anglo.
I've been doing some autobiographical thinking and writing. My mother
[died in Arizona at 95] was Scottish -- but she did have a Swiss
grandfather: Michael Senn. He emigrated to the Rockies, worked as a gold miner, became an Abolitionist, was [of course] in the
Union Army, homesteaded in Kansas, founded the Knights of Labor in
Kansas, became a major Populist leader and
served for years in the legislature -- where he consistently fought for the
right of women to vote. And he supported Native rights with vigour. In time he became a socialist. His daughter, Marie Barbara Senn, my maternal grandmother on that side, was a [William Jennings] Bryan supporter, the first woman to get a Masters degree in Kansas [domestic science] and the first female college prof [North Dakota Ag at Fargo] in the history of the new state of North Dakota which had just shed its Territorial status.
All well and good on all fronts so far.
There she met my mother's father, Thomas Hunter Heath, a slightly older
student who was just finishing up his B.S. degree in Engineering at the
state college. He was the oldest son of Scottish immigrants from Ontario.
His own father came into Dakota Territory in 1870 and, via cunning and open violence against homesteaders [remember the excellent flick, Shane?], established a very large horse ranch. My grandparents were married and immediately left for North Idaho and the Coeur d' Alene metal mining district where he signed on as a mining engineer -- always his Real Thing. He drew his tutelage from the renowned metal mining engineer and infamous capitalist, John Hays Hammond of the Bunker Hill and Sullivan mining operation, and Hammond's successors. They sent
my grandfather to UC Berkeley for a post grad engineering year.
He lived to be almost a hundred -- August 1875 into July 1973. Mining
[hardrock, metal] engineering was his first love, he was a capitalist into
his bone marrow [had several involvements],
and -- to me -- a loving and generous grandfather.
My parents and I did not, of course, share his socio-economic and
political views. [My folks did spend most of
his inheritance, most of which he gave away
while still alive, on their own things.]
But I got More.
I drew a Hell of a lot of cunning and shrewdness and
hard rock toughness from that old man -- and at least a working knowledge of the capitalist system.
And, they've always helped me enormously in militant
organizing, fighting to the throat, hard-line negotiating.
For good causes.
Capitalists and their managers have never awed me. Nor have
But, obviously, I have always -- always -- drawn my Vision from our Native side and Michael Senn --the old Swiss radical.
In addition to working on regional racism issues, and classifying all sorts
of social justice papers, I've been doing a lot of reading lately: Robin
Kelley: Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During The Great Depression [Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990.] I have a few quibbles with it -- but it's nicely done.
Maurice B Better: Contract Bargaining Handbook For Local Union Leaders
[Washington DC: The Bureau of National Affairs, 1993.] Very helpful indeed.
And I'm starting on Union Steward's Complete Guide [David Prosten, editor], [Washington DC and Annapolis, MD: Union Communication Services, Inc., 1997.] Very solid and quite comprehensible. Valuable to me especially because it's much up-to-date.
But I'm now, with my maternal grandfather on my mind, also getting around to reading my two volume boxed set of the autobiography of that Great Mining Engineer and Infamous Capitalist: John Hays Hammond. [New York: Farrar and Rinehart, Inc., 1935. Pp 813. Photographs, bibliography, index.]
William D Haywood and John Hays Hammond were both American Westerners whose first love was metal mining and the Real Mountains. Haywood was born at Salt Lake in 1869 and died in 1928; Hammond was born in 1855 at San Francisco and died in 1936. Different
directions they went -- about 180 degrees -- but each
was as tough as hard-rock. Hammond got his education from Yale and Haywood drew his as a workingstiff in the mines. But, after that, each
was consistently a field man. And each,
a master of the direct statement in the best traditions of the Wild Country
who did his own writing, wrote an excellent and very readable autobiography. Hammond also wrote a number of earlier books on the mining of precious metals and conservative politics as well -- and Haywood wrote widely on left socialism and anarcho-syndicalism.
Haywood had been a prospector [and so have I]. And, to give him his due, Hammond established his field credentials with me when he wrote in
his autobio, "To talk of mines and mining without mentioning the prospector would be like writing a treatise on mathematics without using the multiplication table." [Page 95.]
