The New York Times/Emma Goldman and A. Berkman Behind the Bars
Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, the two most notorious anarchists in the United States, who for weeks have been conducting a campaign against all the aspirations and activities of this Government, particularly against our part in the war and army conscription, in the course of which they have at times almost preached sedition, were arrested by Federal agents yesterday afternoon in the anarchist headquarters at 20 East 125th Street.
For several weeks Secret Service agents have kept close watch on Emma Goldman and Berkman, and it has been known for some days that their arrest would be made immediately the Government obtained evidence of an overt act on their part to interfere with the nation's war program. Yesterday that evidence was forthcoming when the Government came into possession of copies of the anarchist publications known as Mother Earth, which is owned by Emma Goldman, and The Blast, the editor and proprietor of which is Berkman.
Important as are the prisoners to the Government, they are perhaps not nearly so important as is the mass of documents and other written matter which has come into the possession of the Department of Justice. A wagon load of anarchist records and propaganda material was seized, and included in the lot is what is believed to be a complete registry of anarchy's friends in the United States. A splendidly kept card index was found, which the Federal agents believe will greatly simplify their task of identifying persons mentioned in the various record books and papers. The subscription lists of Mother Earth and the Blast, which contain 10,000 names, were also seized.
It was 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon when United States Marshal Thomas D. McCarthy was instructed to arrest Berkman and Miss Goldman. The complaint was signed by Lieutenant George D. Barnitz of the New York Police Department. It charged that since May 1 last, and until yesterday, the two anarchists had been conspiring "to aid, counsel, and induce" various men of conscript age not to comply with the provisions of the selective draft law. The complaint further alleges that Berkman and Miss Goldman, in the June issues of the Blast and Mother Earth, published signed articles meant to effect the conspiracy into which they had entered.
The raiding party which left the Federal Building at 4:10 P. M. under command of Marshal McCarthy included Assistant United States District Attorney E. M. Stanton, Lieutenant Barnitz, Deputy Marshals Doran, Hearne, and Meade, and Detectives Murphy and Kiely of the Police Department. A few minutes before 5 o'clock the Government automobiles arrived at 20 East 125th Street. In the publication office of the anarchist papers Marshal McCarthy and his aids found Miss Goldman, a Miss Fitzgerald, Walker Merchant, Carl Newlander, and a young man named Bales, who was subsequently arrested when it was discovered that although of draft age he had failed to register on June 5.
"I have a warrant for your arrest," Marshal McCarthy said to Emma Goldman.
"I am not surprised, yet I would like to know what the warrant is based on," the woman said.
Marshal McCarthy answered by producing a copy of Mother Earth containing an article on the so-called No-Conscription League signed "Emma Goldman."
"Did you write that?" asked the Marshal.
Miss Goldman replied that she had written the article, and in answer to another question said she stood for everything in Mother Earth, because, she added, she was the sole owner of the publication.
Lieutenant Barnitz asked her if she knew where Berkman was, and she told him that Berkman was upstairs in another room. A few minutes later the man who in 1892 tried to murder H. C. Frick and subsequently served fourteen years in the penitentiary for his crime, appeared. He was taken completely by surprise and did not appear nearly so brave or defiant as his woman companion.
The young man, Bales, was busy in a corner of the room wrapping copies of the Blast and Mother Earth and addressing them when the officers entered. Mr. Stanton walked over and touched him on the shoulder. Bales looked up.
"How old are you?" Mr. Stanton demanded.
"I don't care to make any statement at this time," young Bales answered.
"Where is your registration card?"
"I have no registration card."
A moment later Bales was under arrest and in the custody of a detective.
Miss Fitzgerald, who gave her address as the Hotel Brevoort, seemed completely upset. "I can't understand it at all," she said to a reporter, "for they (Berkman and Goldman) are fine and beautiful characters, and are hundreds of years ahead of their time."
A big crowd quickly gathered in front of the anarchist headquarters and the reserves from the East 126th Street Police Station were summoned to keep order.
Marshal McCarthy told the prisoners to get ready for a quick trip to the Federal Building. Miss Goldman asked if she could have time to put on a more presentable gown. Permission was given, and she disappeared upstairs, to return a few minutes later dressed in royal purple.
In the meantime the Marshals and the police were busy searching the room. All the papers of every kind were seized, including some of George Bernard Shaw's works. The Shaw books, however, were later ordered to be left on the shelves, together with other works not of an anarchistic character. The entire unmailed editions of Mother Earth and The Blast were seized.
The issue of The Blast on which the arrest of Berkman was based is, in the opinion of the Federal officials, one of the vilest things ever sent through the United States mails, for several hundred copies were mailed before the paper was brought to the attention of the authorities.
The outside cover to the issue shows an American carrying on his back a fat man in uniform, who is labelled "American militarism." Near by stands a Russian peasant. Russia asks the American who is carrying the man in uniform. "What's the idea! and the American answers, "Democracy," whereupon the Russian remarks, "Well, you know how I got mine."
