o the Editor,
April 2014 is the 100th anniversary of the slaughter of 26 men, women and 11 children by the Colorado National Guard and police, who were part of a strike against the inhuman working conditions of Colorado Coal Mines, in Ludlow, Colo., that were owned by John D. Rockefeller.
The strike was organized by the United Miners Workers Association in late 1913 because of barbaric working conditions coal miners experienced working in the mines at Ludlow and other areas of Colorado, which led to the deaths of more than 1,700 miners from 1884 to 1912.
As was always the case in these types of battles between corporate America and labor, the bloodthirsty, insatiable appetite for more profit led to a lack of safety measures and unnecessary risks that caused the death of many of the miners.
Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, Rockefeller-owned, maintained a camp in which the miners worked and were exposed to conditions that many times led to suffocation, exploding mines as well as mines that would collapse. These miners were not free to leave because the Rockefellers employed thugs to maintain total control over the miners lives in a feudal-like system. There were efforts to unionize for years, but strike-breakers and brutality on the part of the police, state militia and Rockefeller’s privately-owned security prevented this.
Finally, the United Mine Workers Union took hold and there were violent clashes between these workers and the national guard, along with the goons employed by the Rockefellers that led to the slaughter of 26 men, women and 11 children.
Dr. Howard Zinn called this strike and massacre, the culminating act of the most violent struggle between labor and corporate power.
This mass murder symbolizes how evil corporate America has been from the industrial revolution to the present day. Where monopoly capitalism on the part of the Rockefellers, Morgans, Carnegies and Mellons has led to hundreds of thousands of worker deaths because of unsafe conditions taking a back seat to profit, we see these thug-like protectors of corporate America today, they are on patrol in Grand Central station where I see, on a daily basis, bouncer-type security guards that harass and push people around who are not expeditiously moving to their point of destination.
This massacre showed, in no uncertain terms, how brutal corporations are and indeed will take any measure necessary to satisfy the bottom line.