Of course, the prospector often -- usually -- lost his claim or claims,
directly and indirectly, to the big corporate outfits.
Anyway, Hammond's autobiography starts with his family -- father was a '49 gold rusher -- and covers one Hell of a lot of Earth: e.g., Mexico, North
Idaho, Southern Africa, New Guinea. [His alliance with Cecil Rhodes
netted Hammond imprisonment and a death sentence in
South Africa -- but he got off via a $125,000 fine.]
One way to indicate the very broad subject matter in Hammond's
autobiography -- albeit faithfully focused on capitalism at every point --
is to indicate a few of the 68 -- yes, indeed, 68 -- almost always full page
photographs that grace the work: the Guggenheims -- eastern capitalists,
Mexican dictator Porfirio Diaz, several shots of the legendary Bunker Hill
and Sullivan mining operation in the Idaho Coeur d'Alene district
[which Hammond helped launch and which was one of the major
locations of my grandfather's work], many photos on Southern Africa
mining operations, Cecil Rhodes,Theodore Roosevelt, Andrew Carnegie,
William Howard Taft [photos of
Hammond with Taft and also Taft's family], Wilson and Harding [together in the latter's inaugural parade]; Calvin Coolidge. There is a fascinating
posed photo of Hammond under heavy armed guard outside a
courthouse or jail at Johannesburg.
No photo of FDR, of course.
[His son, John Hays Hammond, Jr, [1888 -1965] invented remote control and held more patents in the USA than anyone except Thomas Edison.]
John Hays Hammond was a pragmatist.
To his capitalist colleagues, he said:
"There must be organization, and you men pursue a mistaken policy in
fighting Gompers and Mitchell, who are conservative and patriotic,
and guiding labor with sanity and vision.
Gompers is not a socialist, and is energetically opposed to Communism. He has kept organized labor out of the hands of the radicals.
Organized labor we will have. You must take your choice between the
conservative Sam Gompers and the radical Bill Haywood."
I, of course, take Bill Haywood -- whose autobiography, Bill Haywood's Book: The Autobiography of William D. Haywood [New York: International Publishers, 1929 and many subsequent editions] has been of great importance to me for almost half a century.
To use my traditional Native American categorization dichotomy:
Haywood served his community -- and Hammond served himself.
Here are two posts that I have made on William D. "Big Bill" Haywood.
Before we go on to those, however, you all should be aware
that the two volume, boxed Hammond autobiography is sandwiched
in on one of my bookshelves -- between Haywood's work and the
fine autobiography of his good and loyal friend:
Ralph H Chaplin, Wobbly: The Rough And Tumble
Story Of An American Radical [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948.]
And they'll keep an eye on Hammond, for sure.
BIG BILL HAYWOOD [AN APPRECIATION] HUNTER GRAY
Note by Hunterbear:
I've been thinking a good deal about Big Bill Haywood.
He was an enduring Red socialist and Wobbly -- always with guts -- who was frequently attacked by the Yellows but who Kept Fighting all the way
through. He's been a hero of mine ever since I was a boy in the Arizona
mountains. But I never saw his book until very early in 1955 when I read
that great autobiography -- Bill Haywood's Book  -- in a Wobbly Hall on Seattle's Skid Road. There, coffee and stew pots perked and old-timers spent many hours indeed telling their rich and dramatic stories of Strikes and Struggle to an eager kid, just recently out of the U.S. Army -- and now out to Save the World. The old library in that IWW bastion -- where the framed photographs of the Great Martyrs [Joe Hill, Frank Little, Wesley Everest] looked down from the wall -- contained many hundreds of books: mostly radical ones, and some fine fictional works as well.
But Bill Haywood's book -- there so heavily read it was almost falling
apart -- was my favorite and when, after wandering and unwinding through the Intermountain West, I finally arrived home at Flagstaff, my parents were quick to call a used bookdealer via an Atlantic Monthly ad. And an excellent copy soon arrived which I still have. And happily, in 1958, its publisher -- International -- brought out an on-going new edition and, from time to time, I secured those, eventually giving copies over the years to my children along with copies of another great classic, that by Haywood's life-long friend, Ralph Chaplin: Wobbly .