The article for the writing of which Berkman was arrested is captioned "Registration."
It follows another article, captioned "To the Youth of America," in which the men of the country are urged to refuse to go to war against Germany.
The article on registration, which is the one specifically referred to in the complaint reads:
- Registration is the first step of conscription.
- The war shouters and their prostitute press, bent on snaring you into the army, tell you that registration has nothing to do with conscription.
- They lie.
- Without registration, conscription is impossible.
- Conscription is the abdication of your rights as a citizen. Conscription is the cemetery where every vestige of your liberty is to be buried. Registration is its undertaker.
- No man with red blood in his veins can be forced to fight against his will.
- But you cannot successfully oppose conscription if you approve of, or submit, to registration.
- Every beginning is hard. But if the Government can induce you to register it will have little difficulty in putting over conscription.
- By registering you willfully supply the Government with the information it needs to make conscription effective.
- Registration means placing in the hands of the authorities the despotic power of the machinery of passports which made darkest Russia what it was before the revolution.
- There are thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of young men in this country who have never voted and who have never paid taxes, and who, legally speaking, have no official existence. Their registration means nothing short of suicide in a majority of cases.
- Failure to register is punishable by imprisonment. Refusal to be conscripted may be punishable by death.
- To register is to acknowledge the right of the Government to conscript.
- The consistent conscientious objector to human slaughter will neither register nor be conscripted.
- ALEXANDER BERKMAN.
The article in Mother Earth, which is mentioned in the Barnitz complaint is quite long. That part which counsels defiance of the Selective Draft law reads:
- The No-Conscription League has been formed for the purpose of encouraging conscientious objectors to affirm their liberty of conscience, and to translate their objection to human slaughter by refusing to participate in the killing of their fellowmen. The No-Conscription League is to be the voice of protest against war, and against the coercion of conscientious objectors to participate in the war. Our platform may be summarized as follows:
- We oppose conscription because we are internationalists, anti-militarists, and opposed to all wars waged by capitalistic Governments.
- We will fight for what we choose to fight for; we will never fight simply because we are ordered to fight.
- We believe that the militarization of America is an evil that far outweighs in its anti-social and anti-libertarian effects any good that may come from America's participation in the war.
- We will resist conscription by every means in our power, and we will sustain those who, for similar reasons, refuse to be conscripted.
The prisoners arrived at the Federal Building at 6:30. They were taken to the office of United States Marshal McCarthy, where they remained until Harry Weinberger, their lawyer, could be communicated with. It was 7 o'clock when Weinberger, who is a non-conscriptionist and often spoke at the same meetings with Miss Goldman, arrived.
Assistant United States District Attorneys John C. Knox and Harold A. Content informed the prisoners that United States Commissioners Hitchcock and Gilchrist had left for the day, and that, unless they insisted on being arraigned before a United States Judge, they would be arraigned before Commissioner Hitchcock at 10:30 o'clock this morning. Berkman and Miss Goldman had both denounced the Judges at a meeting held on the east side Thursday night, and they shook their heads in unison when Mr. Content offered them the chance of an immediate arraignment before a Judge.
"We will go to the Tombs and be arraigned before a Commissioner in the morning," Miss Goldman said, after a whispered conference with Berkman.
A few minutes later a patrol wagon arrived at the Federal Building, and the prisoners were taken to the Tombs and locked up. They will be brought to the Federal Building this morning and arraigned at 10:30 o'clock. The Government will demand high bail in each case, it being rumored that the amount will be put at not less than $25,000 for each prisoner.
The Grand Jury does not meet again until Monday. The Goldman-Berkman case will be presented to that body as soon as it convenes, and it is believed the Government will ask for an indictment charging conspiracy to obstruct the operation of the draft law. A conviction will carry a sentence of two years in the penitentiary and the Judge may also, in his discretion, impose fines as high as $10,000. The indictment, if returned, may also contain several counts, which would make possible a sentence in each case of six to ten years in prison.
It was also pointed out yesterday that neither Berkman nor Emma Goldman is a citizen of the United States, and that if convicted they may both be deported after their prison terms are served. The laws of the United States provide that where an alien has twice been convicted of crime in this country he may be deported, no matter how many years he has been in this country. Berkman served fourteen years for the attempted assassination of H. C. Frick, and Miss Goldman has served a term of one year on Blackwell's Island for inciting others to riot.
Miss Goldman gave her age yesterday as 48 years. She said she was born in Russia, but as a young girl migrated to Prussia. She came to the United States in 1886. Berkman refused his pedigree, and sneeringly answered when asked his age that he was 250 years old.
"Anarchist activities in this country are at an end," said a Federal official yesterday as the patrol wagon in which the prisoners were taken to the Tombs sped away from the Federal Building.