Monday, November 13, 2006

Revolutionary Defense Fund


Nov. 13, 1907
Los Angeles

An uproarious meeting was held last night at Simpson Auditorium to raise money for the four Mexican revolutionaries being held in the Los Angeles County Jail. The hall was packed with “revolutionists, Socialists, labor unionites, atheists and others of that ilk,” The Times said, noting: “A wild-eyed anarchist with a smoking bomb in his hand was the only thing needed.” “The audience was composed mainly of Mexicans and Spanish-Americans, but not of the better class,” The Times said.

A red flag was hoisted above the Stars and Stripes and red crepe paper was strung throughout the hall, while music was provided by a Mexican orchestra of boys and girls “who were supposed to represent the purity of the cause,” The Times said. Mexican women pelted defense attorney Job Harriman with flowers when he began his address.

In fiery oratory, Antonio Rodriguez, who spoke in Spanish, Harriman and fellow defense attorney A.R. Holston attacked the Mexican government, U.S. officials and the police, The Times said. A speaker read a letter from Antonio Villareal, one of the imprisoned revolutionaries, “filled with abuse of the Mexican government.”

Holston said: “I am a Socialist and a red abolitionist. We will be the saviors of mankind. America is following suit to Russia in its oppression and system of espial. Our officials have gone to school to the Czar of Russia. Our jails have been filled with Mexicans. Let our officials draw their pay from Mexico. We would not accept Mexican currency at one time. Now we seem glad to get it. It is probably better than Roosevelt currency.”

The Times said that the meeting “closed in an uproar. The ignorant Mexicans went out of the auditorium filled with sentiments of anarchy. They had been told that this country was the slave of Mexico. They were given to understand that revolution was praiseworthy and that bloodshed was necessary in such a righteous cause.... The church was openly assailed and the ministers of the Gospel were laughed at as cowards.”

The meeting raised $59 ($1,210.89 USD 2005).

To be continued.

Here’s a link to imprisoned revolutionary L. Gutierrez de Lara’s “The Mexican People: Their Struggle for Freedom.”



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