Several studies of Haywood began to emerge by the end of the '60s -- notably a book by Joe Conlin: Big Bill Haywood and the Radical Union Movement . A popular bio came forth in 1983 -- Roughneck, by Peter Carlson. I took advantage of its appearance to do a substantial review essay for the Wisconsin Magazine of History -- a big and solidly academic [but always readable] journal. Here it is --the lead book review in the Winter 1983-84 issue of the WMH:
Roughneck: The Life and Times of Big Bill Haywood. By Peter Carlson. [W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 1983. Pp. 352. Photographs, notes on sources, index. $17.50.] Reviewed by John R Salter, Jr [Hunter Gray]
In the concluding portion of Roughneck, a biography of William D. "Big Bill" Haywood, author Peter Carlson perceives the Haywood legend as something which "withered and died" soon after his 1928 death in the Soviet Union, becoming "a footnote in history books, a name entombed in dusty archives, a faded photograph on a yellowed newspaper clipping." This may be have been true in the fickle U.S. East. But when this reviewer was growing up in the Northern Arizona mountains in the 1950s, the memories of Utah-born Haywood, one of America's great radicals, and of his two primary organizations -- the Western Federation of Miners [WFM] and the Industrial Workers of the World
[IWW] -- had lost little of their freshness and lustre. And in the early
1960s at Tougaloo College, my students and I studied the historical IWW, its tactics, and its leaders very closely as we developed the massive
Wobbly-type Jackson Movement in Mississippi's capital.
Carlson's book, more than a half-century after Haywood's passing, and in an era when too few survive of the red card-carrying old timers who followed the shooting-stars of the IWW ["Organization, Education, Emancipation"], is designed to cover the activist and personal dimensions of Haywood from the 19th century western frontier through increasingly and bitter class warfare into the late 1920s and his death. Roughneck is sympathetically [and well] written and is a fairly detailed synthesis drawn mostly from various other works on the WFM and the IWW and less from archival materials and author-conducted interviews.
The events of the Haywood/WFM/IWW saga are basically covered. Among them are Haywood's birth in 1869 at Salt Lake City and his boyhood in Ophir, his early work in the mines of Nevada and his experiences as cowboy and homesteader, the impact on Haywood of Haymarket anarchist martyrdom ,
his growing involvement within the WFM in the late 1890s and early 1900s, and his rise to national secretary-treasurer of that increasingly radical industrial union, the founding of the egalitarian and syndicalist IWW in 1905 and Haywood's eventual ascendancy some years later to the top post of secretary-treasurer, the Haywood/Moyer/Pettibone Idaho murder frameup [1906-1907], the great strikes such as Cripple Creek [1903-1904], Lawrence , Paterson , Western copper and lumber , and farmworker organizational drives in 1910s. The roll call of Wobbly martyrs is set forth, e.g., Joe Hill , Everett Massacre victims , Frank Little , Wesley Everest . Carlson touches the IWW conflicts with the craft-oriented AFL and the "yellow" Socialists, and sketches a graphic picture of the corporation-initiated and government-backed domestic hysteria and repression which culminated in U.S. of America vs. William D. Haywood et al. and related examples of "legal" attacks and in bloody vigilante activities -- all of which made a mockery of the Constitution and the United
States justice system during and after World War I. The rise of the
Communist movement and the decline of the IWW, Haywood's 1921 flight to the Soviet Union, and his final years in that setting round out the
chronological scope of the book. Problems between Haywood and his wife, Nevada Jane, their eventual separation, his mistresses, his great love for his daughters, as well as his drinking and health problems, are all well integrated into the primarily activist-oriented thrust of the book.
