William D. Haywood


“Reasonable” Crime

(August 1911)


Source: From International Socialist Review, Vol. 12 No. 2, August 1911, pp. 84–85.
Transcription: Matthew Siegfried.
HTML mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists Internet Archive (2019).
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2022). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.


HERE is a bit of recent history connected with the Steel Trust that the government committee now investigating the octopus will not inquire into.

On the eleventh day of last March a cave-in occurred in the Norman mine. Thirty men were caught in the death trap; four escaped with injuries; 26 are said to have been killed. At this writing all of the bodies have not been recovered. Though three months have elapsed since the slaughter, no effort is being made to remove the remains of the dead men. They are covered with thousands of tons of rock and iron ore and will probably stay there until the bones are scooped up with a steam shovel to be transported with the ore to a fiery furnace.

The Norman property is operated by the Oliver Mining Company, a subsidiary of the Steel Trust. This branch of the industry is represented in the United States Smelter by the Pittsburg millionaire after whom the mining company is named, and also the Oliver Steel works, near Pittsburg, Pa.

The Norman mine is one of hundreds being operated by the Steel Trust on the Missabe range. It is located at Virginia, Minnesota. Here the trust is absolutely in control. The private police of the Oliver Mining Company are a conscienceless lot of wretches. Like the cossacks of Pennsylvania, recruited from the dregs of society, they are vigilant in the interest of the company. No one is allowed to trespass on the domain. I was informed that arrangements were made for my arrest if I attempted to investigate the cave-in.

I secured the only picture taken. At the bottom of the terrible chasm can be seen the great pile of rock as it fell from the precipitous wall covering the tracks. Under this are bodies of human beings. Many are the pathetic stories told in connection with this disaster. In a family of four motherless children, the oldest a little girl who was acting the character of “Little Meg” to the rest, became worried because her father did not come home. She was prepared to ask the boss to allow her papa to come home to his supper. It was many days before she learned that daddy would never come home again.

This catastrophe and its results have been hushed up. No information can be had as to what provision has been made for the widows and orphans. It is one of the many Steel Trust cases that will not be investigated.

In philanthropic endeavor the Steel Trust has nothing on its little brother of the plutes – the Lumber Trust. The time check, here reproduced, tells its own story, showing how men are compelled to work for this benevolent outfit for fifty cents a day. During one of the bitterest storms last winter a crew of men were employed to shovel snow from the tracks during the night. Next day the storm abated. The men were discharged. The usual deductions, as shown on the card, were made. As these men were working for $1.80 per day they got but 30 cents for the night’s labor.

It is unnecessary to say there are no labor organizations here. The helpless will-o’-the-wisp trade unions are as chaff in the grip of these mighty trusts. The Socialist movement among the Finns causes the companies some worry, because our Finnish comrades do not confine their efforts to any one line of action. They believe the working-class should be organised and to this end are spending time and money to carry the propaganda to the sovereign American citizen.

Last updated on 10 June 2022