Minor flaws involve misspelling several individuals' names, inaccurately
naming several reference works, and misspelling Mormon "Morman" a number of times. More fundamentally, several important works are not listed and, too, there is little exploration of the key issues in radical circles of the period [issues which are still very much to the fore today] in which Haywood was deeply involved: pragmatism vs. ideology, centralization vs.
decentralization, political action vs. direct action, nonviolence vs.
violence, the rights of minorities and women. The frontier origins of
American syndicalism and its development -- still an appealing perspective
to many in a time when the same basic socio-economic-political problems
faced by Haywood and his colleagues continue, with the more recent addition of massive bureaucracy -- is scarcely discussed. Various individuals closely associated with Haywood, e.g., Ralph Chaplin, Clarence Darrow, Eugene Debs, Daniel DeLeon, Mabel Dodge, Elizabeth Flynn, Emma Goldman, Samuel Gompers, Thomas J. Hagerty, Mother Jones, Frank Little, John Reed, Vincent St. John, could be much more fully depicted.
Carlson's assessment of Haywood is general and not much more than two
paragraphs exemplified by "the blows he landed left his enemies a little
weaker and a lot more willing to compromise with the reformers who followed in his wake." Carlson's perception of Haywood's relationship to the Soviet Union ["When his naiveté was crushed by the cruel realities by the Russian Revolution, Haywood was left a bitter, broken man"] may very well be true. But little evidence is offered by Carlson to justify this conclusion, for which considerably more evidence does in fact exist than, say, in the case of John Reed.
Within its limits, Roughneck is a sound piece of craftsmanship. But it is
not art nor is it a full study of Haywood. It is popular biography,
offering little that is new to those already familiar with the period and
its issues and organizations and participants. It is, however, fun to read
and a good introductory stream which, hopefully, will encourage those
interested "new-timers" to pursue the man and the lessons in such important works as Bill Haywood's Book: The Autobiography of William D. Haywood [1929 and various recent editions], The I.W.W.: Its First Seventy Years[1905-1975] by Fred Thompson and Patrick Murfin, Wobbly: The Rough and Tumble Story of an American Radical  by Ralph Chaplin, and Joseph Conlin's Big Bill Haywood and the Radical Union Movement . Hopefully, too, a full biography of Big Bill will ultimately appear -- doing so well before the centennial of his death!
John R. Salter, Jr. [University of North Dakota] Now, of course, Hunter
Gray / Hunter Bear
WESTERN AMERICAN CULTURE AND RODEO AND BIG BILL HAYWOOD -- AND MORE [HUNTER GRAY]
The American West is always changing these days -- for sure: new people and sprawling cities, paved highways and Interstates, television and computers -- all that and more. And more.
But much of the West doesn't change -- ever: The Big Sky; the Land -- the Earth and Plains and Mountains and Deserts; and a great many of the
people -- the native homegrown Westerners and the people who come into the West and who [naturally] convert to Our Way of Life.
Rodeo doesn't change. It's like it always was -- brave men [and now a few brave women] and wild beasts: mutually adversarial right down to the dirt and the bloody bone [sometimes literally.]
I don't claim to be a rodeo man in the participant sense. One of my younger brothers was a very good calf-roper for years. But, although our family had horses -- on very good lower Oak Creek land south/southwest of Flagstaff in the Verde Valley, not far from the old copper camp of Jerome -- I've never really been a horse person. I am, however, a very good mule man: a mule is always smart; always very stable -- doesn't shy in a skittery way, say, from a rattler as will a horse; and a mule is extremely surefooted. I like mules and know them well. [The best one with which I was closely associated, and
which I rode much indeed for work and other purposes, always tried,
cunningly, to carry me under low hanging pine limbs -- but, once you knew that little idiosyncrasy, no sweat and no fall from the saddle.]
Most radicals these days don't know much about William D. "Big Bill"
Haywood, who started out in Mormon Utah in 1869 [hatched Episcopalian] and died lonely at Moscow [the other one, not Idaho] in 1928: half his ashes in the Kremlin wall and the other half at the consecrated-for-radicals Waldheim Cemetery at Chicago. In between, of course, Bill Haywood was the cutting edge of the legendary Western Federation of Miners and a key founder of the Industrial Workers of the World. He was the major defendant in the infamous Steunenberg murder frameup trial at Boise in 1907 -- where, defended ably by Clarence Darrow and others against the forces of the Mine Owners' Association and the Pinkertons, he and his WFM colleagues -- Charles Moyer and George Pettibone -- were freed. In Darrow's eleven hour address to the
jury, the great Artist of the Defense roundly attacked "The Spiders of Wall
Street" while much of the courtroom wept. On that, see my rather extensive 1997 review/essay on the background and development of the Boise Trials and related matters -- published in the Butte regional newspaper: http://www.hunterbear.org/haywoodtrial.htm
Bill Haywood was many good things: great courage and great commitment, great
organizer, creative strike activist and tactician and leader, top
speaker, Red Socialist -- much more. And, for all of
this, he was seized and imprisoned by the Feds in
1917 with 150 other prominent IWW leaders. They were
eventually tried at Chicago and Wichita and Sacramento under the
hastily concocted and Wilsonian "Espionage Act" which, ostensibly
targeting anti-War activities [it reached out and
grabbed Gene Debs and others as
well], was really of course aimed against social justice -- and especially
militant labor -- radicalism. In the end, an ailing Haywood and a few
others, out on bail pending appeal, understandably enough under the
horrific circumstances fled to Russia.
Most radicals of today couldn't tell you much at all about Bill Haywood and
that very fine crew of trail blazers who "saw the elephant and heard the
owl" in some very, very tough crucibles. They might know that the copper
bosses got the great Wobbly martyr, Joe Hill, but they probably couldn't
tell you when; and they've heard some about the gentle Debs -- but probably not the fact that Debs several times publicly threatened that legions of armed Westerners would converge on Boise and free Haywood et al. if the WFM leaders were convicted.
But even the more informed radicals of today probably don't know that, in
addition to being a highly skilled hard-rock metal miner, Big Bill had also
been a prospector -- and an extremely successful Nevada cowboy.
And hardly anyone now would know that his brother-in-law, Tom Minor of
Nevada, was a very top United States rodeo champ for a good and super long spell.
In fact, both Haywood and Minor structured a dimension of the IWW especially for cowpunchers, "bronc riders" and rodeo men -- and some did indeed sign up in the fighting Wobblies.
Rodeo is like the rugged Real West In The Flesh, so to speak: it's
equalizing and egalitarian. You're face to face in the Real West with raw
nature: big sharp mountains, furnace deserts, the wild and roily rivers of
no return, wild critters and wild people.
With rodeo, it's wild bulls and wild horses and wild men [and now a few wild women.]
And it's a setting where, as in the mountains and deserts and on the wild
rivers, you're taken for what the Real You is and can do and does. Long,
long before the Movements great and good, and all of the important Civil
Rights Acts and such, and reflecting the ethnic demography of the West,
Native Americans and Chicanos who rodeoed won not only their spurs as
men -- but were fully accepted by their rodeo colleagues and many others as the humans they indeed were. And there've always been some Blacks and some Orientals who rodeoed, risked much -- and who forced recognition of themselves as people.
[Kind of like the military for ethnic minorities -- especially after Harry
Truman's sweeping military integration order. "If you could shoot good . ."]
Anyway, I like rodeo. Sometimes a guy gets killed and I have good buddies who were crippled for life by the time they were 21. But most people get through it OK and almost all of the animals always do.
Most news media stories talk about the bigger ones -- but
the little rodeos in the backwoods settings of the West, the little towns
and the great rural sweeps, can be really first-rate.
And then there are the Great All-Indian Rodeos: Flagstaff with its annual
three-day Indian Pow-Wow over the Fourth -- and then the Gallup Indian
Ceremonial early in August. In each of those and others like them -- full
of top-flight Native dancers from a myriad of tribal nations in the 'States,
Canada, and Mexico and hundreds of first-rate Native artisans and
craft-people -- rodeo is a great big piece of the Experience for everyone.
Anyway, I [a faithful mule man] always like good Real Western Rodeo -- and I always will.
So find one -- a good one, big or little -- and try it, folks. If you don't
think it's becoming a socialist, then always remember Big Bill and tip your
Stetson or your little Eastern-type cap to a guy who, among everything else he did, was a renowned Nevada cowboy.
HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR]
When you cut to the bone and cut away the college degrees, academic and other titles, published books and articles, ours is essentially a working
class and Indian family. We consistently join unions -- and we always
support them with the greatest vigor.
It's critical to always keep fighting -- and to always remember that, if one
lives with grace, he/she should be prepared to die with grace.